New uni leader embraces change

WITH the Federation University Australia name now approved by State Parliament, senior Monash University Gippsland staffers say they are keen to guide the new campus through a period of “transformative change”.

New Head of School (Education), Dr Michael Dyson, is one campus leader convinced the new entity, which will be more commonly referred to as FedUni and set to begin on 1 January next year, “is one of the best things that has happened to the campus in the last 20 years.”

The long-term Gippsland resident said, as part of his new role, he would “take every opportunity to promote a positive view” of FedUni, hailing the change as an opportunity to reverse the trend of low tertiary attendance in the Gippsland region.

He said Gippsland’s figures showed its tertiary attendance rate was less than half of other regions in the state.

Dr Dyson said he believed “improved access opportunities” and “clearer pathways” would lead to increased student numbers across primary and secondary programs offered at the new regional university.

He said a new Bachelor of Primary Education would be offered while FedUni would continue with Monash Gippsland’s existing Masters in Teaching primary and secondary for graduate entry, both on campus and off campus.

“All our current students will be taught out in the new entity as Monash University students,” he added.

Dr Dyson said he thought it was important the School of Education “better prepare career advisors in secondary schools” as to what FedUni could offer.

Other priorities would be the reintroduction of Discovery Club, allowing senior primary school students to visit the campus “and see what universities actually do”.

He flagged working towards the development of an English language school “to entice international students” and facilitating “technology-based blended learning options” to boost the potential of Gippsland’s regional learning centres.

Dr Dyson, who spent years teaching in, and leading, primary schools, as well as consulting and researching widely in the education sector before commencing as an academic in Monash 20 years ago, said he also wanted to “scope options for creating and meeting the needs of new niche cohorts of students”.

Dr Dyson currently sits on the a number of education-oriented boards and is president of the Australian College of Educators’ Gippsland branch.