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Developing Future Public Sector Leaders – International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

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August 9th is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, a day to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous populations. Last June, examples from schools across Australia, Canada and New Zealand and the work that they are doing to engage Indigenous students and promote Indigenous businesses were featured on the Prime Time Blog, including an Aboriginal EMBA at Beedie School of Business, a programme to support Indigenous Entrepreneurs at Gustavson School of Business, the Indigenous Programmes Unit at University of New South Wales, contextualizing the MBA with an Indigenous focus at the University of Waikato, promoting accounting as a career choice with Indigenous students at Deaken University and mentoring a new generation of Indigenous leaders at University of Wollongong. The Primetime blog is connected to the Principles of Responsible Management and Education and aims to share best practices on how to mainstream sustainability and responsible leadership into management education globally. The blog serves as a platform to share and discuss inspirational activities that promote the development of responsible leaders.

Recently, they featured La Trobe Business School’s innovative programme focused on developing future Indigenous business leaders in the Public sector. Gisselle Weybrecht spoke with Dr Suzanne Young Head of Department of Management and Marketing and Dr Geraldine Kennett, Professor of Practice, Department of Management & Marketing about their new programme.

 What is the programme for public servants?

La Trobe Business School developed a new Graduate Certificate in Management (Public Sector) in partnership with the Institute of Public Administration of Australia (IPAA), and in consultation with the IPAA Indigenous Advisory Committee. Initially enrolling 32 Indigenous public servants, the course has now expanded to be a combination of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous public sector professionals learning together. The course takes 1.5 years full-time or 2 years part time.

This innovative course uses a partnership approach; the participants study leadership, entrepreneurial business planning, financial management and accounting with the University and public policy making with the Institute of Public Administration of Australia.  The students develop a plan for an entrepreneurial business or policy idea in their first subject and then build on this plan in subsequent subjects, cumulating in ‘A Pitch’ to senior public sector leaders.  This practical form of assessment builds their confidence to get strategic buy-in for their business and/or policy ideas. Many of the students have used their new learning and skills to achieve higher level positions in the public sector. Four students are also continuing their studies with the La Trobe University MBA programme in 2016.

As academics we have gained knowledge about Indigenous culture and how to integrate social identity into learning styles which has enabled us to develop supportive pedagogy for teaching.  Our course ensures that the learning outcomes support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the capacity to straddle their leadership obligations in the workplace as well as in the Indigenous community.

 How did it come about?

In 2010 the Australian government highlighted the social, political and economic gap between Indigenous Australians and the rest of the community. The Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (2012) argues that improving higher education outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will contribute to nation building and reduce Indigenous disadvantage.

The need for a postgraduate qualification for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Servants was highlighted as important in a study IPAA Victoria commissioned with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The study highlighted the barriers to, and enablers of, career advancement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders employed in the public sector including the need for professional development opportunities. Indigenous public servants experience a higher turnover rate than their non-indigenous peers. The 2012-13 Australian Public Service State of the Sector report found that 20.5% of indigenous employees left the APS after less than one year  — almost four times the rate of non-indigenous employees (5.9%). This is another part the challenge this programme aims to tackle.

IPAA approached La Trobe Business School to develop and conduct a post graduate course due to its expertise in providing higher education for Aboriginal people, its status as the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) Champion Business school in Australia and the ability for regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Servants to continue their higher education at La Trobe University’s regional campuses across our region.

 What have been some of the successes?

From the feedback loop it is clear that the project produces measurable impact for Indigenous peoples (including students and community), La Trobe University (including staff), IPAA, and the higher education sector.

Achievements to date include:

  • Initial enrolment of 32 students into the course
  • Strong retention rate with 22 students continuing into their 3rd subject
  • Employers contributing to student fees
  • Orientation programme and guidelines for delivery of Indigenous education
  • Second cohort of programme began in late 2015 consisting of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students
  • Students’ management skills enhanced in entrepreneurship and innovation, accounting and leadership
  • Students’ leadership skills enhanced in communication and team work
  • Peer and collaborative learning enhancing cross cultural learning between students and staff and in the future between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students.
  • Four students progressing through to enrolment in the MBA

 

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students it provides an educational experience and improved educational outcomes and opportunities for employment and career advancement. A specific Indigenous course enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to bring their culture and identity into the learning experience, thereby making the teaching relevant for their needs. Also for Indigenous communities, it supports economic development, assists in closing the gap and provides mechanisms for breaking the cycle of Indigenous disadvantage.

Do you have any advice for schools thinking of doing something similar?

It is important to develop and work in partnerships with those organisations and people in the community who are legitimately recognised with expertise by Indigenous peoples. It is also important to have orientation programs for teaching staff in Indigenous culture and nurturing this in the teaching environment. Flexibility of approach, and assessments that are meaningful and authentic to the Indigenous students are also important.

What are the next Steps for La Trobe Business School in this area?

The course is now open for non-indigenous students as well to provide a culturally safe learning environment for students to be able to learn together. This enhances the learning of non-indigenous students who are all practising public servant professionals and so builds their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the importance of culturally safe practices.  This also provides an environment where cross cultural knowledge is exchanged and others’ perspectives are more fully understood.

 

This article was originally published, here.

 

 

 

 

Can Economics Improve People’s Wellbeing?

jan Libich La Trobe Business

jan Libich La Trobe BusinessLBS economist Jan Libich has a mission. He has been determined to show that economics, often referred to as the dismal science, can be very useful in helping us improve our lives. His newly published book ‘Real-World Economic Policy: Insights from Leading Australian Economists’ is a culmination of his effort so far. It bridges the gap between academic economists, policymakers, students and the general public by exploring how influential economists – including four former central bank Governors/Board members, an ACCC Commissioner, and a current member of the federal parliament and Shadow Minister – use economic research to develop and evaluate policy.

When asked what constitutes this gap between economists and the general public, Jan Libich’s passion for economics shows: “Economics is often portrayed as divorced from the real world; it is criticized for being about boring curve-shifting, equations and heartless definitions. The book attempts to show that such image is not accurate, that economics can help people and policymakers to make better decisions and thus improve their prosperity.”

Real-World Economic Policy: Insights from Leading Australian Economists is based on a series of one-hour video-interviews the author recorded from 2011–2014 , aiming to help the reader identify welfare-improving policies in areas including healthcare, education, retirement financing, monetary and fiscal policies, banking regulation and climate change. Libich explains: “We all make hundreds of decisions every day. Economics attempts to understand how we make them, and whether we can perhaps improve on our decision making to achieve our goals (whatever they may be: economics does not prescribe that money is all we should care about). The same is true at the country level, whereby the quality of public policies can have a major impact on people’s wellbeing.”

In Jan Libich’s eyes, research in economics has been getting more mathematical over time to enable a more rigorous and objective examination of the economy: “It is about discipline, it is easier to see a flaw in logic when one has to clearly state all the assumptions rather than just use verbal arguments. Together with improvements in computing power this enabled exploration of more complicated models and environments.”

However, these developments have also created a gap between what academic research can teach us and what policymakers in government and the general public can understand. “To me, this implies that academic economists need to pay more attention to communicating their findings and recommendations in an understandable and convincing fashion. And to be honest, we have not done that as well as we should have,” Libich says. “My book is a humble attempt in this direction.”

More information on ‘Real-World Economic Policy: Insights from Leading Australian Economists’ can be obtained here.

ISBN: 9780170364386, Published by Cengage Learning Australia, Pub Date: November 2015, © 2016

Gallery Gala Evening, hosted by La Trobe Bendigo and The OTIS Foundation

Otis Gallery La Trobe Business School

Third year La Trobe Bachelor of Business (Event Management and Marketing) students have joined forces with The OTIS Foundation to host a Gallery Gala Evening on Thursday 15th of October 2015.

Abstract

This Gallery Gala Evening event will mark the commencement of what is anticipated to be a long term relationship between La Trobe Bendigo and The OTIS Foundation. This relationship will provide students with the opportunity to work within their chosen industry, whilst supporting a great cause.  The team comprising third year La Trobe Bachelor of Business (Event Management and Marketing) students Grace Jeffrey, Steph Mika, Lauren Nesbit and Isabella Welton made the successful bid to hold the event for The OTIS Foundation.

The Gallery Gala Evening to be held at the Bendigo Art Gallery Cafe is expected to attract over 250 young professionals and business leaders. The evening will provide networking opportunities within the Bendigo business community.

The OTIS Foundation is a charity organisation that supports individuals with breast cancer.  Its aim is to reduce the psychological impact on people living with breast cancer, and their families and communities, through the provision of a national network of quality retreats provided at no accommodation cost.

Throughout the evening attendees have the opportunity to network, watch the creation of an artwork for sale on the night, enjoy live music and win some fantastic auction prizes or try their luck in our raffle, with all funds raised on the night going directly to The OTIS Foundation. Tickets are $50 per person and include canapés and refreshments. Just buying a ticket helps provide an overnight ‘stay’ for a guest living with breast cancer at an OTIS retreat.

The flyer for the event can be accessed, here.

Date: 15 October 2015

Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm

Venue: Bendigo Art Gallery, Gallery Cafe, 42 View Street, Bendigo, VIC 3550.

RSVP: Tickets can be purchased via this link.

 

 

‘A Leg up to Well-Being’: Hannah MacDougall runner up in La Trobe’s 3MT competition!

In the 2015 finals of La Trobe’s 3MT competition, Hannah MacDougall presented her PhD research as one of the finalists, and did exceptionally well in finishing as runner up. Hannah is undertaking her PhD in Sport Management in the Department of Management and Marketing in LBS, and is supervised by Dr Emma Sherry, Professor Nora Shields and Dr Paul O’Halloran.

Hannah’s PhD, which she is currently completing by publication, focuses on the topic of Athlete Well-Being. The first stage of her PhD was a systematic review that compared the well-being of Australian Para and Olympic Sport athletes. Meta-analyses revealed that Para athletes, compared with Olympic sport athletes, had lower levels of self-acceptance, indicated by athletic identity, and body-image perceptions, and differed from Olympic sport athletes in terms of their motivation, indicated by a greater mastery-oriented climate. The review also indicated a need to establish the well-being of Para and Olympic sport athletes using valid and reliable measures of well-being, as well as determine what well-being means in the Para sport context.

The second stage of Hannah‘s PhD investigated the well-being needs and strengths of Para athletes in a global and sport-specific context.  The qualitative study found that the well-being needs and strengths of Para athletes differed across gender, sport, level of competition, and nature of impairment. Well-being needs were an interaction between physical pain, emotional regulation, lacking purpose outside of sport, and a lack of self-acceptance, especially for athletes with acquired impairments. Well-being strengths were perceived to increase as athletes increased their level of competition, and included personal growth, optimism, strong social support networks, and contributing to multiple communities.

The third stage will establish the well-being levels of Para and Olympic Sport athletes, and determine if there are any significant differences between these two groups as well as significant differences between congenital and acquired Para athletes. The quantitative study was conducted through an online survey and had 309 participants. Hannah is currently in the process of analysing her data.

The fourth and final stage of her PhD will be a targeted well-being RCT for Para athletes. The RCT will be 8 x 1hr individual face-to-face sessions and focus on training attentional focus and strengthening the brain muscle of athletes. The RCT will be conducted from November 2015 – February 2016. Watch her three-minute pitch of this thesis above.

The La Trobe 3MT final was held on the 2nd of September in the John Scott Meeting House and saw 8 finalists battle it out for the right to represent La Trobe at the 3MT Tran-Tasman final held in October in Queensland. The level of competition between candidates saw extremely high quality presentations and topics range from vocal health for Aussie Basketball coaches to ‘Avoiding Robots’. With great prizes up for grabs, the people’s choice and overall winner of the La Trobe 3MT thesis went to Jen Wiltshire with her presentation on ‘Why I love dirt’.

3MT® is a research-communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ). The exercise challenges PhD candidates to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. 3MT® develops academic, presentation, and research-communication skills and supports the development of research students’ capacity to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

La Trobe Business School would like to congratulate Hannah for her great presentation in the 3MT finals!

Emma Sherry Hannah MacDougall 3MT Finalist from La Trobe Business School a leg up to well-being

Hannah MacDougall 3MT Finalist from La Trobe Business School a leg up to well-being

 

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