Professor Peter Noonan’s legacy lives on through new VU fellowship

A new fellowship has been established by Victoria University (VU) and the Mitchell Institute, in honour of the late Professor Peter Noonan AM.
Thursday 9 March 2023

Victoria University and the Mitchell Institute has established a new fellowship in honour of the late Professor Peter Noonan AM – a policy advisor, researcher and passionate advocate of tertiary education.

Professor Noonan’s influence on tertiary education policy in Australia over 40 years was unparalleled – from the 1980s when he advised the Hawke Government up until his passing in May 2022, when he was still active advising government and authoring insightful policy papers as an Emeritus Professor at VU.

VU Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker announced the new fellowship in Professor Noonan’s name at a public symposium in his honour.

“The Fellow will pick up where Peter left off to challenge policy, shake up higher education and vocational education training and further profile the work of the Mitchell Institute,” Professor Shoemaker said.

“Thanks to the generous contribution of the Harold Mitchell Foundation, the ongoing policy creation work of the Mitchell Institute – and of this fellowship – will continue to transform Australian education for many years to come.”

The public symposium was also an opportunity to celebrate Professor Noonan’s life with speakers celebrating his influence.

A group of men and women in suits sit on a stage in front of a presentation screen

VU Vice-Chancellor Strategic Fellow Professor Sally Kift spoke of the need to implement Professor Noonan’s recommendations around the Australian Qualification Review and Senior Secondary Certification Reform.

“The Noonan vision to modernise the Australian Education Qualifications Framework lays out the policy architecture needed for a connected and future-ready education and training system; one that delivers better qualifications for the modern economy,” Professor Kift said.

“Responding to overwhelming feedback the current AQF is rigid, confusing and a brake on qualification innovation, Noonan’s reforms embrace the equal valuing of vocational and higher education, rebalance the relationship between knowledge and skills, and promote multi-directional pathways for lifelong learning acquisition.

“It’s flexible integration of knowledge, skills and capabilities is the basis for improving the quality, accessibility and responsiveness to labour market demands all peak bodies have been calling for.”

The symposium also included a special message from Federal Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor MP, and presentations from former VU Vice-Chancellor, current Jobs and Skills Interim Director and Mitchell Institute Emeritus Professor Peter Dawkins, Mitchell Institute Director, Associate Professor Peter Hurley, Ai Group’s Centre for Education and Training Executive Director Megan Lilly, University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education Director, Professor Sandra Milligan, Learning Crates Australia Co-Chair Anthony Mackay.

More information and applications for the Peter Noonan Tertiary Education Policy Fellowship will be available soon.

Watch the recording of the Public Symposium held in honour of the late Peter Noonan.

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