September all-student forum and responses to the key questions raised at the July all-student forum

Many thanks to the 200-plus students who joined Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Jessica Vanderlelie last month for the all-student forum.

We have summarised responses to some key questions that were asked during the forum below. These include a number of questions that we ran out of time to answer. The University has now responded to the vast majority of questions directly in the forum or offline.

The next all-student forum will take place on 11 September at 1pm – register now.

Next all-student forum

The Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor will be hosting the next all-student forum on 11 September, between 1pm—2:30pm. They will make a short ten-minute presentation, followed by a ten-minute presentation from the Student Associations, and then a 40-minute Q&A. We want to make as much time available for students and answer as many questions as possible.

Register now.

Weighted Average Means (WAM)

The University introduced the ‘V Grade’ in Semester 1 to ensure that you don’t receive a fail result on your transcript if you do not successfully complete a subject. We received a number of proposals from La Trobe Student Union to explore other WAM options, which we explored in detail. Unfortunately, each of these options was found to be unsuitable either due to our TEQSA compliance or because they would significantly increase the delay in processing grades and prevent student progress and graduation.

Regular Student Forums

We were asked if we would host regular student forums. This was the ninth student forum we have held since our move to remote learning. Over the first semester, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor held a number of student listening posts across of all of our campuses. We will be hosting a further all-student forum on 11 September and will continue to run these as long as our students find them useful.

Return to face-to-face learning

Unfortunately since the all-student forum the COVID-19 outbreak has escalated and Stage 4 restrictions have reduced our ability to teach face-to-face in metropolitan Melbourne. Our academics are as keen to return to face-to-face learning as our students are, but our priority is always the health and safety of our staff and students and will always follow the guidance issued by the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Now that we have moved into Stage 4 restrictions, we will need to comply with the additional restrictions being placed on organisations across Victoria.

Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

A number of questions were asked about the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). The University refunded the semester 1 SSAF fee to ensure we were able to put money directly into the pockets of our students.

For semester 2, we will be charging 50% of the fee. Throughout both semesters will continue to provide services to students virtually. This includes our counselling, wellbeing and learning support services.

Through additional savings in the University, we have been able to protect over $2 million of funding for the student associations so they can continue their valuable work.

Placements

Throughout 2020, we have provided updates on placements, and a number of frequently asked questions can be viewed here. Students should continue to check this website as the health advice is constantly changing, and the University will always follow guidance from the Victorian and Federal Government. 

All clinical health placements will continue or commence as scheduled unless otherwise advised by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or the placement facility/educational setting/host organisation. If you have any specific placement related questions, please contact your Placement Operations team. 

If you are required to complete outstanding clinical placement time from a 2020 enrolled subject over the Summer Semester or in 2021 you will remain enrolled in their current 2020 subject enrolment until the required placement or alternative activity (where possible) is successfully completed. Students will not be required to re-enrol or pay additional subject fees to complete the requirements of a 2020 placement subject. Students who are impacted by a cancellation you will be provided with further information via their LTU email. 

All Initial Teacher Education placements will continue unless the educational setting has postponed the placement to a later date. Your Placement Operations team will be in touch with you to notify you whether your placement will be going ahead. Students who are not able to complete their placement hours as a result of COVID will be issued an “SAHA” grade. Once you have completed your placement hours for the subject, your result will be amended. If you pass the subject, you will not need to re-enrol. If you fail your subject, you will need to re-enrol in the same subject. Students will not incur any additional fees as a result of getting an “SAHA” grade. 

University strategy

We received a broad range of questions on the University Strategy, particularly the impact that COVID-19 is having on the courses we teach.

As part of our new strategy, we will slim down the range of courses we teach so we can focus on what we do best. La Trobe will aim to be in the top 12 nationally in the Student Experience Survey for Teaching Quality and Overall Experience. In order to reach this aim, we will focus our efforts on those courses where we lead nationally and seek to reduce duplicate subjects. Our new strategy will make it easier for students to navigate and tailor their education experience and provide more flexibility to participate in study abroad and work integrated learning opportunities.

Our strategy refresh will also include the introduction of Study Flex, which will give students a choice to study selected subjects, either online or face to face. This will significantly increase the range of subjects available for students on our regional campuses.

The University is also keen to return to face to face teaching on campus as soon as the health advice permits.

Research scholarships

We want to thank those of you who asked about scholarships for postgraduate research and PhD students. The University continues to update our research degrees website here, which includes details of the broad range of support available to our research students.

Should you have a specific question about a particular scholarship, please contact the Graduate Research School here.

You can find more answers to COVID-19 questions relating to the University on our updated Student FAQ page.