Welcome to the first edition of 'From the VC's Desk' for 2016.
I hope you had a restful break and had the chance to be with family and friends and to recharge the batteries.
Many staff have been working hard over the last few weeks with much activity relating to student recruitment. As reported last week, first round offers were released on 18th January and La Trobe made more than 8,000 offers through the VTAC early and main offer rounds.
Thank you to all staff involved in recruitment and selection to date. I know that the hard work will continue in the coming weeks as we aim to convert as many of these offers as we can to enrolments.
Direct enrolment is also becoming increasingly important for universities, and there will be plenty going on to recruit students through our direct application channels.
The year has got off to a flying start in other ways. In January, we announced the appointment of Karen Quinlan, Director of the Bendigo Art Gallery, as the La Trobe Art Institute's new Director and its inaugural Professor of Practice. This continues our strong partnership with the City of Greater Bendigo and was a great way to start the year. We're also establishing a small project team to coordinate the celebrations that will mark the University's 50th anniversary in 2017. There will be lots of opportunities for staff and friends of the University to be involved, so stay tuned to hear how you can play a part in the celebrations.
2016 promises to be a big year for La Trobe as we work towards the goals set out in the refreshed Future Ready strategic plan that was launched last November, and build on the outstanding results we achieved in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) survey that were released in December. We have set a brilliant platform to help La Trobe achieve its full potential.
2016 also promises to be an interesting year for higher education, with Prime Minister Turnbull hinting that we can expect a Federal election in September or October. Higher Education reform will feature prominently as an election issue, with the major parties likely to take very different reform proposals to the electorate. We already know what Labor is proposing; it won't be long before we know what the government has in mind.
At the same time, the sector will be digesting the implications of the Innovation Statement released just before Christmas; and industrial relations in the sector is likely to come under the spotlight as many universities, including La Trobe, start to think about the next round of enterprise bargaining.
It won't be long before students are back on campus. Orientation Week activities are planned to start on Monday 22 February and the first semester starts the following Monday 29 February.
This year a series of O-Week for staff events will also be held, from Monday 8 February, where you can attend information sessions on key systems and processes and meet the staff that deliver services across our campuses.
I am always proud to see how very friendly and welcoming we are of new staff and students to La Trobe and I am sure this will be no different this year.
Finally, I encourage you to visit the NGV to see the Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei exhibition. This formidable pairing presents two of the most significant artists of recent times and is a fascinating exhibition. As official Learning Partner of the NGV, La Trobe staff, students and alumni are eligible for discounted tickets and discounts on annual NGV membership. Membership gives you access to a host of exclusive NGV benefits including entry to the Warhol/Ai Weiwei exhibition. You can find more information about the discounts here.
Have a great February.