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The Thought Leadership Series is bringing leading international and national experts to VU to explore the future of work and study. It aims to inspire thinking and stimulate discussion on VU’s Academic Program of the Future.

The Academic Program of the Future is a key part of VU’s Transformation Agenda, as we consider:

  • how we ensure that VU’s future academic program prepares our students to navigate the increasingly complex world of work
  • what qualifications, programs, units and other forms of offerings we will pursue for the future
  • the best way to actively advance the unique opportunities and advantages afforded to us as a proudly dual-sector, multi-campus, international institution.

The series will be hosted by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Vocational Education & Pathways).

About the Academic Program of the Future

The VU Way commits us to preparing ‘Future-Ready Graduates’: graduates that have the ‘knowledge, technical skills and 21st century capabilities required to thrive in the uncertain world of future work’.

  • This presents the how – a model of blocked, high-engagement, student centred teaching and learning.
  • The Academic Program of the Future will articulate the what - the specific sets of single and dual-sector programs, courses and non-award offerings that will reinforce the unique competitive advantage that the Block Mode brings to VU.

All members of the VU community, including staff, students, alumni and industry and professional bodies are invited to help develop our Academic Program of the Future.

Register to attend events in the Thought Leadership Series 

Guest speaker : Professor David Helfand, Columbia University astronomer, Quest University Founding Faculty and President

Professor David Helfand, Columbia University astronomer, Quest University Founding Faculty and President

Professor David Helfand introduced the block system of learning and teaching at Quest University. Quest has no departments, no tenure and no classes larger than 20. David’s TEDx Talk on designing a university for the new millennium inspired VU leaders to transform VU’s first-year experience.

Date and time : Tuesday 11 June, 5.30 - 7.30pm

Location : Victoria University, City Flinders campus, Level 11

This event has already taken place.

A key focus of the Academic Program of the Future project is to consider how we can harness the distinct strengths of VU as a dual-sector institution. The future workforce requires graduates with deep knowledge, as well as deep skills. Students should be able to easily see the VET offerings that complement their HE programs (and vice-versa) and the benefits they can get from dual-sector skills and qualifications.

Guest speaker : Craig Robertson, CEO of TAFE Directors Australia

 Craig Robertson, CEO of TAFE Directors Australia

Craig Robertson is CEO of TAFE Directors Australia (TDA), which promotes the critical role that TAFEs play in tertiary education in Australia. Prior to joining TDA Craig worked in the Victorian Government, with responsibilities for the operation of vocational education and working with Victorian universities.

Craig has also worked for over 30 years in the Commonwealth Government with responsibilities in national policy and program delivery relating to employment services, funding for schools and most aspects of vocational education and training. He has represented the Australian Government in G20 meetings of Labour and Employment ministers and the OECD, and bi-laterally with a range of foreign governments. In Australia, Craig has led work at the federal level on joint Commonwealth-State policies and funding agreements, introducing income contingent loan arrangements for the VET sector, instigated apprenticeship reform and reformed regulation policy and VET qualifications. Craig was also an inaugural member of the Australian Qualifications Framework Council formed in 2011.

Date and time: Monday 24 June, 11.30am - 1pm

Location: Victoria University, Footscray Park campus, Building M, Level 0, Room M001

This event has already taken place.

Jan Owen AM, CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) will discuss the FYA’s job clusters model, which provides insights into the patterns of skills young people now require to navigate complex and uncertain working lives. Jan will explore the need to move beyond jobs to skills and the ideal future state for education.

Guest speaker: Jan Owen AM, CEO, Foundation for Young Australians

 Jan Owen AM, CEO, Foundation for Young Australians

Jan Owen is a social entrepreneur, innovator, influencer and author. As CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians for the past 8 years, Jan has led the organisation’s strategic mission to equip young people to create, lead and thrive into the future.

This focus has included ground-breaking research regarding the future of work and education for young Australians; the largest in-school entrepreneurship and youth social enterprise programs in the nation; and the development and launch of several new initiatives including YLab, FYA’s youth-led social enterprise.

Date and time : Wednesday 17 July, 11.30am

Location : Victoria University, City Flinders campus, Level 11, Room FS1107

This event has already taken place.

Smart technology, artificial Intelligence (AI), internet of things, biotechnology and robots are all having a significant impact on the world around us. But what are the implications for the education sector which has largely been unaffected to-date? Professor Liz Bacon will examine the impact of AI on society, jobs and future learning needs and the opportunities and challenges this presents as VU launches into our Academic Program of the Future.

Guest Speaker: Professor Liz Bacon, Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) & Professor of Computer Science, Abertay University, Scotland

 Professor Liz Bacon, Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Abertay University.

Professor Liz Bacon is Vice-Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Abertay University. Liz is a Professor of Computer Science with over a hundred refereed publications and over 70 invited talks / keynotes. She is an experienced researcher, systems designer and developer. Her research interests include computing policy, smart systems, security, semantic web, big data, AI and technology enhanced learning (TEL). Within TEL, she has applied her research in software engineering, AI and security to a range of application areas such as crisis management and eHealth, focusing on: smart games-based learning environments; metacognition and learning strategies; adaptable, adaptive and personalised systems; and the use of social media in online learning. Liz is passionate about the development of her discipline and keen to inspire more people to choose computing as a career, particularly women.

Date and strong: Monday 22 July, 12:30pm ;2:00pm

Location: Victoria University, Footscray Park campus, Building M, Level 0, Room M001

This event has already taken place.

Dr Marcus Bowles will explore what education providers must do to meet the demands of the future world of work and the disruption of tertiary education in Australia. Four critical challenges will be presented to highlight how vocational providers and universities can transform to graduate students that better meet the capabilities employers will value and students will require to be employable in the future workforce. Solutions will also be offered that show exactly what strategies a dual sector institution such as Victoria University can do to meet these challenges and harness digital disruption as an opportunity to become a university for the next industrial age, not one weighed down by historical traditions of the past.

Guest speaker:  Dr Marcus Bowles, Chair, The Institute for Working Futures

 Dr Marcus Bowles, Director, The Institute for Working Futures

Marcus is director of The Institute for Working Futures where he has undertaken consultancies into the future of work and learning; the design of agile organisations, creation of workforce capability frameworks; and reinvention of professional education and membership systems.

He also has held senior academic appointments and currently holds honorary professorial-level appointments at Australian universities. A number of Marcus’ research projects have spun off global start-ups in the EdTech field.

Date: Wednesday 31 July, 6pm-7:30pm

Location: Victoria University, City Flinders campus, Level 12, 300 Flinders St, Melbourne

Register for Future Work and Future Study.

The speed at which technological advancements emerge are being felt across all industries. Google Australia’s boss says Australia needs to “speed up on AI or miss out on a $2.2 trillion boom.” The education sector is not immune; we are at risk of missing out on fast-growing future opportunities unless our training is leading, not lagging. Education and training is the essential conduit between technological evolution and human enterprise. Gail Bray, General Manager, Learning, Innovation and Technology at Victoria University Polytechnic will present the work that Victoria University Polytechnic is spear-heading, in partnership with industry, to take on these technological challenges.

Guest speaker: Gail Bray, General Manager, Learning, Innovation and Technology at Victoria University Polytechnic

 Gail Bray, General Manager, Learning, Innovation and Technology at Victoria University Polytechnic

Gail Bray is the General Manager, Learning, Innovation and Technology at Victoria University Polytechnic.

Gail’s career began in the corporate training sector, working in energy, telecommunications and manufacturing before transitioning to Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the early 2000s. Gail is passionate about VET and describes herself as an internal entrepreneur with over 15 years’ experience leading multi-million-dollar start-up projects that challenge the status-quo.

Gail is currently leading a variety of strategic projects that will deliver dynamic industry-driven training in emerging technologies. Her work and that of the team she leads in Learning and Development within our own VU Polytechnic, received recognition for its innovation in 2017, 2018 and 2019, winning multiple awards.

Date: Monday 19 August, 6pm-7:30pm 

Location: Victoria University, City Flinders campus, Room FS1101, Level 11, 300 Flinders St, Melbourne

Register for Education providers must speed up or miss out

All event dates

  • 11 June 2019, 6:00pm to 11 June 2019, 7:30pm
  • 24 June 2019, 11:30am to 24 June 2019, 1:00pm
  • 17 July 2019, 11:30am to 17 July 2019, 1:00pm
  • 22 July 2019, 12:30pm to 22 July 2019, 2:00pm
  • 31 July 2019, 6:00pm to 31 July 2019, 7:30pm
  • 19 August 2019, 6:00pm to 19 August 2019, 7:30pm

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