Does Social Media Directed Learning Work?

Social Media Directed Learning

by Ellen Wardle

“A social media environment can be leveraged to offer a broad range of learning experiences in an online format.” – The Omniview

Author and online activist John Green declared in a 2012 Ted X Talk, that it was online video and the content creation community that had brought him back into the world of learning as an adult, past the point of his tertiary education. The value of the community of autonomously educated people he had found online had reignited his passion for self-directed education.

One of the most valuable things we find in higher education is our cohort of engaged learners who have taken the time (and accepted the costs) to pursue their individual interests through tertiary education.

Online Video and Social Media

Online video and other social media have spawned a selection of interactive (and often free) learning opportunities among teens and adults alike. Anyone with an internet connection can learn monetizable skills such as coding, photography, copyediting, and even take up a hobbyist interest in physics if they please – all on their own terms and according to whatever schedule they keep.

Those who are multilingual content creators could very well be the new renaissance man – copywriters, educators, photographers, videographers and editors with web-building abilities. These polymath’s have, as mentioned above, drawn from different streams of complex knowledge and development to create entirely new industries and revolutionise others.

“Humans are limitless in their capacity for development” was a pillar of thought within renaissance humanism. If so, the persistence of contemporary society to continue in the trends of the industrial revolution, despite such huge technological advances – that impact even the most mundane activities in our micro lives – seems short sighted. There is a widespread argument that technology is making us stupid – but perhaps it’s just making us different. Perhaps it is a redesign of those renaissance-age studies of humanities – but the humanities no longer consist of the same subjects – such as history and grammar, but something more necessary for this societal evolution, more efficient, more interactive, visual and social.

Higher Education is Self-Directed

Much of higher education is self-directed. Yet even in 2018 education institutions are still directing students toward libraries where we peruse books or online articles largely on our own and without community. Commonly-used higher education websites that look to build communities or offer an online module for higher education, and distant/mature students such as Moodle, suffer from a somewhat outdated forum-like interface, lacking the graphical user interface and intuitive mapping that feels so natural to those seeking online information nowadays. The latter allows for learning based on an almost reactionary level – with the constant connections to smartphones and the download of new data to our brains mapping an efficient mode of learning that far outpaces that provided by many contemporary educational institutions.

If we look at the history of these institutions we realise that the mode of learning currently used reflects a trend that came about in the post-industrial age, and that with the capabilities of the information age, a more progressive view of the role of youth and learning might be created.

Enter social media and innate learning opportunities. Across the past 10-15 years we have seen a huge boom in online businesses – from e-commerce to the trade of skills creating skilled labourers who have managed to diversify their expertise across a range of industries, and in some cases blend these skills to create new ones.

The set-up of higher education offers an inherent opportunity for self-directed learning, the motivation already exists, as does the community. According to the Omniview, a company created to use data to match talent to jobs: “ A social media environment can be leveraged to offer a broad range of learning experiences in an online format.”

The Omniview lists the following as vital points of creating a self-direct social media learning format:

Goal setting, facilitative interactions, resource support, progress evaluation and recognition for goals achieved.

Resource Support

Resource support could be the most easily leveraged by universities given an SEO or algorithm based sculpture reminiscent of platforms such as Youtube, which uses both to provide easily sourced content of educational and entertaining content. An app like Instagram – which recently rolled out IGTV – a long-form vertical video application insulated within the Instagram app, or accessible via a standalone format – could be reformatted into an education institution housed within a smartphone. The interface for written, photographic, pop-up, and long form video or audio content has already been created, and the precedent for learning has already been set if we take note of the amount of people who have monetised content creation, or repurposed their accounts for education and activism across various communities. The standard for native learning has already been set for those of us who use these applications, disappear down information rabbit holes, grant ourselves passive income streams from consumers of our content, or absorb the skills of others by observing.

If we look at this theory in the context of recreating the material we have digested, as proposed by Peter Doolittle in his Ted X Talk ‘How your “working memory” makes sense of the world’, we can visualise already our brains reprogramming around new information. A quick video on how to use software to recreate something we have seen another do (such as set up a blog, edit a photo, create an animation) followed by our own experiment in the practise makes for faster and more efficient learning. Our brains are designed to learn in this native, interactive manner so well used by marketing geniuses through apps to sell desirable goods.

“Working memory capacity allows us to reach our current goals” says Doolittle – understanding our class-based content is a current goal. If that content were presented in a social, goal-based, open-plan manner the meaning extracted would be more closely aligned with our autonomous end goals as students.

Education can be structured via a matrix to create the best curriculum design, and the relation of social media to education can create open plan resource support that helps students define and conquer their short term educational goals by having students sculpt out those goals for themselves post processing.

The question is, how can social media and integrate and occupy a defined role within higher education, that reflects and enriches  current higher education standards?

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TEQSA’s Hypocrisy Continues

TEQSA’s Hypocrisy Continues

Here is an opinion piece from the Darlo Higher Education team on six clear instances of hypocrisy.

It’s always a concern for us when the Australian public service claims to take the high moral road. In reading through the Australian Public Service Act, it is pretty clear that there is a Code of Conduct that informs behaviours and communications by public servants, especially those in senior roles. It is even more galling when tax-payers are paying for this. Despite promises of ‘free education’ from some politicians, someone is always paying for it- it is you, the revenue producing tax-payer.

Here, from our perspective, are examples of hypocrisy that continue to prevail:

Firstly, how on earth can TEQSA conduct an enquiry and report on Academic Freedom? Thankfully, as Bettina Arndt has pointed out in regards to the sexual harassment hysteria on campuses, there was no epidemic and indeed Australia is perhaps the safest place on earth for females to study. There are also issues with false accusations to continue with. These are matters for the courts, and not governments or universities to pursue. Now, new minister Tehan, has decided to change approach and pursue a look into academic freedom. We think TEQSA is absolutely the wrong group to be conducting a review in this area, particularly as it is patently interfering in the academic market, has been criticized by the Institute of Public Affairs for being politically influenced and paying lip service to free speech. Speaking as a team from DHE, we note that there have been instances where TEQSA has attempted to suppress our free speech. How is it possible that it could give an independent assessment when it has contributed to the problem?

“TEQSA benefits existing players by creating barriers to entry that prevent competition.”

Institute of Public Affairs,

My only hope is that this is Minister Tehan’s approach to have Australian public servants reflect on the limits of their role.

Secondly, if TEQSA is so worried about consultants, why do they constantly use external consultants in their own organisation? Why do they play favorites? And why do they call attention to some consultants and not others? It is well recognized that TEQSA shares the platform with those organisations that toe the party line, however, aggressively, in our view smears others  (and absolutely against the APS Code of Conduct, you can read it here). It is transparently hypocritical when TEQSA staff endorse some organisations and then critique others for mentioning the word ‘TEQSA’. It is even worse that when it is talking about consultants. I guess we may be confused, however, this agency must obviously be associated with or work exclusively with TEQSA so is on the ‘they’re my friends’ level. I forgot the word for that, nevermind. Hang on, it looks like TEQSA staff are endorsing consultants for their own agency, and yet telling others that they cannot get the same services for their own organisation.

Thirdly, hypocrisy relates to the differential treatment organisations get based on their size. Many case managers (reported to us) aim to create fear and anxiety for smaller, less resourceful, and less powerful higher education by acting heavy handed, while letting universities slip through. The media has continually reported incidents at various universities including bribery, research falsification, poor quality education where students ‘learn nothing’, and academics at RMIT selling eBooks and exams to students. And yet, it is typically not-for-profits, small business owners, and migrant entrepreneurs that get pilloried and, by some reports to us, bullied. Talk about picking on the little guy  because you don’t have the guts, clout or integrity to pursue the boys’ club.

Fourthly, while smaller and medium sized private higher education providers are the source of innovation in higher education, they are the ones constantly over regulated. Let’s make no mistake, the supposedly small loving business loving NLP and their ‘entrepreneurial’ PMs have been no friend to private free enterprise. Health and education are the two industries that need innovation more than ever, and they have not only blocked this entrepreneurship, they have gone out of their way to publicly attack it. The hypocrisy in our view is that despite all the blah, blah about innovation, there is absolutely nothing to support or encourage educational innovation. Instead, there is a target (and let’s be honest, open hostility and hatred) for the driver of the economy: small and medium enterprises.

Fifthly, there is constant talk in TEQSA’s media communication about innovation and diversity. How is it the case when all the commissioners are pushing their later years (and pretty much the same age), they are all caucasian, and they all come from near identical career paths and trajectories that this is innovative or diverse?.

Diversity at TEQSA: TEQSA Commissioners

There are gender differences too. The majority of senior leaders and those in positions of influence are men. Is that what is meant by diversity, having different types of men in different roles?

What it amounts to is a stale, old boys club, that generationally is stuck in the mass education glory years of the 1960s and 1970s. Indeed, most of the assumptions underpinning the TEQSA standards – a waterfall project management methodology, a hierarchical approach to organisation design, constitutions which want higher education to be shown rather than profit seeking (the source of innovation), and the reinforcement of the worst parts of academia – peer review, seniority for seniority’s sake, and physical libraries (to name a few), all smell and look like  a crusty old faculty of one of the sandstone universities. If the standards don’t allow for innovation (which they clearly don’t).  Where is the innovation in that?

Finally, correct me if we’re wrong, but the point of the TEQSA Act is to protect the international reputation of Australian education. If that is the case, why on earth is there a foreign CEO of Australia’s national higher education regulator? From a competing country (England) none the less, who worked at a standards agency in England, and seemingly by all accounts is a foreign citizen. Couldn’t the Australian government find an Australian to lead the charge? Or are they ashamed of the graduates that are produced inAustralia? Perhaps Australians don’t have the required skills?

On a separate issue, it is strange that a CEO of a higher education regulator would have no notable academic credentials and most notable association with academia as being involved in student politics. Again, can anyone see anything off with this scenario? Surely, it is transparently a conflict of interest, which is (a) why the APS requires public servants to be Australian citizens; (b) the APS code of conduct requires public servants to avoid any conflict of interest (and possibly the reason why the citizenship requirements are enacted in the first place!).

Looking at higher education regulation it is a gloomy state of affairs. As they say, rot starts at the top. Australian companies, taxpayers and students deserve more and better. Wouldn’t it be time to for the Australian Public Service to move with the times. Rather than having a regulator that is a bit of a boys club that supports elitism and clicks, serving ultimately as nothing more (or less) than an institutional gatekeeper, it is time to engage in true innovation, internationalization, and make Australian higher education something to be proud of rather than ashamed.

International Students: Exactly how Difficult is it to gain a place in an Australian University?

International Students: Exactly how Difficult is it to gain a place in an Australian University?

by Ellen Wardle

Education is big business, being Australia’s third largest export, according to ABC News . The international student market has skyrocketed over the last two years, now reaching above $30 billion per year. Yet, even with this industry booming, one of the major draws for an international student to look at completing an overseas degree, social and cultural integration in the hyper-globalised world, seems to be one of the major things holding these students back.

In 2017 higher standards for English Language testing were pushed through by Education minister Simon Birmingham, who had acknowledged that lacking English skills was a problem for lecturers and tutors, producing less-engaged students. International students were faced with the prospect of up to twenty hours per week of ELICOS classes to help level the playing field and ensure they met national requirements. Language and communication are of course at the forefront of social and cultural integration, an imperative task when it comes to gaining the best possible experience from an international qualification.

International Student Requirements

To obtain a place at an Australian university, foreign students will need to have completed their education at the same or higher level as the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Students will also need to be approved for a Student Visa (Subclass 500). Prior to applying for their visa, students must be accepted to study full-time at an educational institution in Australia.

Each university has a different set of prerequisites for international entry, aside from the new IELTS standard. Typically a band 6.5 for English is needed to obtain a placement within an Australian university, however, the score varies from degree to degree.

Pressure to Succeed

For some students the pressure to succeed is immense – with families re-mortgaging or selling their family homes to pay for their child’s education. Often students are exploited in Australia by businesses looking for cheap labour – meaning that students sometimes find themselves working too much to study adequately for the intense degrees they are completing. Students might also find difficulties integrating – particularly if their cohort is largely students from the same country of origin.

Many of these issues have been addressed by Chinese students: A state-run newspaper published concerns about the efficacy of Australian universities and state irritation over the Higher Education sector in Australia treating Chinese students as ‘cash cows’.

Some students have also expressed dismay at the lack of cultural diversity within certain courses. Business degrees overrun with Chinese expatriates have caused disgruntled students. This has been due to internationals feeling that they have not been able to gain the full experience of living in a foreign country when their cohort is so similar to what they had at home. Given the Turnbull government’s 2018 HECS-HELP loan changes, which could potentially lock future students coming from low-income backgrounds out of universities due to the lower repayment threshold and rising rent prices in university-adjacent suburbs and cities – less and less Australian students might be able to help their international cohort get the full international experience.

Because of these integration issues, university cohorts – both online and in real life – become invaluable resources for students. With students learning about their working rights, housing opportunities and conversational English via online open education platforms such as youtube, Facebook groups, or podcasts.

Skills Gap

There is a defined gap in the market for social integration regarding international students, which can trickle into the job market locally and abroad.

“Social skills are important in the modern labor market because computers are still very poor at simulating human interaction. Skill in social settings has evolved in humans over thousands of years. Human interaction in the workplace involves team production, with workers playing off of each other’s strengths and adapting flexibly to changing circumstances.” Les Picker writes, in accordance with findings published in the National Bureau of Economic Research.

There’s no lie that Higher Education in a foreign country can create an intercultural connection invaluable to an increasingly western and globalised knowledge economy – particularly within our global online society.  An inherent understanding of western idioms and culture becomes paramount for market value – the appeal of an international degree in the jobs market. These days, it seems that the lack of integration for foreign students, lack of higher earning potential, and poor treatment is lessening the appeal. It also depends on the future market value of a degree within a home country if returning to that home country is within the students plans.

International Students and Economic Growth

For many international students however, staying in Australia is an appealing prospect – and another factor to consider in maintaining the industry and co-opting this into further economic growth. The socio-economic benefits of a skilled, tertiary educated workforce are many. The wealth of human capital is advantageous when looking to create future reforms. The capital that a socially responsible, community-first organisation designed to benefit international students should be considered within economic reforms in order to maintain the education industry. As it is, international students – who are subject to a much more upfront billing regarding their university fees than locals – remain the key driver in the financial growth of the Higher Education sector.

There is an argument to be made on the business spectrum of Higher Education – for this to remain a stable export in future,  the quality and draw to the degree must be maintained.

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5 Differences Between Vocational Education and Higher Education

Across the industrialised world, the emergence of a “skills gap” has led to renewed interest in vocational education. Schoolteachers with the best of intentions push children toward university, sometimes regardless of the child’s interest or specific abilities. This has led to not only a steep decline in young people entering the trades but also what some call a devaluation of work itself.

Experts, however, do not advocate for students to abandon university education. Students should realistically examine their own strengths, salaries in potential trades fields versus those requiring college, length of education needed to get into a field, and student debt relative to salary in a future profession.

Australia faces a skills gap crisis. From healthcare to the trades, national estimates indicate that shortages loom on the horizon. New South Wales, for example, speculates that the state will need 84,000 nurses and midwives by 2030, but may only have a little over 70,000. The nation already faces shortages of auto mechanics, welders, machinists, and many other basic fields.

Understanding differences between higher and vocational education can help lead to better choices, not only by students, but also from policymakers, teachers, and parents.

Social Stigma Attached to Vocational Education

Vocational education struggles against entrenched mythology. The most damaging myth lies in the idea that university degree holders alone drive the economy. According to the Business Council of Australia, “‘When young people leave school, the question is not ‘what am I good at?’ but ‘I want to go to university, what course will I do?’” This stems from the idea that university degrees automatically bring higher salaries than the trades. Certainly, this remains true in some selected fields. Humanities degrees, however, rarely bring salaries that rise above what an industrious plumber, electrician, or welder can earn.

The stigma extends to social status as well. Many parents, particularly in the urban middle class, feel that a child not attending university equals failure on their part. They often nudge their children away from vocational interests and toward university, often to the eventual detriment of the student.

Universities benefit from an educational prestige that they rightly have earned. Many of their degrees do offer value, even with student debt and time spent in school factored in. They do not offer, however, the right fit for every student. Unfortunately, the stigma attached to vocational education steers too many to universities that take too much money and time to poorly prepare many students who would have done much better with vocational education.

Basic Differences Between Vocational and Higher Education Programmes

Both higher education and vocational programmes can trace roots back to Medieval Europe. University originally referred to any location where education took place but evolved into institutions offering not only specific fields of study but also the opportunity to get a balanced education in necessary topics. European guilds developed the apprenticeship model to ensure quality workmanship in fields as varied as carpentry and brewing.

Vocational and higher education services must both comply with TEQSA mandates, but fulfil educational requirements in different ways.

Today, higher education offers hundreds of possible fields of study. It also, however, continues to require that each student pass general education courses designed to expose the mind to science, literature, history, mathematics, and other fields regardless of course of study. They confer associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees.

Vocational education continues to offer specialised education and training but has built upon the apprenticeship model. In Australia, students can earn levels of certification. Levels I and II recognise basic proficiency in a field and may require anywhere from a few weeks to months of coursework. Students earning level III and IV certifications will usually have studied between six months to a year. Vocational students may also receive diplomas and advanced diplomas after one to two years of study.

Those receiving level III and IV certifications, as well as diplomas, can apply their learning toward higher education degrees at most universities.

Vocational education also emphasises hands-on, workplace style experience. Students spend more time doing supervised training with equipment and less studying theory and practice. They often benefit from having instructors who still work in the field. This gives vocational education an immediacy and applicability sometimes not found from university professors and programmes.

Vocational Education Focus on Workforce Skills Development

Australia’s skills gap surfaces in a wide variety of fields at both the national and regional level. Given latitude and support, each institution can more nimbly and effectively create programmes that fit needs even at the local level. Vocational schools can quickly develop partnerships with businesses and other entities to create certifications tailor-made to specific needs. Universities have larger bureaucracies and move more slowly to create programmes. Also, specific skills education for a short time runs against the university ideal of a broad and balanced education.

Vocational Education Helps Non-University Attending Young People While Addressing  Regional and National “Skills Gap” Problem

Not every brilliant student thrives in a traditional university classroom environment. The ultimate tradesman in history, Czar Peter the Great of Russia, never set foot in one, but mastered trades from carpentry to dentistry. Vocational education ranks should grow not only from those who got wrongly steered to university, but also young people who gave up on education past high school because university style education did not appeal to them.

Short term certifications offer paths to good paying and sometimes even lucrative careers. Convincing more young people who learn best with their hands to embrace vocational education should expand the ranks of tradespeople, healthcare staff, and other fields vital to the national economy. Today’s high school students would benefit from clear understanding of the options of vocational and university education. From vocational study, they can learn a skill, obtain a good paying job, and avoid debt. Furthermore, they do not face the opportunity cost of years of salary lost to irrelevant study just to get a position that could have been obtained with a certification.

That being said, the longer time spent in a university studying certain fields confers advantages not found in vocational education. While those who work to maintain a bridge can make good money from vocational certifications, those who design them should study engineering and related subjects for many years before entering the job market.

Vocational Education Has a Different Student Environment Than Traditional Universities

Student lifestyles also mark a major difference between vocational education and traditional universities. At most universities, the majority of students reside in dormitories and eat in student cafeterias. Most of their life gets spent in and revolves around the university campus. This creates in many students a type of cloistering effect. Universities have for centuries developed their own campus culture.

The era of social media has also created elements of a universal campus culture, linking students of schools across the nation and the world. While this creates a tremendous intellectual ferment that can potentially spawn great ideas and concepts, it has also fostered increasing intolerance of social viewpoints common off campus.

Vocational education does not usually permit students to live on campus. They are more likely to hold a job and raise children while studying. Most live either with parents or on their own. Vocational education students more often share in the culture of their surrounding community rather than participate in a specific higher education environment.

Finally, deep rifts grow between the values of the university and society in general, sometimes creating clashes that spill into politics. Vocational education rarely fosters heightened controversy because the culture and values of students and faculty tend to not deviate as much from the surrounding community.

Other Nations Have Taken Action to Expand Vocational Education

Other industrialised nations have led the charge to reinvigorate technical education. Germany has always invested not only funding but also the perception of status into vocational education.

When the United States identified its own critical skills gap, state and federal legislators went into action. Students in vocational education programs received more financial assistance. Also, US Representative Alex Mooney devised a bill supporting recruitment of mid-career trades professionals to teach vocational education across America. Republican majorities in state and federal legislative chambers will likely continue to support President Trump’s emphasis on vocational education at all levels.

Meanwhile, the UK plans to expand their number of apprenticeships by 3 million in the next two years with the cooperation of major corporations.

Should Australia follow suit, this will change the landscape of education regulations and funding. Higher education and vocational schools will need TEQSA consultants more than ever as changes take place. Consultants can help vocational education providers work to preserve the freedom to forge partnerships with those who need skilled graduates the most. Another factor could be international schools registering as higher education providers for either traditional university or vocational students. This could also spark new efforts at regulation and guidance from the government.

Higher education services should remain a priority, but the economy needs to continue developing vocational education programmes to keep Australia among the top rank of productive industrialised nations.

5 Things to Consider Before Registering as a Higher Education Provider

5 Things to Consider Before Registering as a Higher Education Provider

Higher education registration is a challenging process for even experienced administrations. For most higher education providers, however, registration is a basic necessity. Colleges and universities not on the Register lack the same credibility and legitimacy as those that comply with the standards of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency. Gaining Higher Education Registration and meeting TEQSA compliance confers a stamp of approval by the federal government ensuring that curriculum and courses meet national standards. It serves the same purpose as non-profit accreditation agencies in countries like the United States.

Even international colleges and universities accredited in their home countries would benefit from registering under TEQSA guidelines.

When considering whether or not to apply for higher education registration, it is important to consider a range of questions and issues. TEQSA and the National Register process may leave a lot to be desired, particularly in terms of private higher education and university education, but administrators should ignore the fear mongers. Registration confers benefits. Also, failing to register will mean that the school will lack a perception of legitimacy in many eyes while seeing the doors to many beneficial programmes remain shut.

Even though there are many ‘advisors’ or academics offering support services, you really need to think carefully about who you choose to have on the team. The path to registration presents a higher education provider with many challenges. No school, large or small, domestic or foreign, public or private, should enter the process without a plan and people able to implement it.

Private universities, who often find themselves at the mercy of biased tertiary education gatekeepers, face even more challenges. All schools, however, should plan ahead for the higher education registration process. That includes consideration of what needs to be done and where the institution can find assistance.

Registration Can Confer Benefits

The main goal of TEQSA lies in ensuring that every higher education provider operating in Australia provides students a quality education. Provider performance gets evaluated against standards set by the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015.

Registry confirms to the general public and higher education market that a school has met federal standards. These include standards for course accreditation, teaching and learning, research, and other fields. What the government calls “threshold standards” set a high bar for entry, but also guarantee to the market that the higher education provider has credibility and quality.

Another benefit of registry lies in a higher education provider gaining access to federal funds and programmes, especially student aid. Despite recent deep cuts to the higher education budget, Australian universities can apply to receive millions in aid from programmes such as the Sustainable Research Excellence scheme, Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Plan, and many other sources.

Higher education registration also gets important information about the provider onto a searchable database of institutions. The information shown includes

  • Legal entity name
  • Australian Business Number used for higher education operations
  • Provider category
  • Website of the higher education provider
  • If the higher education services provider can serve overseas students or students studying in vocational education
  • Other pertinent links, important addresses, and dates of renewal

This information helps both domestic and international students get better educated on their possible schools of choice, including both HEPs and VETs.

Meeting TEQSA standards and appearing on the National Registry serves as the first step toward obtaining helpful and sometimes necessary aid. While colleges and universities should always seek new funding streams from nongovernment sources, federal aid of any sort can help to improve higher education provider programmes.

Meeting TEQSA Qualifications

Be prepared to meet a long list of stringent standards to get approved for registration. The government in recent years has worked to standardise expectations of national colleges and universities to ensure consistent quality in education. Each one of these requirements comes from a different section of either the TEQSA Act of 2011 or the Higher Education Standards Act of 2015. They include:

  • The higher education provider appears as an entity under the legal definition of a regulated entity
  • The HEP has a clearly stated higher education purpose that includes a commitment to free intellectual inquiry
  • The HEP has in place a formally established governing body inside or outside the country, including independent members, that has accountability and exercises oversight over operations in a consistently competent fashion
  • Members of the governing body meet standards of fitness and competence
  • Members of the governing body meet any Australian residency requirements established by the institution’s charter
  • Staffing for each course is sufficient to cover the educational, academic support, and administrative needs of each course
  • The HEP can operate in an effective and sustainable fashion in accordance with all legislative requirements and the institution’s governing rules
  • Application for registration comes to TEQSA in the approved format along with full payment of the fee

Of course, an institution cannot simply meet TEQSA requirements to appear on the National Register, it must also prove that it meets these requirements. Providing this evidence and information can prove to be almost as challenging, if not more so, than ensuring compliance in the first place.

Wise higher education providers engage experienced consultants to help them successfully navigate the process. A team of experts can help navigate the process more efficiently and prevent costly and time-consuming mistakes.

Avoid One Person Advisors Because Registration Does Require a Team

Hopefully, this basic list of legal requirements for TEQSA approval convinces higher education provider administrators that they cannot rely on a single advisor. They should also avoid keeping their registration project in-house.

Even universities meeting full TEQSA compliance standards must provide evidence that they have met all legal requirements. This means hours of going through the standard paperwork and also showing proof of compliance

Most higher education providers, however, may fall short in some area. This is entirely understandable since the requirements are numerous and also rather specific.

The most frustrating situations involve grey areas and differences of interpretation. One example could fall in the requirement of the governing body having fit and proper members, but according to which definition? An institution may have to, in such a situation, defend the fitness of a governing body member to TEQSA.

An experienced team of TEQSA and National Registry higher education consultants can help make the process more efficient and manageable. Consultants can examine a higher education provider’s administration and academics to determine strengths and weaknesses in relation to TEQSA requirements. The team can then recommend changes or help prepare the HEP to argue its case that it does meet registry mandates.

Unfortunately, experience shows that private universities and other higher education providers experience more difficulties than others. The Australian tertiary education system employs a wide variety of gatekeepers who have biases against private universities guided by a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. This makes engaging a team of higher education consultants critical for private higher education providers.

The complexity of both higher education provider administration and TEQSA requirements make preparing for registration more than a one-person job. A team of higher education consultants will make the process as efficient and painless as possible.

Higher education consultants can also fight for course, curriculum, and administrative innovation within TEQSA guidelines. In the big picture, this prevents schools from gravitating toward “cookie cutter” education that serves primarily to satisfy federal regulators. For each school, consultants can help defend the freedom to craft courses that teach effectively, but differently than those established elsewhere.

Eligibility to Participate in HELP Student Aid Program

The government administers four Higher Education Loan Programs, known as HELPs. These programmes include four loan schemes and one student aid package for vocational study in VET schools. Specifically, the FEE HELP loan programme assists students in payment of tuition.

Institutions need TEQSA approval of their status as a Higher Education Provider to participate in offering FEE HELP assistance. To gain TEQSA eligibility, a higher education organisation must first exist as a corporate body with both central management and direction in Australia. The provider must also offer at least one approved course of study and have successfully completed higher education registration.

Higher education providers must go beyond TEQSA standards for higher education registry. They must also meet “legislative requirements in relation to financial viability, tuition assurance, student policies and procedures for fairness and equal opportunity, academic and non-academic grievance, refunds and re-crediting of a FEE-HELP balance.” These organisations must also keep up with changing rules on data collection and other paperwork requirements.

To offer study assist, VET organisations need to meet most of the same requirements as registered HEPs with a few additions. The organisation must have registered as a training organisation listed on the National Register since at least 1 January 2016. Also, they must have been offering at least one qualifying VET course continuously, or one or more series of qualifying VET courses without interruption, since at least 1 January 2016.

Higher education consultants can help a provider prepare its application to participate in FEE HELP. It can also suggest administrative and/or academic adjustments to make sure that an application gets set up for success.

In this day and age, almost all higher education providers rely heavily on students who use study assist to pay part or all of their tuition. Most colleges and universities could not survive without them, making it vital that they employ qualified consultants to both enter the National Registry and then successfully apply to disburse student aid.

If the TEQSA Application Fails

Sometimes the best-laid plans lead to naught. TEQSA, like any other government bureaucracy, can work slowly toward unpredictable results. When going through the higher education registration process, providers should always have a future plan and be prepared to assert their rights.

Rejection of a registration application does not represent the final say in the process. Higher education providers have an avenue of appeal through the Australian Administrative Tribunal (AAT).

The process as established follows a relatively straightforward path with opportunities for resolution at most junctures. Wise administrators, however, should have at least the outline of a plan in place in case of registry rejection. The AAT, depending on circumstances, will offer an appeal window of anywhere from nine to 90 days. Appeal fees can cost as much as $861.

Be aware that when the higher education registration application gets to the appeals process, that the institution now stands in opposition to TEQSA. If a provider has not yet engaged higher education consultants, they should do so at this stage. TEQSA officials have years of experience working on winning appeals for the government. Most higher education providers do not.

Higher education providers prepared for the AAT with a strong team of consultants by their side can appreciate the potential advantages available. The AAT does bring independent officials into the process. It also allows for the examination of evidence with fresh eyes. Even better, the AAT will demand that TEQSA defend their administrative decision to reject the application.

The AAT appeals process gives higher education providers a powerful opportunity to fight registration rejection if they have a strong team of experts to assist. Without a team to help, a higher education provider can truly end up at the mercy of the system.

Before Starting the Process, Engage a Team of Experienced Experts

The final important step in preparing for the higher education registration process lies in choosing the right team of experienced consultants to help steer the process to success. Darlo Higher Education employs a highly qualified team of academics, policy analysts, and commercial managers who know the National Register process from initial steps to completion.

Darlo Higher Education does more than assist in crafting successful National Register applications. It also helps to recruit qualified academic instructors and administrative staff, assemble governing bodies that meet TEQSA guidelines for fitness and competence, and apply for course approvals and accreditation.  Darlo Higher Education also assists in the AAT process.

All of these elements can play key roles in helping a higher education provider meet the requirements to appear on the National Register.

Darlo Higher Education understands that the process can be particularly tough for private education. It fights for educational innovators, entrepreneurs, and the students who benefit from their services.

Interested in talking to us about how we can assist in the higher education registration process? Why not email us now:

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Jordon Peterson – Why Start a Virtual University?

Why start a virtual university?

Dr . Jordon Peterson suggests that it is time to start a Virtual University. With technology available, universities losing their mission, and a desire to create low-cost, accessible information, this is a significant challenge for large scale universities. When leading academics are abandoning the institution for greener pastures, it raises interesting existential questions for universities. (Transcript is below)


the self-proclaimed professor against
political correctness is now making more
than 50 thousand dollars per month
through online donors and he’s got big
plans for the future professor Jordan B
Peterson made national headlines last
fall for refusing to use genderless
pronouns even appearing on this show and
I’ve been thinking about this political
correctness issue for a long time and
it’s been bothering me his viewpoint
caused controversy but also gained him
supporters who flocked to his YouTube
channel helping him rack up millions of
views for his online lectures now to
subsidize his production costs he’s
turned to the crowdfunding site patreon
a number of people have been attempting
to take me to task for the fact that my
patreon support has been let’s call it
overwhelmingly successful aiming to
build on his online success Peterson is
setting his sights on an even bigger
goal I want to move genuine humanities
education out of the universities where
it isn’t being taught anyways as far as
I can tell online where people can
access it freely
Jordan Peterson joins me now in studio
good to see you again thanks for being
well I start an online University well
because the technology is ready for it
that’s the that’s the most important
issue there’s absolutely no reason why
high quality education can’t be made
available to masses of people at low
cost so and since that’s possible
there’s absolutely no reason not to do
it I mean you just say low cost you’re
saying that students would wat only pay
for their examinations
well that was we’re not sure exactly how
it would how it would run but the one
possibility would be a monthly
subscription that would help pay for the
content but the primary source of
revenue would be for on the
accreditation and on the examination end
for sure so how would this work for
students what would they see what would
they learn well we would probably start
with a list of the hundreds hundreds
greatest books of Western civilization I
think we’d started as a great books
program and we’re thinking about making
a timeline imagine a timeline that
stretches say from 3,000 BC up to the
present time that you could zoom in on
and imagine lectures that
be available at different levels of
resolution so for example you might have
a lecture about the 2000 to 1000 BC and
the major the major occurrences during
that period that you could zoom in and
get specialty lectures where the
historical knowledge was detailed enough
to provide information at that level of
resolution and then the content I don’t
know yet
I think getting the underlying technical
structure right at the moment is more
important than the content because I
think content would generate itself if
the incentive systems were set up
properly why do you think this would
work more effectively than traditional
university format because the
traditional universities have abandoned
the humanities they become almost
entirely corrupt as far as I can tell
but you are a tenured university
professor at the University of Toronto
yes so how do you reconcile those two
well the university disciplines that
still have some grounding in science
seem to be I would say still intact but
the humanities we know for example that
in the United States the ratio of
Democrats to Republicans in the
humanities is about 30 to 1 he’s taken
an unbelievable leftward tilt and about
80 percent of humanities papers are
never cite at once and the humanities
have been dominated by a kind of
postmodern Neel Marxist what would you
call it cult ideologies since the 1990s
probably starting in the 1960s and so
they’ve abandoned their mission to
students their mission should be to
teach students to speak to think and to
read and to become familiar with the
best of the world fundamentally so that
they can hone their cognitive skills and
operate effectively in the world and I
don’t believe they’re doing that at all
I think it’s a scam pretty much from top
to bottom and it’s a very expensive scam
so it’s too top-heavy it’s gonna topple
so would you continue to work at the
University of Turin sure if you started
at this this online university platform
yes definitely what’s been the reaction
from your colleagues Oh minimal I mean
the reaction from the university to to
the political turmoil that I was
embroiled in was first negative and then
I would say neutral and now things seem
to be just fine my colleagues haven’t
really said anything either about the
political turmoil about this plan so but
I don’t think that the plan
the change I don’t think will come from
within the universities anyways because
generally speaking when there’s a new
technology introduced it isn’t the old
systems that adopt it they’re not
capable of operating in the new tech
technological world because it requires
a new approach and you might say asked
well why do I have the expertise to do
that and perhaps I don’t but I have
worked on software development for 25
years and I have some good partners and
a lot of people who are interested in
helping me with this it seems like a lot
of people you know $50,000 a month
there’s a lot of money by that I’m
staggered daily by that of course it’s
absolutely overwhelming and that money
goes to well it goes to right at the
moment one of the things that’s helped
funding is I’m doing a series on the
psychological significance of the
biblical stories and I used that money
to rent the Isabel Bader theatre upfront
for 12 weeks and to hire a film crew and
it goes in part to help me cover the
costs of the videos that I keep making
and it also well that’s fundamentally
what it’s doing at the moment when do
you expect this to be up and running
that’s a very good question
I mean we’re going to start with a
website in the next month and a half
that will be designed to help students
and their parents identify postmodern
content in courses so that they can
avoid them so I’ve been working with a
specialist in artificial intelligence
who’s written a script to to
discriminate between postmodern
neo-marxist course content and classical
content in the sciences and humanities
and so we’ll have a consumer information
website up in a month and I’m hoping
that over about a five year period a
concerted effort could be made to knock
the enrollment down in postmodern new
Marxist cult classes by 75% across the
West so our plan initially is to cut off
the supply to the people who are running
the indoctrination cults watching Jordan
Peterson thanks for being here this
all right pleasure here’s a question
well I post here’s the question let’s
let’s have a real question can men and
women work together in the workplace yes
I how do you do it
how do you know because I work with I’ve
worked a lot of for me right well it’s
been happening for what 40 years and and
things are deteriorating very rapidly at
the moment in terms of the relationships
between men and women it’s like we don’t
know if men and women can work together
forty years ago I would
I don’t know if I was a white man I
would be Jacqueline’s boss and I could
have done whatever I wanted
right and that there would be almost no
recourse that the that a woman who’s
working under me would have now they
have some recourse I mean it’s a is that
it was recourse back then too you could
take people to the police you think that
was happening a lot I mean like it’s a
dreadful thing to have to go to the
police I guess I’m essentially assaulted
if you feel like like there’s a
reduction in harm right that don’t
things are better so you feel like right
now the atmosphere in corporate
workplace is the exact same that it was
40 years ago
no but I’m not sure I’m not saying that
it’s any better it’s not any better well
maybe it is yes yeah not to ask you just
sort of prove a negative but what I
think that there is plenty of evidence
if you look at all the stories that are
coming out you do not feel like any of
the stories that you’ve heard about what
Hollywood is like do you feel like
that’s not evidence that this is a
problem evidence that Hollywood is a
problem yeah yeah but when I look at
Hollywood all these people coming out of
Hollywood talking about how sexual
misbehavior is a problem and I think
people in Hollywood are talking about
that they’ve been capitalizing on sexual
misbehavior for like a hundred years but
that I mean look those are unrelated and
all the professor should know like about
correlation and causation like you’re
you’re basically saying well you know
there have been movies with sex in it
therefore a PA on the set of a movie of
course should be expected to be sexually
no I’m saying those two are those two
our separate worlds in any sort of pure
logical sense like your that that is
just a classic mix-up of correlation why
are they separate worlds we don’t know
how to draw the boundaries because well
here’s well here’s the question we could
like any movie that has like if you talk
about sex in your in your classroom or
if you talk about sexual behavior in
your classroom and another classroom
does not talk about sexual behavior at
all you feel like your classroom would
have a higher chance or a higher
incidence rate of sexual assault or hell
but I would say that if I if I if I was
part of an organization that built
entire dozens of careers on sexual
provocative Ness I would be very careful
about like waiving the ethical flag in
the sexual wars so you don’t think
Hollywood doesn’t exploit sex hasn’t the
been saying that for 30 years the entire
entertainment industry does nothing but
exploit women sexually is that true or
not and if it is true then aren’t they
contributing to the problem and if
they’re contributing to the problem
where is all the ethical that you’re
you’re arguing at that point that
Hollywood is one sort of Titanic idea
that it is one sort of that a woman who
works in entertainment must then like
pledge allegiance to this idea of a sort
of totemic Hollywood and not come out
and give her story like they’re saying
right like if that said she’s like
somehow complicit in all of it with the
degree to which we’re all complicit in
what’s going on is unspecified I said
already you know we don’t know how to
have an adult conversation about sex
it’s not surprising it’s not the least
bit surprising so like so then what is
it then like cos your that it’s this
seems to be like the sort of
collectivist thinking that you rail
against you know you’re saying that
Hollywood is one thing and that
Hollywood made its own bed and therefore
Hollywood should not speak about this
issue because they’re the ones that were
putting this agenda no it isn’t that
they shouldn’t speak about it or that
they should be neither clear about it
forty two they should speak carefully
about it do you feel like they’re not
feeding carefully absolutely they’re not
speaking carefully no not in the least
what what is out of control about it
well trial by public opinion I suppose
is part of what’s out of control about
trial by public opinion do you think
that’s what’s happening yeah to some
degree sure it’s very easy for people to
come forward with accusations and
demolish someone’s reputation that’s
trial by public opinion so we don’t have
it we don’t have any conversation about
the other side of the of the coin you
don’t think women manipulate men
sexually for advancement in the
workplace do you not do you not think
that there has been any sort of pushback
against against us me to movement at all
yeah there’s been some okay so then then
what do you mean we don’t have
conversations about the other side it
seems like every time I read any sort of
publication it’s split more or less
50/50 and actually increasingly more
towards like maybe this thing is out of
control it seems like that narrative
certainly out there yeah true it is it
has started to emerge in the last couple
of weeks that’s true yeah so then I
don’t understand I guess I don’t
understand the question
exactly well my question is essentially
that like when is there sexual
harassment in the workplace yes
should it stop that’d be good if it did
that’d be good
will it well not at the moment it won’t
because we don’t know what the rules are
do you think men and women can work in
the workplace together I don’t know
without sexual harassment
we’ll see well how many years will it
take for men and women working in a
workplace together more than four in a
sense more than 40 mm-hmm we’re new at
this we’re new at this
absolutely we’re completely new at it
it’s only been a couple of generations
that’s part of the problem right is that
we don’t know what the rules are like
what here’s a rule how about no makeup
in the workplace why would that came
from why should you wear makeup in the
workplace wasn’t that sexually
provocative no it’s not no what is it
then what’s the purpose of makeup but
some people would like to just put on
makeup why I don’t know why why do you
make your lips red because they turn red
during sexual arousal
that’s why why do you put Rouge on your
cheeks same reason so your argument I’m
not saying that you shouldn’t wear
makeup oh no I’m not saying that but
you’re saying that that I’m saying we
didn’t want to put on our makeup in the
workplace that they have sexualized
themselves in a way that’s what makeup
sport would that’s self-evident that why
else would you wear it though let me
mean when women put on makeup in the
workplace when they make their lips red
when they sort of put on Rouge right
that when they enter that workplace if
the man notices that that there is sort
of a elicit ‘no switch the woman has
said I am going to sexualize myself in
the workplace and therefore whatever
comes will come no I didn’t say the last
part of that so I didn’t say so whatever
comes will come but I think the issue of
complicit how about high heels
how about high heels what are they about
how you what about them
they’re there to exaggerate sexual
attractiveness that’s what high heels do
they tilt your they tilt your pelvis
forward so your hip stick oh that’s what
they do and they tighten up your calf
muscles there are sexual display now I’m
not saying that people shouldn’t use
sexual displays in the workplace I’m not
saying that but I am
saying that that is what they’re doing
and that is what they’re doing so what
is it relevant then to like sexual
harassment in the workplace then if you
can’t make well the Mau is put everybody
in uniforms to stop that sort of thing
from happening
men wear uniforms that’s a weird way
they wear suits I guess I’m not seeing
this sort of coherence of the the
thought that you’re putting together
then because what are the rules that
govern sexual interactions between men
and women in the workplace yes the
answer is we don’t know right so I’m
throwing out some questions how about
makeup oh that’s okay
is it why why is it okay well I would
think that there’s certain ownership
over one’s body that they can take
without how about negligence well going
too far if you had a workplace with
negligees I think that there would be
some sort of standard idea that maybe
that would be a sexualized okay so
there’s some line between lipstick and
negligees but yeah one across ok thrown
up where exactly is the line well I
think that you know much like Justice
Scalia said pornography is something
that you can feel or that you know it
when when you see it I would say that
that me that sort of it you know what
using to me you know and I really do
just mean this in sort of a debate sense
which is that like like these are the
big collective ideas there are things
that you feel like are sort of derived
through through evolution that that
people do come to a consensus that is
meaningful I don’t think that anyone
would say that wearing makeup to the
office is in some ways like sexually
deviant or something like that or that
it’s inviting a serve atmosphere or
sexuality within the world I would say
that you second part sure it’s exactly
what it’s doing okay why else would you
wear lipstick complete the path for me
man that’s the part that I like for you
to do I complete the thought woman I’m
not saying that women shouldn’t do it
and I’m also not saying that it should
be banned but I’m saying that you’re
absolutely not even if you don’t think
that has anything to do with sexuality
or sexual harassment does it have
something to do with sexual harassment
in the workplace I don’t know because I
don’t know what the rules should be to
govern the interactions between men and
women in the work should people be
allowed to flirt in the workplace do you
know that let’s just yes or no question
do you feel like women wearing makeup in
the workplace contributes to sexual
harassment in the workplace sure it
contributes and so what should be done
about that
you as a clinician who believes that
there should be prescriptive ideas that
don’t mandate behavior but that will
guide behavior I don’t know I don’t know
what the answer to that is do you feel
like we’re mentioned where if you feel
like a serious woman who does not want
sexual harassment in the workplace do
you feel like if she wears makeup in the
workplace that she is somewhat critical
yeah okay I do think that okay let’s
move up I don’t see how you could not
think that it’s like makeup is sexual
display that’s what it’s for say well I
want to look more attractive like what
do you mean by attractive exactly so
then what is the better outcome for you
then a workplace with no sexual
harassment where women wear uniforms and
don’t wear makeup
much like the bow it’s like you were
saying or a sort of queer workplace in
which sexual harassment is an
inevitability because women wear high
heels and makeup well I don’t say that
sexual harassment is inevitability
because women wear high heels make up I
didn’t say that or that it is more
likely I said that it it contributes to
the sexual ization of the workplace
what’s the difference between more
likely in that okay more likely I’ll go
with that yeah more likely right okay
okay so which one do you prefer I don’t
prefer either of them Oh which one of
those two would I prefer yeah oh I
prefer the one where people have the
freedom and so within that what so we’ve
gotten to that point that people should
have freedom to wear makeup right but
that that will inevitably lead to not
inevitably that it is more likely that
sexual harassment happens in the
workplace isn’t that sort of saying that
if women wear like I was that not saying
that if women wear makeup in the in the
I don’t know what I said like you you’re
pushing it past what I said by a
substantial margin I said that we don’t
understand it really
but govern though that interactions and
in between men and women in the
workplace right we don’t understand the
rules and so I was pushing a limit case
that’s what I was doing I wasn’t saying
women shouldn’t wear makeup no I would
say there should be a question raised
about that and there is often I mean
companies have dress codes let’s say you
know and they never reason for that but
but the fact that we got tangled up in
this conversation is an indication of
exactly how difficult it is to have a
reasonable reasonable conversation about
exactly what rules should govern the
interactions between men and women or I
would objected that a little bit because
I think the reason why this conversation
has been difficult is because like there
are certain things where you’ll just
punt and you’ll say I’m not saying that
and you’ll try and be very hyper
specific and now look there are examples
of that where I feel like you were right
like I feel like the Kathy Newman
article or the Kathy Newman interview I
felt like a lot of what you’re what that
she put words in your mouth I don’t feel
like I’m doing that in fact I’ve been
extremely careful not and I’m definitely
not accusing you okay I’m just saying
that these sorts of conversations are
difficult not that you’re making it up
Dulli difficult okay I don’t think you
are sure so I I guess look this is a
this is a test case right like we’re not
here to say like Jordan Peterson
believes that this is true we were
talking about a specific test case like
we agree you arguing that that makeup of
sexualized high heels are sexualized
right when they enter a workplace the
workplace has a higher preponderance of
becoming sexualized yes how is that how
do we not then take the next step and
say that ergo if we want to get rid of
sexual harassment in the workplace that
your belief is that women should not
wear high heels or makeup in the work
well because there’s other potential
solutions people could well be you could
allow for a certain amount of sexual
attention and not act on it in a
reprehensible manner I mean look it
let’s say you’re married to someone
right partner okay
you go to a party do you ever flirt I
mean I don’t go to parties oh okay
do you ever flirt at all but do you know
how that is well look look
one of the things that’s enjoyable about
the interactions between men and women
even if you’re married is an element of
flirtatiousness that can underscore the
interaction okay you don’t want to get
rid of that it’s too tyrannical to get
rid of that but you’re playing with fire
you have to know that you’re playing
with fire and so there’s gonna be some
sexual provocative nests in the
workplace let’s say both ways
with fire and you need to know what the
rules are we don’t know what the rules
are okay how about what if I said it is
okay to flirt with your coworker from
time to time you know don’t don’t grab
them in the private well that seems you
know I think we could agree that that
might be a reasonable start right but
then of course you still have the
problem with exactly what constitutes
acceptable flirting do you feel like the
majority of people then who are sort of
in this mitri movement right now who have been speaking out yeah do you really think all of them are not a large saying that you can’t flirt at all you know or do you think most of them are saying you just don’t grab me in the privates because I would I just ask somebody who also has read about this who study yeah quite a bit he was followed it very intensely it really does seem like the messages like hey like you know don’t pull your robe off don’t grab me no I think it’s worse than that you do yeah well look at what happened with NBC now you’re supposed to report your coworkers if you suspect them of romantic entanglements that’s been true about American and I mean yours that is one symptom but this is a policy now it is one one company about citywide yeah it’s a it’s a response to it but it’s a bad response you said like is it only about not being grabbed it’s like no it’s not only about that if it was only about not being grabbed would you be okay with him well I’m not in favor of people being involuntarily grabbed
I’m not in favor of sexual harassment or sexual assault and not in the least I don’t I think I already told you what I think I’m a sexual conservative sure I don’t think people should have sex on the first date I think they should be very careful with sex right so I’m not in the camp of let’s grab each other under the mistletoe at the Christmas party because what the hell I’m not in that camp
English (auto-generated)

The Dictatorship of the Offended

The Dictatorship of the Offended by James Hennen.

This article was first published by the James G Martin Center for Academic Renewal. The article is written by James Hennen. Please support both the James G Martin Center and James Hennen’s work. The original URL is here:

The college campus is increasingly a focal point for shaping social norms, largely a result of rising college attendance; only five percent of the generation that came of age in the 1930s were college graduates, as opposed to roughly a third of millennials. Sometimes, however, this shaping is not always an improvement. In recent years, a new “victimhood culture” has emerged as a powerful new social force that threatens the liberal foundation of academic freedom.

Victimhood is a culture where an individual’s status as a victim elevates him or her to the moral high ground. Its hallmarks are taking offense in microaggressions, shouting down controversial speakers, and demanding “safe spaces.” The values of victimhood culture are encouraging an illiberal turn in students and academics alike, who label political disagreement and academic freedom as violence. Furthermore, they respond to skepticism toward that victimhood status by others with great emotion and anger.

The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars, written by Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, sociologists at California State University at Los Angeles and West Virginia University, respectively, describes how this culture developed and came to dominate campus. They use three moral cultures that have existed in America as a framework for discussion: a culture of honor, a culture of dignity, and a culture of victimhood. They also explain how changing norms are reshaping colleges.

An honor culture depends on a person’s reputation, which means people will respond aggressively to insults and challenges to defend personal honor, such as the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Dignity culture emphasizes a conception of self-worth that cannot be determined by public opinion, which encourages people to ignore insults and negotiate compromises, manifested in passive resistance techniques such as conscientious objection and protests for civil rights.

Campbell and Manning note, however, that victimhood culture draws from honor and dignity cultures. It combines “the sensitivity to slight that we see in honor cultures with the willingness to appeal to authorities and other third parties that we see in dignity cultures.” In emphasizing someone’s victimhood to gain sympathy and get someone else to intervene on their behalf, victimhood culture has found fertile ground on college campuses. Previously, dignity culture pervaded the campus atmosphere. Students ignored perceived slights or worked through disagreements among themselves.

Campbell and Manning focus on colleges for their analysis because they argue that campuses are especially susceptible to victimhood culture and its excesses. They note that victimhood has roots in dignity culture, as dignity culture was more willing to appeal to authority or third parties to settle a dispute two parties could not solve without violence. When victimhood coupled the appeal to authority with the sensitivity to insults and slights from honor culture, it needed an authority that is slow to question a self-proclaimed victim but quick to punish a privileged party. That atmosphere is found on many college campuses, and the previous dignity culture was slow to respond to the shift to aggressive demands for safety, even when “safety” was stretched beyond its original definition.

Reading Campbell and Manning, it becomes clear that college institutions are simply too weak to stop victimhood culture. For instance, they have lackluster due process rules in adjudicating sexual assault. Colleges cave quickly to student demands and tend not to approach victimhood claims with reasonable skepticism. As dignity culture has lost ground on campus, the incentives for skepticism have become liabilities. Instead of requiring evidence for wrongdoing before punishing a student, university administrators are expected to condemn the accused based on an accusation. Defenders of dignity culture have been all too willing in ceding to victimhood culture, possibly because of dignity’s affinity for negotiation and compromise.

Caving in to demands rarely brings negative consequences for administrators according to Campbell and Manning. Students who promote victimhood are loud and well-organized, and those who oppose it are less sensitive to slights. They also are not taken as seriously by administrators if they complain about victimhood culture. Administrators naturally cater to the students who threaten them with the outrage mob of social media.

Campbell and Manning do not elaborate on this point, but the public tends to be unaware of victimhood’s effect on campus culture. Established media do not devote much attention to the topic (nor do many campus publications) beyond the most dramatic events, such as protests at the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College that caused large enrollment declines after national attention. That reaction is a sign that people turn away from victimhood culture when they learn about its excesses. Conservative and libertarian media tend to be the only ones cataloging the number and extent of these incidents.

With limited autonomy throughout their lives, it is no surprise that some college students expect campus authorities to define what is and is not acceptable behavior.

Students are forced to sit through freshmen orientation sessions where they are harangued about their privilege and lack of cultural sensitivity, but those who oppose such attempts at indoctrination rarely object. At least, not with the vehemence shown by those who promote victimhood as the foundation of campus morality.

Of course, victimhood culture is bigger than just academia. Dignity culture’s obsession with safety and regulation have primed younger generations to adopt victimhood long before they reach college age. Many students grew up under “helicopter parents” and had teachers who strictly handled all disagreements. Children learned an ethos of asking for permission before taking initiative. Those rules produced a generation uncomfortable with freedom. With limited autonomy throughout their lives, it is no surprise that some college students expect campus authorities to define what is and is not acceptable behavior, even when dealing with trifles.

As Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt argue, “bad policy and paranoid parenting are making kids too safe to succeed.” Rather than treating emotional discomfort and political disagreement as an opportunity to grow and debate, they are awkward moments to be controlled. A majority of college-age students by no means buy into victimhood culture, but enough of them who do can shape a campus.

And Campbell and Manning observe that victimhood culture is not an exclusively left-wing phenomenon; some conservative students are now adopting victimhood language. One went so far as to falsely report a crime; a Princeton University student falsely claimed he was beaten by two men for his political views. Campbell and Manning are careful to note that the right-wing embrace of victimhood culture is nowhere near the scale of its embrace by the left, but they show that the conservative reaction to victimhood culture is not always a return to dignity, but the adoption of victimhood for different ends.

Whether on the left or right, when students turn to authority figures to settle insignificant disagreements, victimhood becomes politically weaponized. For the most part, though, victimhood is a weapon of the political left. Universities are “committed to a single vision of social justice, and alternative views are becoming sparse and sometimes forbidden,” Campbell and Manning note. Scholarship as activism has trumped scholarship as a pursuit for truth.

As victimhood culture politicizes more thought and action that was previously neutral, it makes clashes between the cultures of victimhood and dignity inevitable. Campbell and Manning chronicle perceived microaggressions that anger people, free speech that offends students, and research that contradicts progressive political norms throughout their book. To adherents of victimhood culture, the worst campus sin is not shoddy scholarship—it is offending someone.

Defending free speech and academic freedom is perceived by victimhood proponents as a facade for the privileged to harm the disadvantaged. Implicit or explicit bias, they argue, can distort scholarship’s pursuit of truth and institutional action is needed to teach the privileged about their advantages. Otherwise, they suggest that marginalized groups may get ignored on campus, graduate at lower rates, or stagnate in their careers.

As victimhood proponents believe the university is responsible for keeping students safe—and now offensive words are elevated to the same level of threat as physical harm—they must extend their authority over the lives and thoughts of students to a degree previously unimagined. So, in the name of safety and sensitivity, free inquiry cannot be kept as an academic principle within victimhood culture, according to Campbell and Manning:

Universities trying to involve themselves in preventing or punishing microaggressions are claiming jurisdiction over every word spoken on campus, over every glance or expression. Under any conception of free speech the exceptions are rare while most speech is protected, but this is far from that. The logic of victimhood culture means no speech is clearly protected.

Thus, victimhood eliminates academic freedom.

Campbell and Manning do not appear optimistic about the future, not detecting a movement of students or faculty in organized opposition to victimhood culture. “Victimhood culture keeps advancing, and we see no sign of it stopping any time soon,” they note.

As a counterweight to victimhood’s encroachment, Campbell and Manning recommend limiting moral dependency on authorities by removing administrative oversight of student life and strengthening free speech protections. But those ideas have not found campus support like diversity training and safe spaces have. Campus support for dignity culture exists in the form of faculty organizations such as Heterodox Academy or the National Association of Scholars that push back against overbearing administrative efforts. Campbell and Manning, however, do not investigate the long-term possibilities of this type of organizing. Some state governments have passed laws reaffirming the principles of free speech on public campuses, but victimhood culture remains firmly planted on many campuses.

Until taxpayers demand politically neutral campuses—or students organize to protest being taught what to think rather than how to think—it is difficult to disagree with Campbell and Manning’s conclusion that victimhood culture is here to stay, at least in the foreseeable future.

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3 Reasons to Outsource Curriculum Writing

3 Reasons to Outsource Curriculum Writing

Many universities now outsource curriculum writing due to revolutionary changes in the academic world. Today’s higher education marketplace has gone global. At the same time, university administrators in some fields, especially mathematics and science have had to dip into a shrinking pool of talent. The increasingly competitive realm of college and university education has also forced administrators to innovate and adapt more quickly when it comes to adopting learning and training programmes or launching online options.

Outsourcing of curriculum and course writing brings benefits to experienced academics in universities. They will receive partners to help with unfamiliar challenges such as online design. Also, they will know that students in early level courses taught by young lecturers will meet university standards of instruction and integrity.

A leading NSW university (not the University of Sydney), for instance, uses a supplier to undertake product market research, marketing, recruitment, course design, teaching and evaluation of the course. The only thing that is not outsourced is the brand.

Here are some reasons why higher education consultants with experience in curriculum writing prove valuable partners in creating effective courses quickly.

Higher Education Must Adapt to Business Needs Quickly

Higher education services that specialise in vocational education must often create courses very quickly to meet community needs, but may not always have on campus expertise. One example from overseas illustrates the challenge very clearly. A wind energy firm received local permission to erect a large-scale wind farm in an area that had never hosted such an industry before. The company needed trained maintenance staff within a relatively short period and reached out to the local vocational education college. Within two months, the college had a certification program in place that met the needs of industry and helped locals win high-paying jobs.

In this case, the entire area received the benefit. The college got a regular stream of new students. Economic development officials trying to attract new industries could point to the college as a valuable regional resource. State officials also recognised the positive synergy between the college and economic development officials and started pointing to that college as a model for others.

In such a situation, outsourcing to academic writers who have experience creating courses and programmes can save time, meet all needs, and reduce the possibility of mistakes. In some cases, the ability to move both quickly and effectively benefits more than just one department in a college.

Traditional universities increasingly seek to maximise their shares of the education marketplace. In doing so, they will join vocational education institutions in working to develop effective courses and programmes quickly in response to requests or needs. These requests may come more from government agencies or professions requiring specific education and training.

Continuing education in confronting cybersecurity issues serves as one example of a field requiring constant updating of knowledge. The challenge of working in a constantly evolving digital realm means that continuing education remains a must and expert curriculum designers can help.

Sometimes Even the Best and Most Experienced Professors Lack Needed Online Course Design Skills

In most cases, a university’s best, brightest, and most popular faculty come from its older and more experienced ranks. Many of these professors grew up in the rotary telephone era. They have little experience with online course design, but university administrators want to get some of that valuable experience into e-learning.

Setting instructors such as these loose to design their own online courses begs for trouble. While they have mastered the content and materials, they will struggle in effective delivery. Curriculum designers understand that online teaching, especially course creation, requires an additional set of skills. These include the structure of the course, use of time, the inclusion of proper multimedia materials, handling student and professor interaction, promoting class discussion. Great course writers can help to facilitate all of these aspects of successful online courses and help professors tremendously.

Bringing in course writing and design experts does not take control from the professors but will liberate them to concentrate on what they know while not forcing them to spend a great deal of time reinventing the wheel. Administrators need to understand that experienced professors may welcome partners but will remain wary of anyone seeking to dictate or control the information delivered. Experienced course and curriculum designers grasp this dynamic and seek to assist rather than direct.

This scenario plays out often as many universities look to create entire MBA programmes online for busy executives. Curriculum designers work with experienced professors to make sure they can best express their ideas through an unfamiliar medium. With online MBA programmes finding success, universities will certainly look for other fields of graduate study in which to expand online education. Curriculum and course designers can expedite this process while making sure that the courses meet university expectations.

Outsourced Curriculum Design Can Maintain Academic Integrity and Consistency

Times of fast change, such as those occurring in universities right now, can bring problems of consistency and quality. Outsourcing curriculum and course design in some areas can ensure that the university responds quickly while maintaining integrity and consistency.

Many university administrators have responded to the increasingly competitive global education marketplace by moving more intellectual resources to research and away from teaching. This leaves department chairs to rely increasingly on younger lecturers or graduate student instructors with less experience in either face-to-face or online course design.

Younger lecturers and graduate students may not have full mastery of necessary knowledge. More importantly, however, they often have trouble structuring their courses in such a way as to cover the materials. Inexperienced instructors sometimes tend to spend a great deal of time on subjects of interest or deeper knowledge to them, not leaving enough time to cover others. This results in an unbalanced course that may neglect vital information.

Course design experts can also help to create course outlines and structures that allow lecturers intellectual flexibility within guidelines that preserve course integrity. No university administrator wants robots that all spout the same verbiage and use the same materials. They do, however, want each course to meet certain objectives. Students should walk out of every class with the opportunity to learn what is necessary to know about each topic.

Curriculum designers also serve as guardians of academic integrity when administrators want new programmes. Again, outside consultants have a good vantage point and the right experience to ensure consistency and reduce errors. Universities want new programmes to come out right the first time and to meet academic and other expectations. Course and curriculum designers can help a university do it right the first time, preserving academic integrity.

The Outsourcing of Course and Curriculum Design Going Forward

Universities in today’s global marketplace often have to think more like a private sector business. This means that they have to react to the market more quickly. Universities have to ensure that their ‘products’, both research and education, meet expectations the first time. With little margin for error and the recognition that time represents a commodity as much as anything else, universities have started seeking out partners for work once done in-house.

Going forward, universities will increasingly rely on outsourcing of curriculum design, course writing, and other tasks once done solely by academics. This mimics private sector willingness to employ partners to carry out essential functions. It will also help to free experienced academics to concentrate on what they do best and ensure that all courses and programmes meet the expectations of administrators and the public.

7 Tips to Write Academic Policies and Procedures

7 Tips to Write Academic Policies and Procedures

Writing academic policies and procedures is necessary for any functioning higher education provider. Public institutions, especially universities, work under more scrutiny now than ever. With constant examination, prevalence of social media, and the 24-hour news cycle always looking for the next breaking story, university staff and faculty must remain careful. Luckily, administration can help.

Faculty and staff often view policies and procedures as restrictive, sometimes overly so. Policies and procedures can restrict work duties, interaction with students and co-workers, or even guide actions off campus. They serve two important goals, however; protect the institution and protect each employee.

Protection for administration comes from setting clear guidelines that, if violated, place responsibility squarely on individual employees. They also, however, ensure that if the employee follows policy and procedure mandates, they will likely keep themselves from trouble should an incident of some sort occur.

1. Follow the Three Pillars of Excellence

As administrators look to start writing guidelines for policy and procedures, they must remember the three pillars of excellence. Effective policy and procedure writing comes in the context of an institutional culture dedicated to effectiveness. Administrators must work to make sure faculty and staff remain aware of expectations. They must also follow through and hold employees accountable for violations.

Each aspect of the three pillars of excellence must guide the process.

Policy and Procedure

Policies express institutional and administrative goals and guidelines. Each written policy lays out expectations for how the institution and its employees must function in a given situation. The philosophy of the institution should be included in any policy manual. When appropriate, policies should refer back to the guiding philosophies and mission of the university.

Procedures indicate how faculty and staff must implement or comply with policies. They suggest when to act or to not act in a given situation.


Faculty and staff may misunderstand or have issues with even the best written policies and procedures. That’s why it is important to have a training procedure in place. Training gives key stakeholders, like professors and instructional designers, the opportunity to further clarify the meaning of policy and procedures. Faculty and staff may have questions that require clarification. Also, those who have not “bought in” may get convinced of the value of the policy and procedures through frank discussions that accompany proper training.


Policy and procedure writing proves a waste of time without effective administrative follow through. Once policy and procedures are established, supervisors must oversee implementation. When necessary, they will need to hold faculty and staff accountable for inconsistent compliance. Since policies and procedures protect both the university administration and employees, hopefully incidents of non compliance prove rare.

2. Develop Policy Charter or Mandate Before Starting

Effective policies and procedures do an organisation no good if they disrupt the team rather than unite or focus it. Certainly those in upper management have the prerogative to impose policies and procedures. They should, however, try to make creation and adoption a team exercise as much as possible.

Effective managers bring the team on board to try and identify areas of needed change. The team may have their own productive ideas that can help the process. Before getting into specifics, those involved need to come up with guiding mandates that can keep policy and procedure creation focused and relevant. Making the process a team operation should help boost buy in.

3. Use the Right Priorities

Policies should reflect issues of priority. These include:

  • Issues involving state and national mandates and regulations
  • Issues involving liability
  • Governance of interactions, especially those of a romantic nature, involving faculty, staff, and students
  • Issues involving ethical behaviour
  • Other challenges facing the university

Next, come up with a list of new policies to consider and old ones to revise or eliminate. Examine the list to weed out potential conflicts with existing policy.

Do not try to cover every imaginable situation with a policy. This will involve too much time and effort. Consider application of the 80/20 rule from the business world in evaluating whether the university needs a policy or not.

Procedures should reflect realistic expectations of action or restraint from action from each individual employee. They should, as much as possible, take into account real human reactions in given situations. In an ideal world, for example, an instructor would have awareness of each student’s physical and emotional state and inform someone in event of trouble. In reality, instructors rarely know many students that well. Therefore, policies and procedures holding faculty to account for failing to report a student who may harm themselves or others would fall under the category of “unreasonable.”

Universities should understand that online learning and eLearning coursework will require an additional set of policies and procedures that govern the unique set of interactions that can take place in such courses.

Finally, policy and procedure manuals must allow for common sense and decision making in areas that they cannot cover.

4. Establish Goals and Values

Each university has both an organisational culture and a self perception of what it is or what it wants to be. Universities share some values with all others, while certain universities may have values in common with a limited number of schools. Sometimes the organisational culture may come into conflict with institutional goals and values.

The university must allow its established goals and values to drive the process. Organisational culture has powerful importance. Policy and procedure writing must take this into account. Any changes in policy and procedures reflect the idea that some part of organisational culture no longer works for the institution as a whole. The process should include communication about precisely what will get changed, but also why.

5. Discourage Deliberate Indifference

Deliberate indifference occurs when an institution ignores or covers up a situation that has risks to liability, public perception, or violations of rights. Sexual harassment serves as a common area where universities face challenges dealing with a serious issue.

When crafting policies and procedures, anticipate risks and put together plans on how to deal with situations. The more risk involved, the more precise the administration may want to write the policy. Procedures should include multiple processes for redress and appeal.

Deliberate indifference can break a university’s reputation and end careers. Universities should anticipate and plan to deal with risk inherent situations head on.

6. Balance Precision and Flexibility

Policies and procedures must have precise language to lessen misunderstandings. No policy and procedure manual, however, can anticipate every type of situation. Human beings remain an unpredictable animal and will surprise with how much ingenuity they can use to create trouble or fall into messy accidents.

When appropriate, policy and procedure manuals must include flexible response. Faculty and staff need latitude for applying their experience, knowledge, and common sense in problem solving. Not every issue can go to upper management. Not every problem requires intervention. Also, faculty and staff should have some freedom and latitude to consider opportunities not foreseen by policy and procedure.

An overwritten policy and procedure manual can deaden initiative and create a staff that functions efficiently, but too robotically to help the university grow.

7. Practise Good Policy Writing

Policies and procedure manuals must follow clear and standard English. The diction must, as much as possible, conform to the language and usage of lay people. This, however, can prove challenging because policy and procedure manuals must also follow specific legal usage of words and terms.

Policy writing should also include a description of the scope. To whom does the policy apply? For example, some universities have instructional design policies that apply to beginning lecturers, but not an experienced full professor.

The document must illustrate the chain of supervisory and accountability command. In other words, who oversees who. Also, what punishments for non compliance may occur at which juncture? These can range from adverse action reports to termination, but the policy and procedure manual should explain these in detail.

Policy and procedure writing serve as the backbone of the modern university. Effective policies and procedures guide faculty and staff, reflect the institution’s values and goals, and enjoy support, or, at the very least, understanding, from the vast majority of the employees. Bad policy and procedure creation widens rifts between institutional values and organisational culture, can alienate the people administration depends on the most, and deepens dysfunction.

Effective policy and procedure creation and adoption will not save a struggling institution on its own, but it can help move it back in the right direction

(c) Darlo Group.

If you would like to discuss How to Apply to TEQSA, please contact us to discuss.

How to Make an Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

How to Appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on a TEQSA Decision

Last summer, the University of Southern Queensland, with a worldwide student population of nearly 28,000, faced serious trouble. USQ’s regular application for National Register renewal got put on hold. Reports of internal problems and other issues at USQ reached TEQSA and caused the delay.

TEQSA chief executive Anthony McLaren told The Australian last August that “USQ’s application for renewal of registration is still under consideration. In light of new information being brought to TEQSA’s attention, and an upcoming change in vice-chancellor, this application has required additional work and consideration by the agency.”

Despite having a large student population and a reputation as an online course innovator, USQ’s administration failed to convince TEQSA that they deserved automatic renewal. If denied, USQ would have to take the next step and appeal to the Australian Administrative Tribunal for Higher Education Registration.

This means that for higher education providers, receiving or renewing a registration status is far from automatic. Universities seeking renewal should certainly engage higher education consultants to help on appeals to the AAT , especially if they have had administrative staff turnover or more serious issues. Whether or not you engage higher education consultants, understanding the AAT appeal process should serve as the first step in overcoming registration issues.

Although relatively straightforward, the AAT appeal process involves choosing options. Higher education experts agree that any institution looking to appeal a TEQSA decision should engage special consultants to help boost chances of success.

The National Register and Higher Education Services

The National Register lists approved higher education providers’ details. This includes:

  • Legal entity name
  • Australian Business Number used for higher education operations
  • Provider category
  • Website of the higher education provider
  • If the higher education services provider can serve overseas students or students studying in vocational education
  • Other pertinent links, important addresses, and dates of renewal

The registry also includes information on those institutions whose registration has expired, been withdrawn, or cancelled.

Approval for a position on the National Register remains vital for any higher education services provider to operate legitimately in Australia. Denial or other issues with registration can cause serious harm to the reputation of a university. This makes understanding the appeals process of first importance in case TEQSA discovers issues in the application.

What Is the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)?

The AAT, established by federal law in 1975, conducts independent merit reviews of decisions made by administrators under Commonwealth laws. When a case comes before the AAT, it receives a “fresh look,” as the AAT’s website describes it. This means that the tribunal goes over the facts, law, and policy relevant to the case, then makes a decision based on its merits. The goal of the process lies in coming to either the legally correct or preferable decision. In addition to higher education, the AAT also examines cases related to Centrelink, child support, and migration issues

AAT action, however, has limits. According to its website, the AAT has no jurisdiction in the following areas:

  • every decision made by the Australian Government or under a Norfolk Island law
  • decisions made under state or territory laws
  • decisions made by local governments.

Benefits of Making an Appeal to the AAT

There are many benefits of applying to the AAT to appeal a decision made by TEQSA. Many of these reasons include:

  • An independent and fresh review of evidence and cases.
  • The prospective higher education provider can assemble evidence to respond to any reviews provided by TEQSA.
  • A review of processes and procedures were fairly and consistently followed by TEQSA.
  • That the decision made is fair and proportionate to the case at hand and follows the principles of regulation.
  • That any bias or unreasonable claims are tested in a tribunal.
  • That the provider can hire appropriate legal expertise to ensure that there is a fairer balance of power and issues of information asymmetry are addressed

While the Tribunal implies legal representation, unfortunately, this has been a path that many higher education providers have needed to resort to in order to receive correct decisions about their status.

Applying for Administrative Appeals Tribunal Review

AAT appeals follow a relatively straightforward process, designed to provide multiple opportunities for early and easy resolutions. Along the way, the parties have options to allow for different forms of resolution. TEQSA will employ staff with years of experience in AAT appeals so basic knowledge of the process alone will not suffice with TEQSA. Consultants can help you develop a winning strategy as your case follows the AAT appeal process.

That being said, having a roadmap of the process before getting started helps tremendously.

First, contact the AAT to find the time limit involved for a National Register appeal case. Limits range from nine to 90 days or more and vary from topic to topic. You should do so by email rather than by phone. This way, you have the time limit expressed in writing in case someone made a mistake.

The AAT will allow time limit extensions in certain cases, even when the limit has already passed. Applications for extensions must go to the AAT in writing and must include reasons why the applicant could not comply with the time limit. To apply for an extension, fill out a form, write a letter, or send an email.

Those seeking redress through the AAT have multiple means by which to apply for an appeal. This can be done through a letter, email, filling out an application form, or applying online.

When writing the AAT by letter or email, include a copy of the decision and the following information:

  • all contact information, including name, phone number, mailing address, and email address
  • the date the decision was received
  • brief reasons why the decision is wrong.

If you cannot include a copy of the decision, also provide the following information:

  • the name of the person or organisation that made the decision
  • a brief description of the decision

Forms and other correspondence should get sent:

  • by post (GPO Box 9955 in your capital city)
  • by email (
  • by fax

Application fees of up to $861 may be applicable. Reach out to the AAT to find out if your institution must pay a fee and how much.

Steps in the AAT Process

Each case that reaches the AAT follows the same process from receipt of application until final decision. Resolutions can occur at several steps; not every case will follow the entire path to conclusion. Some steps allow for choices of options to pursue toward resolution. Experienced higher education consultants can bring vital expertise to making these crucial decisions.

Initially, upon receipt of the application, the AAT reaches out to the applicant, the agency whose decision the AAT will review, and any other relevant party. Each party receives a notice of application and then information about what will happen next.

The agency decision-maker, in this case, TEQSA, has 28 days to respond. They must send reasons for the decision and also supporting documentation.

Next, the AAT may choose to hold a preliminary hearing. This step only occurs when the tribunal wishes to examine case issues prior to launching a formal review. These issues may include breaches of the application time limit, whether or not the AAT has proper jurisdiction, or if the agency received a “stay order” requiring it to suspend its decision until the AAT has a chance to decide on the case.

When launching an appeal of a TEQSA decision, employing higher education consultants, lawyers, QCs or other representatives is common practice. Generally, at this point, the AAT reaches out to those representing themselves to advise on where they can receive assistance and information.

The first conference brings all parties together for an informal discussion of the issues and concerns about the agency decision. Starting the process with a conference allows for the possibility of an early resolution that could save time and money for all concerned, including the taxpayers. If no resolution appears likely, the AAT could then suggest an Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR. Each case will receive individualised attention through the ADR process. Cases could receive examination through another conference, conciliation, mediation, case appraisal, or neutral evaluation.

At any point during the AAT process, the tribunal may elect to hold a directions hearing. These hearings serve as a forum to discuss procedural issues that appear during the process. They also address any failure of compliance with tribunal requests from any of the contending parties.

All ADR processes take place in private to promote frank and open discussion that cannot serve as evidence in later AAT or other hearings.

Should conferences and ADRs fail to produce a resolution, the AAT will hold a formal hearing. Though usually public, the AAT has the discretion to hold private hearings if some issue gets deemed too sensitive. If all parties and the AAT agree, a decision can occur without a hearing, simply based on written evidence presented. Finally, the AAT will review the evidence and come to its decision on the matter.

Importance of Getting Professional Assistance

The tribunal process may seem fairly simple in the description. In reality, however, any administrative appeals process has its own culture, rules, and pathways. To those most familiar with the processes goes the advantage. Also, those who have limited experience in administrative appeals have just as limited of a frame of reference in understanding the strength or weakness of their case.

A word to the wise. Knowing the appeals process represents a small first step on the road.

The next step lies in engaging professional and experienced people with knowledge of the legislation on TEQSA. Consultants can help you, even well established higher education services should rely on consultants to guide each step, conference discussion, and choice of ADR. Seeking independent legal advice and a counsel to represent you at the tribunal is critical, too.

Independent and unaffiliated with TEQSA consultants like Darlo Higher Education has staff with years of experience handling AAT appeals, which makes engaging higher education consultants with appeals experience vital to success.

While you may or not be successful with an Administrative Appeal, there are many clear benefits of appealing:

  • You are more likely to receive an independent hearing;
  • The worst excesses of higher education regulation will be put under the spotlight and scrutiny;
  • You have a legal right and recourse to get a fair, impartial hearing of your case and review of evidence;
  • There is precedence among other providers to win in the Tribunal and over-turn poorly arrived at TEQSA decisions.

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