Q2 2023 – Welcome Back to Di’s Coffee Corner

Posted: 29/05/2023
by: Dianne van Eck

Hello, and happy autumn! Having spoken to many people over the past few months, it’s clear that there is a time of change in the air, not just the weather. There are many positions being advertised, people are retiring, changing jobs or taking a break from the sector. Improvement activities continue to focus on admissions, credit management, timetabling, Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and placements. The conference timetables have been set and most people are trying to work out how to do more with less.

Holiday Time

I was lucky enough to have a week’s leave in Far North Queensland recently. I spent 3 nights in Palm Cove, and then 4 nights at Cairns, using that city as a base to travel to the Atherton Table lands each day. I travelled with a friend and we both went ‘wow’ on many occasions as we walked through ancient rain forests, saw the most amazing trees (several over 1,000 years old), cruised on crocodile infested waters (yes I saw one large and 3 smaller crocs in the wild which were a first for me) and absorbed the culture of the region. I visited the Great Barrier Reef for a day and saw some wonderful coral and fish displays – from the comfort of a glass sided boat and observation window. I have no doubt the views underwater by snorkelling or diving would have been far better, but I wanted to come back alive to South Australia. The week off has been terrific. I feel refreshed and ready to work with our clients, both current and new over the next 7 months to develop some wonderful improvements to the student experience.

Dis Collage

Training and Development

I ran a second ‘Navigating the 8 Wastes in Higher Education’ training last week with a group of people from universities and a NFP provider. The feedback was excellent with trainees saying they now had some good tools and tips to continue with their improvement actions and also get their teams onboard. A couple of items which may be relevant to you include better information management and improving communications across teams. We had some in-depth discussion of how Microsoft Teams can be utilised for both. Channels can be created for anything – a project, activity, or a chat between people. SharePoint files can be linked in the tabs of the channel providing greater connectivity between the discussion and the files. Rules can be set up around file naming and structure. One good principle to note is the ‘9 by 9’ rule. That is, that the human eye can take in at best 9 folders/files on a page. Thus create your file management structure in groups of 9 or less.

The 8 Wastes series is great training if you want to help your teams to make change happen from the ground up. It presents the principles of Lean Thinking but in a local work setting. All attendees build their own Action Plan for further improvement work after the training. They all receive a Certificate of Attendance as well as 8 weeks of reminders: email tips, video links, templates, and support. We are running some additional free sessions (spaces are limited) over the next 2 months and can offer special prices for group bookings if you would like your team to attend.

8 Wastes

DVE Events

Other upcoming events include:

You can also check our Events and Webinars page updates or express your interest.

I mentioned in our last newsletter that Professor Mary O’Kane AC provided a thought provoking session on the role of the University Accord (Discussion paper released that day) and the consultation undertaken to date. Prof O’Kane stressed the importance of future thinking (30 years plus) and stressed ‘Be Bold, Be Brave’. Many universities and agencies have submitted their views. I recommended that there be greater attention on systems and processes across the sector, with too much duplication of effort and costly manual tasks. AI will certainly be an important consideration for many student administration processes in the future. This is something not to be feared, but rather embraced, to enable staff to provide more higher quality and value add services to students.

Jo and I Enjoyed Mother’s Day this Year

Jo and I enjoyed Mother’s Day with a little addition this year.  This was Jo’s first as a mum and mine as Oma and it was a lovely day. I unpacked my scone baking skills (they had been buried for 30 plus years) and together Jo and I baked our own Mother’s Day scones. We spent a lovely afternoon together. I hope all mothers reading this has a wonderful Mother’s Day too.

Di and Jo baking scones

Here we are preparing the dough and then eating our delicious scones with jam and cream.

Di Jo and Tommy

I will end again with another photo of Tommy, who continues to delight us with his bubby personality. He is now 9 months old and rolling, sitting and playing with his toys, mimicking people and still enjoying outdoor walks looking up and laughing at the trees. Being an Oma is such fun!


Thanks for joining me again for Di’s Coffee Corner. Call me anytime for a chat. 0412 417774.

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Kind regards,