Understanding Higher Education

Subject 497-806 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours (120 hours total commitment)
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Prof Richard James
Subject Overview: This subject is designed to provide an overview of the current context of higher education in Australia, in particular the issues and trends that affect university managers. The subject will examine the structure and purpose of the modern university, changing relationships between universities and government, the market orientation of contemporary higher education, changing patterns of academic and administrative work and the new relationships between academic and administrative leaders and managers.
Objectives: At the completion of the subject, participants will be able to:
  • describe the changing structures and roles of universities;
  • describe some of the factors that affect universities and influence approaches to university management;
  • analyse the implications of changing patterns of academic and administrative work;
  • relate personal workplace experiences to the broader higher education context of change.
Assessment: A review of a contemporary issue in higher education and the implications for the local context, drawing on international literature and analysis as appropriate. (4,000 words, 100 per cent)
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts: Baldwin, G.& James, R. (2000) The market in Australian higher education and the concept of student as informed consumer Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 22, 2:pp.139 - 148

Clark, B. (1998) Creating Entrepreneurail Universitties: Organisational Pathwyas of Transformation Oxford: Pergamon Press

James, R. (2002) Students' changing expectations of higher education and the consequences of mismatches with reality, in Coaldrake, P. (ed) Responding to Student Expectations Paris:OECD

Marginson, S. and Considine, M. (2000) The Enterprise University:Power, Governance and Reinvention in Australia Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McInnis, C. (2000) Changing perspectives and work practices of academics in Australian universities, in Tight, M. (ed) International Perspectives on Higher Education Research Vol. 1 Academic Work and Life: What is to be an Academic and How this is Changing New York: JAI Elsevier.

McInnis, C. (1998) Dissolving boundaries and new tensions: Academics and administrators in Australian universities Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. 20:1

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: On completing this subject, participants should be able to:
  • apply theories and principles to specific contexts;
  • access, evaluate and utilise relevant resource materials;
  • reflect upon and analyse the effectiveness of their activities.
Links to further information: www.edfac.unimelb.edu.au
Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in University Management

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