Q3 2023 – Welcome Back to Di’s Coffee Corner

Posted: 04/09/2023

Hello everyone! It’s just wonderful to hear the birds chirping, see the trees and flowers blossoming and feel that spring is here. It’s a wonderful season and one of the reasons why I love living in Adelaide – having four seasons.

So much has happened in the sector during the past three months – The Australia Universities Accord Panel Discussion Paper was released, the UniSA/Uni Adelaide merger has been in the press with a parliamentary Select Committee enquiry held and now deliberating their findings. The QS World University Rankings have been released and conferences have commenced with the Heads of Student Administration (HoSA), AFR Summit and Edutech all held last week and more planned for the coming months including ATEM, NAFEA and TEQSA.

Accord Interim Report

Everyone was holding their breath for the Accord Interim Report. There are 5 key recommendations with a further 3 recommendations yet to be finalised, after another consultation period. The focus on Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is strong and we see this as a major benefit to students but it will require a great deal of improvement in processes and systems across the sector to implement successfully. I will be facilitating a panel of senior leaders at our DVE Work Integrated Learning webinar in early October to discuss this topic in further detail. Please join me for this exciting event.

Other Accord recommendations will certainly create further analysis and consideration of how these can be implemented and how the sector will change over the next 30 years. These will be discussed for the rest of this year with the final report due in December.

UniSA/Uni Adelaide Merger

Since I last wrote to you, both University Councils voted for the merger. Plans are now in place, workstreams are organised and the design work is underway behind the scenes to prepare for the start of the new Adelaide University in January 2026. The Opposition and Cross Benchers are taking particular interest in the Government’s plans for several reasons. They do not believe the reasons provided are supported by evidence. Furthermore, they are questioning the State Government’s planned financial contribution of $400 million. Both universities already deliver high quality teaching, research and graduate outcomes to the state, each in their own way. Their history and cultures are very different. Many suggest that a merger creating a massive university (3rd largest in Australia) would not enhance their current outcomes and could possibly reduce the benefits.  The findings of the Select Committee are due for release this year.

QS World University Rankings

The QS World University Rankings were released in end June with almost all Australian universities rising in the rankings and posting their successes on various media. A key reason for the mass rise was the change in methodology which reduced the impact of one main weakness of our universities – large class sizes. QS also introduced 3 new elements to measure sustainability, employment outcomes and international research collaboration. As a result, three universities (Uni Melbourne, Uni Sydney and UNSW) are now placed in the Top 20 globally which is an outstanding achievement. Congratulations to all of our universities who work hard to achieve these outcomes.

Improving WIL and placements

With the focus on WIL, DVE has joined NAFEA (National Association of Field Experience Administrators) as we look to supporting Universities focus on placements and WIL. The work that we have undertaken over the past 17 years is extensive. In 2009, DVE built a Clinical Placement Management System (CPMS) for UniSA and Adelaide University to manage the accommodation and travel needs for their rural health students. This system is now being implemented in other universities including the University of Sydney and Flinders. Feedback from the user groups is overwhelmingly positive and we aim to roll this out across the sector in the coming years. Further enhancements are planned so if you are interested in a demonstration, please email via dianne.vaneck@dvesolutions.com.au.

Digital Transformation

Several months ago DVE contacted universities to gain an understanding of their current system and process issues. Not surprisingly the top 3 that required improvement were the Student Management System, Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) and timetabling system.  The credit management process (which most universities do not utilise a system was also identified as a problem area. Other systems noted for improvement were the Curriculum Management system (some universities have implemented new systems in the past 5 years) and placement management systems. Interestingly the Learning Management Systems were largely considered appropriate for current use.

Having attended the Edutech Conference last week in Melbourne, it was clear that digital learning tools will dominate education now and into the future, with the next 5 – 10 years creating some significant changes in many areas of learning and work. CHAT GPT and other AI will be the way of the future. At Edutech the focus was improvement at primary and secondary school level. These learners will be expecting high level of automation and superior online learning and administrative processes when they commence their tertiary studies. Higher Education must enhance this new world or risk being left behind.

You can check the highlights of the conference here.

New Appointments

  • Congratulations to Dr Kathryn Blyth, as the new Academic Registrar at University of Queensland after 12 years at ACU.
  • Belated congratulations to Mark Erickson who moved from UQ to the position of Academic Registrar at UniSQ earlier this year.
  • Prof Laura-Anne Bull will be the new DVC Education, Experience and Employability at Swinburne University commencing in November.
  • Extra special congratulations to DVE’s Ian Thomson who was attracted to a university campus once more and is now Director Student Experience at Swinburne. We greatly appreciated the 3.5 years that Ian spent with our team at DVE.
  • New Vice Chancellors were appointed at UNE (Prof Chris Moran) and La Trobe (Prof Theo Farrell). Congratulations to both.

Upcoming DVE events:

Feel free to check our Events and Webinars page for any updates about our upcoming webinars.

CEO, Jo Schneider presented at UniSA Open Day on Sunday 28 August as a member of a panel discussing IT and jobs in the future. It was great to be on campus again. Tommy enjoyed it too – three generations together at Open Day!

JS DE and Tommy UniSA