Convocation of UWA Graduates

Digest Council Meeting August 2016


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Digest of Issues considered at the Convocation Council Meeting held on 3 August 2016.

There were 15 members of Council in attendance and three attendees by invitation (Ms Hilary Silbert, Senate; Ms Maddie Mulholland, Guild President and Peter Derbyshire President of the Postgraduate Student Association).  Leave of absence requests or apologies were received from eight Councillors.


Following the acceptance of the comprehensive Minutes of 6 July there were a number of matters arising:

  • The Warden noted that there would be a new section of the Convocation website where a summary of current issues could be posted and which would be updated on a monthly basis and that he had prepared the inaugural one.
  • Following concerns from Councillors regarding multiple phone calls received from Development and Alumni Relations Office’s Fundraising phone appeal, the Warden undertook to provide feedback on this to Ms Brenda Tournier.
  • It was noted that the UWA response to the review of Friends and Volunteers and been received and circulated. It was generally felt that it was an unremarkable and bland ‘status quo’ response to the numerous issues which had been raised.

A series of Reports were tabled and spoken to as required.

The Guild President as usual gave an excellent and detailed summary of actions and concerns from the past month. Several items particularly caught the attention of Councillors;  namely the VC’s response that he had been advised not to put any promises in writing regarding the request for a guarantee of continued 30% distribution of SSAF.  The grave concerns of the Guild  on a certain section of the proposed legislative amendment act of land belonging to the University casting doubt on whether buildings occupied by  Guild and which were built with Guild money, would no longer have right of occupancy.

A question related to what impact the Guild was noticing with fewer students attending the campus for lectures brought a response that this was resulting in significant losses in revenue by Guild in food and beverage sales.

The Postgraduate Students noted a meeting held with people from the “Innovation Quarter’’ to examine ways to provide entrepreneurship opportunities; it resulted in a satisfactory outcome to have a panel of experts to whom students would present their research and get feedback on how best to approach industry and sell their research .

A brief report tabled by the Associate Director of Alumni and Community Relations was noted in her absence and the Warden invited any queries; one queried a Dinner for 6 with Lianne Cretney-Barnes.

A visitor was then invited to make a presentation to Council similar to that presented to Senate recently. Mr Pranay Lodhiya, the Interim Executive Director, Finance and Campus Management spoke to a PowerPoint display outlining and comparing recent past, present and future patterns of concern to be addressed. Questions were invited and opinions exchanged in what became a lengthy and informative session of some 40 minutes.

Reports then resumed:

The Warden addressed the current situation of the articles in the legislative backlog in State Parliament and discussion ensued regarding the likelihood or otherwise of the proposed amendments to the University Act before the March election. It is apparently probable that the Bill may lapse.
The Warden noted that he had personally replied to all those members who had responded to the letter sent some time ago, and the outline in the last issues of Uniview regarding the proposed legislative changes.
 It was suggested that a role for the Deputy Warden would be to coordinate lists of names considered worthy of being considered for Convocation Medals, possibly but not necessarily at both the Spring and Autumn statutory meetings; and for forwarding to Senate for consideration for Chancellor’s medals and Honorary Doctorates.  Such names are invited together with suitable citations.
The Treasurer’s report was presented together with the necessary approval for the acceptance of the external Auditors report for Convocation 2015 Annual report. These will be included in the public documents available at the forthcoming Spring Ordinary Meeting. 16 September. The Treasurer also spoke to the 2016 Budget and called for budget item requests from the Chairs of various committees for the following year.
There being a current nomination for a Convocation Medal: this was duly approved. The award will be presented on 16 September. It was noted that several interested people including the proposed recipient were not formal members of Convocation, due perhaps to an incomplete degree from decades ago, or lack of a request to be so admitted, and the appropriate Statutory steps were taken to remedy this.
It was noted that the Warden also had contact recently with the ”Innovation Quarter” personnel and  it was suggested there could be interesting links created, possibly during Convocation Day activities early next year (March 4, the date of the Founding meeting in 1913 ).
Mention was made of the appointment of Ms Liz McGrath as the new editor of Uniview who will attend the 7 September Council meeting as a guest.
Also attending that meeting will be Deputy VC Kent Anderson who will address the Council on the new style and arrangements for the forthcoming graduation ceremonies. Council members were invited to attend these graduation ceremonies in the audience or to be part of the formal procession. One feature is to trial the holding of 3 ceremonies on a Saturday 10th September: at 10am; then 1 pm and finally 4 pm.
Each of the Working groups and sub committees tabled reports.
Engagement has been exploring the possible Benefits which might be accorded to Convocation members. One example instanced was the Infinite Rewards system as used by La Trobe University. Other matters being investigated are access for Graduates to University venues and facilities and a wider awareness of the sporting and recreational offerings available. One which caused great interest was the possible discounted use of the UWA Centennial yacht.
Events and Promotion noted the progress for the Annual 50th Reunion event planned for 8 October and looked ahead to possible events for March 4 and canvassed a number of other events to link with other groups on Campus.
The Governance Committee had not met in between Council Meetings following its extensive preparation of the points which Council adopted relating to the proposed amendments to the UWA Act.
The Awards committee had a full agenda dealing with the 24 August event at the Water-sports Centre presenting 5 Post-Grad Research Travel cheques and the Matilda Award. It noted also the 2 recent Sports Awards and the 35 undergraduate Faculty Prizes which had been awarded during the year.
The Deputy Warden outlined a brief history of these Awards, dating from 1950 and noted that they had to cease after 65 years. The Awards committee is keen to reshape them when the new Faculty structure is clear, and also to evaluate the possibility of creating a new set of Awards for Master level.   Such items obviously require a regular income stream for Convocation.
The response from the Director of the Cultural Precinct, (now ‘rebadged’ as Chief Cultural Officer) to a presentation by Jonathan Strauss, on behalf of a request from the UWA Historical Society caused eyebrows to raise when it was realised that not all sculptural and art works such as fountains are within the conservation and care of one dedicated area. Further investigation is ensuing. Clearly this too is a matter of financial belt-tightening as it is not cheap to maintain such works on our heritage campus
One final item of business was raised by the Deputy Warden who had recently met the son of a Graduate of 1938 (B Sci) and 1940 (Dip Ed.) who had been Awarded a Hockey Blue in 1936 and chosen for the Australian Women’s team for the Games which were cancelled due to the outbreak of War. She will be 100 in September.  The question was raised if the UWA data base carries birth dates and if so, is it possible for Convocation to be informed of such milestones in order to present its Congratulation to one of its members.
  Council Meeting which had begun at 6 pm was closed at 8.45 … considerably later than usual!
The meetings are held in the Old Irwin Street Room facing James Oval.
Members desiring further information on any of the Reports may address an enquiry to the Warden through the Convocation Officer, Ms Juanita Perez

This digest prepared by Dr Joan Pope OAM Deputy Warden