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CAPA Newsletter

Edition Two, August 2016
Semester Two Update
 
Since our last newsletter, it has been a busy time for CAPA. Over the semester break, we had several office bearers attend conferences including Queer Collaborations and Network of Women Students Australia to represent CAPA and assist in the running of conference caucases and events.

In May, we held our Special Council Meeting, which was well-attended by representatives from our affiliates. If you missed it, or wish to refresh your memory, have a look at this beautiful write-up of the SCM on Green Left Weekly by Rachel Evans of Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA).

At the SCM, affiliates from Victoria expressed concerns around the support universities offer their students in finding an adequate place to live and the services available. South East Branch President Dylan Styles is currently working on an Accessible Accommodation Campaign which will provide a clear guide for students in the South Eastern region on how each university compares to other local campuses. We are furthermore planning on undertaking this investigation for universities nation-wide. If you would like more information or want to get involved, please contact South East Branch President Dylan Styles.

As always, if you have any suggestions for CAPA for the rest of the year, please get in touch with President Jim Smith.
Annual Council Meeting- November 2016

Our Annual Council Meeting (ACM) will be held from Wednesday 23 November to Friday 25 November 2016. The ACM includes the election of 2017 office bearers, as well as setting our priorities and directions for the coming year. We encourage all affiliates to send representatives to the ACM.

Up until the 31st of August, we are still accepting expressions of interest for hosting the ACM. If you would like more information or would like to put your hand up to host, please contact our General Secretary, Peter Hurley.

 
OECD Higher Education Stakeholders Report

Vikraman Selvaraja, Policy and Research Advisor

In June 2016, I was invited to attend the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Higher Education Stakeholders Forum in Paris (I was already in Europe at the time for non-CAPA reasons). This forum was organised by the OECD to help guide their research into the effectiveness, efficiency and benefits of higher education systems throughout the developed world. This research project began at the start of 2016, at the request of several member governments of the OECD, and will continue through to the end of 2018. It was very valuable both to them and to CAPA that I was able to attend and contribute my ideas to their research strategy on the big questions they are going to focus on in the next few years.

I particularly highlighted two strands of thinking to the OECD, the first being the need for better data and possibly longitudinal studies on the real benefits of higher education. It is well known that higher education plays both a signalling role in the labour market (i.e. that prospective employers take future employees more seriously if they carry the credentials of a higher education institution) and a human capital formation role. Currently data on the extent of these two contrasting roles that higher education plays is very limited. I suggested to the OECD that longitudinal studies, following pairs of twins who grew up in identical family backgrounds but studied different courses/attended different forms of higher education/did not attend higher education at all, may be the best possible way to understand these contrasting roles of higher education. This suggestion was well received and we look forward to better data being available in the coming years surrounding the true role and benefits of higher education.

I also suggested to the OECD that university leadership is a key unknown parameter in understanding the relationship between inputs (i.e. government expenditure on higher education) and outputs (human capital formation and labour market outcomes e.g. unemployment and wage premium) in the higher education sector. I suggested to the OECD that research should be undertaken on what, if any, key characteristics of successful university leadership may be and if the processes and selection criteria used in administrative promotions in universities could be linked to these key characteristics. I hope that this may lead to a handbook of sorts on how nations may improve their institutional academic autonomy while resulting in better value for money for the taxpayer.

On the whole, the day's meeting was a very good experience for CAPA as an organisation as we were able to signal to the global higher education policy community that we are a serious organisation that is interested in the big questions around higher education. During the course of the meeting I also had several interesting conversations with representatives of the Australian government’s Department of Education where CAPA’s viewpoint on some of the ongoing reviews into the Research Training Scheme (RTS) was able to be put to them directly. This will hopefully result in RTS rules which are more supportive to postgraduate students.
Young Leaders' Study Tour to China

Natasha Abrahams, Media Officer

 
CAPA and NATSIPA office bearers recently had the opportunity to attend a two-week intensive study tour of three Chinese cities. The Australian young leaders' trip, which was sponsored by the Victoria Business Confucius Institute, involved visiting leading businesses in China and meeting with student and staff representatives from Chinese universities.


Above: VBCI Young Leaders' scholarship recipients with dignitaries including Victoria University International Vice-President Steve Berridge, Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins, Director General of Confucius Institute Headquarters Madam Xu Lin, and President of the University of International Business and Economics Professor Shi Jianjun.

This program focused on leadership and entrepreneurship, with activities including meeting with student and staff representatives from Chinese universities, and making connections with leading businesses in China.

The main aims of the program were to build connections between young leaders in China and Australia and to strengthen business and entrepreneurial activities between China and Australia, as well as for Australian young leaders to experience China in order to promote understanding of Chinese culture and opportunities to other Australians.

As a result of the intensive two week program, in which the contingent of student leaders visited Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, CAPA officers have made new international connections. A highlight of the trip was meeting with student leaders at the University of International Business and Economics and the East China University of Politics and Law. These panels allowed us to learn about different styles of leadership, as well as the Chinese cultural context of student unions. CAPA and NATSIPA officers also had the opportunity to share our own knowledge and experience, as we participated in a panel on student leadership that was live-streamed to thousands of viewers.

The CAPA officers in attendance were President Jim Smith, Vice President (National Operations Committee) Joe Lu, Western Branch President Peter Derbyshire, South East Branch President Dylan Styles, and Media Officer Natasha Abrahams; and the NATSIPA officers were President Sadie Heckenberg and Men’s Officer Mike Butler. The CAPA and NATSIPA delegates were joined by several other accomplished student leaders, including former CAPA President Harry Rolf.

The young leaders program was fully paid for by the Victoria Business Confucius Institute, with the exception of visa costs which were borne by CAPA.



Above (L - R): NATSIPA President Sadie Heckenberg, CAPA South East Branch President Dylan Styles, former CAPA President Harry Rolf, program facilitator Catherine Lou, CAPA President Jim Smith, CAPA Western Branch President Peter Derbyshire, CAPA Vice-president (NOC) Joe Lu and CAPA Media Officer Natasha Abrahams.





Above: NATSIPA Men's Officer Mike Butler and NATSIPA President Sadie Heckenberg.
A Note From the General Secretary

Peter Hurley, General Secretary

One of the roles of the General Secretary is to ensure that the organisation is financially healthy. Recently, I have been contacting affiliates regarding payment of affiliation fees. CAPA is a small, student based advocacy organisation. We rely heavily on our affiliation fees in order to continue to function.
 
As a member of an affiliate organisation myself, I understand the desire to ensure that money paid to CAPA is properly used. Since becoming involved with CAPA I have seen the value of the organisation. There is no other body that has the same capacity or authority to represent the 300,000 postgraduate students in Australia. CAPA may be small but the submissions, campaigns, advocacy and lobbying that CAPA undertakes makes it invaluable.

In late November the CAPA Annual General Meeting will be held, at which elections for all office-bearer positions will take place. If you are a postgraduate student at an affiliate organisation, this is your opportunity to represent your fellow students on a national level. CAPA is only as good as the people that get involved. I encourage anyone who is interested to put their name forward so that CAPA can continue to represent the unique needs and interests of postgraduate students around Australia. Because if we don’t, no one else will. 
National Operations Committee Update

Zhao (Joe) Lu, Vice President (NOC)

 
The mission of the National Operations Committee (NOC) is to engage with affiliates on all regional and affiliate specific issues and make recommendations to CAPA Executive on CAPA’s short and long term planning and strategic needs.  

This year, the committee has dedicated itself to improving the communication between Regional Branches and affiliates. An annual contact schedule is being drafted to ensure consistency in affiliate engagement from year to year. The committee is currently in the process of soliciting for feedback from regional affiliates on different aspects that could be improved. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please contact me.
National Day of Action- Student Protest

Dylan Styles, South East Branch President

 
CAPA endorses the NUS National Day of Action. This is a rally to support students and say no to the government's increased cuts to education and no to deregulation of fees. No student should have to face the crippling debt of $100,000 degrees; especially postgraduates who contribute much to our nation's skills and research output. Attending the rally is an opportunity to advocate for yourself and your peers for the future of education in Australia.

Victorian postgraduates are invited to join the CAPA South East Branch contingent, headed by President Jim Smith and South East Branch President Dylan Styles.

Date: Wednesday 24th of August
Time: 2pm onwards
Where: Victoria State Library
Join the Campaign to Support Marriage Equality
 
Has your student association joined the national campaign to support marriage equality? CAPA Queer Officer Vibol Hy is coordinating the efforts of postgraduate associations to sign on the Australian Marriage Equality Campaign.

Several student associations, including Victoria University Postgraduate Association and Monash Postgraduate Association, have already lent their support. Joining is simple- it's as easy as sending a letter of support to the campaign organisers and providing some additional information about your student association.


Above: CAPA Queer Officer Vibol Hy and CAPA South East Branch President Dylan Styles at a rally for marriage equality.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association Update
 
Sadie Heckenberg, NATSIPA President

NATSIPA Indigenous Students Conference
 
NATSIPA is very excited to announce a firm date for our 2016 Indigenous Students Conference on Indigenous Postgrad Leadership, Collaboration, Research & Diversity. The Conference will be held on the 27th and 28th of October in Brisbane at Griffith University’s Logan Campus. A huge thank you to GUPSA who will be hosting NATSIPA for this important event.
 
The NATSIPA Conference will feature some of the most influential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics today and we feel incredibly privileged to provide such an environment of learning and collaboration for our students. NATSIPA Executive will be providing scholarships to students facing financial hardship and will be working with CAPA affiliates across the country to enable as many Indigenous postgraduate students to attend as possible.
 
For registration forms or further information please contact me
 
Registration Cost: Free
 

 
A Message from the NATSIPA President
 
Happy August everyone! It is so hard to believe we are now in the second half of our 2016 academic year and that much closer to completing our studies.
 
This year as NATSIPA President has been truly amazing so far. We at NATSIPA are striving to make sure that our organisation continues to have a strong voice for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander postgraduate students and grow our membership base. As President I have been very privileged to present at multiple conferences this year and speaking at the Office and Learning and Teaching’s 2016 Conference was a highlight of mine. The OLT was vital to us in higher education and we will continue to feel their loss for a long time to come. 
 
I would love to thank CAPA for their invitation to apply for the Victoria Business Confucius Institute Young Leadership Program. NATSIPA Men’s Officer Mike Butler and myself were successful applicants and were so privileged to be a part of such an amazing cultural and educational exchange. Personally I would like to thank 2015 CAPA President Harry Rolf and former CAPA South Eastern Secretary Catherine Lu who put this program into place. I learnt so much on this trip, made fantastic friends and shall take my new knowledge and Chinese educational connections with me throughout the rest of my PhD candidature.


Above: NATSIPA Men's Officer Mike Butler and NATSIPA President Sadie Heckenberg at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.


Above: The Young Leaders' delegation in Beijing.

 
What’s Coming up for NATSIPA
 
This September, CAPA President Jim Smith and myself will be presenting at the Student Voice in University Decision Making Symposium and Workshops at the University of Technology Sydney on 5 and 6 September. For those in Sydney, this symposium may be the perfect platform in which to attend and voice how we as students are truly represented within our Universities. For those in Melbourne, I hope to see you at the Swinburne University Transforming Learning Conference on 13 and 14 September.
 
Late September will see NATSIPA’s Vice-President Vicki-Ann Speechley-Golden and myself attending the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) Annual General Meeting at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, in Ōtaki, New Zealand. Continuing links with WINHEC and their World Indigenous Nations University is vital to NATSIPA and our First Nations connections. Though funding for this attendance is covered by our Office Bearers personally we still represent our orgnaisation and people proudly.
 
For those in Indigenous Education please also be aware that abstracts close this month for the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPC:E).
 
Staying in touch with CAPA
 
Keep updated on our latest news and activities at CAPA by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter.
Copyright © 2016 Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, All rights reserved.


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