The Higher Education HR/IR Conference 2019

Owning Disruption

8 – 10 May 2019 Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Conference Program

Wednesday 8 May 2019




12:00pm - 1:30pm

HR Directors Forum

Level 20, 360 Collins Street
1:45pm - 2:30pm HR Directors Lunch Grosvenor Room
Grand Hyatt Melbourne

2:30pm - 5:00pm

HR Directors Forum

Grosvenor Room
Grand Hyatt Melbourne

6:00pm - 7:30pm

Welcome Drinks and Registration

Ru-Co Bar
Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Conference Day 1 - Thursday 9 May 2019





8:40am  – 9:00am


Mayfair Ballroom

Stuart Andrews
Executive Director

9:00am – 9:45am

Plenary 1
Disruption in the hyper connected world of education: Only the fittest will survive

Universities no longer have a monopoly on creating and sharing knowledge, the internet is now the primary platform for information exchange, with active (and not always expert) contributors who co-create knowledge, evolve markets and influence governments.

Our communities now expect more flexible, accessible and timely means of preparing citizens for lives and careers in the machine age.

Our challenge is to remain contemporary and personal, preparing graduates for fast changing and unpredictable workforce demands, which includes reskilling those whose skills the workforce no longer needs.

Digital transformation in education is not just about embracing new technology, it is about a change in mindset about who we are and what we do.

Mayfair Ballroom

Professor Jane den Hollander AO
Deakin University

9:45am – 10:30am

Plenary 2
My eQuals Project – What’s Next?

In this session, Neil, Marnie and Andrew will share with you:

  • An overview of the MyeQual program and service;
  • A review of achievements to date;
  • How we benefit students and the sector;
  • Sharing the longer term strategic vision; and
  • Next steps for the program.
Mayfair Ballroom

Neil Robinson
Interim Head University Services
University of Melbourne

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington
Professor of History
Australian National University

Andrew Trnacek
Chief Executive Officer
Higher Education Services

10:30am – 10:50am

Morning Tea


10:50am – 11:50am

Plenary 3
Owning Digital Disruption

When people say "Robots are going to destroy your jobs", and then lay out a clear view about the kind of future jobs and skills that are going to be important, they can be quite vague about the journey from 'here' to 'there'.

Ray Fleming, Microsoft Australia's Higher Education Director, will take us on the journey through digital transformation - what it means for our students, what it means for our staff, and what it means for the Australian workplace.  And he'll share some of the stories of digital disruption that he's seeing in Australia and internationally, and examples of how to own digital disruption, rather than be a victim of it. He will also talk about the cultural journey that Microsoft itself has been on, to lead a community of 150,000 employees to fundamentally shift a global business model.

Mayfair Ballroom

Ray Fleming
Higher Education Industry Director
Microsoft Australia

11:55am – 12:55pm

Plenary 4

A Disruptive Year in Review & IR Life Lessons

Mayfair Ballroom

Stuart Pill
Clayton Utz

Jennifer Wyborn
Clayton Utz

1:00pm – 2:00pm



2:00pm – 3:35pm

Dealing with the disturbance of conflict: Knowing how to effectively step into the critical conversation

In this highly interactive workshop, participants will work in small groups to:

  • Identify the current narrative that they hold of conflict and how the outcomes serve them?
  • What is their aspirational goal of how it could be done differently/better; 
  • How to rewrite the narrative into a new story; and
  • Explore how the new story of conflict can be integrated and sustained
Grosvenor Room

Sally Wiencke
Director, Mediator, Narrative and Conflict Coach
Momentum – Changing Mindsets Pty Ltd

2:00pm – 2:45pm

Concurrent 1A
Interest Based Bargaining.  The Long Long Trailer

An overview of an enterprise bargaining round using the FWC’s New Approaches model, including the bargaining process, post approval implementation, and reflections.  

Mayfair 2

Nick Crowley
Deputy Director, Human Resources
Macquarie University

2:00pm – 2:45pm

Concurrent 1B
The Waiting Game – Proactive vs Reactive

When an organisation undertakes change management, there is usually pushback and resistance, which creates an environment of unsettledness and tension within that area.  At times, matters escalate where an impasse is reached between the staff member and the University.  What options are available to the University to break through the deadlock.

Curtin University presents a case study for discussion with questions after. 

Mayfair 3

Lisa Forstner
Legal Counsel
Curtin University

Andrea McLeod
Business Partner
Employee Relations, Change and Projects
Curtin University

2:50pm – 3:35pm

Concurrent 2A
Flinders University Innovation Hub

In this session, Steve with share with you:

  • Overview of the Flinders University approach to innovation, infrastructure, values and embedding into student and staff learning; and
  • ​Presentation followed by questions and answers and sharing of similar activities from other Universities
Mayfair 2

Steve Barrett
Director, People & Culture
Flinders University

2:50pm – 3:35pm

Concurrent 2B
"Shouldn't have tweeted that", approaching disciplinary action for social media use

Outrageous comment, denigration, breach of confidential information - employee misconduct or academic freedom?

While all employees are required to act in the interests of their employer and adhere to expected standards of behaviour, how some communicate on social media has tested these boundaries.  The result has been an increase in disciplinary action and termination of employment for social media use.

In the University sphere, however it can be more complicated.  This session will look at the blurred lines between the expected standards of respectful behaviour, disciplinary action for social media use and testing the boundaries of what is, and what is not academic freedom.

Mayfair 3

Hedy Cray
Clayton Utz

3:40pm – 4:00pm

Afternoon Tea


4:00pm – 4:50pm

Plenary 5
A New Era in Labour Regulation?

In this presentation, Andrew will share with you:

  • A review of the major parties’ policies for the upcoming federal election in relation to labour regulation and industrial relations;
  • Major issues that the next federal government will need to confront, including wage stagnation, the decline of enterprise bargaining, the definition and regulation of casual employment, and the potential rise of ‘gig’ work; and
  • What this might all mean for higher education.
Mayfair Ballroom

Professor Andrew Stewart
Professor of Law
Adelaide Law School
University of Adelaide

4:50pm Close of Day 1   Stuart Andrews
Executive Director
6:30pm – 10:30pm

Conference Dinner - Melbourne Townhall
(Sponsored by: Fisher Leadership)


Conference Day 2 - Friday 10 May 2019





9:00am – 9:15am Welcome Mayfair Ballroom Stuart Andrews
Executive Director

9:15am – 10:00am

Plenary 6
Considering the complications, contradictions and costs of digitalisation for university research and researchers

This presentation considers the impact of digitisation on the nature of scholarly research, on research work and its management and assessment, shining a light on complications, contradictions and unintended consequences. 

The paper will explore the benefits and costs of digital technology for research in terms of everyday realities of academic research work by focusing on:

  • the changing nature of research management systems and their impact on academic work and workloads;
  • the digitisation of scholarly publications, their dissemination and assessments of research quality;
  • ratings of researchers and universities; and
  • potential strategies for responding to the cultural changes spurred by the digitisation of research work, including support and mentoring of Early Career Researchers.
Mayfair Ballroom

Professor Lucy Taksa
Co-Director Centre for Workforce Futures
Professor of Management
Macquarie University

10:05am – 11:00am

Plenary 7
Disruption, change and negative workplace behaviours

In this session, Professor Omari will provide an overview of:

  • The current context of work
  • Change and disruption in the workplace;
  • The impact of change on organisations and individual behaviours;
  • Negative workplace behaviours: Prevalence, causes and consequences; and
  • Key considerations for the future.
Mayfair Ballroom

Professor Maryam Omari
Executive Dean
School of Business & Law
Edith Cowan University

11:00am – 11:20am

Morning Tea


11:20am – 12:05pm

Plenary 8
HR as a Major Disruptor

Mayfair Ballroom

Panel of HR Directors

12:10pm – 1:00pm

Plenary 9
The Challenges of Creating disruption in a demanding customer Market

In this presentation, Alastair and Barbara will share with you:

  • Many University Courses are becoming commodity products enabling disruption to occur;
  • Price and process are the new focus in a challenging commodity market;
  • Staff impacts are not always compatible with disruptive changes in markets; and
  • Market demands and challenging industrial environments can be tested but consumer demand will ultimately force change on universities
Mayfair Ballroom

Alastair Dawson
Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor
Vice President (International and Services)

Barbara Miller
Director, People and Culture

1:00pm – 2:00pm



2:00pm – 2:50pm

Plenary 10
Innovation is for Everyone: A case study of institutional cultural transformation

There is no doubt that innovation is the new black. Organisations across the globe are creating innovation hubs, specialist innovation teams and we even have a list of the most innovative companies. So, what is this magic sauce of innovation and how do you embed a culture of innovation?

This interactive workshop will explore the work that La Trobe University has undertaken to embed innovation into institutional culture. You will also have the opportunity to experience an innovation case study in action, that will provide you with practical tools and insights to assist you to apply innovation principles to your work and just about all aspects of your life.

Mayfair Ballroom

Professor Jessica Vanderlelie
Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Success,
La Trobe University

Fiona Reed
Executive Director, Human Resources
La Trobe University

2:50pm Conference Close   Stuart Andrews
Executive Director