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LBS alumni Kate Davenport at La Trobe University: “No working day is the same.”

LBS alumna Kate Davenport

La Trobe Business School alumni Kate Davenport recently started working as a Consultant in Leadership and Capability (Organisational Development) at La Trobe University’s Human Resources department in Bundoora.

After having graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor in Accounting for La Trobe Business School at La Trobe University’s Albury Wodonga campus, Kate went on to take part in La Trobe University’s Graduate Development Program. Through the program, graduates have the opportunity to work in three different departments of the university over twelve months, allowing them to develop a deep understanding of the operations of several teams and how these teams intersect working on different projects as well as developing transferable skills they can use throughout their careers.

Kate completed three rotations of four months, each time working in a different department of the university: one the marketing department, one in the College of Science, Health and Engineering, as well as one in the Tertiary Enabling Program, all based in Albury-Wodonga.

“Out of all rotations, I think I enjoyed the one in the Tertiary Enabling Program the most,” she says. “Through this program, I assisted students with their studies and the transition to University– either via email or face-to-face, assisted lecturers with their classes and provided input into the curriculum. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to watch the students grow and develop while participating in the program. I also learnt to communicate better, and understand the different kinds of communication that stakeholders require.”

Kate also mentions how she refined a lot of transferable skills throughout the graduation program: “During the program, I really developed a strong knowledge of the different areas and departments within the university. I also worked on a regional campus before coming to Bundoora. I believe that this was a big advantage, since it allows me to really bring a regional perspective to the table, and make sure the needs of staff in regional areas are taken into account. The program also gave me the opportunity to participate in development sessions and paired me with a mentor to further enable my professional development.”

Throughout her degree, Kate worked at an accounting firm at Albury-Wodonga, working in self-managed superannuation funds: “I really enjoyed the work, but it would sometimes start to feel monotonous,” she comments. “At La Trobe, I enjoy the variety of my current position. I work on a range of different projects and not a single day is the same, which is something I thoroughly enjoy.”

TEN TAX TIPS FOR STUDENTS? [1]

Mark Morris La Trobe Business School Professor of Practice

By Mark Morris

Few student welcome the prospect of preparing and lodging an income tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (the ATO).

However, where the income tax deducted from a student’s job exceeds the total income tax payable for the tax year the only way in which a student can obtain a refund of overpaid tax is by lodging an income tax return.

Of course, other students will be legally required to lodge a return and pay tax where insufficient income tax been retained from their salary, or where they derive other categories of assessable income on which they owe tax.

We have developed ten tax tips to help you decide whether you need to lodge an income return for the year ended 30 June 2017, and how to prepare a return if you have too.

1. Are you an Australian tax resident?

The first step is to work out if you are an Australian resident for Australian income tax purposes.

If you were born in Australia and continue to live here, you will be regarded as an Australian resident for income tax purposes as this is the country in which you reside.

However, it is important for international students to recognise that being a resident for Australian tax purposes is quite different to being a permanent resident for Australian immigration purposes, and that they may sometimes unknowingly be an Australian tax resident.

Very broadly, an international student may be regarded as residing in Australia if they are here for such a period of time that their behavior reflects a degree of continuity, routine or habit that is consistent with residing in Australia.

Whilst it is a question of fact in each case as a broad rule of thumb the ATO takes the view that living in Australia for six months is a period of time which is generally consistent with a person residing here for tax purposes.

For example, in one of the ATO’s binding public taxation rulings it held that an overseas student who came to Australia to attend a pre-arranged 4-year university course was an Australian resident even though he left after 6 months to return to his home country following a family illness as his living and working arrangements whilst in Australia were consistent with someone whose pattern of behavior was that they resided in Australia[2].

Accordingly, if you are unsure whether you are an Australian resident for income tax purposes you should contact the ATO or a registered tax agent to obtain more clarity as to whether or not you are an Australian resident in working out your tax rights and obligations.

2. What happens if you are an Australian tax resident?

Assuming you are regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes what are some of the key tax implications you need to consider.

On the plus side you will be entitled to a tax free threshold which will mean that you do not pay any income tax for the year ended 30 June 2017 if your total taxable income was $18,200 or less.

Accordingly, if you worked part time and derived salary income from which income tax was deducted by your employer you will be able to obtain a tax refund of any Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax retained from your salary income if your total taxable income was $18,200 or less.

In practice, most individual resident taxpayers will also usually be entitled to a tax credit being the low income tax offset which means that no tax will typically be payable if that person’s taxable income is below $20,542. However, the amount of this this tax offset reduces tax payable but is not in itself refundable.

On the negative side you will be subject to tax on all your assessable income for the year ended 30 June 2017 regardless of where it was sourced. For example, an overseas student would need to include both their Australian salary income and any interest income earned in a bank account held in their home country.

In addition, Australian residents are subject to a 2% Medicare levy but only where their taxable income exceed certain thresholds.

By contrast a non-resident is only taxable on assessable income which has an Australian source being generally locally derived investment income. However, such income will be subject to tax at a rate of 32.5% for any taxable income derived up to $87,000 as there is no tax-free threshold for non-resident individuals.

3. What do I need if I want to lodge a return for the 2017 year?

Most students who have been employed would have already been issued a tax file number which is a prerequisite for every individual lodging an income tax return.

If for some reason you are lodging a return but do not have a tax file number you will need to apply for one from the ATO either directly or by using a registered tax agent.

You should then collate all the records and information you will need to prepare you income tax return including, amongst others, any payment summary, bank interest statements, dividend slips, invoices and receipts.

Assuming you have a tax file number you may consider preparing and lodging your income tax return on-line using the ATO’s myTax product if your tax affairs are reasonably simple. Further details on myTax can be found here.

Otherwise it may be prudent to contact a registered tax agent to ensure you identify all your entitlements and to ensure that your income tax return is correctly prepared.

Regardless of how you lodge your return you will need to disclose full bank account details when preparing your income tax return if you expect to receive a tax refund.

4. What types of income need to be included in your return?

As discussed, as an Australian resident you will be taxed on all of your assessable income wherever it is derived.

Some of the more common types of assessable income include the following:

  • Salary and wages (whether as a full-time, part-time or casual employee);
  • Allowances and bonuses (where received during the 2017 income year);
  • Tips and gratuities (such as those received working in hospitality jobs);
  • Fees received as an independent contractor under a contract for service;
  • Any business income derived during the year (not being income derived from carrying on a hobby);
  • Australian government payments and allowances including, amongst others, Newstart allowance, youth allowance, AuStudy payments and certain other educational and training allowances;
  • Interest income;
  • Dividend income (including the amount of any franking credit tax offset for any franking credit attached to a dividend paid by an Australian resident company);
  • Any distributions received as a beneficiary from a family trust or as a partner in a partnership; and
  • Capital gains arising from the disposal of certain CGT assets (which is a highly complex area requiring specialist expertise).

The total of such assessable income may be reduced by eligible deductions which may take the form of work-related deductions, self-education expenses in certain circumstances and personal deductions.

5. What type of work-related deductions can you claim?

You may be entitled to claim a deduction for expenses directly incurred in the course of gaining or producing your assessable income. However, you will not be able to claim an outright deduction which is capital in nature although you may be able depreciate certain capital assets like a computer over time for tax purposes where it has been used for the purpose of gaining or producing assessable income. In addition, you will not be entitled to claim a deduction for expenditure which is private in nature such as the cost of conventional clothing (e.g. suits) purchased for work purposes.

Some of the more common types of deductions you may be able to claim are as follows:

  • Work-related subscription and union fees;
  • Protective clothing and certain work uniforms (including compulsory work uniforms required by your employer);
  • Home office expenses (where you are required to work at home after hours and have a separate room allocated in your home study for that purpose);
  • Employment related telephone mobile and internet costs; and
  • Travel expenses between worksites (but excluding travel between home and work)).

You may also be entitled to claim a deduction for the cost of tools of trade, briefcases and calculators costing less than $300 to the extent to which you use it for work-related purposes.

However, you will only generally be able to claim any work related expenses costing $300 or more if you have retained all the relevant invoices and receipts.

6. When are self-education costs allowable?

Broadly, self-education expenses are only deductible to the extent that the course of study undertaken will either maintain or improve your skills in your current occupation.

Accordingly, you will not be entitled to claim the costs of your course if you’ve not yet embarked on a particular career. Nor will you be able to claim such costs if you have decided to change careers and have incurred such expenses in studying a new area of expertise.

However, you will be able to claim a deduction for self-education expenses where the study or training you are undertaking is likely to enhance your chances of promotion or increase your income earning capacity in your existing occupation.

Further details as to when self-education expenses are allowable or not are set out in Taxation Ruling TR98/9 which can be downloaded here.

Eligible self-education costs include, amongst others, course fees, textbooks, stationary, travel costs and the depreciation of items such as laptops, tablets and printers. However, it is necessary to add back $250 of any self-education expenses as being non-allowable.

Finally, any Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayments are non-deductible.

7. What other personal deductions may be allowable?

Donations of $ 2 dollars or more to a deductible gift recipient (e.g. a charity like the Red Cross) will be allowable provided you have kept copies of receipts for any gifts made.

You can also claim a deduction for any fee paid to a registered tax agent during the year ended 30 June 2017 for the cost of managing your tax affairs. However, any amount paid to a registered tax agent to assist you in in preparing your 2017 income tax return will only be deductible in the year ended 30 June 2018.

8. What tax offsets can you claim?

Whilst tax deductions may reduce assessable income tax offsets are directly applied as a credit to reduce tax payable.

Certain tax offsets may also result in a refund to the extent that the tax credit exceeds tax payable.

The most common tax offsets that a student may claim include the beneficiary tax offset, the franking credit tax offset and the small business tax offset.

A beneficiary tax offset may be available where a student receives a Newstart allowance, youth allowance, Austudy payments and certain other Commonwealth education or training programs.

The calculation of this offset can be complex but this offset may not only reduce tax payable on the amount of Government benefits received but also assessable income received from other sources.

Further details on the beneficiary tax offset can be found here.

A resident company may pass on a tax credit for tax it has paid to shareholders when it pays such shareholders a franked dividend. Such a tax credit can be claimed as a franking credit tax offset which may also result in a tax refund where the franking credit exceeds tax payable.

Finally, where a student is also carrying on a business that individual may be entitled to the small business income tax offset for the year ended 30 June 2017 being 8% of the income tax payable on the portion of an individual’s taxable income that is ‘total net small business income’ provided the aggregated turnover of the business is less than $5million.

However, an individual is only able to claim one small business tax offset for an income year irrespective of the number of sources of small business income derived by that individual and the maximum amount of the offset is capped to $1,000 per year. The application of this offset is also quite complex and specialist advice should be sought if you intend to claim it.

9. What are some of the potential traps to watch out for?

There are special rules to discourage adults from splitting income with their children (i.e. minors) aged under 18 at the end of the year unless that minor is engaged in a full-time occupation, receives a carer allowance, disability support pension or double orphan pension or a person who is disabled or a beneficiary under a special disability trust.

Where the minor is subject to these special rules, penalty tax rates apply to such children receiving dividends, interest, rent, royalties or a family trust distribution.

Where such income is between $417 and $1,307 tax will be paid on the excess of income over $416 at a rate of 68% whilst any amount of such income in excess of $1,307 will be subject to tax at a rate of 47%.

10. Where do I go for help?

If you believe that you required to lodge an income tax return or that you may wish to lodge a return in order to obtain your tax refund, you may wish to either contact the ATO or look at their website for more details at www.ato.gov.au

Should you want to get independent tax advice then try to locate an accountant who has the tax expertise to makes sure you lodge a correct income tax return but make sure that the accountant is also a registered tax agent who has been legally authorised to provide such services.

And if you are entitled to a tax refund go get what is yours!

[1] Latrobe University has used reasonable care and skill in compiling the content of this general commentary. However, it should not be relied upon as advice in any circumstances, and no warranty is provided by either the University or the author concerning the accuracy and completeness of these materials. Accordingly, they disclaim all and any liability to any person in respect of reliance on any of the matters raised in these materials, and professional advice should be sought from an appropriately qualified registered tax agent where required.

[2] Refer to Example 8 of Taxation Ruling TR98/17.

How our expanded City Campus helps you succeed

By Kelly Griffin

Our expanded City Campus offers you greater learning opportunities and access to our premium concierge and Career-Ready Advantage services.

Located in the heart of Melbourne’s Central Business District, our updated state-of-the-art facilities and services are tailored to help you accelerate your career.

Location, location & flexible study options

Our City Campus is conveniently located on Collins Street to meet the needs of busy, working professionals. As many of our City Campus courses offer study options outside regular working hours, you can fit your study around full-time or part-time work without having to leave the CBD.

Flexible study options in the city centre are just one way our City Campus helps you succeed.

New teaching and learning spaces

In addition to occupying level 20 of the prestigious 360 Collins Street building, our City Campus now extends over levels 2 and 3 to offer you a variety of new and innovative teaching and collaborative learning spaces.

Premium Concierge & support services

At our City Campus, our dedicated Concierge team will be your first touchpoint for all postgraduate student enquiries.

Our Ask La Trobe team will now be available at the City Campus to answer questions about study and student life face to face.

These dedicated support services reflect the University’s commitment to ensuring our students receive the assistance they need in a timely manner.

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Greater course options

We’ve increased our City Campus postgraduate program offerings to meet the demands of business professionals. Choose from our comprehensive suite of Master’s programs including the award-winning La Trobe MBA.

Many courses are available for intensive ‘block mode’ study as well as options for study outside normal working hours.

Career Ready Advantage

As part of Career Ready Advantage, there will be support opportunities and workshops at the city campus for all students during the year. Career Ready Advantage is a program that helps you build your skills, manage your career, track and assess your progress, unlock rewards and build your portfolio, so that when you complete your course, you’re ready to hit the ground running.

To find out more about how our City Campus can off you the flexibility you need to accelerate your career, register for a one-on-one consultation and speak with one of our postgraduate course specialists.

This post was orginally published on the La Trobe University Knowledge Blog.

 

Regional brain drain worsens

An Australian-first study has revealed regional students across every state and territory are turning to metropolitan universities at an unprecedented rate.

The new study, funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) at Curtin University, and led by La Trobe University researchers, LBS’s Dr Buly Cardak and Matt Brett and Dr Mark Bowden of Swinburne University, shows the number of regional students across Australia moving to a city location to study increased by more than 76% between 2008 and 2014.

“We found the growth in regional students relocating to metropolitan universities far outstrips growth of regional students taking up higher education places in either their home town or another regional location. However, regional students studying in regional locations are still a majority, and are attracted to a small number of larger regional centres,” La Trobe Business School’s Associate Professor Buly Cardak said.

“This growth was particularly strong with more flexible modes of study. We found mature aged students, students with disabilities, or those wanting to study part-time are increasingly turning to city campuses.”

The researchers used enrollment data drawn from the Department of Education and Training from 2008-2014 which uniquely classifies students as regional based on their residential location when they started university.

“Previous information only accounted for students’ current home addresses. Using this new information we can see that the number of regional students enrolling in university has grown by almost 39% over this period.”

“This is in stark comparison to the conventional wisdom based on existing data, which shows the growth rate in regional student numbers is slightly lower than the rate of growth in metropolitan student numbers”

The report also indicated that regional students likely to face financial constraints are no less likely to attend university, and are instead displaying a greater likelihood of graduation.

“Our findings turn a lot of commonly held perceptions about regional students on their head, and is likely to have significant implications for the sector.”

“For example, how might the Government prioritise funding allocations, now that we know an increasing number of regional students are instead choosing metropolitan campuses? Do they invest more in the city, providing infrastructure and support for migrating students or do they increase incentives for students to stay in or return to regional locations where skilled graduates are in short supply?”

NCSEHE Director Professor Sue Trinidad said the report offers a new perspective on regional participation and paves the way for future discussion and policy advancements.

“The findings of this report are positive. It provides an evidence base for what is really happening with regional students accessing higher education. The issue now is the challenge of attracting graduates back to our regional areas, and the associated policy implications,” Professor Trinidad said.

The report, Regional student Participation and Migration, is available from the NCSEHE website.

Editor’s note:

The NCSEHE aims to inform public policy design and implementation and institutional practice to improve the higher education participation and success for marginalised and disadvantaged people.

La Trobe University is Victoria’s third oldest University. Established in 1971 it is now firmly entrenched in the world’s top 400 universities. It currently has more than 36,000 students and is the largest provider of higher education in regional Victoria.

 

La Trobe Business School Sport Management student Rebecca Privitelli ready to tackle on and off-field career

La Trobe Business School Sport Management student, Rebecca Privitelli, is rising to prominence throughout Melbourne’s Northern suburbs by cashing in on a huge month in women’s sport.

The 21 year old will be competing in the inaugural AFLW competition in 2017, after being selected by Carlton with pick 142 in the national draft on October 12th this year.

She rounded out her exciting month by being named the first ever head coach of the Northern Knights Football Club women’s team on October 21st.

During this busy period Privitelli still found the time to continue her studies and complete her 120 hours placement at Ikon Park through La Trobe’s partnership with the Carlton Football club.

Speaking to La Trobe Sport earlier this year, Privitelli said growing up ‘she always had a passion for the sport’.

“My biggest dream was to become one of the first women to play in the AFL,” she said. “My love for the sport developed as I started playing and coaching, however I felt like there was an aspect of the game I was yet to be involved in.”

For Privitelli, this turned out to be working in the code she loved and getting vital exposure to the sport industry through her internship at Carlton.

Privitelli gets active during placement.

“Once I completed high school, I received my first job in football which primarily focused on development of the game at the grassroots level.  It was through this opportunity that I realised that a degree in Sports Management was a way I could transform my passion for AFL into a career in the industry.”

Choosing where to complete that Sports Management degree was not a decision Privitelli took lightly, hoping to balance her busy lifestyle while maximising her opportunities to become career-ready post degree.

“La Trobe stood out to me as the clear choice as they had the most extensive options for Sports Management.  The university also appealed to me as they were able to support my commitments as a footballer through the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program.”

“As I neared the end of my second year at La Trobe, placement options were at the forefront of my mind and when I was given the chance to undertake my placement at the Carlton Football Club I knew it was the moment I had been waiting for.”

“I was lucky to be offered a role at the club as a Community Outreach Officer along with nine other La Trobe students.”

The students’ responsibilities as Community Outreach Officers included being responsible for creating authentic experiences for fans and creating a sense of belonging for the community by delivering the Community and Diversity programs.

Privitelli (front left) with fellow students, Carlton Staff and Sport Management co-ordinator Pam Kappelides at Ikon Park.

“I’ve had the opportunity to assist a range of people both internal and external to the club, building my network of industry professionals in the process.”

This network includes students and teachers within the Northern corridor, people within communities from different cultural backgrounds and people involved in the women’s AFL academy.”

Privitelli feels that the experience gained throughout the internship, along with the knowledge gained from her degree has equipped her to to start a successful career in the sport industry.

“The experience gained throughout my placement has significantly enhanced my communication and leadership skills.”

“Everything I have learnt throughout my placement in conjunction with the knowledge gained from my degree at La Trobe University leaves me feeling like I can enter the workforce with confidence.”

“I can now complete my degree with the belief that I am well positioned to tackle any challenge that comes my way.”

This article was originally published on the La Trobe University internships blog.

Hanoi: Values, Ethics and Diversity

By Catherine Ordway

I was visiting the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) yesterday for a meeting, and I was struck by the beauty of the sculpture (pictured above). The female paralympic basketballer is reaching for the ball – and the clear blue Canberra sky. I reflected on what “diversity” now means for organisations, and how that might translate into workplace practices for the students I am about to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam later this week.

I am teaching the subject “Values, Ethics and Diversity in Organisations” as part of the Master of Management. This subject is: “designed to develop students’ critical thinking and research skills to contribute to an informed analysis of the role of values, ethics and diversity in contemporary organisations. Through the use of ethical theories, the subject aims to develop students’ abilities to re- frame organisational practices and to include ethical considerations in organisational decision-making. The concept of workplace diversity is introduced and evaluated in Australian and global contexts. Frameworks and tools for managing business ethics and diversity are introduced and critically evaluated. The subject is designed to meet principles 1-4 of the PRME principles.”

The United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative of the UN Global Compact seeks to inspire and champion responsible management education, research, and thought leadership globally. As set out in La Trobe’s most recent UNPRME report, I am pleased to be one of the: “11 Professors of Practice with significant and ongoing industry experience to ensure our teaching and curriculum keep step with industry practice.

The Professor of Practice title also seeks to highlight what industry can contribute to academia and while many Australian business schools offer industry experts positions as casual or adjunct staff, La Trobe is the first university in Australia to formally employ them and integrate them into the day-to-day operations of the school. The Professors of Practice contribute practical advice and industry networks and connections to our students, while improving curriculum design by ensuring it is relevant and up-to-date with industry standards and trends. As well as contributing to research and teaching, our Professors of Practice facilitate meaningful engagement with leaders in business, government policy making and the not-for-profit sector”.

The cooperation with Hanoi University is a very exciting initiative, and am very happy to be a part of it.

Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh receives SOTL grant

Recently, LBS lecturer Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh was awarded a grant from the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) fund.

La Trobe University is committed to ensuring high quality learning experiences for students and a culture that recognises and rewards great teaching. Pedagogical practices that enhance the student learning experience are strongly valued. La Trobe Learning and Teaching (LTLT) the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Fund scholarships were created to support these evidence-based practices.

The SOTL Fund consists of a pool of funds supporting:

  • Category A: grants up to $100,000: Projects that will result in significant change across La Trobe and address one of more of the University’s strategic targets in student retention, success, satisfaction and graduate outcomes.
  • Category B: grants of up to $20,000: Proof of concept that could lead to a larger, more significant project; or a small project that will address one or more of the University’s strategic targets in students retention, success, satisfaction and graduate outcomes, within a School or College.
  • Professional development grants: Funding will only be allocated to teaching focussed staff for professional development opportunities. Applicants can apply for up to $3,000.

Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh’s project is titled ‘Undergraduate International Students Engagement Experiences in a Blended Learning Environment: An Exploratory Study at La Trobe University’. It was selected among large number of applications and is awarded the Category B grant for $20,000.

ASSC Professional Staff Awards-LBS success

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On 12 December 2016, ASSC presented its professional staff awards in a ceremony held at La Trobe University’s Melbourne Campus.

These awards recognise the contributions of individual university professional staff members or teams of co-workers in the College, who have excelled in the performance of their duties, made outstanding contributions and inspired other members of the College community.

Across all categories, the university looks for nominations that demonstrate La Trobe’s cultural qualities of connected, innovative, accountable and care.

This year, several LBS staff members were nominated or awarded:

  • Winner of Collaboration award: Dr Kylie White: Dr Kylie White is part of the Curriculum projects team.
  • Winner of the ‘Innovation’ award: Donna Burnett: Donna Burnett is School Manager for La Trobe Business School. She won the innovation award, awarded to the staff member who develops new ideas or processes, or improves existing processes.
  • Winner of the ‘Unsung Hero’ award: Adam Heron: Adam Heron is a Senior Administration Officer (Accreditation) at La Trobe Business School. This award is presented to the staff member who provides exemplary service from behind the scenes.
  • Winner of the ‘Workplace Culture’ award: Donna Burnett. This award is presented to a staff member who contributes to a positive and healthy work environment.
  • Special Commendation for the ‘Extra Mile’ award: Dr Kylie White. This award is given to the staff member who goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional service.
  • Nominated for Collaboration award: MBA Team: The MBA team, consisting of LBS’s Belinda Westerlo, along with Hayley May and Kristy Lillyst, were nominated in the Collaboration category. This award goes to the staff member(s) who work collegially with and advocates for colleagues in or outside of the College.

2016 ASSC College and School research excellence awards

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The Research Excellence Awards are awarded on a yearly basis, and designed to recognise and celebrate research performance across the College of ASSC and its schools, including LBS.

Each School award is valued at an amount of $5,000 to be spent on individual research activity in 2017.

Each College award is valued at an amount of $10,000 to be spent on School research initiatives, to be negotiated between the recipient and the Head of School.

This year, three La Trobe Business School researchers were presented with awards at a ceremony held in November 2016.

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  • LBS Early Career Researcher Award: Dr Sajad Fayezi

Dr Sajad Fayezi is a Senior Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management at La Trobe Business School.

For more information on Dr Sajad Fajezi’s research, see his staff profile.

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  • LBS Mid-Career Researcher Award: Dr Jing Zhao

Dr Jing Zhao joined La Trobe University in July 2010. She completed her PhD degree at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2010.

For more information on Dr Jing Zhao’s research, see her staff profile.

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  • LBS Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision award: Dr Clare D’Souza

Dr Clare D’Souza is an Associate Professor at La Trobe Business School. She works in the Department of Management and Marketing.

For more information on Dr Clare D’Souza’s research, see her staff profile.

Collaborating across borders – The CR3+ Network

PRME La Trobe Business School

By Giselle Weybrecht

La Trobe Business School in Australia has been a PRME signatory since 2008 and an active PRME Champion. They joined forces with several other PRME Signatories to create CR3+ Network. Together the network provides a supportive platform to build international collaboration and enables the participant business schools to work with the PRME and build international and national capacity in Responsible Management Education. I spoke with Associate Professor Suzanne Young, Head of Department and Dr Swati Nagpal, Department of Management and Marketing, from La Trobe Business School, about their participation in this network.

What is the CR3+ Network and how did it come about?

La Trobe Business School has been working with ISAE (Brazil), Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and Hanken School of Economics (Finland) since 2008 in an effort to exchange ideas, pedagogy, curriculum and research in the area of corporate responsibility. Head of LBS, Professor Paul Mather wrote: “With the support of the Principles for Responsible Executive Education, the CR3+ network’s objective is to promote a debate, inspire changes and propose solutions for challenges related to sustainability and governance, interacting and reaching what UNESCO calls ‘The 5th Pillar of Education: Learning to change and to change society.’”

What are the key features of the programme?

A key outcome of the partnership has been the hosting of an annual CR3+ conference, which has been held at each of the member institutions. Past themes have included governance and sustainability; CSR: expanding horizons, and the power of responsibility. The aim of the CR3+ conferences is to strengthen the partnership and dialogue around sustainability and responsibility, and provide a forum where ideas, developments and concerns in regards to these issues and the work of the PRME can be brought forward.

How is CR3+ different than other similar networks you are part of? How did you meet these specific schools and decide to create a network? 

It involves four schools that are strongly committed to PRME, and which later became PRME Champions, so PRME is very much at the core of CR3+. The network has been driven by the will to learn from each other, bearing in mind that the four schools are from very different and distant parts of the world (Australia, Brazil, Finland and France). From a very early point the core idea was to create a platform for these learning possibilities by organizing a conference involving all 3 (later 4) schools.

What have been some of the challenges? 

The schools are different and distant, not only in geographical terms but also in cultural and institutional terms. Creating special exchanges for students, for example, has faced a number of practical challenges related to differences in terms of tuition fees, types of study programmes, periods of studies, accreditations, etc. Different expectations about the conference have also caused some challenges but overall the learning opportunities and outcomes have far outweighed the challenges.

Successes? 

We have now done one full round of CR3+ conferences (in all 4 schools) and are about to start a second cycle. The mobilization from the different schools has been on the rise – for example, ISAE/FGV researchers have sent many abstracts to the CR3+ conference to be organized in Helsinki – and there has been growing integration between CR3+ events and PRME chapters – the conference in Helsinki will also be tied to a doctoral course organized by the PRME Chapter Nordic (more specifically Hanken, Stockholm School of Economics, BI Norwegian School of Management and CBS).

The CR3+ network has also enabled joint research projects and resulting publications as well as student and staff exchanges.

In autumn 2011, LBS hosted a masters-level exchange student from Hanken to work on a community development project.  Similar student exchanges are currently being planned for LBS students to have the opportunity to extend PRME –related projects at the other CR3+ partner universities.

In 2015, a collaboration between LBS and ISAE tested a new approach to ‘Promoting internationalisation and cross-cultural competency through online collaboration’, which provided opportunities for LBS MBA students to engage in an academic cross-cultural experience with Masters students from ISAE.  The students replicated real-world global communication, by collaborating virtually with people from a different cultural background in real time and jointly solving a series of management problems using online software.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

The network’s success is due to the relationships between key academic staff in each of the business schools and is also based in their common belief in and focus on the goals of the PRME mission. Members of the network were all early adopters of the PRME and champions of change in their respective institutions. Each School brings to the network their own expertise and demonstrates the national differences in Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives that are seen in academia, industry and government.

Each of the business schools have supported the CR3+ network as they acknowledge that working collaboratively provides greater opportunities for staff and students than working alone. Benefits in research, teaching, partnerships and dialogue have been demonstrated and the parties remain excited about opportunities that are coming from working with others in the new SDG project

What’s next for the initiative?

A pilot project is currently being led by LBS with support from the CR3+ network focused on facilitating a series of national workshops in each country between PRME higher education business schools and members of the UN Global Compact Network to present and interact on the theme of the SDGs. The outcomes of the workshops will be improved dialogue and networks between universities and other sectors, and the initiating of joint projects on the SDGs.

The 5th CR3+ conference will be held at Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki on 28-29 April 2017. The theme of the conference is ‘Making Corporate Responsibility Useful’, where the dominant logic of the ‘business case’ argument for CSR, and the legitimising effect this has on business engagement in CSR, will be brought into question.

This post was originally published on the UNPRME’s Primitime blog.

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