Q4 2021: Welcome back to Di’s Coffee Corner!

Posted: 15/10/2021

The final quarter of the year is upon us. How fast did that come around?! I saw Christmas decorations for sale in Foodland this week. Yes, Christmas is only two short months away!

Due to the extremely difficult year under lockdown rules, several universities have offered extra leave to their staff to provide some additional time for rest and recreation, particularly in NSW and Victoria. What a great thing to do!

When I talk to colleagues working in these states, I’m humbled by their ability to carry on regardless, working diligently from home, often with competing priorities of a spouse or partner working, together with children being home-schooled or studying. I take my hat off to you for enduring such a scenario, not seen in our society for decades.

I think all of Australia is hoping that our Victorian and NSW colleagues can be free of most lockdown restrictions by November. By the time this newsletter is released the ACT will be out of lockdown too. Stay safe and strong people.

Conference Season

It was great to see the conferences come online last quarter. I was excited to attend the ATEM Admissions Conference online this year. What a great range of speakers and interesting discussions about admissions. The conference was organised over two half days, which made it easier to attend. Well done ATEM!

The student panel provided an excellent perspective from the student’s point of view. Admissions, credit and RPL processes can all be improved across most institutions. In devolved organisations, there is a great risk of non-compliance in this area.  Some areas requested Admissions Health Checks and this is something DVE can assist with. Let me know if you’re interested.

The Heads of Student Administration (HoSA) conference was held in mixed mode – with some on-campus gatherings and virtual presentations. I attended the Adelaide Hub at the Flinders Tonsley campus. It was terrific to meet about 12 colleagues face-to-face again, as well as link into people in other states online. There was much discussion about the challenges facing student administration teams in 2021 and ongoing in 2022. Many noted that the Job Ready Graduates (JRG) scheme remains a challenging government requirement, impacting on scarce resources. Ian Thomson, DVE Head of Consulting, has written an informative piece that members found most helpful. It can be found here on our website.

I’ve included some images of the Tonsley campus. It is amazing! Created at the site of the old Mitsubishi car manufacturing plant, Flinders at Tonsley is a place where students interact with business, and where business interacts with researchers in areas such as engineering, medical devices and nanoscale technologies, to create the new products and processes of the 21st Century (www.tonsley.com.au). It retains the original roofing structure and concrete floor and is open 24/7.  Many small business and research hubs have been established within this structure shell, working on interesting and exciting challenges.  Micro X based there won a major contract to supply unique, portable x-ray machines using carbon-nano tubes produced inhouse.

The Tertiary Education Management Conference (TEMC) was held this week. Helen Ryan from Federation University and I presented a joint presentation: Eliminating the 8 Wastes in Higher Education. I provided information about the DVE 8 Wastes training program and we completed a crash course in identifying 8 wastes! I call it ‘Speed Wasting’! Helen presented on how their teams implemented 4 workstreams of improvements as a result of the DVE 8 Wastes training. It was the first time I had presented virtually. The conference showcased many examples of best practice, improvements and innovation around student and facilities management. Thank you ATEM and Leishmanns for a great conference.

In November, I will be attending the National Association of Field Experience Administrators (NAFEA) conference. DVE undertakes considerable work in reviewing and improving business processes for both health and education placements. I’m looking forward to attending again. With Work Integrated Learning (WIL) now mandatory for all students in many universities, process review and improvement will be required across all disciplines. Consistency of approach, student communications and engagement, duty of care, workplace safety, and supervision are just a few of the factors that require attention for students on WIL or placement.

Sector Happenings

It was great to see our Australian Universities rise once again in the Times Higher Education rankings 2022. Did you know that:

  • There are now 37 top universities in Australia
  • Six of the top Australian universities are in the Top 100
  • The best in Australia is the University of Melbourne, the only university to make it into the Top 50 of the overall ranking at number 33
  • ANU and University of Queensland come in second at equal 54th place, with Monash at 57th and University of Sydney at 58th
  • The University of Southern Queensland, moving into the Top 500 band for the first time and another third of the universities improved their standing since last year

Recent appointments of DVE clients include:

  • Prof John Germov, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Charles Sturt University has been appointed DVC Higher Education at Victoria University. DVE has worked with John on several improvement projects over the past four years at CSU.
  • Former UniSA colleague Sam Jacobs was confirmed as Pro Vice Chancellor Students at Charles Darwin University (CDU). Sam is doing some amazing things at CDU, along with VC Scott Bowman, ex UniSA, Prof Hilary Winchester, ex UniSA and Linda McCartney, ex DVE, ex- Laureate!!
  • Laura-Ann Bull commenced at the University of Newcastle as PVC Students and Registrar. Laura-Ann worked as a senior consultant with us since leaving JCU earlier this year. We are excited to see Laura-Ann move into this new position. Laura-Ann was formerly at UniSA too!
  • Paul Wappett, former CEO of Australian Institute of Business has been appointed CEO of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). We supported Paul’s team to achieve a successful 7-year re-registration with no conditions. A great result!
  • Shawn Walker, formerly heading up marketing at Charles Sturt, has been appointed Pro Vice Chancellor Engagement at the University of Southern Queensland. We worked with Shawn at La Trobe and Charles Sturt on process improvement activities.
  • Prof Romy Lawson, Provost and Interim Vice Chancellor at Murdoch University is heading to South Australia as the Deputy Vice Chancellor Students role at Flinders University
  • Mark Young, Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Experience, La Trobe University will be joining University of Tasmania next month as Future Student Journey Director.

Apologies if I’ve missed anyone.

Some exciting opportunities for new positions are coming up at various universities across the country. I try to share as many as I can on Linked In. If you have a position being advertised any time, PM me on LinkedIn, and I will ensure I share the job across my networks. Jobs include Senior Reviews and Assurance Officer at ACU, Senior Business Analyst with UNE, Student and Academic Services Senior Business Partner at UniSA and Solution Architect at La Trobe to name a few.

More celebrations – UniSA turns 30 – Unstoppable!

This year the University of South Australia celebrates 30 years in the sector. Still a ‘young’ university, it has moved into exciting and innovative spaces since it was first established. I worked there from 1997 to 2007, so with some bias, I have to say it was a great training ground for process and system improvements in those early years with Prof Denise Bradley AC as our Vice Chancellor.

Denise was a strategic thinker but could discuss micro details in an instant.  I shared those UniSA learnings with many clients during the early years of DVE. I still refer to many of the fundamentals picked up during those years. It only seemed like yesterday that I helped to organise the 10th birthday celebrations for the University…. how time flies.

Timetabling Changes

There is a lot happening in the timetable space at the moment with the purchase of Scientia Resource Management (owner of Syllabus Plus) by Technology One. This promises much for the Australian market.  But a new competitor, TimeEdit, is also entering the market. With over 150 universities under their belt, including Oxford, they present an exciting opportunity for Australian universities.

VC Webinar

Last month we held our second Vice Chancellor’s webinar with Prof Zlatko Skrbis, VC at ACU and Prof John Germov, Interim VC at Charles Sturt University. Titled ‘Challenges for Multi-Campus Universities’ Zlatko and John discussed the challenges of virtual versus on campus, loss of international students and the campus culture changes occurring since COVID. Thank you Zlatko and John for a great webinar.

Placements Webinar

Kindly email info@dvesolutions.com.au  to register your interest in our webinar information session about placement management – Lesson’s Learned from 14 Years of Placement Review. This webinar will be held in November and will present some exciting news on improving placement management across the sector.

Ann Nguyen returns

You will have seen in my post a year ago that Ann left to give birth to Alexander. He is now a lively healthy 11 month old and Ann returned to work this week. It was great to have her back in the Adelaide Office. Welcome back Ann!

That’s all for this edition. I will be back in touch for our final Di’s Coffee Corner in December. In the meantime stay safe, be happy and occasionally ‘Niets Doen’!