Melbourne Goes American

Andrew Norton and Paul Frijters have offered contrasting views on the radical reforms to Melbourne University being spearheaded by its Vice-Chancellor, Glyn Davis. Like Andrew, I’m optimistic that the Melbourne Model will succeed, but I think it’s more important to recognise that Australian universities don’t exactly suffer from an excess of innovation. As Andrew points out, “One thing to note is that this is a rare case of a public university introducing major reforms without being forced to do so by external circumstances”. Across Australia’s 40 or so universities, homogeneity has been the order of the day. So here’s hoping that this particular experiment pays off. One reason for optimism is the bloke who’s running it. Glyn Davis has a rare mix of a brilliant mind and superb interpersonal skills. As someone who’s worked with him once remarked to me “if Glyn decided to run a spanner company, I’d be tempted to quit my job and work for him”.

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5 Responses to Melbourne Goes American

  1. Kevin Cox says:

    To get some more variety we can get the old CAE’s to go back to their original concept of providing undergraduate professional and short post graduate professional awards.

    One way to do this is for those institutions to reward lecturers who consult and work with industry more highly than those that produce “research”. Also leave the intellectual property rights of innovations with staff who create it and watch what happens.

  2. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    how is this different from any other producer informing consumers they know better than them what is good for them?

  3. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    I have just leant that in fact market research was undertaken so I take back what I said.

    They have done what Macquarie did in 1982. Reacted to consumer tastes

  4. Leon says:

    [a current student]

    Glyn Davis was certainly extremely impressive on the 7.30 report a few nights ago.

    My only disappointment is that they caved in to pressure from the medical faculty to include a “bioscience” degree. The philosophy behind the reforms would have these students doing science, as opposed to ending up with an overly specific qualification if their medical dreams are dashed.

    On the other hand, “Environments”, leading into both architecture/property/construction as well as land and food management seems like a great idea.

    I think the reforms will be good for the university, good for the “brand”, and hopefully good for initiative and independence among other universities.

  5. Geoff R says:

    The Dawkins revolution reduced the scarcity value of university degress, and undermined their social status, ruling-class families confront the prospect that some wog from VUT might compete with their child for a professional job. Hence Melbourne offers a new credential that ruling-class families can purchase. The ‘liberal arts’ rhetoric is the usual toxic mixture of pseudo-lefty nostaglia for the good old pre-Dawkins days (think Ross Fitzgerald et. al.) mixed with elitism.

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