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  • CMM Series | The new graduate capability: how to think for a living (employability redefined)

    3rd October 2019

    CMM article

    This article by Professor Dawn Bennett was first published in Campus Morning Mail on 3 August 2019. It comes from commissioning editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

    The new graduate capability: how to think for a living (employability redefined)

    With half the Australian population now engaging in higher education, the sector is under increasing pressure to align the needs of students, industry and community. This requires policy and funding models which recognise the sector’s economic and societal value and which promote inclusivity and cooperation. Such policy is in stark contrast with existing rankings exercises and steering mechanisms, which promote self-interest and status competition.

    Higher education policy could recognise the development of graduates who can meet the demands of life and work well beyond their discipline. For students to become capable graduates who think for a living on behalf of themselves and others, they need first to learn how to recognise, articulate and demonstrate their abilities. They also need to accept and manage their responsibilities as learners and thinkers.

    Engaging students as partners demands that all learning is relevant to the possible disciplinary, societal, personal and/or professional futures of students. If the learning asked of students is relevant, its relevance should be articulated. If it is not relevant, we should stop teaching it. This is a challenge not to make programs vocational, but to make them developmental and societally relevant.

    Employability development in the higher education context is not limited to discipline skills, knowledge and practices. Rather, it concerns students’ abilities to create and sustain meaningful work throughout the career lifespan and in changing contexts. It integrates the metacognitive capacities with which graduates are not only ready for work, but ready to contribute and ready to learn.

    Higher education needs policy that distinguishes between job-getting (employment) and the ability to create and sustain work over time (employability). Educating for employabilityrather than employmentmeans educating for life rather than for a job, for society rather than self.

    Professor Dawn Bennett

    Curtin University

    National Senior Teaching Fellowship 2016


    Twitter: @toemployability

    ALTF 2019 Legacy Report here

  • CMM Series | Going meta: Reimagining tertiary education

    3rd October 2019

    CMM article

    This article by Professor Sally Kift was first published in Campus Morning Mail on 7 July 2019. It comes from commissioning editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

    Australian HE is well positioned to embrace Industry 4.0 disruption thanks to two decades of bipartisan investmentin pedagogical R&D via the national Office for Learning & Teaching and its predecessors. But it won’t sustain us.

    2019 is both the best and worst of HE times: peak pedagogy due to enhancement funding, but exceptional vulnerability absent agile iteration. And this at a time when our nation’s grand challenge is to conceive of an integrated post-secondary system that supports student pathways and lifelong learning in response to workforce precarity.

    What to do? We could hold our collective breath for a post-election epiphany that investing in tertiary education future-proofing makes good economic sense. But the optics aren’t great. Labor’s National Inquiry into Post-secondary Educationwould have been a good start, aligning as it did with the Business Council of Australia’svision for a unified tertiary sector, but the May 18 result put an end to that. The Monash Commissionrecommendations, Wheelahan’sTAFE policy framework and the dual sector universities’reform agenda all provide actionable conceptualisations. But then what?

    Even with an agreed national roadmap, transacting effective and efficient pedagogical change for an integrated tertiary reimagining is a herculean task.

    We need to go meta. New course architecture and pedagogy are required to mediate Google age knowledge ubiquity and Industry 4.0’s skills instability. Predictionsthat future workers will spend more time learning than previous generations demand fresh thinking around credentialing, pathways and the continuum of professional development. Social equity must be front and centre.

    As HE is challenged to (re)establish its relevance, now is the time to deploy thought leadership for the public, not self-interested, good. Transformative education for a thriving nation requires our full collective resources. Students in partnership, graduates, institutions, professions and accreditors, government, industry and regulators must come together to co-create and deliver a relevant, future-facing educational ecosystem fit-for-purpose for 21stcentury Australia and all its peoples.


    Professor Sally Kift PFHEA FAAL

    President, Australian Learning & Teaching Fellows

    2006 Senior Teaching Fellow



    ALTF 2019 Legacy Report here

  • President’s Message | April 2019

    10th April 2019

    ALTF news, president's message

    Dear Colleagues

    I hope everyone is having a happy and productive year so far and that you are looking forward to the Easter break.

    Ever since the ALTF was formed in 2011, I imagine that we all suspected that funding to support its ongoing sector-wide engagement and sustainability would dry up at some point. In 2019, we have finally arrived at that place. But we go out with a bang and not a whimper, and remain hopeful that all Fellows will continue to fight the good learning and teaching fight and advocate for excellence and innovation in our sector to the continued benefit of our students and the national interest, in both its social cohesion and national productivity aspects.

    In that vein, we have two pieces of particularly good news. First, in our latest Student Success Blog post, Professor Jessica Vanderlelie shares her insights on transforming alumni engagement in Australia.

    Secondly, you will see below that our small Secretariat team have been busy over the last couple of months producing a 2019 ALTF Legacy Report. In that wonderful and validating collection, peppered with testimonials contributed by Australian higher education leadership, I write in the first few paras as follows:

    Read more…