In what proved to be the final conference of the Office of Learning and Teaching, Monash VC Margaret Gardner’s speech highlighted the contributions that OLT grants had delivered to innovation and excellence in higher education. 

The facts and figures presented makes the decision not to continue the office all the more jarring in this ‘new’ era of innovation.  For those on the inside at OLT, perhaps it was less of a surprise as they witnessed the decline in funding.  As Professor Gardner noted

‘The federal funding to the OLT in 2015 was already small. It would amount to some $6 per student per annum in 2017 and 2018. It is easy to see how this apparently derisory amount might indicate a program not worth continuing’

For the creative arts in particular the demise of the OLT represents the withdrawal of a funding avenue that equitably supported creative arts scholarship and innovation in creative arts education including support to establish the DDCA.

OLT funded projects, and the literature that resulted, provided in-depth understanding of  disciplinary practices, interests and concerns.  As the table below shows, the OLT has supported scholarship across a range of creative arts disciplines and showcased aspects of teaching, learning and research,  providing models that can be adopted in other disciplinary settings and encouraged cross disciplinary discussion and comparison. The scoping study ‘Future proofing the creative arts in higher education’  (Baker, Buckley & Kett, 2009) remains a model to guide multi-disciplinary understanding of doctoral programs in creative arts. 

Professor Gardner remarked in her speech: “ All budgets are political – not in the crude sense of rewarding supporters or powerful lobbies, but because they signal what the government (as our representative) values’.

Writing in the current NiTRO edition Professor Gardner remarks on the strong legacy that OLT and its predecessors have brought to the creative arts and indeed DDCA is one of these bequests.  But we do fear how we will be able to continue this trajectory without the support that OLT provided.

By abolishing the OLT, opportunities for collaboration across institutions and creative arts disciplines are much diminished, and the government has indicated the value that it places on tertiary teaching and scholarship. 

Professor Gardner’s speech is available here.


Examples of OLT projects 2009-2015

Project title Project team Reporting Year Report available
An Approach to Aligning Assessment with Threshold Learning Outcomes in the Creative and Performing Arts Don Lebler, Scott Harrison, Gemma Carey, Melissa Cain 2015 http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/62871/96930_1.pdf
Creative Arts Learning and Teaching Network (CALTN) Jonathan Holmes, Su Baker, Graham Forsyth, Janet McDonald, Richard Maltby, Sarah Miller, Colin Rhodes, Robyn Tudor, Kit Wise, Rod Wissler, Wendy Fountain 2014 http://ecite.utas.edu.au/96978
Building Distributed Leadership for Effective Supervision of Creative Practice Higher Research Degrees Jillian Hamilton, Susan Carson, Barbara Bolt, Ross Harley, Claire Aitchison, Welby Ings, Elizabeth Ellison 2014 http://eprints.qut.edu.au/66129/
CreateED: Strengthening Learning and Teaching Leadership in the Creative Arts Barbara de la Harpe, Thembi Mason, J Fiona Peterson, Sue Trinidad, Christina Hong, Donna Brien, Noel Frankham, Richard Blythe, Margaret Woodward, Raffaele Marcellino, Graham Forsyth, Allan Goody 2014
Enhancing Indigenous Content in Arts Curricula Through Service Learning with Indigenous Communities Brydie-Leigh Bartleet, Dawn Bennett, Anne Power, Kathy Marsh, Naomi Sunderland 2014
Developing a Collaborative National Postgraduate Research Program for 22 Australian Film Schools Josko Petkovic, Leo Berkeley 2014
Pro-Active Music Higher Degrees: Promoting, Acting On and Evaluating Quality Teaching and Learning in Music Higher Degrees Scott Harrison 2014
Enhancing and Assessing Group and Team Learning in Architecture and Related Design Contexts Richard Tucker, Neda Abbasi, Graham R. Thorpe, Michael J. Ostwald, Anthony P. Williams, Louise Wallis, Sam Kashuk 2014 http://dro.deakin.edu.au/view/DU:30069902
Examination of Doctoral Degrees in Creative Arts: Process, Practice and Standards Jen Webb, Donna Lee Brien, Sandra Burr 2013 https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/theaawp/pages/20/attachments/original/1384907851/PP10-1801_UC.Webb_Final_Report.pdf
Rethinking Assessment to Enhance Interdisciplinary Collaborative Learning in the Creative Arts and Humanities Melissa Miles, Sarah Rainbird 2013
A Musicians’ Health National Curriculum Initiative Suzanne Wijsman 2012
Assessing Creativity: Strategies and Tools to Support Teaching and Learning in Architecture and Design Anthony Williams, Michael J Ostwald, Hedda Haugen Askland, Richard Tucker, Shane Murray, Mark Taylor, Andrea Mina, Louise Wallis 2012
Assessing and Improving Spatial Ability for Design-based Disciplines Utilising Online Systems Ken Sutton, Rebecca Allen 2011 http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-assessing-improving-spatial-ability-2-uon-2011
Assessing Graduate Screen Production Outputs in Nineteen Australian Film Schools Josko Petkovic, Leo Berkeley, Ian Lang, Gillian Leahy, Nick Oughton, Alison Wotherspoon 2011 http://nassolt2009.murdoch.edu.au/
Using Assessment Effectively: Learning Environments that Work for Tertiary Music Performance Students and Staff Heather Monkhouse 2010
Curriculum Development in Studio Teaching Robert Zehner, Graham Forsyth, Elizabeth Musgrave, Douglas Neale, Barbara de la Harpe, Fiona Peterson, Noel Frankham, Stephanie Wilson, Karin Watson 2010 http://connected2010.eproceedings.com.au/papers/p436.pdf
Professional Education in Built Environment & Design Susan Savage, Martin Betts, Louise Bow, Rebekah Davis, Evonne Miller 2010 http://eprints.qut.edu.au/31328/
Studio Teaching Project Robert Zehner, Graham Forsyth, Elizabeth Musgrave, Douglas Neale, Barbara de la Harpe, Fiona Peterson, Noel Frankham, Stephanie Wilson, Karin Watson 2010
Learning and Teaching Academic Standards (LTAS): Creative & Performing Arts Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Jonathan Holmes, Wendy Fountain 2010
Future-Proofing the Creative Arts in Higher Education: Scoping for Quality in Creative Arts Doctoral Programs Su Baker, Brad Buckley, Giselle Kett 2009 http://acuads.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ALTC_Report_Final.pdf
Dancing Between Diversity and Consistency: Evaluating Assessment in Postgraduate Studies in Dance Maggi Phillips, Cheryl Stock, Kim Vincs 2009 http://eprints.qut.edu.au/27955/1/DancBetwnDivBook_final.pdf
Bridging Gaps in Music Teacher Education: Developing Exemplary Practice Models Using Peer Collaboration Julie Ballantyne, Scott Harrison, Margaret Barrett, Nita Temmerman 2009 http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:186217