Public Policy past seminars

2014 Seminars

The 2014 Policy Seminars—Next steps for a first-class higher education system—address contemporary debates, providing a forum for leaders from across Australia’s education and government sectors to discuss issues of national significance.

2014 Higher Education Policy Seminars

Building system settings

Has Australia the imagination and will to create and maintain international pre-eminence in higher education? Key issues must be tackled across the next few years if an excellent higher education system is to be designed and built.

Since 2007 the University of Melbourne has hosted an influential series of high-profile public seminars on higher education policy. With higher education becoming ever more important to Australia’s prosperity it is essential to engage deeply in open discussions of how to plan and steer the tertiary system.

With contributions from Attila Brungs, Bruce Chapman, Hamish Coates, Peter Dawkins, Jane den Hollander, Dom English, Leo Goedegebuure, Phil Honeywood, Richard James, Paul Jensen, Gregor Kennedy, John McCallum, Andrew Norton, Stephen Parker, Alan Robson, Steven Schwartz, Margaret Sheil, Robin Shreeve, Beth Webster and Paul Wellings.

Financing higher education

28 May, 6-8pm - Melbourne - attend in person or access the live-stream
Speakers: Bruce Chapman, Steven Schwartz, Jane den Hollander. Chairs: Hamish Coates and Leo Goedegebuure
What are the best funding arrangements for higher education in Australia? What are important recent trends in funding? What further changes are required to position Australian higher education for a high-quality and productive future?

Productivity in higher education

12 June, 5:30-7:30pm - Canberra - no live-stream for this event
Speakers: Beth Webster, Andrew Norton and Peter Dawkins. Chair: Hamish Coates.
How can universities further boost their social and economic contribution to Australia? How can institutions provide education better and cheaper? What change strategies are feasible, and what are the implications? What are five proven approaches for improving higher education productivity?

System and institutional excellence

24 July, 6-8pm - Melbourne (canapes and drinks from 5:30PM)
Speakers: Stephen Parker, Alan Robson and Phil Honeywood to discuss. Chaired by Gregor Kennedy.
What can be done to further ensure that higher education in Australia serves our diverse population? What is a sustainable configuration of strategic profiles that will boost system and institutional excellence? What are key implications from online provision and hybrid corporate structures?

Graduate capability

21 August, 6-8pm - Melbourne
Speakers: Robin Shreeve, Paul Wellings and John Wood to discuss. Chaired by Hamish Coates.
Beyond big business to portfolio careers, what capability and experience is required by future graduates? Can graduates secure jobs before completion? What are the job- and skill-needs of the future? What industry and more general capabilities will help distinguish graduates from Australian universities?

University research and innovation

10 September, 5:30-7:30pm- Canberra - no live-stream for this event
Speakers: Paul Jensen, John McCallum and Dominic English to discuss. Chaired by Leo Goedegebuure.
With the decline of manufacturing, research and innovation edge closer to core business for Australia. But global competition is on the rise and Australia lacks scale and expertise. What is required to build Australia’s future research system and capability? How can commercialisation and impact be improved?

Tertiary Workforce

30 October, 6-8pm - Sydney - no live-stream for this event
The tertiary education workforce is an increasingly important component of the national economy, as participation in education increases. Yet this workforce is also ageing rapidly, with few opportunities for new entrants in a tight financial environment. What are the prospects for Australia’s tertiary teaching, research and professional workforce? What are the opportunities and challenges we can expect over the next five years?
This seminar will ask, ‘Has Australia the imagination and will to create and maintain international pre-eminence in higher education?’ Key issues must be tackled across the next few years if these ambitions are to be realised.The 2014 Policy Seminars address contemporary debates, providing a forum for leaders from across Australia’s education and government sectors to discuss issues of national significance. This is the final seminar in the 2014 series.

2013 Past Events

These high-level seminars have been presented by leading researchers, commentators and policy-makers and have attracted audiences of 100-150 people, including many senior people from the higher education and VET sectors across Australia. With the Federal Election in September 2013 these seminars will attract significant media attention again this year as well as have the potential to influence debate around key issues affecting the sector. This year's seminars include:

Students and money

6-8pm Mon. 3 June

It is 25 years since the Higher Education Contribution Scheme began and the funding weights applied to each discipline were fixed. But we are yet to achieve a stable consensus on private and public contributions. The funding weights are out of whack with real cost differences, and both public and student contributions are capped at levels blocking the provision of genuinely high quality programs across the board. The rationale for government funding is unclear, a recipe for its continued erosion as a proportion of total revenues. The government commissioned the Base Funding Review to sort all of this out and then threw out the Review report! Meanwhile a future Coalition government, plugging a deficit created by the abolition of the carbon tax, is likely to cut government contributions and ramp up student charges. And the public costs generated by HECS loans at higher levels, in a demand-driven system, are mounting. Can we afford to bankroll education as a right? Can students from poorer backgrounds afford to take on an increased HECS debt? With free online courses of high quality now available, shouldn’t the cost of higher education be going down and not up?

Standards and controls

6-8pm Mon. 17 June

Two decades of quality assurance at institution level and then at system level in higher Australian education have convinced few outside university marketing departments that real quality is stable or standards are improving. Now the government has put in place a vigorous Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Authority (TEQSA) to tighten external scrutiny and define and monitor standards of teaching and learning. But can standards be standardized between disciplines and institutions in a meaningful way? How can we accurately register improvements or declines? Is TEQSA summative or developmental? Is the system bigger than TEQSA or with it start to strangle institutional initiative, educational creativity and academic freedom?

Open and free-for all

6-8pm Mon. 15 July

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) began in September 2011 at Stanford and it is already clear that they have radically changed higher education. Free programs from brand name universities with world leading experts, with online assessment and Ivy League certificates of completion at the end of a rigorous program, are a real competitor for face-to-face universities in the international education market, especially now that MOOC programs are recognized by many universities. And some institutions are incorporating MOOC units in their own programs, radically reducing teaching costs. Will academic staff numbers in Australia fall? What are the implications for the teaching/research nexus and for national research capacity? But should the world take its curriculum content from the American Ivy League and a handful of others. And is online assessment adequate and does the excision of face-to-face teaching and discussion take vital elements out of degrees? What do students want?

Party policies on Tertiary Education

6-8pm Mon. 22 July

The upcoming federal election is likely to be a game changer in higher education. Labor introduced the Bradley and Cutler reforms in higher education and research in 2008-2010 but seems to have run out of gas and has pulled back the earlier financial commitments to full research support and review of base grants. The stronger universities are blocked from building the world-class budgets they need to compete globally. The demand-driven system and the equity targets have survived. The government wants its legacy to be access, but on the cheap. Meanwhile a likely Coalition government government on one hand would probably cut government funding and raise student contributions, and close down the demand-driven system, on the other offers policy ideas such as a new Colombo Plan and an Asian languages strategy. But will a Coalition government deregulate fees? Would the stronger research universities prosper at the expense of the rest? What would happen to access?

2011 Past Events

tertiary education 2011

The Centre for the Study of Higher Education and the LH Martin Institute jointly present the University of Melbourne's "2011 Tertiary Education Policy Seminars: A new policy architecture for tertiary education".

Australian tertiary education is on the brink of major changes yet their real substance and impact is unclear.  The new ERA system of research evaluation has sent shock-waves round the higher education system but the implications for funding and research training are yet to be revealed by the federal government. International education numbers have stopped growing and most tertiary institutions will be more dependent on public funding in future, but there is no sign of increases in public funding for VET, and income contingent repayments have yet to be established in that sector. In higher education there is a national review of base funding in higher education that reports on 31 October: will this rescue the funding of teaching in the universities? Or will Australia follow the UK government, remove public funding altogether in some disciplines and in its commitment to returning budget to surplus further shift to private contributions? 2011 is also the first year of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). Will this usher in changes in tertiary programs and accountability arrangements? Will a more rigorous regime on standards suppress institutional diversity or stymie institutional innovation? How will TEQSA use its new authority to drive improvements? How will TEQSA and other mechanisms secure a most needed closer integration between VET and higher education – or will the big issues in system design be postponed for yet another year?

At the 2011 Tertiary Education Policy Seminars invited experts and participants will explore these issues and more. These seminars have become established as Australia’s leading public discussion of higher education, attracting active audiences and media attention

Scrutiny and transparency: The new standards regime in tertiary education

4 July 2011 (Melbourne)

Australia established the Australian Universities Quality Agency in 2000 with the main focus on internal evaluation. After a decade it has become apparent that more is needed. The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Authority, together with the national regulator in Vocational Education and Training, and federal government performance-based funding, usher in a new policy in which internal evaluation is joined by rigorous external scrutiny, and national consistency in accreditation and program standards.

But how will TEQSA et al. achieve these outcomes without entangling and tripping institutions in red tape? How will this system walk around institutional autonomy and academic freedom? Or alternately, how will regulators pull into line recalcitrant states, institutions desperate for quick cash, and power-hungry Weberian bureaucrats? The seminar brings leading regulators and institutional leaders together on these issues.

Speakers:

Michael Beaton-Wells, BA / LLB, Master of Marketing
Higher education executive with strategy, finance and legal background

Martin Riordan
CEO, TAFE Directors Australia

Professor Lynn Meek (Chair)
Director, LH Martin Institute

VIDEO OF SEMINAR now available at LIVE@MELBOURNE

Into the ERA era. Why research in Australia will never be the same again

18 July 2011 (Melbourne)

The first Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluation of disciplinary and institutional research quality in early 2011 established a comprehensive measure of research performance. The effect on institutions was immediate and electric, everywhere triggering strategies to lift ERA rankings.

This suggests that the effects of ERA are virtuous, driving improvement without additional funding. But are the incentives the right ones? How valid is ERA as a comprehensive measure of the international standing of Australian research? What are the flaws, and how could the process be improved? Will ERA create globally stronger research universities? Where do interdisciplinary research, and the contribution of research to innovation, fit into the ERA picture? And will the accelerated competition kick-started by ERA have solely benign effect—or will it generate a transfer market in researchers that creates concentration in some institutions at the expense of the across the board capacity Australia needs?

Speakers:

Professor James McCluskey
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Melbourne

Professor Linda Kristjanson
Vice-Chancellor and President, Swinburne University of Technology

Professor Frank Larkins (Chair)
School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne

VIDEO OF SEMINAR now available at LIVE@MELBOURNE

Mutual protection or deadly enemies? Funding research and funding teaching

1 August (Melbourne)

Traditionally teaching and research in universities were joined and funded together on the basis of the ‘teaching-research nexus’. This assumed that high quality in the one supported the development of the other. But then the material basis for the nexus began to erode. Two decades ago the federal research grant agencies were upgraded, and funding for specific projects moved from the margins to become the main means of research support. Meanwhile funding became thinned out that grants for teaching no longer maintained class sizes let alone research, while total workloads and enrolments expanded. Now, the pressure for high quality research specialization is increasing, and for many working academics, teaching and research duties crowd each other out. Is the teaching-research nexus heading for divorce? Or should it be a teaching-scholarship nexus? What is its relevance in institutions with few funded research projects and a large student body? With both research funding and federal grants for teaching under federal review in 2011, it is the optimum time for a public exploration of these vital issues.

Speakers:

Dr Martin Grabert
Senior Policy Adviser, Group of Eight

John Maddock
CEO Box Hill Institute

Professor Joyce Kirk (Chair)
Consultant

VIDEO OF SEMINAR now available at LIVE@MELBOURNE

Mutual protection or deadly enemies? Funding research and funding teaching

1 August (Melbourne)

Traditionally teaching and research in universities were joined and funded together on the basis of the ‘teaching-research nexus’. This assumed that high quality in the one supported the development of the other. But then the material basis for the nexus began to erode. Two decades ago the federal research grant agencies were upgraded, and funding for specific projects moved from the margins to become the main means of research support. Meanwhile funding became thinned out that grants for teaching no longer maintained class sizes let alone research, while total workloads and enrolments expanded. Now, the pressure for high quality research specialization is increasing, and for many working academics, teaching and research duties crowd each other out. Is the teaching-research nexus heading for divorce? Or should it be a teaching-scholarship nexus? What is its relevance in institutions with few funded research projects and a large student body? With both research funding and federal grants for teaching under federal review in 2011, it is the optimum time for a public exploration of these vital issues.

Speakers:

Dr Martin Grabert
Senior Policy Adviser, Group of Eight

John Maddock
CEO Box Hill Institute

Professor Joyce Kirk (Chair)
Consultant

VIDEO OF SEMINAR now available at LIVE@MELBOURNE

Planning, chaos or organised anarchy; towards an integrated policy framework for tertiary education in Australia

8 August (Brisbane), 22 August (Perth), 5 September (Melbourne).

If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel as Dr Johnson said, than national tertiary education policy is the place that no one wants to go. Political parties put up desultory slogans and clich├ęs, massaging us with symbols instead of making plans. The federal bureaucracy is too closely controlled by government and its electoral strategy-makers to respond to emerging needs or take initiatives in its own right.  Even the big programs such as the Rudd/Gillard ‘Education Revolution’ are often more spin than substance. Major problems such as the collapse of the Indian student market do not become addressed until the trends have happened, even though government knows they are coming.

It wasn’t always like this—major federal initiatives in the 1960s-1970s, the late 1980s, and again with ‘Backing Australia’s ability’ in research policy in 2001, transformed Australia’s knowledge economy. One big issue now being ignored is the evolution of an integrated approach to tertiary education embracing higher education and VET, state and federal governments, public and private sectors, and onshore and offshore activity. Labor promised to address this in 2008 but the states have slowed it, VET is worried about higher education dominance, and nothing has happened—retarding regional planning, cross-sectoral mobility, combined qualifications, rational financial signals, and much else.  Seminar panel members will tell us what they would like to do to integrate tertiary education. PDF flyer (Brisbane), PDF flyer (Perth), PDF flyer (Melbourne).

Brisbane speakers: Professor Scott Bowman, Vice-Chancellor and President, CQ University, Kim Bannikoff, One of Australia’s foremost educational reformers and Professor Simon Marginson (Chair), Chair of Higher Education, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne

Perth speakers: Professor Robyn Quin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Curtin University, Professor Jane Long, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education), University of Western Australia, Sue Slavin, Managing Director, West Coast Institute of Training and Professor Lynn Meek (Chair), Director, LH Martin Institute

Melbourne speakers: Professor Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne, Jane den Hollander, Vice-Chancellor and President of Deakin University and Professor Richard James (Chair), Pro Vice-Chancellor (Participation & Engagement); Director, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne.

VIDEO OF SEMINAR now available at LIVE@MELBOURNE

2010 Past Events

2010 Tertiary Education Policy Seminars: 'Realising the national vision for tertiary education'

The federal government’s 2009 budget decisions on tertiary education, following the landmark report of the 2008 National Review chaired by Professor Denise Bradley, ushered in the ‘higher education revolution’ — or so it was said by the then federal Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and now Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. The government promised to phase in the fuller indexation of grants for teaching and the full-cost funding of research, to provide subsidised higher education places to all local students accepted by universities, and to cap student tuition charges while lifting the level of federal student support. It also announced a new regulatory framework with emphasis on nationally coordinated standards and accreditation, and a long-term commitment to lift national participation and social inclusion in higher education. The 2010 budget added funding for apprenticeship training. But are these reforms on track? Do they meet national needs? Has the ‘education revolution’ now been accomplished — and what will the future bring?

The Caravan Moves On: The Bradley reforms after 18 months – are they on track?

Wednesday, 14 July

The Bradley report was released in December 2008 as the Global Financial Crisis was taking hold. It was generally endorsed by the higher education sector but had less to say about vocational education and training (VET). Though less than half of the funding increases recommended by Bradley were adopted (the government treated higher education as a deficit-creating cost, rather than part of stimulus package investment), most of the Bradley machinery was endorsed. But implementation has been slow and difficult.Are the Bradley reforms on track? Do the government’s policies fulfil the vision of a tertiary policy architecture that draws together universities with VET, and federal government with state governments? Are the 2008-2009 changes truly ‘revolutionary’ — do they meet the community expectations that a major upgrade in education, research and training will be implemented in order to meet future national needs?

Speakers:

Mr Kim Bannikoff,
one of Australia’s foremost educational reformers

Professor Jane den Hollander,
Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University

Mr Conor King (Chair),
Principal Consultant PhillipsKPA.

Meanings of ‘Inclusion’: TAFE, universities and the participation agenda

Wednesday, 28 July

Exploring the implications of the Bradley report and 2009 budget in broadening commitment to ‘inclusion’ in tertiary education.

Speakers:

Professor Ian Young,
Vice-Chancellor and President of Swinburne University of Technology

Ms Pam Christie,
Deputy Director-General TAFE and Community Education, NSW

Mr Bruce Mackenzie, (Chair)
Chief Executive of Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, and the Chair of TAFE Directors Australia.

Australian Tertiary Education Under Reform: A helicopter view of progress and speed humps

Tuesday, 10 August

The national education reforms are underway on a number of fronts. In this seminar two experts will offer their assessment of progress. Prominent among these reforms is the establishment of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Authority which will combine existing federal and state functions including the accreditation of new institutions. Its implementation however has been delayed by negotiations with the states, especially Victoria, and resistance in VET to a single cross-sector approach.

Universities are concerned that tougher standards and a quality assurance regime, together with performance-based funding for teaching quality and social equity programs, could spell a new era of intrusion in institutional autonomy and academic freedom. What positive benefits could flow from renovated, streamlined system of regulation? Will standards really improve?

Speakers:

Professor Peter Coaldrake, Vice- Chancellor at Queensland University of Technology

Mr Jim Davidson, influential tertiary sector leader

Professor John Dewar (Chair), Provost, University of Melbourne

The Revolution meets the Election: The future of Australian tertiary education

Wednesday, 25 August

Beyond spin, how are the Bradley reforms travelling in the eyes of the government? Is this the end of the reform process? How will the government handle the challenges now emerging? And will Australian education, training and research catch up with the OECD nations and emerging Asia as the Labor Party promised before its election in 2007? In another election year in 2010 what will be the verdict on the government’s performance in tertiary education—and what will become possible after the election?

Speakers:

Mr Mike Gallagher,
Executive Director of the Go8

Professor Simon Marginson,
international education expert and commentator

Mr Robin Shreeve,
CEO Skills Australia

Associate Professor Leesa Wheelahan,
prominent tertiary education researcher

View Slides and Presentation

2009 Past Events

A series of three seminars in 2009 which explored the consequences for higher education of the 2009 Federal Budget, the implications of the Bradley Review targets on participation and equity, and the role of the new agency, (TEQSA), in monitoring quality and institutional performance in the context of compact negotiation, target-setting and performance funding.

The Bradley report was now well and truly out there in the public arena. The 2009 Budget decisions had been announced. But the changes to tertiary education in Australia were just beginning. The federal government said that it wanted to lift total student participation, open up access to all institutions, improve quality, regulate standards more closely, and create a coherent single tertiary education system. But much remained to be worked out. The slow rate of planned funding increases meant that resources for teaching and research would be a continuing constraint. There was a host of unanswered questions about the new Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency which had a central role in the Government’s vision for tertiary education but had yet to be created. The 2009 Melbourne Tertiary Education Policy Seminars would open up these issues to public scrutiny, debate and new ideas from speakers and participants.

The 2009 Federal Budget: What it Means for Tertiary Education

Monday 9 June

The 2009 Federal Budget: What it Means for Tertiary Education was the first seminar in the 2009 Tertiary Education Policy Seminars series presented by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education and the LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management.

The 2009 federal budget saw watershed decisions on the funding of teaching and research, growth in student numbers, social equity in education and the regulation of quality and standards. What does this mean for universities and VET, for students, for employers, for the country?  How does Australian tertiary education as reshaped by the government in May 2009 look when stacked up against comparable systems overseas?  Were the budget decisions the right decisions? What unfinished business remains to be addressed?

Speakers:

Professor Jeff Borland,
Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne (slides)

Professor Simon Marginson,
Chair of Higher Education, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne (slides)

Professor Paul Johnson (Chair),
Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University

Participation and Equity: What are the cross-sectoral implications of the Bradley targets for expansion and equity?

Monday 30 July

‘Participation and Equity: What are the cross-sectoral implications of the Bradley targets for expansion and equity?’  is the second seminar in the 2009 Tertiary Education Policy Seminar series presented by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education and the LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management.

The Federal Government has endorsed the Bradley review’s recommendation for two ambitious national targets: at least 40% of 25- to 34-year-olds having attained a qualification at bachelor level or above by 2025; and a 20% share of undergraduate enrolments for people from low socio-economic status backgrounds by 2020.  Meeting these targets will require a radical rethinking of many of the assumptions that underpin secondary and tertiary education in Australia, including curricula, pathways and selection practices.  In this seminar two experts will focus on the cross-sectoral challenges in developing education systems geared to social-inclusion and universal participation in tertiary education.  What might the school-higher education interface look like in the future?  How will VET relate to higher education?  Do we need to make key changes in policy and practice?

Speakers:

Professor Richard Teese,
Director, Centre for Post-Compulsory Education and Lifelong Learning, The University of Melbourne (slides)

Professor Peter Dawkins,
Secretary, Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (slides)

Professor Elizabeth Harman (Chair),
Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University

Quality, Standards and Regulation: The start of a new era

Monday 31 August

A central feature of the Bradley review was its emphasis on quality. The third seminar in the 2009 Tertiary Education Policy Seminar Series will examine the role of the new agency, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), in monitoring quality and institutional performance in the context of compact negotiation, target-setting and performance funding.  How will standards be defined and monitored? What new performance indicators ought to be established? What new data need be collected? What role might future quality audits play in evaluation and regulation?

Speakers:

Professor Alan Robson AM,
Vice-Chancellor, The University of Western Australia (slides)

Dr Hamish Coates,
Principal Research Fellow, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) (slides)

Dr Stephen Weller (Chair),
Pro Vice-Chancellor Students, Victoria University

2008 Past Events

'Investing in the Future: Renewing Australian Tertiary Education'. A series of high-profile seminars in 2008 which explored the Rudd Government's major inquiries into the higher education system (the Bradley review) and the national innovation system (the Cutler review).

2008 was a watershed year in the Australian knowledge economy as it geared up to meet heightened national expectations and the quickening pace of education and innovation around the world. World-class research universities have been established in less than a decade in China, Korea and Singapore; the European Union aims to become the world's leading region for innovation and the United States can be expected to respond in kind. A change of government had brought with it the opportunity for policy and institutional renewal in Australia and the Rudd government had established major inquiries into the higher education system (the Bradley review) and the national innovation system (the Cutler review). All of the policy issues were on the table including funding, tuition fees and student support; resources and incentives; infrastructure and personnel now and in the future; participation and equity; national coordination and the role of government; system structure and institutional missions; VET/higher education boundaries; and knowledge dissemination systems.

The University of Melbourne held a series of five public seminars to explore the fascinating and formidable issues before these two national reviews and to bring the public into the policy discussion. The seminars were chaired by members of the higher education and innovation reviews, and featured leading policy makers and academic experts whose task is to make the policy agenda transparent and draw the full diversity of perspectives and views from the seminar audiences. Attendance was free and active participation encouraged.

What does Australia need from its tertiary institutions, now and in the future?

Monday 30 June

What does Australia need from its tertiary institutions, now and in the future? is the first seminar in the Investing in the Future: Renewing Australian Tertiary Education public seminar series presented by the University of Melbourne.

This opening session explored Australian higher education and training and national needs at the time of a major review of tertiary education policy. Two outstanding university leaders discussed how to build national capacity in the era of the global knowledge economy, education’s contribution to the workforce and productivity, the potential of government to make a difference, and the strengthening of coordination across the tertiary sector.

Speakers:

Professor Glyn Davis AC,
Vice-Chancellor, The University of Melbourne,

Professor Stephen Parker,
Vice-Chancellor, The University of Canberra (paper)

Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC (Chair),
Higher Education Review

The Review of Australian Higher Education: A panel analysis and discussion

Monday 21 July

The review of Australian higher education led by Professor Denise Bradley has sweeping terms of reference and may lead to the greatest changes since the Dawkins reforms of 1987-1990. It is a unique opportunity to strengthen the capacity of the sector for the challenges of the global knowledge economy. At this seminar a panel of higher education experts, drawn from different Australian university groupings, will focus on key issues raised in the review’s discussion paper released on 10 June such as: How should universities relate to the broader tertiary sector? How can higher education best contribute to national productivity and to the innovation system? How can its international impact be advanced? How can more diverse student choices be achieved? What are the optimum systems for funding, policy making and governance?

Speakers:

Mr Mike Gallagher,
Executive Director, Group of Eight (paper, slides)

Professor Sandra Harding,
Vice-Chancellor, James Cook University (slides)

Professor Peter Coaldrake,
Vice-Chancellor, Queensland University of Technology

Mr Conor King,
Institutional Strategist, Victoria University (paper, slides)

Professor V. Lynn Meek (Chair),
Director, LH Martin Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Management

What should be the political economy of tertiary education in the next decade and beyond?

Monday 28 July

This seminar focused on funding and economic policy issues facing Australian tertiary education in the future. The task of the current national review is not just to strengthen the funding base of the sector to internationally competitive levels but to devise a stable long-term settlement of financing, consistent with university autonomy, student choice and cooperative national planning, that factors in both contributions from and benefits to students, employers, the public good and the institutions themselves. Questions include: What kind of national investment is appropriate and what are other nations doing? How can the support of business, government and public be secured for a sea-change on public investment? How should the funding of teaching be configured alongside the funding of research? How much should funding vary on the basis of discipline, mission and social need? How can HECS and student financial support be reforged and rationalized so as to maximize productivity, participation and equity?

Speakers:

Professor Ross Milbourne,
Vice-Chancellor, University of Technology, Sydney (slides)

Mr Tom Bentley,
Director of Applied Learning, Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

Professor Greg Craven,
Vice-Chancellor, Australian Catholic University (ACU National)

Professor Allan Fels AO (Chair),
Dean, Australia and New Zealand School of Government

Performance standards and indicators: How do we improve tertiary education?

Monday 4 August

There will little change in policy on national investment in higher education and research without a new national consensus on strategies for structural reform and for continuously improving outcomes in both the quantitative and qualitative senses. Likewise the issue of standards is crucial for domestic students and employers and for Australia’s reputation in the global teaching market. Looking beyond quality assurance mechanisms, this seminar focuses on strategies for improvement and on indicators of transparent outputs. How can we lift performance and what are the potentials and utilities (and limits) of output measures? How should we assess economic productivity? How can tertiary education augment social inclusion, including Indigenous access and success? What are the best means of assessing and comparing learning outcomes and value added, teaching quality, student engagement, and graduate attributes and employability? How might we use measures of research outcomes and research rankings? How can we evaluate knowledge transfer and the contribution of tertiary institutions to communities and regions?

Speakers:

Professor Geoff Masters,
CEO, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) (slides),

Professor Richard James,
Director, Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) (slides , paper)

Mr Peter Noonan (Chair),
Panel member, Higher Education Review & Director, Peter Noonan Consulting

How can universities maximise their role in research and innovation?

Monday 11 August

The final seminar addressed policy on the national innovation system which was the subject of a major review of its own chaired by Dr Terry Cutler, additional to the Bradley review of the higher education system. Research and innovation are increasingly central in the global knowledge economy and this has pitchforked universities, knowledge dissemination and the commercial R&D sector into the centre of national thinking. The Cutler review is a rare opportunity for Australia to make the policy moves needed to move from global follower to global leader in research and innovation. How can we strengthen long-term capacity in basic research and the creation of breakthrough ideas, and knowledge dissemination and public/private partnerships in innovation? How can the boundary relations between universities and other knowledge-forming organizations be optimized? What measures are needed to reproduce the research labour force and attract the best global talent? What are the real costs of research and are we funding them?

Speakers:

The Hon. Evan Thornley MP,
Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier

Emeritus Professor Mary O'Kane,
Executive Chairman, Mary O'Kane & Associates (slides)

Professor Simon Marginson (Chair),
Chair of Higher Education, CSHE

2007 Past Events

Education, Science and the Future of Australia: A special series of seminars in 2007 which discussed key issues before the nation in the areas of education, research and science.

Are our education and research institutions ready for the challenge of building a knowledge economy and society in the Asia-Pacific region? Do we have the right mix of government policies in place? What are the crucial issues and what does the research evidence tell us? Are we trapped in reactive short term decisions or can we take the long view?

In a crucial year for Australia and public policy the University of Melbourne is holding five free public seminars on the key issues before the nation in education, research and science. The seminars will be addressed by leading national and international thinkers and policy makers, and will encourage a lively discussion between speakers and audience. They will also feed into the larger discussion taking place around Australia in this federal election year.

The seminars will cover national policy and global strategy, the future of tertiary education, challenges for early learning and schooling, research and knowledge transfer, and problems of long term capacity building in a politicised environment. The series will be launched by Professor Shih Choon Fong, President of the National University of Singapore, one of the leading universities in Asia-Pacific and the world, and Terry Moran who as Secretary to the Department of Premier and Cabinet is Victoria's principal policy adviser.

National policy and global strategy

Monday 25 June

National Policy and Global Strategy is the first seminar in the Education, Science and the Future of Australia public seminar series presented by the University of Melbourne. This opening session lays out the policy challenges facing Australia in education, science and innovation. Two outstanding leaders will share their insights with those at the seminar.

Speakers:

Professor Shih Choon Fong,
President, National University of Singapore (paper)

Mr Terry Moran AO,
Secretary to the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria (paper)

Ms Rosa Storelli (Chair),
Deputy Chancellor, University of Melbourne and Principal, Methodist Ladies’ College

Advancing tertiary education

Monday 9 July

Advancing  Tertiary Education is the second seminar in the Education, Science and the Future of Australia public seminar series presented by the University of Melbourne—a topic of deep and passionate (and dispassionate) concern for everyone in higher education, and many others in  the community.

Tertiary education is at the cross-roads. Australian public funding per student declined by 30 per cent between 1995 and 2003. Tuition charges, HECS and loan systems are messy and burdensome. Student financial support has dropped and 40% say that work during semester is having a detrimental effect on their learning. Vocational education is underfunded and quality has been run down. Yet everyone says that advanced levels of education are key to Australia's future in a global knowledge economy. Which way is up?

Speakers:

Professor Simon Marginson,
Professor of Higher Education, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne (slides) (paper)

Mr Michael Gallagher,
Executive Director, Group of Eight (paper)

Chair: Professor Kwong Lee Dow,
Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne

Challenges for early learning and schooling

Monday 23 July

Challenges for Early Learning and Schooling is the third seminar in the Education, Science and the Future of Australia public seminar series presented by the University of Melbourne. This seminar will explore the possibilities for improving learning and equity of outcomes in Australian schooling and childhood education.

How effective are Australia’s policies and outcomes in early childhood learning and care? How do we fare internationally? What can be done about persistent social inequalities? How can schooling better contribute to national development? Do we have the right mix of public and private schooling? How can enhanced community partnerships be developed? How do we prepare teachers and early childhood educators for the changing character of their work?

Speakers:

Professor Barry McGaw AO,
Former OECD Director and currently Director, Melbourne Education Research Institute, The University of Melbourne (slides+text)

Professor Collette Tayler,
School of Early Childhood, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology and member of the Board of Directors of Save the Children Australia (slides+text)

Professor Glyn Davis (Chair),
Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne

Research, innovation and knowledge transfer

Monday 6 August

Research, innovation and knowledge transfer is the fourth seminar in the Education, Science and the Future of Australia public seminar series presented by the University of Melbourne.

How can we best foster research and innovation in Australia? This seminar will examine Australia’s research and research training capacity in the light of international trends in research. Key topics to be discussed will include: the funding of research by government, corporations and donors; the agencies involved in research and research partnerships; the role of universities; the tax treatment of research; and the communication of research transfer, knowledge transfer and commercialisation.

The University welcomes two university leaders to explore the possibilities for advancing research and innovation through public policy in a session chaired by Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne.

Speakers:

Professor Ian Chubb AC,
Vice-Chancellor and President, Australian National University (slides, paper)

Professor Margaret Gardner AO,
Vice-Chancellor and President, RMIT (slides, paper)

Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AC (Chair),
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences

What can governments achieve? Imagining and implementing policy

Monday 27 August

What can governments achieve? is the fifth and final seminar in the Education, Science and the Future of Australia public seminar series presented by the University of Melbourne. This final seminar is an opportunity for a lively discussion on policy and policy-making. The session will examine the broad public policy environment in Australia: How is policy formulated? How might it be formulated? What are the limits to what governments can achieve? How can we create better public policy?

Speakers:

Ms Maxine McKew,
former journalist and Australian Labor parliamentary candidate (paper)

Mr John Roskam,
Executive Director, Institute of Public Affairs (slides)

Mr Andrew Jaspan (Chair),
Editor in Chief, The Age