Learning and Teaching

Health Sciences postgraduate students'The true test of the university must be based on the achievement of its graduates at the height of their careers, when they have assumed the responsibilities of leadership in the solution of the wider and more far reaching problems of civilization… The true measure of a university's greatness is the total effect it has on human welfare and progress.'

Professor David Myers, 'A new University in a changing world', from La Trobe University: Opening Ceremony and Inaugural Lectures, 1967.

Distinctive curriculum: The La Trobe Framework

We want students to choose La Trobe because our distinctive and high quality degrees will best equip them to understand and engage with the global issues of today and embark on the most interesting and rewarding careers available. Our graduates will be 'work ready', 'world ready' and 'future ready'.

We will re-emphasise the sense that La Trobe is the right choice of university for intelligent committed people who want to make a difference to their world. Our graduates will be renowned for their employability, for their deep understanding of the most pressing challenges facing the global community, and for their ability to address those challenges intelligently and decisively. Our academic activities will increase the capabilities and choices of future generations and prepare them to be ethical global citizens.

We will achieve this through a distinctive curriculum framework, the La Trobe Framework, which will emphasise breadth of learning and systematic exposure to the major challenges students will face over the course of their lifetimes. The core ingredients of the framework are:

La Trobe Hallmark Program

In addition to our current suite of degrees, we will develop a Hallmark Program that will address some of the nation's, region's and world's most pressing issues.

Being the best in these areas will simply mean studying at La Trobe, and being taught by the best teachers and researchers in the field.

The Hallmark Program will:

  • Be closely aligned to a Research Focus Area (RFA) addressing significant global problems
  • Be creative, bold and distinctive in its focus and curriculum
  • Be in high demand from prospective students
  • Be highly selective, but also use innovative selection criteria to identify students with high potential from a diversity of backgrounds
  • Feature significant student scholarship and enrichment elements beyond the classroom experience
  • Generally include significant cross-disciplinary elements of study
  • Typically include elements developed and/or delivered in conjunction with one or more major external partners.

Our Hallmark Program will be subject to ongoing review.

La Trobe Essentials

These will be required features of all La Trobe coursework degrees, either embedded in the curriculum or as required subjects, that will ensure the La Trobe graduate is equipped with the skills and knowledge that can be applied in the workplaces of today and tomorrow. Through the La Trobe Essentials, our students will address major current social, economic, technological and political issues and be able to adapt and apply their learning to the challenges of the future. These will build on and support existing graduate capabilities in Design for Learning.

La Trobe Enrichment programs

Opportunities will be provided for all students to participate in innovation and application in the workplace, study abroad, and become involved in research and development projects and enriching partnerships.

Design for Learning as a University-wide curriculum initiative

The initiative will continue to support the development of core graduate capabilities, including critical thinking and creative problem solving.

Radical Learning Project and flexible learning

The student experience will be redefined through a 'Radical Learning Project', which will reimagine teaching and learning at La Trobe by drawing on rich educational technologies and external partners. There will be increased use of technology-enabled online learning, drawing on the rich resource of online educational resources relevant to student learning, blended with more traditional face to face delivery.

Student Experience framework

High quality learning and teaching

La Trobe students, with their busy lives inside and outside the University, will study in flexible ways that suit their diverse needs for different styles, times, paces and places of learning. As partners in their learning, La Trobe students will be encouraged to develop strong collegial relationships with academic staff and their fellow students.

La Trobe academic staff will be excellent teachers. High quality teaching will be expected, recognised and rewarded. A Teaching Scholar career pathway will be developed for our outstanding teachers who wish to provide significant leadership in teaching and research, to support our culture of teaching excellence.

Our programs will be informed by appropriate and highly qualified advisory boards drawn from relevant industries and professions, so that our graduates are well prepared for the world of work.

A high quality student experience

La Trobe students will have the benefit of an extensive range of enrichment experiences within, or alongside, assessed curriculum. These activities will complement more formal learning experiences and help students shape their future. La Trobe students will enjoy high quality campus facilities and seamless and efficient student services.

A growing and diverse student body

La Trobe is a mid-size university located in areas of rapid population growth. To meet the needs of our communities, we have an obligation to grow further. This growth will give us the ability to cater for all of the students who are able to benefit from a La Trobe education—high achieving school graduates from across Australia, mature-aged students, career-change students, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, Indigenous students, those seeking professional degrees, and, importantly, those from the regions we serve, including the fast-growing suburbs of northern Melbourne.
We plan to grow to around 33,000 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) by 2017. This represents an increase in student load of approximately 1800 EFTSL at our regional campuses, and of approximately 6,000 EFTSL at Bundoora and the Melbourne CBD locations. We will do this by increasing:

  • Participation rates in higher education amongst the communities we serve
  • Our market share of students coming to university
  • Our retention rates
  • Increasing the number of fee-paying students we attract so that they represent a larger proportion of our total load.

We will increase the number and proportion of domestic fee-paying graduate coursework students to about 6 per cent of projected total load by 2017 (from 3.7 per cent in 2011). Total postgraduate coursework load will reach 17 per cent of projected total load by 2017 (from 15 per cent in 2011). This will require strengthening our graduate courses through new and refreshed offerings that anticipate and address clear market need, a new inner city campus presence, improved marketing and recruitment, and greater use of flexible or online learning.

We will continue to recruit significant numbers of onshore international students and aim to increase this to 6,000 EFTSL by 2017. We will broaden the range of countries from which our international students come, to make our campuses culturally richer and more diverse. We will set a maximum of 35 per cent of students coming from any single country, with at least an additional four countries each representing 10 per cent or more of the international cohort. This is an achievable level of diversity given current patterns of recruitment.

Diversity of our student body

To achieve this growth while maintaining entry standards commensurate with a world-class university, we will become more appealing to high-potential students (measured by ATAR scores or by other means); will increase the proportion of these students in our commencing cohorts; and will attract a larger share of these students state-wide.

We have a proud tradition of enrolling and retaining students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds. While La Trobe's low SES participation rate is higher than the State and National averages, improvement is still required to reach the level of excellence set by the Australian Government for the state of Victoria.

La Trobe is closely linked with the Koori populations in Melbourne and regional Victoria. The University will be a Victorian and national leader in the support of Koori education pathways and the Koori Academy of Excellence in Melbourne's north. An Indigenous Participation Strategy will lead to new education facilities, academic leadership and educational support programs.

Learning and teaching targets


Baseline 2011

2017 Target

Growth and Diversity


Increase student numbers

25,989 EFTSL overall33,000 EFTSL overall
Increase the number of students studying at a regional site5,470 EFTSL at regional sites7,300 EFTSL at regional sites
Increase proportion of domestic, fee-paying, graduate coursework students3.7% of total load6% of projected total load
Increase proportion of postgraduate coursework students15% of total load17% of projected total load
Increase the total number of onshore international students4,720 EFTSL6,000 EFTSL
Increase the range of source countries of our total international students1 country accounted for more than 35% of the total international cohort
(China – 38.8%)
No more than 35% of international students from any single country
At least an additional four countries each representing 10% or more of the international cohort
Increase the proportion of domestic undergraduate students from low-socioeconomic background18.6%
(postcode measure)
Increase the proportion of Indigenous domestic undergraduate students0.6%0.9%
Increase La Trobe's share of Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre first preference applicants12.6%14%
Increase La Trobe's share of students with an ATAR of 80+7.1%12%
Reduce the proportion of undergraduate courses and subjects below the 'low enrolment' threshold4% of UG courses
10.7% of UG subjects
No more than 2% of UG courses
No more than 5% of UG subjects

Quality of the Student Experience

Expand the number of La Trobe students who undertake an overseas student mobility program as part of their degree 20%
Increase the number of subjects offered by the University in blended delivery mode At least 60%
Increase student retention and student success in all Fields of Education Top 12 nationally in student retention and success in each Field of Education in which we offer degrees
Improve student satisfaction as measured by the Course Experience Questionnaire Top 12 nationally in 'overall student satisfaction' in each Field of Education in which we offer degrees
Improve student employment outcomes as measured by the Graduate Destination Survey Achieve student employment rates equivalent to levels at least twelfth nationally for each for each Field of Education in which we offer degrees

Future related plans

Further detail of the strategies and actions to be pursued in Learning and Teaching will be found in: