Keynotes, Panellists and Workshop Facilitators

Peer-led Breakout Sessions

  • Transforming the Student Experience

    Sean Greig, Director of Strativity Group, will outline how universities can truly transform the student experience through combining design, enablement and mindset shift. Strativity will share methods and examples from their work with leading universities in both Australia and the US.

    • Leveraging insight to design a brand aligned student experience
    • Assessing and improving organisational student centricity
    • Balancing experience enhancement with experience innovation
    • Shifting beliefs and mindsets to enable real change

    Sean Greig, Director Strativity Group

    Sean is a strategy, innovation and customer experience professional with over 25 years in business consulting and change management. He brings an understanding of the higher education market, student lifecycle and the need for Australian universities to attract, retain and advance student relationships like never before.

    Having spent most of his career in the fast paced and rapidly changing Information Technology and Consulting sectors he intimately understands the impact of commoditisation, the need for continuous innovation, and striking the right balance between digital and people based investments to deliver meaningful change.

  • They said it couldn’t be done! Uniting the Library and Student Administration

    Swinburne has successfully combined its Library and studentHQ areas into a united service across all campuses, located in our libraries.

    The new model, isn’t a co-location, but a new combined service enabling us to provide students with not only a single service point for all library and student administration needs, but offer extend support for both services matching our currently staffed library hours, offering student administration support an additional 64 hours a week at no extra cost. We are now available 7 days a week and until midnight on weekdays.

    This has been achieved by reskilling our existing library and studentHQ staff in a new united, innovative model. Combining these highly important, previously separate areas, into one has enabled Swinburne to be truly student centric.


    Michelle Gillespie, Director Student Administration and Library Services, Swinburne University of Technology

    Tony Davies, Deputy Director Library Services, Swinburne University of Technology

  • Building a Cohesive Course Quality System: A Case Study

    Supporting innovation through an institutional course quality management system (CQM) requires a shift in focus, from management to improvement through innovation (Ewell, 2002). This study presents how this shift is developing through an approach to quality enhancement across a full course lifecycle. From 2019, La Trobe University will be adopting a new course quality system that attempts to harness an array of sound learning and teaching practices developed over time to enhance courses where additional improvement is still needed. The cornerstone of the system is an annual monitoring process (ACM), a reflective, action‐based approach that can power constructive conversations about improvements for students reflected in activity linked to standards. In this presentation, we preview the tools designed for this process, and consider how a shift to this system may contribute to the creation of an innovative, learning organisation.


    Amanda Carr, Associate Director, Academic Quality, Quality and Standards Office, La Trobe University

    Noha Khalef, Senior Coordinator, Academic Quality, Quality and Standards, La Trobe University

  • Developing a choice architecture to maximise conversions from application to offer to enrolment

    This breakout session explores emergent changes in the behaviour of prospective students during the conversion phase (application to enrolment) within the university sector in Australia and the applicability of a behavioural science approach (nudges) to addressing these changes. The supposition of 'nudging' is that small and apparently insignificant details can have a major impact on people’s choice behaviours and that understanding how to harness or ameliorate these details can transform the actions of individuals. It is used throughout the session to gain an understanding of the environment in which prospective students are choosing to convert their offer of a place into an enrolment, and to ultimately develop a framework to guide tertiary education management practice in the design of a positive conversion choice architecture.

    An actionable framework or 'Choice Architecture Model’ based on known cognitive biases in decision‐making will be presented. It provides a theoretical base on which any tertiary education provider could build individualised conversion strategies that respond to the specifics of their particular student catchment and demographic.

    The presenter will discuss how a variant of this model is being rolled out in one tertiary education provider and the initial positive impacts.


    Suzanne Crew, CEO, UNE Partnerships

  • Student Success: Engage-Succeed-Progress-Complete

    Whilst student retention and success in higher education is well researched, the principal aim of this project was to determine whether we could identify any additional factors particular to UNE students, UNE’s academic delivery or UNE’s policy, process and systems that may be impacting on students. The secondary aim was to identify and develop a framework, methodology, and internal capacity for analysing multiple unstructured datasets to inform the quality improvement cycle.

    Existing unstructured data collected by UNE was analysed at three levels to reflect the:

    • contextual environment (Macro Level);
    • course environment (Meso Level); and
    • unit environment (Micro Level).

    Insights were identified at each level that, although not all unique to UNE, appear to impact on success, retention and overall satisfaction.

    A number of new reports which have become a part of standard reporting as well as a number of ad hoc reports based on specific issues were developed.


    Peta Ryan, Data Analyst, Corporate Planning and Analytics, The University of New England

  • Transforming Research Support at La Trobe University

    La Trobe University’s research performance has dramatically increased since 2013, fulfilling a strategic reorientation. To support the increase in the quantity and quality of research, the University has transformed its Research Office within budget envelope. Through a series of restructures, the introduction of a customer-focussed operating model, cultural change, capability development, and effective partnering across academic disciplines and functional services, the service has moved from one of the lowest rated services in the University to one of the highest and is benchmarked at top-quartile performance at 70% of expected cost. The transformation is continuing, with a new activity-based work organisation supported by agile workspaces, and a university-wide project to develop a relationship-oriented approach to managing the research life-cycle. This presentation will discuss the approach to the transformation, the critical success factors of the change, ongoing challenges, and the mechanisms the University is employing to identify, share and implement best practices.


    Alistair Duncan, Deputy Director, Rankings and Performance, Research Office, La Trobe University

    Dr MaryAnne Aitken, Executive Director, Research Office, La Trobe University

    Maria Montesano, Acting Manager, Planning, Review and Improvement, Planning and Institutional Performance Unit, La Trobe University

  • Raising the Bar – closing the gap from admission to offer for the Melbourne Law School

    Join us in exploring the journey undertaken to close the gap from admission to offer in the Melbourne Law School. We will showcase the innovative ways of using Lean Six Sigma and Robotic Process Automation to improve, automate processes, service delivery and  embed a continuous improvement operating rhythm including capability uplift within the Faculty.


    Mr Matty Kapadia, Continuous Improvement Specialist, University of Melbourne

    Shiv Chandra, RPA Lead Developer, University of Melbourne

  • Involving students as change champions to innovate and improve customer experience

    Service improvement at the Australian National University involves using new and bolder techniques to engage students and staff in a customer led design process. Through various methodologies such as Rapid Improvement Events, customer journey mapping, co-design blue sky thinking, and digital transformation we are working to transform the experience for our customers. Our unique model— embedding student interns across all projects—creates champions of change in our service improvement program. These interns bring the digital native perspective and real-world experience into our analysis, design, innovation and creation processes, consequently adding a future flavour to all new ideas and products to solve student, user, and customer issues. Our methodologies paired with the deep involvement of students in our processes not only innovate, but help build organisational skills in innovation itself.


    Lakshmi West, Director - Service Improvement Group, Australian National University

    Jessica Thompson, Business Analyst – Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre, Service
    Improvement Group, Australian National University

  • Threats and opportunities: exploring and contrasting the views of leaders from across Australian higher education

    Despite wide agreement that universities face a growing threat to established business models and will need to innovate, there is less consensus on causes, trajectories and severity. Success in embracing new models, technologies and approaches will be different for universities of varying mission. Examining the perspectives of university leadership from across Australian higher education, helps all universities better understand avenues for effective innovation.
    This paper examines data from 117 interviews with Australian university, academic and government leaders. During these interviews sector leaders were asked to assess the major challenges for universities both in the immediate future and over a longer horizon, as well as the reflect on the opportunities. To explore threats and possibilities in embracing new models, and compare differences between university and government leaders, this paper presents data from a survey completed by each participant alongside their interview.


    Dr Gwilym Croucher, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education, University of Melbourne

  • Medical Training in Regional Victoria: a collaboration between the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University

    The University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, with support from the Commonwealth Government, are working together to increase the medical workforce in regional Australia. On completing the La Trobe Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) course eligible regional students will enter The University of Melbourne Doctor of Medicine course at Shepparton. Locating the both the undergraduate program and the MD course in regional Victoria will increase the likelihood that the medical graduates will practice in regional Australia. The Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) course will be offered at the Bendigo or Albury / Wodonga campuses of La Trobe University, commencing in 2019. The La Trobe course) has been designed to prepare the students to meet the admission criteria for the University of Melbourne MD. Because the selection into the La Trobe undergraduate course is effectively selection into the University of Melbourne MD, subject to ncontinued high performance, the two universities have worked closely together to establish the admission criteria and the selection process for the La Trobe Bachelor of Biomedical Science


    Anthony T. Baker, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University and the LH Martin
    Institute, University of Melbourne.