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Campus News : March 2012
the sector. The beneficiaries are likely to be those universities with strong global reputations. This is a controversial strategy as it shifts the balance of funding from the state to the individual student. It is being done by each university making a choice on market position rather than a decision by government to apply a new funding formula. Other consequences are less well understood. For example, while students will pay their fees, which are contingent on the graduate's income after graduation, there is a feeling that citizens with greater levels of debt aversion might choose to not attend university. This will make it more difficult to attract socially disadvantaged students. Similarly, not all universities will benefit from this policy, causing a greater variance in the funding available for each student. Finally, the financial benefits for the state may be minimal as the overall cost of supporting the income contingent loans system still falls on the taxpayer for a long period before repayments start to reduce the scale of the loan book. In marked contrast, Australia has elected to maintain the current level of funding per student and the fees paid by graduates. Change will arise from a partial deregulation of undergraduate places. So the volume of students will go up, driven by market demand, and the unit of resource will remain static. The overall consequences will be more students, a larger loan book and no shift in the resources available to support each student. Universities with metropolitan centres might experience greater competition in securing very highly qualified school leavers as universities choose to grow. Isolated institutions in the regions will experience little change in competitive pressures, assuming that the majority of Australians still elect to study at university while living at home. Former UOW Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Professor Gerard Sutton described Halina Majer's retirement from UOW as "an historical page being turned over" when he spoke at her farewell in February. Professor Sutton was one of the speakers at the function to acknowledge Halina, who has had the unique distinction of serving as Executive Assistant to all four of UOW's Vice-Chancellors -- the late Professor Michael Birt, Professor Ken McKinnon, Professor Sutton and Professor Paul Wellings. "This is a very special farewell because of what Halina has done for this university -- she's a true professional," Professor Sutton said, praising Halina's professionalism and high standards. SixtySeven Dining was filled for Halina's formal farewell, 40 years to the month after she had started duties when the institution was still three years shy of gaining autonomy from the University of NSW. Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor John Patterson was MC for the event, paying tribute to Halina for the elegance in which she carried out her duties and keeping the laughs flowing with a string of anecdotes about her time at UOW. Long-time friend Associate Professor Di Kelly said she was "in awe of Halina's capabilities" while Professor Wellings said that in the relatively short time he has worked with Halina since he joined UOW at the beginning of January he had witnessed how highly she was regarded along with the phenomenal network she had developed. Halina began working at UOW in 1972 as a departmental secretary for Education and Psychology and in 1973 as departmental secretary for Foundation Psychology Professor Alex Clarke. She then worked in Economics, Biology and Student Services before her first Executive Assistant role in 1979, working for Professor Clarke when he became Deputy Vice- Chancellor. Professor Clarke, now aged 86, was among guests at the farewell. In 1980 the Foundation Vice-Chancellor Professor Birt was unable to find a suitable candidate to become his Executive Assistant and asked Halina HALINA TURNS A PAGE OF HISTORY if she would mind filling in for three months. More than 31 years later she has finally stepped down from the job. Professor Birt left the University in 1981 to be replaced by Professor McKinnon, who made a special trip back to Wollongong to attend Halina's farewell. Halina said she had loved her career at UOW. "I have been a close observer to all the Vice- Chancellors' amazing achievements," she said. "I have seen this university grow from a small university college to a world-class institution." BG Halina Majer at her retirement function with (from left): Emeritus Professors Gerard Sutton, Alex Clarke and Ken McKinnon, and current Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings. Our approach will increase the opportunity for more Australians to study for high-level skills, but it is not designed to have a marked impact on the global competitiveness of the university sector. In contrast, Britain's approach could lead to great stratification of its university sector and make some universities even more competitive in global assessments. This strategy, combined with the weak pound, is likely to make Britain a more attractive destination for international students. If we want to create a dynamic higher education services sector we might need to look at a broader range of policy options and the way they influence reputation of individual universities and the sector as a whole. UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings was previously Vice-Chancellor at Lancaster University in England (2002-2011). This Opinion article appeared in The Australian newspaper on 16 January, 2012. CONNECT: OPINION From Page 2 4 CONNECT :UOW MARCH 2012 CONNECT: PEOPLE
CONNECT:UOW July 2012