For a location map and website link details, please see the RMIT PASCAL member entry.
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) is one of Australia’s original and leading educational institutions, producing graduates who are employed readily in a wide range of industries. As an innovative, global university of technology, with its heart in the city of Melbourne, RMIT has an international reputation for excellence in work-relevant education and outstanding applied research, and engagement with the needs of industry and community. It has a diverse range of engineering, health, business, architecture and design, international studies and community services programs, framed to assist students understand better the major challenges of our times. PASCAL has a brief to link with all parts of the University, but has had close linkages with the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning.
RMIT has been involved with PASCAL from the outset. It was a co-sponsor of the OECD conference on learning regions from which PASCAL was founded, and has relished PASCAL’s efforts to focus on the interests and needs of regional authorities.
Partnership with the Victorian Government
The RMIT node has worked closely from the outset with senior members of the Victorian Government public service, whose support has been evident from the role played by the Victorian representatives on the PASCAL Advisory Board.
In the spirit of partnership with the Victorian Government, RMIT and PASCAL co-hosted the ‘Linking Services, Connecting People’ conference with the Department for Victorian Communities and the Institute of Public Administration of Australia in 2004. This was a major conference in which a number senior members of PASCAL’s other two regional partners, Kent and Scotland, played prominent roles. In 2006, PASCAL and the Department for Victorian Communities combined again to present a two-day linked conference on Governance and Communities. The first day was hosted by the Department at its offices on the theme of ‘Strengthening and Joining up in Victoria’ (with Josef Konvitz, then a member of the PASCAL Advisory Board as a keynote speaker), while the second was at RMIT, on the theme of ‘Building Social Capital and Enhancing Learning’.
Examples of PASCAL at RMIT Projects
Apart from its more general role as the hub of PASCAL administration, there have been a number of local projects which PASCAL at RMIT has led. One, ‘Community as a Learning Resource’ (funded by the Departments of Education and the then Victorian Communities), has examined the importance of young people’s learning in community settings, and supported the wider recognition by schools of the importance of that learning. A key element of this project was PASCAL’s role in facilitating a visit to Kent by a delegation from the Hume Global learning Village Committee. PASCAL at RMIT has also contributed to a human rights education strategy (Education Strategy for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission), offering suggestions about how the Commission’s strategy could build on collaboration with other key stakeholders. It also assisted non-government organisations with their strategic thinking about the kind of organisational futures that they can look forward to (Yooralla Scenario Planning)., recognising the key role of their people and how they facilitate learning that would generate innovation.
PASCAL People at RMIT
The PASCAL node at RMIT is led currently by Co-Director, Professor Bruce Wilson, who is supported by Mary Serafim as Administrative Officer. Professor John Fien is a PASCAL Associate, and Dr Robbie Guevara is President of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), and takes a close interest in PASCAL’s activities. Dr Anne Badenhorst has completed a major study of a learning region in Melbourne’s north, and as a Deputy Chair of one of the new Regional Development Australia regional committees, she makes an important contribution to the work being undertaken in PURE Melbourne on regional innovation systems. David Campbell is the Executive Director of the Office of Knowledge Capital, the sponsor of PURE in Melbourne, and other university representatives involved with PURE contribute regularly and significantly to that project. Dr Charlotte Scarf was the Content Editor for PASCAL for a period; she has since completed a doctorate on knowledge-based aid and development, focussing on the political use and impact of ICT.
PASCAL at RMIT Connections
RMIT seeks to build the profile of PASCAL throughout Asia, the Pacific, New Zealand and the other states of Australia. It is a member of Citynet, an association of Asian municipalities, and through its Director, has formed links with the International Regional Benchmarking Consortium that is based in Seattle and includes cities such as Melbourne, Fukuoka and Daejon in Korea.