La Trobe on track for reform

La Trobe University is on track to implement a series of efficiency and quality-driven reforms that will position the University for a stronger future.

In September 2013 Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar announced the University’s largest ever review of its operations, structure and processes in order to meet strategic goals and free up to $65 million for savings and re-investment into University operations by 2015.

Professor Dewar said La Trobe had very strong foundations and was set to become an even better University through a conscious effort to grow research output, improve the student experience and modernise internal structures.

‘La Trobe is a fantastic University that has been making a real difference on issues that matter across Victoria and the world for almost 50 years,’ Professor Dewar said.

‘We will  continue to embrace our strategic strengths in teaching, research and community engagement, but we must change the way we work and how we structure ourselves to become a more efficient, effective and agile organisation.’

He said the University’s key goals were set out in the Future Ready strategy which was developed in conjunction with staff in 2012.  

‘We are already making significant progress on our Future Ready goals. We continue to invest in our five areas of research expertise which focus on world challenges. Our courses are becoming increasingly engaging, exciting and innovative. We are making investments to modernise our laboratories and teaching spaces,’ he said.  

‘Last month the University’s Council approved changes to the academic operating model. During October 2014 the five existing faculties will merge into two colleges, known as the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce and the College of Science, Health and Engineering.’  

Professor Dewar today updated staff on the progress of the implementation program known as Funding Future Ready (FFR). He confirmed that the program was on track to be in place by the end of this year.

Professor Dewar said while there had already been extensive engagement and consultation with staff and students on many elements of the FFR program, work was now at a stage where the University would consult with staff on implementation of the new organisational structures. 

He said the vast bulk of the 2,666 FTE continuing staff  – more than 85 percent  - would  take up positions under a proposed new structure, but there would be approximately 350 FTE less positions required. Impacts on individuals would be determined through the change processes set out in the University’s Collective Agreement. 

Professor Dewar told staff that detailed changes would be proposed progressively in different work areas over the coming months, but would start soon in some administrative functions.

‘We have an exciting vision for our University - to keeping making a difference on the issues that matter. The vast bulk of staff will be a part of that future, working more efficiently and strategically,’ he said. 

‘We are working towards a revitalised structure and setting clear expectations of staff. This will give renewed clarity, direction and purpose to our work and the differences we can make.’

Professor Dewar said most universities across Australia were undertaking a similar process, due to a combination of federal government funding cuts and a volatile and highly-competitive student market.

‘Changes will be felt right across La Trobe University, but we will retain and strengthen what is most important,’ he said. 

‘We remain committed to our presence in regional Victoria, to offering our students a quality education, producing the highest standards of research and intellectual inquiry, and encouraging equitable access to a university education for Victorians from all walks of life,’ he said.

Read more about the University’s goals for change.

Media contact

Tim Mitchell, Director, Media and Communication (Acting)

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