Q4 2023 – Welcome Back to Di’s Coffee Corner

Posted: 27/11/2023

Well Christmas is almost upon us again. Although it’s an age-old cliché, where has the time gone??? It seems only a little while ago that we heard Prof Mary O’Kane speak about the Accord at the February Universities Australia (UA) conference. Unfortunately, the final report will be delayed until February 2024. Hopefully it will be a catalyst for change and improvement across the sector in some vital areas – something we are looking forward to at DVE.

Conference season really gained momentum during the past three months, with HoSA, NAFEA and the TEQSA conference now over. My report on the ATEM conference is further below, and my colleague, Emma Laurence’s report of the NAFEA conference is here.

The merger of University of South Australia and The University of Adelaide to create Adelaide University will now proceed with the Premier securing the votes of two independents and the Act passing through Parliament two weeks ago. It is now full steam ahead for planning, designing and eventually implementing a new university in South Australia. This is an exciting and momentous occasion for the sector and particularly for South Australia.

ATEM Conference

After 20 years of co-hosting the leading conference for tertiary education management in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, ATEM changed direction and focus this year. The theme of the conference focused on ‘Brave’ – being brave about acknowledging the risks – and moving forward anyway. Being brave and stepping up, taking a leadership role, asking the awkward questions. Being brave is about the lessons learned and the fresh opportunities’. Attendees were asked ‘what would you do differently if you were brave?’ (www.atem.org.au). This was the first year without (Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association) TEFMA as co-hosts thus ATEM moved into a new era with a bold, brave approach.

The conference program brought together specialists, as well as current and future leaders in tertiary education management to present on innovative solutions to many issues. Presentations are available to view online on the ATEM website. The venue at the University of Melbourne was fantastic, with great breakout rooms, light and bright meeting places including the spaces used for welcome drinks and lunch. The support and technology was all extremely well organised. I recommend this conference next year to any professional staff seeking to network with their peers and learn about new and innovative solutions. Also please consider putting in an application to present on any improvement work or solutions that you have delivered as sharing your experiences with your colleagues is beneficial to all.

I presented the DVE training program ‘Navigating the 8 Wastes in Higher Education for Continuous Improvement’ to a group of 55 attendees from over 20 different universities. There was a terrific energy in the room as everyone discussed their common wastes, provided information to each other about solutions and completed their Action Plans to commence improvement activities the following week. Please let me know if you would like an online or on campus 8 Wastes training session for your team so you can start improvement work in your area and team.

On Campus Activities

During the past 3 months I have been lucky enough to visit more university campuses, meeting with staff and walking amongst students. From Swinburne to Victoria University in Melbourne, to Bond and Southern Cross University in the Gold Coast, to UTS and CSU in Sydney. The improvement projects included timetabling, course advising, Business Process Improvement (BPI) training and Work Integrated Learning (WIL). There are quite a number of consistent themes coming through in my conversations with people: doing more with less staff and finances; increasing the level of services and support to improve the student experience and trying to reduce manual handling and duplication of effort. If you would like any information or advice about these or other topics, please call me.

Fireside Chat – Work Integrated Learning

My colleague Emma Lawrence facilitated an online webinar where Prof Joanne Wright, DVC Education, University of Sydney, Prof Ruth Bridgestock, Director of Employability, Swinburne University and Dr Nicolene Murdoch, PVC Educational Partnerships and Quality, Western Sydney University discussed Work Integrated Learning and the challenges and potential solutions going forward.

Improving Curriculum Management

For many years, DVE has been reviewing and improving the curriculum approval processes at universities across the country. Having worked at UniSA for 10 years prior to DVE, I was fully aware of the complexity and time-consuming nature of this process. The duration through various approval stages meant the time to market for a new course was no less than 18 months. Fast forward to 2023 and this is often still the case in many universities. Thus the challenge to improve this process is still very much at the forefront of our minds at DVE.

It is with great excitement that we partnered with Global IT Factory last month to support the work they are doing in implementing their high-quality curriculum management system. This is exciting and we are looking forward to further innovative work in this crucial area.

Upcoming DVE events early 2024

  • Early 2024 Work Integrated Learning Part 2
  • Student Success and Support

Tommy loves to read!

Once again I will leave you with an update on Tommy. Apart from teaching him about his environment (he loves walking and looking at trees) I am also teaching him the importance of reading. Each week we either visit the local library or the local book store, or browse through books at the local op shop. So he is constantly connected to books. This week at my house, where he has a stash of books, he decided he wanted to read many books, and thus surrounded himself with them. Well done Tommy!


Wishing all of you a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year holiday season with family and friends. See you again in 2024!