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La Trobe Business School

Tag: Social Impact

LBS Associate Professor Cardak quoted in The Age on wealth and access to higher education

Buly Cardak La Trobe Business School
On 18 January 2016, La Trobe Business School economics researcher Dr Buly Cardak was quoted in The Age article ‘University offers benefit wealthy and realistic students’.

In the article, A/Professor Cardak comments on his recent research findings showing that wealthier school leavers with a realistic worldview and ongoing forms of support access higher education at greater rates compared with students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dr Cardak is a specialist in the economics of education, and has been researching factors influencing students’ university studies since early 2006. Read the full article on The Age’s website.

For more information on Dr Cardak’s research, see his website.

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

Emma Sherry plays key role in developing more inclusive sport in South Australia

Emma Sherry

Last month, Dr Emma Sherry from the Centre for Sport and Social Impact was invited by the South Australian Office of Sport and Recreation to provide strategic advice and a keynote presentation on the topic of sport and inclusion.

During the day with the ORS team, Emma delivered an internal professional development session to ORS staff regarding the research context in Australia and the Pacific on developing more inclusive and diverse sport organisations. The key message of this session was to provide insights that the team can apply to increasing opportunities for the South Australian community to participate in sport at all levels and a wide variety of roles.

Following the ORS staff workshop, Emma delivered a keynote and interactive session with a group of 30 CEOs and senior managers from South Australian state sporting organisations. This session was supported by the CEO of Inclusive Sport SA, and together with the ORS executive this session was provided as a joint initiative and to build on the momentum of Inclusive Sport SA’s Building an Inclusive Culture Forum and three Empowering Sport to Reflect Community Round Tables held earlier in the year.

Emma’s keynote and workshop discussed:

  • insight into current research and results that could influence SSO decision making
  • opportunity to examine how SSOs engage in diversity and inclusion, strategically and operationally (and what is the difference between the two)
  • sports to be aware of the benefits to them of embracing all aspects of their sport and all potential participants and pathways
  • sport understanding of the value and role of good news stories and the potential to get buy in from other partners
  • understanding that inclusion is core business and a strategic imperative and
  • to encourage collaboration and thought leadership between sport organisations.Key learnings from this workshop will be used by the South Australian SSOs to prepare for a new South Australian government funding initiative Sport and Recreation Development and Inclusion Program which will deliver over $3 million to sport organisations for projects up to 3 years in duration. Emma and the team at the Centre for Sport and Social Impact are liaising with ORS to collaborate in monitoring and evaluation for this funding program to assess the impact of this policy on the diversity and inclusion practices of state sport organisations.

Key learnings from this workshop will be used by the South Australian SSOs to prepare for a new South Australian government funding initiative Sport and Recreation Development and Inclusion Program which will deliver over $3 million to sport organisations for projects up to 3 years in duration. Emma and the team at the Centre for Sport and Social Impact are liaising with ORS to collaborate in monitoring and evaluation for this funding program to assess the impact of this policy on the diversity and inclusion practices of state sport organisations.

La Trobe Business School experts change lives in Papua New Guinea

Emma Sherry La Trobe Business School Papua New Guinea

The NRL-run League Bilong Laif (League for Life) program in Papua New Guinea is positively changing the lives of participants, according to an evaluation by the Centre for Sport and Social Impact at La Trobe University.

Experts from La Trobe recently returned from a visit to PNG to assess the impact of League Bilong Laif, a sport-for-development program that runs in schools and promotes messages about respect and the importance of education for all Papua New Guineans. The program is funded by the Australian government and delivered by a team of Papua New Guinean NRL staff in four regions.

“We are starting to see that League Bilong Laif is more than just a schools program and can impact change for females, males and people with disabilities of all ages and in all regions”

“We are starting to see that League Bilong Laif is more than just a schools program and can impact change for females, males and people with disabilities of all ages and in all regions” says NRL Pacific Program Manager John Wilson, who travelled with the La Trobe review team to Port Moresby, Eastern Highlands Province, East New Britain Province, and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

“The NRL PNG team under the management of Mark Mom are doing a great job. We are building awareness that rugby league is not just a sport through delivering our positive education and respect messages in each community that will ultimately define the future of the program. The team is also delivering the program in sign language to make it more accessible” said Mr Wilson.

In addition, research found that participating in the League Bilong Laif program provides children with an opportunity to engage with education in a meaningful way, and that the program reinforces the message of gender equality through female NRL PNG staff, who are seen as role models and strong women.

Reflecting on his visit, Mr Wilson said PNG was full of great people that were looking for ways to contribute to their communities for a better tomorrow. “League Bilong Laif is a great platform for our staff to give back. In each region that we visited, the staff presented new opportunities for me to explore the cultural and logistical differences that affect the programs we deliver every day,” he said.

The research has found that the impact of the program extends beyond participating children, with preliminary findings suggesting positive change for program staff and broader communities, through partnerships with PNG and international charities, and community outreach programs.

Education specialists have been involved from the initial stages to establish and review the LBL program to ensure quality delivery of the program with desired outcomes. Review team member and sports management specialist Dr. Emma Sherry said they monitor education and gender equality outcomes through surveys and interviews with teachers and NRL PNG staff, stories of change with children, and via in-depth in-country interviews with program funders and key stakeholders.  By utilising these tools, the review team has sought to identify changes in attitude, behaviour and the impact of these on the participants, their school and community.

Dr. Sherry stated that the LBL program had grown exponentially since its inception three years ago, and the success of employing full-time staff, reaching out to dozens of schools, hundreds of teachers and many thousands of children is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the staff in both PNG and Australia.

“During the pilot phase, the program had been refined and is now being replicated across the Pacific [Fiji, Samoa and Tonga] as an example of how to actively engage children and their communities in education” she said.

League Bilong Laif is managed through a three-way partnership between the Australian Government, the PNG Government (represented by the National Department of Education) and the NRL. The program is supported by the Autonomous Bougainville Government Department of Education, the PNG Rugby Football League (PNGRFL), the University of PNG and the PNG National Sports Institute.

This article awas originally published on NRL.com

Centre for Sport and Social Impact (CSSI) partners with VicHealth to get more Victorians active!

In the 1970s the archetypal Australian beer-swilling, couch-dwelling character ‘Norm’ was introduced to Australian audiences. Through a series of television advertisements, cartoon Norm was encouraged to get off the couch, put down his beer and turn off the telly, in order to ‘get more out of life’.  Life Be In It was a revolutionary public health awareness campaign that tried to educate Australians that they couldn’t catch obesity and the catalyst for better health was sometimes as simple as getting up and walking somewhere.

40 years later and Australia still has an obesity and activity problem –  less than a third of Australians are getting enough physical activity to benefit their health – one that the Centre for Sport Social Impact (CSSI) will be helping to solve in partnership with VicHealth, State Sporting Associations and Regional Sport Associations.

“We’re going to be working with a variety of State Sporting Associations to determine whether their programs attract the right kinds of people – that is, those who are relatively inactive – and whether the programs make a difference to their lives,” – Dr Matthew Nicholson.

Funded for $800,000 over three years, the team from the CSSI will work with more than 30 Victorian sport organisations to assess which of their innovative projects work best and for whom. VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said many State Sporting Associations showed out-of-the-box thinking in their funding submissions by coming up with imaginative initiatives and opting to focus on people in their community that often to miss out on regular sporting activities. VicHealth has invested $6million over three years in the State Sport program alone, one of three that the CSSI will be involved with, funding 22 sports to develop sporting opportunities that are low-cost, social, fun and fit in with contemporary lifestyles.

The research team is comprised of La Trobe Business School Researchers Dr Matthew Nicholson, Professor Russell Hoye, Dr Erica Randle, Damminda Alahakoon, Pam Kappelides and Kiera Staley, joined by Allied Health staff Dr Paul O’Halloran and Dr Regina Belski.

Further enquiries about the project should be directed to Matthew Nicholson at m.nicholson@latrobe.edu.au

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