February 2017

Hello and welcome back to the start of another year. I hope you all had a great break and have returned to work refreshed and renewed.

It is still early in the year, but we're already preparing ourselves for an exciting 2017 as we look forward to celebrating our 50th Anniversary - but a bit more about that later.

The year certainly got off to a soggy start, with a number of buildings on our Melbourne Campus suffering significant flood damage during a major storm in late December and needing a major clean up in January. If rain is a sign of good luck, as suggested by some commentators at the recent US Presidential Inauguration, then we must be off to a good start.

I'd especially like to thank Richard Pratten and the I&O team who responded very quickly to the flood damage during the shutdown and who are still working hard to ensure that affected areas are returned to normal as soon as possible.

Welcoming our new students in 2017

As you know, we will be very soon welcoming a new cohort of students to study with us. While we continue to work through the offers and student enrolment process, there are a number of key points I wanted to highlight.

La Trobe has already made more than 7000 offers to domestic and international students through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre early and main round for 2017. This has been achieved in the context of a sector-wide decline in student applicants and cements our position as Victoria's largest regional Higher Education provider. We made 1,640 offers at our regional campuses, which represents 44 per cent of all Victorian regional university offers made to date.

La Trobe's highest ATAR is in Dentistry, where the University has made 121 total offers against a clearly-in ATAR of 97.40.

We have continued to experience strong support for our Aspire Early Admissions Program – now in its third year – which for the first time this year was open to mature age students as well as secondary school students. Overall we made more than 660 course offers to our Aspire applicants, an increase of 13 per cent on last year.

App App Hooray !

To support our prospective students through the enrolment process, we recently launched the new Accept La Trobe app. It allows students to navigate every step of the enrolment process from their smartphones - from accepting an offer to enrolling in their course of choice. There's also information on career support, maps showing how to get to around campus, accommodation options, and the many clubs and societies students can join once they start at La Trobe.

In another exciting innovation that will further improve the experience for our students, we will soon launch a new app called My La Trobe, which will bring together for the first time all the information students need in one application. You will hear more about this a bit closer to the launch date.

50 years young – get involved!

There's a lot happening during our 50th anniversary celebrations, now only weeks away.

You will have seen my all staff message last Wednesday and the Lawn Lunch invitation this morning. If you have not already, please take a look at our schedule of events and be a part of the celebrations.

One exciting initiative is the Living History project – a series of videos which celebrate the diverse stories of our students, alumni, staff and supporters over the past 50 years. Through these personal stories you will discover the impact La Trobe has had on peoples' lives, and how the University has helped many people to make a difference in the world.

Each week, we will feature a different video on the 50th anniversary website homepage using this link. Worth bookmarking!

You can also see a short video from me - my contribution to the project.

Gearing up to be a big year for Future Ready

Not only is it going to be a big year with our 50th Birthday celebrations going on, but we are also into the final year of the current Future Ready strategy. Work on Future Ready projects will continue throughout 2017. I'm pleased to say that we are well on track to achieve the vast majority of the goals we set ourselves back in 2012.  I'd like to thank everybody for their hard work in making this possible.

The work must continue, however, and we are already in the process of developing the next five-year strategic plan for La Trobe. Senior leaders from across the University commenced work on a discussion paper late last year, which we will make available to all staff to provide their input and feedback later in the year - stay tuned.

Key dates – Student recruitment in 2017

Student recruitment remains a lifeblood of our university and an area in which every one of us plays a part. Open Day and Experience La Trobe are central to the success of our student recruitment results.

The face-to-face experience these events offer students are a significant part of their decision-making process. Of course, we'll continue with the many other community events, presentations and activities that support recruitment, including making the most of our special 50th Anniversary activities this year.

We all have the ability to contribute to La Trobe's recruitment activities and the power to positively influence our future students. I encourage you to be involved and please note the dates below in your diary:

Open Day:

  • Melbourne – 6 August
  • Bendigo – 27 August
  • Albury-Wodonga – 12 August
  • Mildura – 16 August
  • Shepparton – 4 August

Experience La Trobe:

  • Melbourne – 7 April and 6 July
  • Bendigo – 5 July
  • Albury-Wodonga – 26 May
  • Mildura – 7 July
  • Shepparton – 4 July

Back by popular demand – La Trobe 101

We had great feedback from staff on the first La Trobe 101 events held in 2016. So much so, that we are doing it again this year. It will be a chance for all staff to get more information about the administrative, teaching, learning and research assistance available from La Trobe's College and Central Support teams. These events will include practical sessions on the systems and processes that are relevant to you. There will also be expos where you can chat to support services teams to have your questions and concerns answered, find out about upcoming initiatives, and share your feedback for continuous improvement and innovation.

It all takes place during February - March to ensure Semester 1 runs as smoothly as possible for you.

The dates are:

  • Bendigo - Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 February
  • Albury-Wodonga – Tuesday 21 February
  • Shepparton – Friday 24 February
  • Melbourne  – Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 March
  • Mildura – Friday 17 March

All staff are encouraged to attend a session. You can view the event schedules and book via this link.

Your invitation to get up-close with David Hockney

On Saturday 4 March, La Trobe staff and students will have the chance to attend an exclusive private viewing of David Hockney's 'Current' exhibition at the NGV.

Open to all current La Trobe University staff and students, this event is a unique chance to get up close to a stunning collection of  David Hockney's  recent works – some new and many never-before-seen in Australia – including paintings, iPhone and iPad  drawings, photography and video works.

While you're at the exhibition, be sure to take a look at La Trobe's Living Landscapes project, which encourages visitors to use iPads to create their own personalised plant using the colours and brush strokes inspired by Hockney. For each of the estimated 4000 virtual plants created during the initiative, La Trobe will plant one real plant in our Wildlife Sanctuary, which was set up 50 years ago to protect local flora and fauna.

Event details:

Saturday 4 March 2017

Time: valid for entry to NGV between 5.30pm – 8.30pm.

(Entry before 5.30pm will incur normal NGV ticket admission prices)

Ticket allocation: Each employee or student may register for a maximum two tickets.  For more information and to register, click here.

Finally, I hope to see you at the La Trobe Lawn Lunch on Sunday 5 March, which will be a great day of food and drink, author conversations, film screenings, music and a great chance to catch up with La Trobe friends old and new. Your ticket supports our social enterprise catering partners including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Friends of Refugees and Tamil Feasts. Get your tickets here!

Have a great month,

Regards

John