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  • Engagement and Impact Assessment Consultation Paper Response from The Australian Sociological Association (TASA)

    Posted on June 24, 2016


    The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the National Innovation and Science Agenda’s proposed framework for developing the national assessment of the engagement and impact of university research and to comment on the Engagement and Impact Assessment Consultation Paper.

    Feedback Questions

    Definitions and scope

    1. What definition of ‘engagement’ should be used for the purpose of assessment?

    We suggest a modified version of the ATSE definition (p6)

    ‘the interaction between researchers and research organisations and their larger communities/industries for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge, understanding OR resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.’

    Rationale: social research is often for the common good and researchers engage with stakeholders without the expectation of resource exchange or reimbursement

    1. What definition of ‘impact’ should be used for the purpose of assessment?

    We suggest that the broad UK REF definition is adequate

    ‘an effect on, change, benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life beyond academia.’

    1. How should the scope of the assessment be defined?

    A combination of qualitative and quantitative measures should be used. Quantitative – industry funding and competitive grants, citations in grey literature, contribution to parliamentary submissions (and other government consultations).

    Qualitative – qualitative measures of engagement include reports for external bodies, membership of boards (e.g. local, state and federal government, local, national and international NGOs, professional bodies), community participation in events, audience numbers (e.g. at performances, film screenings etc.), contributions to the media and public debate, engagement with community organisations, educational training and toolkits, e.g. for secondary school students.

    Read more…

  • It takes a village: law reform can’t be the only response to online child abuse material

    Posted on June 17, 2016

    This article was originally published on The Conversation.

    Marg Liddell and Anastasia Powell (RMIT University) write:

    The Victorian government introduced legislation this week to deliver on key changes recommended by an in-depth review of the state’s sexual offences.

    Among the changes is the replacement of the term “child pornography” with “child abuse material”. This shift in terminology is particularly welcome.

    What’s in a name?

    It might appear a small change to some. But naming this material to clearly identify the abuse it depicts is important.

    Rather than the minimising term “child pornography”, calling these images “child abuse material” makes clear that the images involve child abuse, and that consumers of these images are colluding in child abuse.

    However, this shift is not merely semantic. The new laws also extend the definition of child abuse material to include images involving other forms of abuse, regardless of whether or not the image is “sexual”.

    This is an important change that brings Victoria into line with several jurisdictions, such as New South Wales, that include depictions of a child as a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse in their criminal laws.

    Read more…

  • Research engagement and impact: How should this be measured in Sociology?

    Posted on June 7, 2016

    Jo Lindsay (Immediate Past President, TASA Exec) writes:

    As you may be aware, the research engagement and impact strategy is currently under development by the Australian Research Council (ARC). Consultations are being carried out this year with proposed implementation in 2018. In addition to the current Excellence in Research (ERA) process that measures quality in university research, Engagement and Impact will seek to assess the impact of university research outside academia.

    A consultation paper has been released by the ARC which asks for specific feedback on a series of questions. Information on Engagement and Impact and the consultation paper is available here:

    On behalf of the TASA executive I am collecting information for a submission from TASA for the consultation. We welcome your feedback and input.

    Read more…

  • The Netherworld between Work and Retirement

    Posted on June 7, 2016

    Michael McGann, Helen Kimberley, Dina Bowman and Simon Biggs

    A major theme within social gerontology is how retirement ‘is being re-organised, if not undone’. Institutional supports for retirement are weakening, with pension ages rising in many countries. Increasing numbers of older workers are working past traditional retirement age on a part-time or self-employed basis, and a growing minority are joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed. Drawing upon narrative interviews with older Australians who are involuntarily non-employed or underemployed, this article explores how the ‘unravelling’ of retirement is experienced by a group of older workers on the periphery of the labour market. While policy makers hope that higher pension ages will lead to a longer period of working life, the risk is that older workers, especially those experiencing chronic insecurity in the labour market, will be caught in a netherworld between work and retirement.
    Social Policy and Society,
    FirstView Articles

  • Introduction to Sociology YouTube Channel

    Posted on May 30, 2016

    Robert van Krieken writes: 

    Are you responsible for first-year sociology? Would you like to lighten your lecturing load, finally get that journal article written, before your Head of School tells you you’re not publishing enough? Well, let’s face it, the lecture on “Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic” doesn’t change that much from one year to the next, from one lecturer to the next, or one country to the next. There are always individual variations, of course, but there’s a core component that stays pretty much the same, so why not share that material, and free up our class time to build on the basics?

    Let the Introduction to Sociology YouTube channel enhance your lectures, so you have the time actually to read a book, or even write one! The channel also includes other existing YouTube material that’s especially useful.

    Read more…

  • The World Congress of Sociology is coming to Melbourne

    Posted on May 17, 2016

    Katie Hughes (TASA President) and Dan Woodman (TASA Vice-President) write: 

    Dan and Katie during ISA 2022 presentationTASA will be welcoming the world’s sociologists to Australia for eight days in July, 2022. Melbourne has been chosen as the host city for the International Sociological Association’s 20th World Congress of Sociology (WCS). We will be building up to the Congress for the next six years and much work is ahead of us. Yet, winning the rights to host the WCS 2022 was itself a long process, one that we thought we’d share with TASA members and supporters.

    It began with a bid for the 19th WCS, which was led by Jo Lindsay (with Katie) in 2012. Although it was ultimately unsuccessful, we learned much by going through the bidding process, which we put to use in our second attempt.

    We worked on our bid documentation throughout 2015, with able support from staff at the Melbourne Convention Bureau, Marko Sanovic especially. After many emails and phone calls we had the support of Federal and State Government Ministers, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Qantas and other tourist operators, the Vice Chancellors of all Melbourne universities,  and our sister associations the Sociological Association of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and the Asia Pacific Sociological Association. Crucially we were able to garner financial support of over $1 million dollars, allowing us to propose a Congress that kept costs as low as possible and included scholarships and support for sociologists from the South (or ‘Category C’ countries in ISA terminology). We created what we hoped was a convincing argument for holding the congress in Melbourne and submitted our bid documentation to the International Sociological Association (ISA) in December last year.

    Read more…

  • Applying the sociological imagination in the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

    Posted on May 11, 2016

    This is our second post in the ‘Applied Sociology’ blog series, to give readers insights into the ways in which sociology is used to address and solve problems. We are seeking sociologists who work in industry, public service, commercial or private enterprise, NGOs, and so on, to provide us with some insight into your roles and responsibilities beyond the academic teaching and/or research role within universities. Please contact [email protected] if you would like to contribute!

    Melanie Shier-Baker writes:

    Melanie Shier-BakerHeavily influenced by Foucauldian thinking and my aversion to stigma, I must confess that I recoil somewhat at the idea of writing myself into a short blog post. Alas, if I desist the invitation to be interpreted, how ever will I become imagined at all? I therefore carefully and respectfully take this opportunity to share a brief snapshot of my ‘now’ and my hopeful ‘next’.

    I’ve spent my career working across the Disability, Youth, Education and Justice sectors. I currently work for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in Queensland, in a role that merges many of my skills and experience under one umbrella. My role is to effect the transition of young people with disabilities, who are under a Child Protection Order, into adult services upon turning 18 years of age. My role is a balance between administrative and clinical service provision; coordinating various government and non-government agencies to action priorities such as housing, income, support service and employment, as well as working directly with the young person and their carers to develop rapport, explore identity and increase independent living skills.

    Read more…

  • A strong voice for MND

    Posted on May 4, 2016

    rsz_kirsten_harleyRepublished from the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Australia website with kind permission. MND Australia is the national voice of people with motor neurone disease, their families and the countless others affected by the disease. You can make a donation to MND Australia via their website here.

    On 24 February, 2016 MND NSW Board member Kirsten Harley gave a speech at Parliament House, Canberra.  This is a transcript of Kirsten’s speech in which she talks about how MND has impacted her and her family’s life.

    A transcript of Kirsten Harley’s talk:

    I wish to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay respect to their elders, past present and future.

    Each of the 2094 Australians living with MND has a story about the personal impact of MND. I’m Kirsten and my story starts four years ago in 2012.

    Back then, I’d recently received my PhD in sociology and was in my third year of a postdoc at Sydney Uni. I was busy; researching, writing papers, applying for grants, organising workshops, supervising postgrads, and teaching about Australia’s health care system.

    My daughter Kimi was in 1st class at the local primary school. Together with my husband Densil – also an academic – I juggled work with school pick ups, plaiting hair, swimming lessons, birthday parties, laundry, cooking dinner and checking spelling. I loved ocean swimming and running but was struggling with fitness. I dashed off to the gym or pool a few times each week, and attended a weekly stretching class.

    The first thing I noticed was that my legs cramped when I tried to stretch my quads and calf muscles. I thought I should probably eat more bananas for potassium. Read more…

  • Vale Bill Martin (1956 – 2016)

    Posted on April 28, 2016

    Professor Bill Martin or William Craig (Bill) Martin is remembered for his intelligence, commitment to sociology, collegiality and being a much loved friend.  Bill graduated from the ANU with a BA (Honours) in 1977 and came to Flinders to study with Ivan Szelenyi and do a Master of Arts. He then moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison to undertake his PhD with Ivan Szelenyi and Eric Olin Wright. After his PhD was conferred in 1988, Bill returned to Australia to a position at La Trobe University.  In 1992, he was appointed to a senior lectureship in sociology at Flinders University.  He worked at Flinders for 17 years as a valued member of the Sociology Department, including a term as Head.  He was a strong supporter of research at Flinders and led an Area of Strategic Research Investment that pioneered research on social futures. For several years he held a joint position in the National Institute of Labour Studies, making a significant contribution to their reputation for undertaking applied research. In 2009, Bill and his family moved to the ISSR at the University of Queensland where he led the Employment and Education Program. Bill retired at the end of 2015. Read more…

  • 2022 World Congress of Sociology to be held in Australia

    Posted on April 21, 2016

    Katie Hughes (TASA President) writes:

    rsz_2022-soc-congress-bidAs you may know, Dr Dan Woodman and myself recently went to Taipei to present a bid to the International Sociological Association for Melbourne to host the 2022 World Congress of Sociology.

    I am delighted to tell you that we were successful!

    The ISA President, Professor Margaret Abraham congratulated us on the quality of the bid, and on our regional focus. We are hopeful that situating it in Melbourne will enable more colleagues from the Asia Pacific to attend the World Congress.

    At this stage, the confirmation is contingent on a site visit. In December, Professor Abraham will visit the venue, the proposed accommodation, and Melbourne University where the Young Sociologists’ event is to be held. If this is all adequate, TASA and the ISA will then sign an MOU.

    Read more…

  • Early Career Researcher – Best Paper Prize

    Posted on April 17, 2016

    2016 Inaugural Prize

    TASA Prize for the most distinguished peer-reviewed (MDP) article published by an Early Career Researcher

    A new annual award for the best authored sociological paper nominated for this Prize. Nominations for the 2016 TASA Prize for the most distinguished peer-reviewed article published by an Early Career Researcher will close June 30, 2016.

    About the Prize

    The TASA Prize for the most distinguished peer-reviewed article published by an Early Career Researcher is an annual process that uses academic peer review to select a paper of outstanding quality published in any journal during the previous three calendar years (ie the 2016 Award will assess papers that were published from 2013 – 2015). The Prize was established in 2016 to provide more opportunities for early career sociologists to gain recognition for the quality of their scholarship and enhance their reputations, especially within interdisciplinary teams. Read more…

  • Academic mentoring: the how and why

    Posted on April 7, 2016

    Kristin Natalier (TASA Treasurer) writes:

    Last week, Laetitia Coles tweeted a question that resonated: Anyone have tips on academic mentoring?

    It’s a question I’ve been asking since my early days in academia.

    At its heart, mentoring is a relationship of support and strategy. A more experienced person assists someone with less experience to identify and meet their goals. Mentoring can overlap or emerge out of supervision, morph into collaboration or friendship, or involve sponsorship. Each of these relationships will differently inflect the central object of support.

    Read more…

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