One of Convocation's major roles is to support and assist students and graduates of The University of Western Australia, and we do this in a number of ways. These include:
- awarding a significant number of undergraduate prizes and scholarships for both academic and sporting achievement;
- providing awards for postgraduate travel;
- holding 50th (and, from 2013, 25th) graduate reunions;
- collaboration with faculty, sporting and college based organisations; and
- making available opportunities in which principal officers of the University (including the Warden) can be questioned on matters of interest to students and graduates.
As I say in the Warden's address at University graduations, Convocation (now more than 100 years old) is also the representative voice in the governance and affairs of the University and in its interaction with the broader community. We represent graduate interests and opinion and promote the ideals and purpose of the University.
To support, assist and represent students and graduates in these and other ways we require funding. Unlike the University's Office of Development and Alumni Relations we don't seek funds directly from our graduate members. We do, however, happily accept contributions from University graduates and acknowledge such contributions at every opportunity. And we acknowledge the significant financial support of the University that enables us to continue to meet these and a range of statutory obligations (Convocation was established by Western Australian legislation which provided - in 1911 - that the University shall consist of a Senate, Convocation, staff and graduate and undergraduate students).
Our role is often confused with that of the Office of Development and, in order to continue to effectively support and represent the interests of students and graduates - and to discharge our obligations to UWA students and graduates, obligations that were first set out over a hundred years ago - we need to clearly differentiate ourselves from the Office of Development. As we are currently co-located with that Office, one way to do this is to find alternative premises for the Convocation office. If present attempts to find alternative, University-based premises are unsuccessful, one option is to purchase property proximate to the University.
Development of a new website - which is underway - will enable us to more effectively and directly communicate with our graduate members on this and other matters. Such communication could include, for example, ‘polling' our members and seeking their views on issues and matters of concern to graduates and the University. With the assistance of a consulting organisation we are receiving website development support and putting together a communications strategy, as well as new logo and brand guidelines.
Other, more direct ways of communicating with our members, and more effectively discharging our responsibilities to those members, include our ongoing development of electronic voting as a means of not only electing the Warden, Deputy Warden and members of the Council of Convocation, but also the four Convocation-elected members of Senate. The ability to poll and seek support of graduates (referred to in the paragraph above) would also be useful, for example, in the event that the number of those Convocation-elected Senate members ever appeared to be under threat.
If you would like to talk to me about these or any other Convocation-related matters, and how Convocation can assist you as a UWA graduate, please contact me through the Convocation office (+61 8 6488 1336) or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Warden of Convocation
Published in Uniview Vol. 31 No. 2 Winter 2012