HOSA Conference 2017

Surf, Sand and Great Ideas in Student Administration

The sun shone in Noosa. For two glorious days the heads of Student Administration from most universities across Australia, as well as several from New Zealand were able to soak in lots of information, bask in trend setting case studies and listen to a range of insights across the university sector at the Heads of Student Administration (HoSA) 2017 Conference.  As a first time attended at this conference, I thought I would share  a few of my highlights.

  • Brent Miller, Representative of the local Sunshine Coast Kabi Kabi Nation described in fascinating detail the linkages of people to earth. The Kabi Kabi Nation have a long and historical link to this area of Queensland. Brent’s informative presentation as well as a short piece on the didgeridoo held the audience spell bound.
  • Vice Chancellor and President, University of the Sunshine Coast, Professor Greg Hill detailed the rise of the University from a small institution with 500 students in 1996 to the 11,600 student body that  now studies across five campuses. It is a remarkable journey for this small university.
  • The University of Newcastle’s ‘Student Central Story’ provided many relevant and pertinent tips on how to centralise student services successfully. UTS’s Jacqui Wise followed on by recounting the staff development activities after the UTS student administration centralisation project in her presentation ‘Purpose Driven Staff Development’.
  • The Future Leaders introduction, a new initiative at HoSA this year, identified and presented scholarships to ten future student administration leaders.
  • Professor Abelardo Pardo presented his findings to improve teaching and learning experiences, with Professor Jane den Hollander AO, Vice Chancellor and President, Deakin University, describing her ideas on the future of university administration in a digital world. Big Data, A.I., Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) were key features of her presentation.
  • UniSA continues to lead the way with online administrative practices. Allan Tabor and Vanessa Matthews detailed their project which improved the student experience through online study plans. It all sounded so easy!
  • At the end of Day One we were saturated with great ideas and new initiatives - networking over a delicious dinner was about to begin!
  • Day 2 began with Professor Karen Nelson, Pro Vice Chancellor Students, University of the Sunshine Coast evidence based presentation which drilled down to the root cause of how to engage students, keep them motivated and improve retention figures. There were many ‘take-aways’ from Karen’s presentation.
  • With the Government’s interest in establishing greater transparency in admissions processes, QTAC Dr John Griffith’s discussion on daily offers and admissions transparency propelled the audience into admissions thinking.
  • Richard Frampton (La Trobe University) and Simon Cave (VTAC) spoke about how the La Trobe/VTAC  pilot project developed a more integrated approach to online applications for the MBA program. The results of this pilot provided positive outcomes for students with a more customer focused admissions process.
  • The ANU experience of online certified documents presented by Mark Erickson (now at UQ, formerly ANU) and Joan Engel from ANU showed how increased efficiencies could be gained from online process improvement.

Overall HoSA 2017 in Noosa proved to be a sunny experience, both physically and in enlightening the audience with some new revelations, case studies and projects to retain students, deliver high quality services and improve student administration processes. We look forward to the next HoSA conference in Hobart in 2018.

All presentations are now available on ATEM’s HoSA 2017 website.


Dianne van Eck, Director, Higher Education Specialist

After an entrepreneurial career, Dianne commenced her profession in the Higher Education sector in 1996 when she joined UniSA.  Known for ‘making it happen’, her work on many university wide projects enabled her to bring diverse teams together to support change and improvement across faculties and central units. In 2008 Dianne and her daughter, Jo Schneider (CEO) established DVE Business Solutions (DVE) to build a high performing team to drive positive change across the sector. DVE has completed many hundreds of successful projects in over twenty Higher Education institutions in Australia and New Zealand over the past ten years.



Published On: Published On: 13/10/2017

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