Bullying at the University of Newcastle (Australia)

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“Systemic bullying, hazing and abuse generally are identified with poor, weak or toxic organizational cultures. Cultures that are toxic have stated ethical values that are espoused but not employed, and other non-ethical values which are operational, dominant, but unstated.

Such cultures thrive when good people are silent, silenced, or pushed out; when bad apples are vocal, retained, promoted, and empowered; and when the neutral majority remain silent in order to survive. Those who are most successful in such a toxic culture are those who have adapted to it, or adopted it as their own”. (McKay, Arnold, Fratzl & Thomas, 2008)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

University of Newcastle QS rankings

The Australian states that

"TODAY’S release of the QS World University Ranking by Subject is another ho-hum affair. It’s not that it doesn’t have some semblance of truth as to the nature of the university sector in Australia, but it’s so broad-brushstroke that it’s hard discern any detail or nuance. "
"Yet six universities from the Group of Eight so completely dominate the ranking (from a local perspective at least), they leave little breathing room for anyone else."

"And we know from the recent Excellence in Research for Australia audit that this is not the case. Yes, the Group of Eight is dominant in research across the disciplines, but there are pockets of excellence."

"You might be the best in the world in a niche area, but unless you have a blockbuster globally recognisable brand you don’t get a look in on league tables that wrangle a mixed methodology into some distorted sense of order." (emphasis added)
  • The UoN website states that "The University of Newcastle's Civil and Structural Engineering discipline has entered the world's Top 50 in the most recent QS World University Rankings by Subject list increasing its ranking by 14 places up to 45th in the world. "
"Why isn’t Swinburne in the top five universities in physics and astronomy? It is in the ERA. Why isn’t James Cook University among the top five in earth and marine sciences or even environmental sciences? Because it very sensibly decided that spending time, effort and money on submitting data to league tables such as QS was a waste of time, effort and money. Besides, these rankings are more a media phenomenon than a true reflection of university excellence. Shame that message is not getting out where it’s needed."

"As has been pointed out before, and will be again, the QS ranking is so volatile that a university can move up or down 10 places in any one year and no one bats an eye lid."
  • UoN website "Published by QS in the UK today, the University of Newcastle has been ranked in the world's top 100 universities for three subjects and in the top 200 universities for a further nine subjects."
"But the weird, and slightly perverse, love-hate relationship between universities and rankings agencies seems set to continue for years to come despite their seeming mistrust of each other."

  • Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, said UON's excellent performance in the 2014 QS subject rankings built on the University's growing global reputation for excellence in education, and research and innovation.


  1. The willingness of a University to compete using statistics is a royally unacademic gesture. A provincial one too.

    Education is not about being a leader or the first over a line. If it was there would not be a UoN at all.

    Real Universities don't use numbers to justify itself. Their people are their reputation.

    Figures are artificial and invite assumption. Is it possible the figures aren't true? A decent academic would never make claims based on such loose methodology or at least before examining the null hypothesis.

    What about other statistics at the University? We are leading the way in terms of workplace malpractice and dysfunctional politics. Why don't we make that as important?

  2. Watching more UoN brown nosingMarch 10, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    The new Chancellor is keeping Caroline McMillen happy by stating "We are, however, under-represented internationally in relation to our peers and that represents a wonderful opportunity to take that Novocastrian quiet confidence and show the world what we have to offer in teaching and learning, and research.".
    I guess she wrote his speech for him!

    1. If that is true that is technically lying to the public and fits neatly with the whole plagiarism theme the University does so well.