DSC update - September 2019
Hi, good to see you all again for another DSC monthly update from me, PVC Paul Gough. And I'm delighted to have my colleague from Vietnam here, Professor Rick Bennett. Great to see you here, Rick.
First question really is about, you've been in the job for five years now--
You must have achieved some great stuff. Tell us a couple of those.
Yeah, looking back, I think it's nearly five years. When I arrived, I had a good look at the place and see what we had. I felt we had some broken bits then and I sort of looked at a vision of what we wanted to achieve and I set myself a five-year plan to be able to-- we wanted to produce, what I called, the most respective, creative school in Vietnam. I think, we're nearly there. We had recent creative awards for students, we cleaned the board of most of the universities. We got some fantastic outputs, in terms of our staff and their research work. We've got new programs. We started with three, we've now got six, two of which we wrote in Vietnam. I think, we've addressed the market needs really, really well. Our industry advisory committees are very happy. So, I think we are in a good place, we are in a good place now.
So, tell us what are three things you've done this year you are most proud of?
Oh, three things we've done this year we are proud of. Okay, so I'm very particular now that I have two hats now, I've got the Head of School role, but I've also got the Vice President role. So, I see-- what's interesting is, now coming out of the Head of School role and seeing the bigger university picture. You see how much work is being done outside the schools, and then how much work is being done inside the schools. And so, as a Head of School, and as a VPA, one of my highlights has been how much we have attracted each of those sides of the University together. So, people are actually far more knowledgeable, but also appreciative of what everyone else is doing in the University. I think, that is one achievement that we've done well.
I think, we are halfway through a second achievement, which is our growth into Hanoi, which is really, really exciting. I can't understand why a city of 9 million people, we haven't got a design course there. So, I've always been a firm believer that it will work. And we had an idea within the school, and it wasn't just one person, to sort of-- instead of having exhibitions each year and one of my great thing since I've been there is to be visible, visible, visible. Not just in the university, but in the cities we exist within. So, we came up with the idea to have-- before somebody else does it, let's do what we first were going to call the RMIT Festival of Media and Design. But we then broadened that to become the Vietnam Festival of Media and Design, which RMIT would be the number one sponsor. And that seems to have grown more and more and more, and it is going to happen in the first two weeks of November. To be a hugely exciting project in Hanoi, where we will, by default, become the natural creative leaders in that city. So, I've got great enthusiasm about Hanoi.
So, just asking there, I mean, you are leading in communications, design, professional communication, doing some great work. How do parents react to this whole world of the digital economy, creative industries?
I mean, the parents are our main stakeholders. Still in 85% of the cases. They are the people who decide what their children or what their young adults go to university to do. Of course, they want them to go and be business leaders. More and more, the young creative people want to be creative leaders. And so, there is that sort of imbalance there, or often a tension between what the parents want and what the students want. Prof comm is the answer to that. That's the cross between business and creative sort of outputs. So, that has always been very, very popular.
But more and more, I think, the government has been an important player in this and coming forward with the report to say, that they want Vietnam to be a major player in the creative industries in the next 20 years-- sorry, 10 years, 2020 to 2030. And by doing that, the parents are now thinking, well if our government is saying that, then maybe there is something in this. And, I think, one of our main points has been to always build trust with the parents, that they see that creative careers and creative pathways are not only just-- they are there already, but they are going to grow. And that they are valuable. I mean, gaming is a classic example of that. Every student wants to do a gaming degree, but the parents aren't sure that the business is there. For example, we are cased to show them how it is there and how it is not only there, but it is going to grow and grow and become a world leader in that area.
Fantastic. And if you could do one or two things about making sure that the bridge from Melbourne into Hanoi, into Saigon actually is an effective bridge, what would that bridge look like?
I think it would come back to the two main stakeholders, again, which is staff. I think, if we can do more bridging-- and it is a difficult thing. Because, you know, not everybody wants to come up for a longer period of time. But wouldn't it be wonderful if every young academic had on their CV that they had done a year in Vietnam? It would be fabulous. Recently, we've had secondments into the library area and into the research office area. We've currently got two seconded people from Melbourne acting in those leadership roles. And it works fabulously. In fact, one of those positions wants to stay. Whether they will not, I don't know.
But if we could bring our staff-- not only Australian-- or people from Melbourne come up to us, but also us coming down to you guys for a period of time as well. I think, that's a natural way forward. And the student thing is happening already. We have a large number of students coming down. And that is part of the selling point in the first place. One of the reasons they come to RMIT in Vietnam, is because they can go to Melbourne or they can go to 200 other universities. And that's a huge selling point. And, I think, we still need to do some work in that area. Not only to make their pathway as smooth as possible, but the same happening the other way. That we've got people from Melbourne coming up to Vietnam free semester or two semesters. So, that's a wish for the future, I think we can do it.
So, Rick, it's delightful to have you here. You are leading a great team. When I think of Julia, when I think of Jerry and Dom, you've got fantastic program managers and a wonderful team of people and I love meeting them. It's great to see you here. And we will be back next month with another DSC update. Thank you very much. Thanks, Rick.
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