Melbourne Uni Drops The Ball

25/08/2009 at 10:44 am Leave a comment

Hypothetical:   Imagine you get custodianship of one of the flagship arts training organisations in the country.  Your reputation is good, people travel interstate to train there, you’re located in arguably the cultural capital of the Southern Hemisphere, and well placed in the international market for growth.

Do you:

A)  Open up new marketing channels, to build revenue by attracting the very best students and increase your reputation amongst the world’s creative community?

B)  Cut costs by watering down the practical coursework and shedding staff, create panic among current students with rumours of knocking down key resources (such as the wardrobe department)?

Tragically, the paper shufflers at Melbourne University have opted for the second window, instigating what I call the ‘reverse snowball effect’ on the fortunes of a unique institution.  By taking the obvious belt-tightening road, they will make the course less attractive to aspiring artists, who will choose to go elsewhere for training, thus decreasing overall revenue as the VCA melts into the landscape as just another arts degree.

The only way to gain mastery over your chosen field is through solid, consistent, practice.  You need to make a lot of mistakes, and a training environment is the ideal place to learn from them before hitting the industry.  Sending under-prepared graduates into the real world of arts production will serve only to create a poor reputation for the institution from which they have come.

Further, the VCA’s multi-disciplinary approach is; in marketing terms – absolutely the Unique Selling Point for potential students – it is not a complicated equation to figure out the need to promote this aspect rather than wind it back and opt for more ‘theoretical’ coursework.

Naturally the University management are in denial about any of this but this sort of thing has become all too regular an occurence in our Education sector – ever since the Howard Government stripped back funding and forced Tertiary institutions to deprioritise teaching people and start acting like businesses. With all the argy-bargy about who says what about the Chancellory’s actual plans for the VCA, there are protests, debates and denials. Nobody is actually fooled. It’s kind of embarrassing to watch a lot of hoo-hah in the face of what is essentially a complete & utter Marketing FAIL.

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Entry filed under: Marketing.

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