August 2017

Our students are back, and have brought with them the energy and youthful optimism that makes this such a wonderful place to work. I hope you’ve been able to get some downtime over the winter break.

Open Day Cometh

The pace is increasing in our preparations for the annual cycle of recruitment of the next generation of La Trobe students.

It’s still early days in the evolution of our new brand platform All Kinds of Clever, but the early signs are that it is being well received by its target audience. This in turn means that more students and their families will be encouraged to consider La Trobe as a great place to study. There is, however, a lot of hard work still to be done and I encourage you all to help in this vital recruitment activity between now and early 2018.

We have a new approach to Open Days this year that’s based on independent market research we carried out last year - watch this video to learn more about the new format.

If you want to know more about how you can help at the upcoming Open Days on each campus, visit this dedicated Intranet page.

Shark-free fast-track to success

The new La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP) is now up and running and giving students, researchers, alumni and Victorian communities the opportunity to fast track their business ideas.

Our accelerator is a less glitzy version of Channel Ten’s Shark Tank.We provide the mentors, expertise, connections, advice and guidance, and the financial support, to up to six business start-ups, without taking equity. It condenses the equivalent of 12 months of start-up support into just 12 weeks.

Successful Accelerator roadshows have now been held at our campuses in Melbourne, Bendigo and the city. The next roadshow will be held in Albury-Wodonga today.

There is already a lot of interest in the program and in just three weeks we have received 12 high-quality applications.

The submission deadline for the first cohort of start-up ideas is Sunday 6 August and business pitches will be done on Thursday 17 August so, if you are interested, submit your ideas soon.

Up to six selected winners will receive funding for their project (1st: $20k; 2nd & 3rd: $10k each; 4th, 5th & 6th: $5k each) and then start the 12-week Accelerator program in early September.

The Accelerator Program encourages La Trobe Alumni to become mentors, ambassadors and business angels, so if you or anyone you know is interested in getting involved, please let the Accelerator team know.

Sydney Campus our fastest mover

It was a great pleasure to officially to open our new larger Sydney campus opposite Hyde Park recently.

We’ve been partnering with international educator Navitas in Sydney since 2003 to manage the campus on our behalf. What started as a Bachelor of Business program that catered mostly to international students, has grown to include undergraduate programs in Business, Accounting, Information Technology and Health Sciences, as well as business, professional accounting and project management courses for postgraduates, catering to both local and international students.

Sydney has been one of La Trobe’s fastest growing campuses numbers there have more than doubled in four years, to 850, with bright prospects for future growth.

We’ll build on this success by offering a pre-masters program as a pathway to postgraduate entry, as well as introducing more postgraduate management specialisations in 2018.

Congratulations to the Sydney team on their great work to date, and to the many staff at Bundoora who have worked very hard to get us to this point.

You can take a virtual tour of the new campus by watching this video.

Viva la España

Congratulations to Dr Lilit Thwaites who was last month honoured with the Officer’s Cross of the Spanish Civil Order of Merit.

Lilit is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Languages and Linguistics, and was recognised for her work in translating Spanish literary texts into English. She’s also played a hand in bringing many writers from Spanish-speaking countries to Australia.

Translating takes great skill, finesse and judgment, and to be recognised by the King of Spain is a great endorsement of Lilit’s talent in bringing Spanish works to life in English.

Optus partnership update

The strategic alliance between La Trobe University and Optus Business continues to gather pace.

Our new market-leading cybersecurity programs have been developed with Optus and a range of industry partners and provide multi-disciplinary courses, academic and research leadership, as well as work-integrated learning and employment pathways for La Trobe graduates.

We’re currently recruiting for a new Optus Cyber Chair and are about to launch two Optus-funded cybersecurity scholarships. The $15,000 three-year scholarships will be awarded to the best and brightest candidates pursuing studies in either the undergraduate Bachelor of Cybersecurity or postgraduate Master of Cybersecurity.

Onwards and upwards

In recent months we have seen more improvements in La Trobe’s global rankings in both the QS World University Rankings and ARWU Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.

We are now ranked 360th in the world in the QS World University Rankings, this is an improvement of 26 positions from our 2016 ranking of 386th. The rankings place us in the top 1.4 per cent of universities globally. The most significant contributors to our ranking rise were in the academic reputation, employer reputation and citations indicators.

In the ARWU Global Ranking of Academic Subjects we are now placed in the top 100 in the world for Hospitality and Tourism and Nursing. Our high-ranking courses provide graduates to Tourism and Healthcare, two of the biggest growth areas in the Australian economy. This shows industry that our students are career ready and build our reputation with prospective students.

Overall, these results underline the world-class education we are providing students at La Trobe. This is further proof of our commitment to excellence in teaching and research and I am incredibly proud of all the staff members who made this ranking possible. It is also pleasing to see that La Trobe is firmly entrenched in the world’s top 400 universities as measured by all three major ranking agencies: Times Higher Education, QS and ARWU.

Revealing La Trobe’s Collection

Last month I joined 300 people at the Bendigo Art Gallery for the launch of “Revealing Identity: The Collections of La Trobe University”.

The exhibition features iconic works drawn from our collections by some of Australia’s most recognised artists, including Charles Blackman, John Bracks, Elaine Haxton, Grace Cossington-Smith, Juan Ford, Arthur Boyd, and many others. It captures the stories behind our art collections over the past 50 years and provides new insight into Australian art in the same period. It also includes our most recent acquisitions by Bill Henson and Sam Jinks.

It’s been a delight to see the highlights of the University’s world-class art collection captured and presented in such a thoughtful and educational way. I want to thank Karen Quinlan, Director of La Trobe Art Institute, and Kent Wilson, Senior Curator, for their work putting together this exhibition, and sharing another facet of La Trobe’s excellence with the community.

You can see photographs of the exhibition launch on our 50th Anniversary website.

The exhibition runs until Sunday 3 September and I would encourage everyone to visit.

Writers flock to Mildura while the Bendigo Writers Festival starts soon

The 2017 Mildura Writers Festival was a roaring success. More than 1600 budding writers from all corners of the country converged on the city in mid-July to take part in the La Trobe sponsored event. Many of the 15 events held over the four-day festival were a sell-out.

A total of 35 students and five interns took part in the Writers in Action subject, giving them the chance to work as writers, critics, journalists, publicists, researchers and bloggers all while completing an accredited university subject.

Next up is the Bendigo Writers Festival, also supported by La Trobe, taking place from 11-13 August. Featuring writers as diverse as David Marr, Dava Sobel, Robert Forster (from the Go Betweens), Maxine Beneba Clarke, Judith Lucy and Kenan Malik, this year’s festival promises to be even more of a blockbuster than last year’s. Learn more here.

Crossing Artistic Borders

The Light Within The Night (Cahaya Memintas Malam), a theatrical collaboration between La Trobe students and Indonesian students, has been one of the most exciting projects to take place as part of our 50th Anniversary.

This project saw our students collaborate with Indonesian students to rehearse and produce a play for performance in both countries earlier this year. La Trobe Student Theatre and Film came up with the ambitious idea of connecting our students with Indonesian students and the Indonesian theatre companies MainTeater and Theater Lakon.

Seven of our students travelled to Bandung, where they worked with their peers in Indonesia to develop the play. In turn, the Indonesian students visited Melbourne and performed the play as part of the MOAT festival at La Trobe and at La Mama Courthouse in Carlton.

I encourage you to watch the short Crossing Borders documentary, which was funded as part of the 50th Anniversary Pitch Your Project scheme and tells the story of this great initiative.

I want to thank La Trobe Student Theatre and Film for their work coordinating the project, particularly Bob Pavlich, Artistic Director, and Helen Mayers, Project Manager. I also want to thank all of those within the University who supported the project including La Trobe Abroad (through The New Colombo Plan), La Trobe Student Union, La Trobe Accommodation Services, ASSC College and the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Education.

Politics, protests and prison life

Save the date for 24 August, when we hold an unmissable Bold Thinking Series event featuring three former student protestors known as The La Trobe Three.

Brian Pola, Fergus Robinson and Barry York were incarcerated in Pentridge Prison in the early 1970s for defying a University order banning them from the Bundoora campus. Now, 45 years to the month after they were released, they’ve been invited back to the University to tell the story of what happened then and since. Respected La Trobe historian Katie Holmes will join them and put their story into a broader social and cultural context.

Respect. Now. Always.

In closing, I hope you have all had the opportunity to read the joint statement I made this week with our Student Association Presidents in relation to Australia’s first survey of university students and their experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

We have good services and supports in place, but can always do more to raise their profile and set high standards for respectful staff and student behaviour.

Please familiarise yourself with our new SpeakUp service and encourage students to seek advice or assistance when needed.

That’s all for now,

All the best

John