Posted by: jkirkby8712 | April 22, 2012

Friday, 20th April 2012 – the University of Melbourne [my university].

I woke this morning to discover, that as anticipated, the Second Cricket Test in the Caribbean ended in a draw, although I think we have to blame the weather for that, with rain stopping play early on both the 4th and 5th days of the match. Anyway, for the record, this was the final overall scoreboard.

From Queens Park Oval, Port-Of-Spain:  Australia won the Toss, and elected to bat.

Australia:      311,  and 8 declared for 160 [Ricky Ponting, top score 41]

West Indies:  257,  and 2 for 53……………………………………MATCH DRAWN

Drove over to Bunning’s Hardware & Garden store this morning, and purchased a few little plants to brighten up [and fill some gaps] in my front garden.  Straight into that garden when I returned home –  planted my purchases while the sun was trying to weakly shine, with the weather prospects not looking too good. We will see what the day brings.  I’m predicting it will improve, which in fact it did, we ended up with another beautiful Autumn afternoon, and overall, I probably managed a few hours today, attending to matters in both the front and back garden areas.  The other day, while beginning a long overdue clean-up along the non-public side of the house, I’d discovered that the brick pathway that ran down the middle of part of that area had collapsed, or should I say, the ground underneath had subsided, and taken much of the brickwork with it!! Another task to be attended to, but before deciding what to do there, I would clear the whole area first, of excess growth, etc.

Meanwhile news from the Blues as they prepare for tomorrow’s clash against the equally unbeaten Essendon team, included a special notice from Club President, and former champion captain, Stephen Kernahan – which began with  ‘Leading into this season Brett Ratten and the players openly stated their goal for 2012 is to finish in the top four.  The performances to start the season have reflected the determination of this side to reach their goals in 2012.  While it is only early and there is a long way to go, there is no doubting the resolve of the players and coaches to work to earn a position in the top four on the AFL ladder…..’.

In the meantime, midfielder Brock McLean will come into Carlton’s line up for Saturday clash against Essendon, replacing the injured Dennis Armfield.  After sustaining a heavy knock to the knee in Carlton’s 60 point win over Collingwood, Armfield was cleared of any structural damage and is only expected to miss this week. Carlton Football manager Andrew McKay said McLean’s inclusion this week was reward for his ongoing consistency at VFL level. “Brock has been the number one performer with the Northern Blues for three weeks now, and has well and truly earned his place in the team this week,” he said. This will be McLean’s first AFL match for the season. He battled to maintain a spot in Carlton’s senior team in 2011 playing four games with his last game being against Melbourne in round 20’.

As a former student of Melbourne University [albeit many years ago now, when I completed my Bachelor of Commerce Degree, graduating formally in 1977], I’m also interested in keeping track of the University’s progress and achievements. So it was with interest that I noted that in the 2012 Times Higher Education World Reputation rankings, the University of Melbourne has risen two placings from the inaugural reputation rankings last year,  to 43rd ranking, and remained the top ranked Australian university.


The rankings are based on a survey of 17,554 academics from 137 countries. The survey asked academics to nominate up to 15 of the “best” institutions in their field of expertise, based on their experience and knowledge. The reputation rankings complement the Times’ annual World University Rankings, in which Melbourne is ranked 37th in the world and top in Australia. Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said it was a tribute to the University’s teaching staff and researchers that it had managed to improve on last year’s excellent performance in the reputation rankings. Professor Davis said the result continued the trend of improvements in the University’s rankings over the past few years. Meanwhile, Professor Davis has created his own Blog so that members of the university community and the wider public can engage with him, and submit questions. The Blog also features speeches, audio and visual material, and general comments and opinion pieces. The following introduction by the Vice Chancellor,  gives a bit of an idea of the current status of Australia’s leading university, and one which I am proud to have studied at in my younger years.

Colleagues, friends, members of the University community and the general public – welcome. This blog has been created so you have the opportunity to engage with me on issues affecting the University, the broader education environment and public policy. As you may know, in late 2005, the University adopted a curriculum which was a first for Australian universities. Encompassed within the Growing Esteem strategy, it combined the best of European and US educational systems, replacing the traditional undergraduate/postgraduate model with a suite of undergraduate degrees and graduate programs. The new combination was aimed at delivering an academic and disciplinary grounding followed by superb professional or research training, increasing students’ ability to study and work around the world and providing multiple points of entry to courses. The strategy reaffirmed Melbourne’s intention to be one of the finest universities in the world.
It was a difficult birth – as systems created through revolution often are – and there have been modifications along the way. However, the incredible persistence and hard work of our staff and our students’ preparedness to consider a different approach are paying off. Recently, first round offers to students through the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) showed Melbourne had performed exceptionally. VTAC data showed first preference applications for Melbourne’s degrees jumped by 21 percent overall from last year, the largest increase in Victoria. There was also a 24 percent increase in applications through the Access Melbourne program for disadvantaged students, including large increases for those from rural areas and low socio-economic backgrounds. In addition, Melbourne had five of the 10 most sought degrees offered by Victorian universities, as measured by first preference applications through VTAC. The demand has also contributed to a rise in the Australian Tertiary Admission Ranking (ATAR) for all our degrees – we were the only university in Victoria to achieve that.
Melbourne’s attraction to international students has also continued to grow despite a significant national downturn, with the University making 40 more offers to that group through VTAC than last year. We believe the increased overall demand reflects the growing awareness of our new programs and their attractiveness to students from all backgrounds. However, there is still much work to do as the challenges facing the tertiary sector continue to grow. Nevertheless, we believe we are well placed to meet those challenges and 2012 promises to be an exciting year for the University. The current CEO of the Australian Research Council, Professor Margaret Sheil, will take up the role of Provost, bringing a breadth of experience to the role. Both the University and Victoria will benefit from her appointment. Our new Research Strategy will establish a 10-15 year framework for University to continue its 19-year trading of excellence into this millennium and beyond. And we will pursue increasing internationalization and collaboration with Asia – notably India and China – and a greater focus on partnership with government and industry.
As Vice-Chancellor, I am very proud of our staff, our students and the fact that we are Australia’s leading university and one of the finest in the world. I look forward to your questions and responses and to engaging with you as the year unfolds.



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