RMIT University

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RMIT University
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
RMIT Coat of Arms.png
Motto perita manus mens exculta (Latin)
Motto in English skilled hand, cultivated mind
Established 1887
Type Public
Endowment A$925.8 million (2012)[1]
Chancellor Dr. Ziggy Switkowski
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Margaret Gardner
Academic staff 3,692 (FTE)[2]
Students

82,179 (inc. VET and OUA)[1]

56,724 (HE only)[1]
Undergraduates 44,979[1]
Postgraduates 11,745[1]
Location Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates: 37°48′30″S 144°57′51″E / 37.8082°S 144.9643°E / -37.8082; 144.9643
Campus Urban
Former names Working Men's College
(1887–1933)
Melbourne Technical College
(1934–1959)
Colours                     [3]
Affiliations ASAIHL, ATN, GU8, OUA
Website rmit.edu.au
RMIT University.png

RMIT University (officially the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and simply referred to as RMIT) is an Australian university of technology and design based in Melbourne, Victoria.

RMIT was founded in 1887 by grazier, politician and public benefactor the Hon. Francis Ormond—as the Working Men's College of Melbourne.[4] Its foundation campus is located in Melbourne City, and is a contiguous part of the northern area of the city centre.

It opened as a night school for instruction in art, science and technology—to support the industrialisation of Melbourne during the late-19th century.[4][5] It had an initial enrollment of 320 students.[4] As of 2012, it has an enrolment of around 82,000 students across vocational, undergraduate and postgraduate levels.[1]

In addition to its foundation campus, RMIT has two radial campuses in the Melbourne metropolitan area—located in the suburbs of Bundoora and Brunswick;[6] as well as training and research sites in the Melbourne metropolitan area and the Grampians state region—located in the suburb of Point Cook and town of Hamilton respectively.[7] It also has two branch campuses in Asia—located in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam;[6] and a coordinating centre in Europe—located in Barcelona, Spain.[6]

In 2013, according to the QS World University Rankings,[8] RMIT was ranked the 291st university in the world. RMIT was also ranked among the top 51-100 universities in the world in the subjects of: accounting, communication and media studies, computer science and information systems.[9]

History[edit]

Construction of the college (1880s)
Early crest (1900s)
The Emily McPherson College (1930s)

Early history (pre-1887)[edit]

The original Working Men's College of Melbourne was founded by Scottish-born grazier, politician and public benefactor the Hon. Francis Ormond.[4] Initial planning began in 1881, with Ormond basing his model for the College on the Royal College of Art and the Working Men's College in London,[4] and antecedents of the present day University of London and University of Brighton.[4]

Ormond donated the sum of £5000 toward the foundation of the College.[4] He was supported in the Victorian Parliament by Charles Pearson and in the Melbourne Trades Hall by William Murphy.[4] The workers' unions of Melbourne rallied their members to match Ormond's donation.[4] The site for the College, on the corners of Bowen Street and La Trobe Street, opposite the Melbourne Public Library, was donated by the Victorian Government.[4]

Working Men's College (1887–1960)[edit]

The Working Men's College of Melbourne opened on June 4, 1887 with a gala ceremony at the Melbourne Town Hall,[4] becoming the third official tertiary education provider in the then colony of Victoria (the Melbourne Athenaeum was founded in 1839 and the University of Melbourne in 1853). It took 320 enrollments on its opening night.[4]

It opened as a night school for instruction in "art, science and technology"—in the words of its founder—"especially to working men".[5] Ormond, who was a firm believer in the transformative power of education, also believed the College would be of "great importance and value" to the industrialisation of Melbourne during the late-19th century.[4][5] In 1904, it was incorporated under the Companies Act as a private college.[4]

Between the turn of the 20th century and the 1930s, it expanded over the neighbouring Old Melbourne Gaol and constructed buildings for new art, engineering and radio schools.[4] It also made its first contribution to Australia's war effort through training of returned military personnel from World War I.[4] Following a petition by students, it officially changed its name to the Melbourne Technical College in 1934.[4]

The expanded College made a greater contribution to Australia's effort during World War II by training a sixth of the country's military personnel—including the majority of its Royal Australian Air Force communication officers.[4] It also trained 2000 civilians in munitions manufacturing and was commissioned by the Australian Government to manufacture military aircraft parts—including the majority of parts for the Beaufort Bomber.[4]

Creation of RMIT (1960–2000)[edit]

Following World War II, in 1954 it became the first Australian tertiary education provider to be awarded royal patronage (by Elizabeth II)[4] and officially changed its name to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1960. During the mid-20th century, it restructured itself as a provider of both general higher and vocational education and pioneered dual sector education in Australia.[4] During this time, it also began a long-term engagement with South-East Asia—beginning under the Australian Government's Colombo Plan.[4] In 1979, the neighbouring Emily McPherson College of Domestic Economy joined with RMIT.[4]

Following a merger with the Phillip Institute of Technology in the north Melbourne metropolitan area,[10] RMIT was made a public university by act of the Victorian Government in 1992—under the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Act 1992.[11] During the 1990s, the University underwent a rapid expansion and amalgamated with a number of nearby colleges and institutes. The Melbourne College of Decoration and Design joined RMIT in 1993 to create a new dedicated design TAFE school,[10] followed by the Melbourne College of Printing and Graphic Arts in 1995.[10]

Also in 1995, the University opened its first radial campus in Bundoora in the outer-north Melbourne metropolitan area.[10] And, in 1999, it acquired the Melbourne Institute of Textiles campus in Brunswick in the inner-north Melbourne metropolitan area—for its design TAFE schools.[10]

During the late-20th century, RMIT became the first Australian university to adopt an explicit strategy of international education.[10] As part of the strategy, the University expanded its engagement with South-East Asia—by developing a number of teaching partnerships in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.[12]

Recent history (2000-present)[edit]

At the turn of the 21st century, RMIT was invited by the Vietnamese Government to establish the country's first foreign-owned university.[13] Its first international branch campus opened in Ho Chi Minh City in 2001 and a second in Hanoi in 2004.[13] In 2013, it established a presence in Europe by opening a coordinating centre in Barcelona.[14]

Organisation[edit]

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) is a publicly funded research university created under the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Act 1992 by the Victorian Government,[11][15] and exists in accordance with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Act 2010.[16] It is referred to as RMIT University in Australia and RMIT International University in Vietnam (both of which are registered trading names).[17][18]

Council[edit]

The greater RMIT is governed by a Council consisting of 14-21 members,[19][20] which is responsible for the "general direction and superintendence of the University".[19] The Council is led by the Chancellor of RMIT as an ex officio member and who serves as Governor-in-Council.[21][22] The Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT as well as the Chair of the Academic Board are also ex officio members of the Council.[23]

Five members are elected via a ballot of the staff and students of the University.[24] They consist of three staff members elected to represent higher education, vocational education and general staff,[25] as well as two students elected to represent higher education and vocational education.[26] The remaining members are appointed directly by the Governor-in-Council and/or by a vote of the sitting Council members.[27][28] Appointed members of the Council must have substantial commercial and financial expertise or vocational education and training experience and be drawn from beyond the University community.[29][30]

Chancellery[edit]

The Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT is the Chief Executive Officer of the University and is "responsible for the conduct of the University's affairs in all matters".[31] The Council grants powers over all academic and administrative affairs of RMIT to the Vice-Chancellor and President.[32] Management of the colleges and portfolios of RMIT is delegated by the Vice-Chancellor and President to a team of Deputy and Pro Vice-Chancellors as well as senior executives.[33][34]

Academics[edit]

School of Art buildings
Old Kernot Engineering School building

RMIT is separated into two divisions: the Higher Education Division and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Division.[35][36] The divisions are responsible for RMIT's 24 academic schools (21 higher education schools including a graduate/professional school and three TAFE schools). The schools are grouped into three academic portfolios which are referred to as colleges.[37][38] The higher education schools offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, while the TAFE schools offer vocational certificates and diplomas. In addition to its academic colleges, the University has a dedicated research portfolio. It contains RMIT's four major research institutes and specialist research school.[39] The colleges and schools also contain a large number of research centres and groups, which are independent of the Portfolio of Research and Innovation, and focus on their respective academic areas.

RMIT is a global university of technology and design offering undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational degrees and diplomas.[40] Subject areas of programs and courses include architecture and building,[41] art and design,[42] business,[43] communication and digital media,[44] community services and social sciences,[45] computing and information technology,[46] education and training,[47] engineering,[48] environment and planning,[49] health and medical sciences,[50] justice and legal,[51] and science.[52]

Colleges and schools[edit]

College of Business College of Science, Engineering and Health



College of Design and Social Context Portfolio of Research and Innovation



Academic Board[edit]

The requirements for the conferring of an academic degree of RMIT is determined and approved by the Academic Board.[53] The Board consists of the Chancellery as ex officio members,[54] and up to a further 46 members of which 34 must be elected by staff and students.[55] Those conferred an academic degree of the University may use the post-nominal letters "RMIT" with the abbreviation of their degree title.[56]

Research[edit]

RMIT primarily focuses on applied research as well as outcome-related research and consultancy services, and has extensive partnerships with government and industry.[57] It specifically focuses its research in the areas of design, technology, health, globalisation and sustainability.

Its dedicated Portfolio of Research and Innovation operates on a similar scale to its colleges. It contains RMIT's major research institutes in: Design Research, Global Cities Research, Health Innovations Research and Platform Technologies Research. The four institutes operate on the same scale as RMIT's schools. It also contains a specialist research school in order to foster excellence in research methodology and pedagogy. In addition to the Portfolio of Research and Innovation, over 50 research centres operate independently within RMIT's colleges and schools—as well as a large number of smaller research groups.

Rankings[edit]

Building 108 houses the RMIT College of Business. The University is reputed for its business-related programmes, such as accounting and IT

In 2013, according to the QS World University Rankings,[8] RMIT was ranked in the top 300 universities in the world.

According to the QS World University Rankings, RMIT is ranked as a five star university in the areas of: research, employability, teaching, facilities, internationalisation, innovation, engagement, specialisation.[58]

RMIT is also ranked among the top 100 universities in the world in the subjects of: accounting, communication and media studies, computer science and information systems.[9]

In 2009, RMIT was ranked as the top entrepreneurial university in Australia (12th in the World)—according to the GSEA's Top Entrepreneurial Universities List,[59] and, in 2010, as the top advertising university of the decade in Australia (5th in the World)—according the YoungGuns International Awards.[60]

In 2011, RMIT was recognised by Australian Skeptics with a Bent Spoon Award for their teaching of Chinese, chiropractic, and energy medicines - both of which lack scientific rigour.[61] The prize was awarded during the national convention of Australian Skeptics in Sydney.

Times Higher Education rankings placed RMIT in the 93rd position of 100 universities under 50 years old.[62]

Ranking 2010 2011 2012 2013
THE Rankings - Top 100 under 50[63] - - 93 -
QS World University Rankings[64] Overall Ranking 223 228 246 291
QS World University Rankings - Law & Legal Studies[65] - - - 151-200
QS World University Rankings - Economics & Econometrics[66] - 101-150 151-200 101-150
QS World University Rankings - Accounting[67] - 51-100 51-100 51-100
QS World University Rankings - Communication & Media Studies[68] - - 51-100 51-100
QS World University Rankings - Engineering - Civil and Structural[69] - 51-100 101-150 101-150
QS World University Rankings - Computer Science and Information Systems[69] - 101-150 51-100 51-100

Locations[edit]

Variety of architecture on Swanston Street at RMIT's City campus
RMIT's Building 1 which houses the university administration
RMIT's Alumni Coutryard which was formerly the Old Melbourne Gaol
RMIT Building 4, one of the oldest of RMIT's Buildings, now houses part of the School of Art

Australia[edit]

Melbourne City:

RMIT's foundation campus is its Melbourne City campus, which is located in the northern section of the Melbourne city centre. It was established in 1887—as the Working Men's College of Melbourne, in a single building on the corner of La Trobe Street and Bowen Street.[4] As of 2010, the campus occupies a gross floor area of 307,466 square metres (3,309,540 sq ft) over 68 buildings.[70]

The City campus is a contiguous part of the Melbourne city centre's northern section. Most buildings are concentrated around six city blocks (in an area of roughly 720,000 square metres (7,800,000 sq ft)) north of the Hoddle Grid. It is bound by La Trobe Street to the south, Lygon Street and Russell Street to the east, Queensberry Street and Victoria Street to the north, Elizabeth Street and Swanston Street to the west. The densest area of the campus, east of Swanston Street, is sometimes referred to as the "RMIT Quarter" of the City.[71][72]

RMIT's City campus is noted for its variety of heritage Victorian and striking contemporary architecture.[73][74] Historic buildings on the campus include the former Melbourne Gaol chapel (1860), original Working Men's College (1887), Storey Hall (1887), Forresters' Hall (1888), former Melbourne Magistrates' Court (1914), off-site Capitol Theatre (1924) and former Emily McPherson College (1927).[74][75] Notable contemporary buildings on the campus include Building 8 (1993), the Design Hub (2011) and the Swanston Academic Building (2012).

Bundoora:
The Bundoora campus was established in 1995.[10] It is located 18 km from the City campus in the outer northern suburb of Bundoora. The campus is divided into 'East' and 'West' by Plenty Road. In a contrast to the urban City campus, the Bundoora West campus is set amongst almost 400,000 square metres (4,300,000 sq ft) of parkland.[70][76]

Programs in aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, medical sciences and social sciences are offered at the Bundoora campus.

Brunswick:
The Brunswick campus became a part of RMIT in 1999 as a dedicated site for its design TAFE schools.[10] It is located 6 km from the City campus in the inner northern suburb of Brunswick. Prior to its annexation by RMIT, it was the campus of the former Melbourne Institute of Textiles for nearly 50 years.[77]

Programs in fashion design, graphic design, printing, publishing and textiles are offered at the Brunswick campus.

Other sites:
RMIT's flight training programs are conducted from its site at the Royal Australian Air Force's historic Williams base.[78] It is located 20 km from the City campus in the outer south-western suburb of Point Cook. RAAF Williams is the world's oldest operating air force base and the birthplace of the Royal Australian Air Force.[79]

The University also has a regional research site in the rural town of Hamilton.[80] It is located 300 km north-west of the City campus in regional Victoria—just south of the Grampians National Park. The Potter Rural Community Research Centre at the site focuses on rural and regional issues in a global context.[81]

Asia[edit]

Ho Chi Minh City:
In 1998, RMIT was invited by the Vietnamese Government to establish the country's first foreign-owned university.[13] In 2001, it purchased and restored a 19th-century French Colonial building and grounds in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.[13] The building, located on Pham Ngoc Thach Street, is informally referred to as "the Castle" by students.[82] Today, the Pham Ngoc Thach site remains a radial site of the present Ho Chi Minh City campus.[82]

The present Ho Chi Minh City campus is located in the Phu My Hung area of the Saigon South development in District 7.[83] The first academic buildings on the large purpose-built campus opened in 2005.[13] In 2011, its recreation complex and residential centres opened.[13]

Hanoi:
The Hanoi campus was established in 2004. It was initially located in the Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound in the government precinct of the Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.[13] In 2007, it also acquired a building in the Dong Da District to accommodate rising student numbers.[13] It consolidated its two buildings in a newly built tower overlooking Ngoc Khanh Lake in the Ba Dinh District in 2010.[84]

Other partners:
RMIT teaches and/or accredits programs for the Hong Kong Art School and Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade in China, Singapore Institute of Management in Singapore and Taylor's University in Malaysia.[12]

Europe[edit]

Barcelona:
In 2013, RMIT established a coordinating centre in Barcelona, Spain.[14] The centre will offer a variety of programs in conjunction with RMIT's partners in Europe, including a dual master's program in architecture—which will facilitate the RMIT School of Architecture and Design's participation in the reconstruction of Antoni Gaudí's basilica Sagrada Família.[85]

Collections[edit]

Swanston Library is located in Building 8 at the City campus
RMIT Gallery and First Site Gallery are housed in historic Storey Hall
The Swanston Academic Building

Libraries[edit]

University Library is the central libraries network of RMIT. It has five locations across RMIT's three Australian campuses.[86] Swanston Library is the largest in the network, and is located in Building 8 at the City campus.[87] Swanston Library is also reported to be amongst the top five libraries in all of Melbourne.[88] Other libraries in the network are the Brunswick Library, Bundoora East Library, Bundoora West Library and Carlton Library (the latter of which is also at the City campus).[86]

RMIT's City campus also benefits from its proximity to the State Library of Victoria—the central public reference library and the largest library in Melbourne.

In addition to its libraries network, RMIT schools also maintain their own specialised collections. Notable examples of school-maintained collections are the AFI Research Collection,[89] RMIT Design Archives and National Aerospace Resource.[90][91]

Two libraries are located at RMIT's Vietnam campuses; Beanland Library and Hanoi Library.[92] The Beanland Library is the largest of the two libraries, and is located at the Ho Chi Minh City campus.[93]

Online databases
Selected research of RMIT academics and postgraduate students can be accessed through the RMIT Research Repository—an open access database of peer-reviewed published articles, conference papers, books and chapters, etc.[94] Documents held by the RMIT Research Repository are also indexed by Google Scholar, National Library of Australia and WorldCat. As of March 2013, there are more than 19,000 records in the Repository.[95]

The University's subsidiary RMIT Publishing also owns and operates the Informit online library database, which consists of research from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific.[96][97]

Galleries[edit]

Further information: RMIT Gallery

The University's major public art gallery is RMIT Gallery located at the City campus.[98] The gallery runs a highly regarded and regularly changing program of Australian and international exhibitions,[99] and focuses on contemporary art, design and visual culture. It is located in the historic original section of Storey Hall on Swanston Street and is considered to be one of Melbourne's most vibrant art galleries.[100] It also publishes widely on art and design research in partnership with RMIT Publishing.[97][101]

The campus union RMIT Link operates the First Site Gallery at the City campus which focuses on emerging artists and is located beneath RMIT Gallery.[102][103] Link also manages the Artland program at the Brunswick campus.[104] Artland consists of 16 sites around the campus and Brunswick streets showcasing work of design students.[104]

In addition to the Story Hall galleries, many of RMIT's schools also manage their own discipline-relevant galleries. Notable examples of school-managed galleries are the School of Art's main and Project Space galleries,[105] Media and Communication's field36 Gallery,[106] Architecture and Design's Virtual Reality Centre and Design Hub galleries.[72][107] The School of Art's renowned public art program also produces art in public spaces projects around RMIT's campuses as well as the greater Melbourne city centre and metropolitan area.[108]

University Art Collection
RMIT Gallery is also charged as the caretaker of RMIT's permanent University Art Collection.[109] It includes the substantial Linsday Edwards Collection of fine art and invaluable W.E. Macmillan Collection of gold and silver—as well as a number of other sub-collections.[110] The Linsday Edwards Collection has a strong focus on Australian art. It holds works by leading Australian artists (many of which are RMIT alumni or former faculty); such as Howard Arkley, John Brack, Leonard French, Roger Kemp, Inge King, Max Meldrum, John Olsen, Lenton Parr, Fred Williams and others.[111]

A history of the art collection is documented in the publication A Skilled Hand and Cultivated Mind: A Guide to the Architecture and Art of RMIT.[75]

Student life[edit]

Link (campus union)[edit]

Main article: RMIT Link
Further information: RMIT Redbacks

RMIT Link is the University's campus union.[112] It exists to sponsor and promote social, cultural, educational, sporting and recreational programs and activities among the RMIT community, and to provide such facilities and services at RMIT's Australian campuses.[113] Link is separated into two divisions: Arts & Culture and Sports & Recreation. It is a controlled entity under the authority of RMIT's Council.[112][114]

Arts & Culture manages a number of extra-curricular arts collectives.[115] It also offers workshop and seminars as well as funding for arts initiatives,[116] and runs a free cinema program at the City and Bundoora campuses.[117]

Sports & Recreation manages RMIT's semi-professional sports teams, which are collectively known as the Redbacks,[118] and has an elite athlete funding program.[119] It offers funding for community-based social sports clubs on RMIT's Australian campuses,[120] and also runs community and charity sporting events and tournaments.[121] It also operates the City campus gym,[122] and co-owns a ski lodge on Mount Buller.[123]

RUSU (student union)[edit]

RMIT's University Student Union (RUSU) is the independent body representing students enrolled at RMIT.[124] It was founded in 1944 by John Storey Jr. who was its inaugural president—and after whom Storey Hall at the City campus is also named.[4][125] RUSU's objective is to safeguard the interests and rights of students,[126] and to advance education, welfare, social life and cultural activities of students.[127] RUSU has a number of departments advocating various elements of student life. It also supports academic, cultural, political, spiritual and special interest clubs and societies run by students.[128]

Departments:

RMITV logo
RMIT Spiritual Centre
A Café in the Swanston Academic Building

Student media:

Accommodation[edit]

RMIT operates several student accommodation facilities including: RMIT Village, Cambridge Court, College Square and Rooms International (on RMIT's City campus), all of which operate as self-catered apartment complexes. Twelve other student hostels are also operated by other providers.

Some of the traditional residential colleges of the nearby University of Melbourne also reserve places for RMIT students. The college fees include all catering, utilities, academic and pastoral support. The colleges affiliated with RMIT include:

Spiritual Centre[edit]

Main article: RMIT Spiritual Centre

RMIT's Spiritual Centre is a multi-faith place of worship located on the City campus. It is housed in the historic Old Melbourne Gaol chapel, built in 1860.[129] The centre provides a contemplative space to all staff and students of RMIT, regardless of their faith and without showing favour to any one faith, and houses the RMIT Chaplaincy services. RMIT has chaplains representing Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths of various denominations as well as for Integral spirituality.[130]

People[edit]

Graduates of RMIT are considered to be some of the most employable in the world. In 2011, in a survey of over 5000 employers, the QS World University Rankings placed RMIT at 51st in the world for graduate employability.[131][132] As of 2011, the university has an alumni community of around 280,000 graduates in 130 countries.[133][134]

Graduation traditions[edit]

A notable graduation tradition of RMIT is its graduation parade. The parade is town and gown-style academic procession which proceeds from the City campus down the major city thoroughfare of Swanston Street to Federation Square (until 2002 the parade culminated outside the Melbourne Town Hall).[135] Graduands and faculty march in full academic regalia and receive a military escort from the central marching band of the Royal Australian Air Force. The parade is welcomed at Federation Square by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne—on behalf of the city and its citizens.[135] The mayor grants RMIT's vice-chancellor a "writ of passage" to proceed with the graduation ceremony, which takes place at the Docklands Stadium.[136]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Texts:

  • Murray-Smith, Stephen; Dare, Anthony J. (1987), The Tech: A Centenary History of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1st ed.), South Yarra (Melbourne): Hyland House, ISBN 0-947062-06-8 
  • Edquist, Harriet; Grierson, Elizabeth (2008), A Skilled Hand and Cultivated Mind: A Guide to the Architecture and Art of RMIT, Melbourne: RMIT University Press, ISBN 978-1-921166-91-4 

External links[edit]