Tue, Apr 4 2023
The Board of Directors Newsletter July - December 2022
MELBOURNE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS NEWSLETTER
July – December 2022
Following on from previous newsletters, a brief report on the discussions and decisions made by the Institute’s Board of Directors for the period July 2022 to December 2022 is provided. The purpose of the newsletters is to keep both staff and students aware of the Board’s activities.
Policies and procedures approved
- Emeritus Professor Policy and Procedure
- Indigenous Students Policy and Procedure
- Underage Domestic Student Policy and Procedure
- Revised Copyright Policy and Procedure
- Revised Alcohol, Drug and Substance Misuse Policy and Procedure
- Revised MIT Library Policy and Procedure
Board of Directors Succession Planning
- Accepted and approved the Chair’s paper on Succession Planning – Principles & Processes
MIT Strategic Plan 2023-2027
- Held a Strategic Planning Workshop in August to consider and provide feedback on the initial draft of the new MIT Strategic Plan 2023-27. The workshop was facilitated by external consultant, Justin Bokor
- Considered and provided further feedback on the revised draft of the new Strategic Plan at its October meeting
- The Board finalised and approved the new MIT Strategic Plan 2023-27 at its special meeting in December
MIT Strategic Plan 2018-2022
- Accepted the 2022 Annual Institutional Performance to Plan Report from the CEO and noted the accompanying addendums. The Board commended the CEO on the quality of the report and noted broad range of programs now offered by MIT.
MIT Group Foundation Ltd
- As part of its ongoing commitment to civic leadership and social responsibility, MIT is now the sole member of the Foundation, a registered charity engaged in overseas aid and development activities in developing countries, in particular, Nepal.
- Approved the changes to the Foundation’s Constitution, including broadening its objectives to include environmental sustainability, humanitarian crisis and support and aid to refugees and asylum seekers.
Academic Board and Academic Board appointments:
- Accepted the Report on MIT Quality of Admissions 2021
- Accepted the Report on the Annual Self-assessment of the Academic Board’s Performance for 2021 and endorsed the recommendations contained in the Report.
- Accepted the Report on the Annual Review of Research and Scholarship for 2021 and endorsed the Academic Board’s approach in modifying the structure, content and style of the research report.
- Accepted the Report on Student Academic Outcomes (Attrition, Progression and Completion) for 2021 and endorsed the recommendations contained in the Report.
- Accepted the Report on the Annual Review of Academic Integrity for 2021 and endorsed the recommendations contained in the Report.
- Considered and provided feedback to the draft Scholarship and Research Plan 2023-25 and its Implementation Plan.
- Considered and provided feedback to the draft Learning and Teaching Plan 2023-25 and its Implementation Plan.
- Approved the re-appointment of A/Prof. Diane Bolton for a further term of 2 years as external academic representing the Business disciplines and the re-appointment of A/Prof. John Hurst for a further term of 2 years as external academic representing IT and Engineering.
Student Experience Committee
- Approved the revised Terms of Reference for SEC to provide for better clarity on the functions of the SEC
- Approved the extension of the Student Experience Plan 2021-2022 for a further 12 months.
- Accepted the QILT GOS Report – 2021 Annual Review and endorsed the recommendations contained in the Report
- Accepted the Annual Report 2021 – Industry Engagement, Career Development and Alumni and endorsed the recommendations contained in the Report
- Accepted the Report Annual Review of MIT’s Relative Performance on QILT Indicators 2021
- Accepted the Annual Report on 2022 Student Complaints and Appeals (non-academic), noting that overall, the number of complaints had reduced in 2022
- Accepted the update on the implementation of the Student Experience Plan [2021-22]
- Approved the appointment to the SEC of Rey Whiley for a term of 2 years as a student representative (Melbourne campus) and appointment of Kritika Manisha Sami for a term of 1 year as a student representative (Melbourne campus)
- Rescinded the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and Procedure, noting the change in governmental health advice in Victoria and NSW such that the policy is no longer implementable given now neither Victoria nor NSW require vaccination. The Board noted that MIT’s COVID-Safe Plans for each campus remains in place.
- Approved the audited Financial Report for year ending 20 June 2022, following the presentation by MIT’s auditors, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
- Considered the quarterly financials for Quarter 1, FY23 at its November meeting.
Re-appointment of Directors
- The Board, sitting as the Nominations Committee unanimously re-appointed the Deputy Chair, Prof. David Battersby for a further 2 year term and re-appointed independent director, Dr Patricia Stewart for a further 2 year term.
Risk and Risk Management
- Approved the revised Risk Management Plan
- Requested ARMC to review Risk 14 regarding MIT’s ICT systems, in light of the recent Optus and Medibank data breaches
- Adopted ARMC’s recommendation that cyber security be a standing item on the Board’s agenda
While the Board has regularly evaluated and assessed the risk of breaches in IT security, given the recent publicity and serious breaches of security especially around identify theft, the Board has redoubled its efforts to ensure that MIT has processes in place to minimise cybersecurity breaches. At the same time, the Board has commenced investigations and is discussing MIT’s response to issues around artificial intelligence, especially in relation to academic integrity. Because of the potential seriousness of any breach, cybersecurity is now a standard, and separate item on the Board’s agenda. Both staff and students at MIT will be kept closely informed and consulted on cybersecurity issues.
Independent External Review of the Board’s Performance and Effectiveness
In mid-2022, the Board of Directors commissioned a review of its performance and effectiveness. This review followed a similar review in 2016. The independent external reviewers were Professor Hilary Winchester and Professor Josua Pienaar, both highly regarded and with extensive experience in conducting such reviews. The reviewers were asked to assess the Board’s performance and effectiveness against its designated functions as stated in MIT’s Governance Charter, the Higher Education Standards Framework (2021), and, perceived national expectations for mid-size companies using the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Guidelines as benchmarks.
The reviewers’ report, containing 15 commendations, 9 suggestions and 37 recommendations, was received in late 2022 and formally accepted by the Board at its meeting in February 2023. The Board was very pleased with the quality and depth of the report, its balanced nature and the guidance provided to enhance the effectiveness of the Board.
On accepting the report, the Board’s immediate task is to construct a plan to effectively implement all the suggestions and recommendations. The Implementation Plan will come to the May 2023 meeting of the Board for formal approval.
Some highlights from the report included the following observations from the reviewers:
- The MIT Board of Directors is one of the most effective Boards the reviewers have reviewed in recent years. It is to be commended on its cohesive performance to advance the goals of MIT.
- MIT has experienced healthy growth in student numbers and operations over recent years. The Board must now navigate MIT towards a strategic and longer-term vision remaining agile in its development and demonstrating consistent direction and identity, establishing MIT’s point of difference.
- The Board membership includes members with extensive higher education expertise, financial and risk management, governance, and operational experience. Legal expertise is secured externally. Some areas, such as finance, audit, risk, and marketing, have limited coverage. There is an opportunity for the Board to incorporate a principled and pragmatic approach to succession planning. MIT, as an organisation, faces the same challenge with its senior executive and academic leaders and through external threats from competitors.
- The Board has paid significant attention to its structure to ensure it receives relevant and appropriate reports and functions as it should. There is an essential focus on governance and operational reporting however, duplicate requirements debilitate capacity. There is an opportunity to standardise governance operations across the institution, including documentation, reporting, induction and evaluation.
- The Board’s time is consumed by overseeing operational aspects of the business, including policy review and approval. It challenges the strategic considerations of MIT’s entrepreneurial expansion drive, business opportunities and cultural development aspirations. Board discussions must develop a stronger strategic focus, and delegations should be revisited to support agile decision-making based on relevant and concise reporting and planning.
- MIT is facing organisational transformation challenges. Board agility will support the transition to establish, develop and accommodate MIT’s research culture, and realise its self-accrediting authority goals and international expansion and growth ambitions.
- MIT faces an important crossroads in establishing its status as a progressive Institute of Higher Education, compliant with HESF 2021 and remaining financially agile. The Board and its members must carefully navigate and balance the academic, strategic, corporate, and commercial aspects staying abreast of the fact that it receives no federal funding and is a private institution.
- The Board has a mature stance and command of finance, audit and risk management, and the organisation is in a healthy financial position. Risks, including Academic Risks, are identified, monitored, and mitigated appropriately. As with other providers, necessary optimisation has increased the administrative organisational burden, and the Board must effectively address this risk.
- The structure of the corporate governance system is fit for purpose and particularly well matched to MIT's size and organisational structure. Not all committees demonstrate best practice or effectiveness.
The Board of Directors
- Emeritus Professor Wayne Robinson (Chair)
- Emeritus Professor David Battersby (Deputy Chair)
- Dr Shesh Ghale (Chief Executive Officer)
- Ms Jamuna Gurung (Owners’ Representative)
- Emeritus Professor Doug Grant (Chair of the Academic Board)
- Mr James Joughin (Appointed member)
- Dr Patricia Stewart (Appointed Member)