September 2019

Ten year rankings best

For those who missed the recent announcement, La Trobe University is now rated at 291 in the prestigious Times Higher Education 2020 world rankings, placing us third in Victoria. We have moved an impressive 101 places in the last three years and 50 places since last year. Thanks and congratulations to our stellar teaching and research staff for the contributions you have made towards our ten year best; and to Alistair Duncan and his team for doing such a good job of collecting and reporting our data. Comprehensive rankings like this reflect our teaching and research impact, the assessment of our peers across the world, and are critically important in international recruitment and research collaborations.


Social leader

While we are on the subject of rankings, our social media presence is also on the up and up. It is great to see La Trobe’s overall social media performance - as measured by the social media benchmarking website Edurank – placing a clear number one out of all 40 Australian Universities for August. We’re also number three for the year to date.

Congratulations to the team for their stellar work; there are plenty of great stories being shared on our various social channels, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Just use #latrobeuni to find, like and share.


Taking a seat at the Global Table

I was delighted to see La Trobe make such a prominent contribution to the inaugural Global Table event at the Melbourne Showgrounds in early September. It was the largest food business event ever staged in Australia, with more than 5,000 participants coming together to talk about the food challenges facing the world.

It was a busy few days. One of the highlights was seeing former US Secretary of State, John Kerry, visit La Trobe’s exhibitor stand and have a long chat with staff about our expertise in agriculture and food. We also ran three panel sessions and hosted a site visit to the AgriBio facility on our Melbourne campus, and have generated many leads for potential collaborations that are already being following up.

Pulling all this together was a huge effort by staff across the University, and I’d especially like to thank Megan Fisher, Alison Angleton, Mark Raphael and Emma Curtis-Bramwell from the Industry Engagement team, Julian Murphy and Pio Liwanag from Sponsorships, Steve Rando from Design, Laura Daniele from the Department of Animal, Plant and Soil Sciences, and our expert panellists including Tony Bacic and Jim Whelan.


Rural opportunities

Education Minister Dan Tehan has released the final report of the advisory group led by former Victorian Premier Denis Napthine on a much-needed National Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy.

The Minister has already accepted the aims of the report’s seven key recommendations, including a return to demand-driven funding for regional university places, which aims to halve by 2030 the current disparity between regional and metropolitan students in higher education attainment and participation. The advisory group also recommended additional funding to enable sub-bachelor courses at regional universities and campuses, and the need for a student income payment and other support initiatives.

Needless to say, La Trobe welcomes the report and its recommendations, which promise to help us deliver on our mission of increasing higher educational attainment in regional Victoria.


Staff Giving Month

October is once again Staff Giving month. In the past staff have shown huge support and I am sure this year will be no different. Since 2013, staff have collectively donated to more than 39 full access scholarships for students experiencing financial and/or educational disadvantage. In 2019 alone, we awarded 14 scholarships to deserving students.

Our Staff Giving team have created this wonderful video which features La Trobe staff speaking about what inspires them to give, and how their contribution helps students reach their full potential. There are many ways you can help support students in need, and I encourage you to visit our website to find out more, or just email fundraising@latrobe.edu.au.

On behalf of La Trobe, thank you in advance for your commitment to supporting these life-changing initiatives.


Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize

La Trobe is a major sponsor for the Australian Muslim Artists exhibition, so I was very proud to attend its inaugural Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize earlier this month. On behalf of La Trobe I’d like to offer my congratulations to the winning artist Abdul Abdullah, who won the $15,000 prize for his outstanding work You can call me troublesome. If you can, please visit the exhibition, which is open until 8 November.

This is just one element of our partnership with the Islamic Museum of Australia. Together, we are also looking at opportunities including teacher training in Islamic cultures, the development of new curricula in journalism and work integrated learning opportunities for students.


La Trobe comes to Spring Street

University leaders recently travelled to the Victorian Parliament to hold information sessions for Members of Parliament and their staff on all the great work La Trobe is doing in the community. The sessions were well attended and received positive feedback from MPs across the political spectrum.

Parliament House also served as the venue for the launch of two important new partnerships around technology. We now have a broad-ranging agreement with Cisco that delivers research and teaching benefits for staff, students and the community; and with the National Australia Bank around sharing and combining our strengths in cybersecurity.


Have a great October,
John