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When the university launched its rebranding last year, I was quite pleased: a glossy brochure explaining the kind of image the university wants to project to the public, a new logo, new momentum for change on superficial and deeper levels.

Now it’s all ruined. Take a look for yourself (click to enlarge):

Yes, this is the new University of Sydney website template. I kid you not. A generous person might call it “functional”. A less generous person might… well, let’s leave this blog G-rated. It’s grotesque. It has all the charm of a late 90s website. It carries none of the personality that the university aims to project, and all of the air of design-by-committee and oh-look-I-learnt-css-in-24-hours. There’s no warmth; the design alienates.

For bonus marks, it even displays in Arial on a Mac.

(For comparison, here’s a screenshot of the website as at 5 January.)

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Berkoff v Burchill [1996] 4 All ER 1008 at 1019 per Millett LJ:

It is a common experience that ugly people have satisfactory social lives – Boris Karloff is not known to have been a recluse – and it is a popular belief for the truth of which I am unable to vouch that ugly men are particularly attractive to women.

Trivia: Lord Millett has a Chinese name, 苗禮治 (miu4 lai5 ci4), presumably because he is now sitting on the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong.


'If you like your sex life, don't stick a firecracker up your arse' -- David Rolph's media law life lesson #7


Photo taken by Dan

Photo taken by Dan

Lipstick on a pig?

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The University of Sydney is rebranding from 2010, with a new logo, a new statement of purpose, and a new domain name (

I missed the staff presentation on it today (doh!) but the “Brand Book” is up on the Brand website for university staff to view. It’s nice and glossy, and contains statements of what the university stands for, what the university believes in, and how the brand is developed on a more practical level.

And it has the new logo too! However, I’m led to believe that there are serious legal consequences for me if I post it up here, so I won’t. But I must say that I have a positive impression of it – it’s a logo that acknowledges the past, while presenting a fresher image of the university. Although some might consider it a heresy to change the logo at all, I can imagine some much, much worse alternatives – I’m just relieved they haven’t gone for something minimalist, abstract or just plain-old Web 2.0.


Ever wondered what that piece of paper is worth? The University of Sydney Graduate Destinations Report is compiled from surveys of graduates four to six months after they complete their final year of study, and it provides an overview of employment opportunities, starting salaries and job satisfaction, amongst other things. I have some beef with the way the results are collated (the employer table is a downright mess, and what information is provided differs between faculties) but I’ll take the stats as generally representative of the truth.

The law is, I suppose, perceived as a veritable gold mine and thus a highly valuable degree, and with an average graduate salary of over $79,000, one can understand why. But the survey breaks it down further: undergraduates, on average, end up with over $51,000 while postgraduates get over $98,000. By comparison, those graduating from undergraduate dentistry earn, on average, over $94,000 and work fewer hours (34 hrs/wk as opposed to 36 hrs/wk). What’s more, dentists are more happy with their job (96% as opposed to 82%). Who would’ve thought? (And 40% of law students suffer depression at some stage. So, if you’re in high school right now and you think law is all glitz and glamour, take another hard look, although it’s still a great degree.) As for finding a job, 14% of law graduates weren’t employed at the time of the survey, but it’s not entirely clear how many of these were studying further or simply not looking for a job; the somewhat high figure could also be explained by the fact that the survey would’ve been conducted at the height of the financial crisis.

Of course, there’s more to life than what you get paid, but I’ve summarised graduate gross salary by faculty, and then, where possible, I’ve calculated average hourly rate. The latter table is useful, because it shows that while starting salaries can differ quite markedly between faculties, this difference can be explained, at least in part, by under-employment.

Summary of graduate gross salary by faculty

Faculty Undergrad Honours 1 Postgrad Overall
Agriculture $41,949 $49,954 $43,569
Architecture $33,885 $46,912 $59,552 $46,968
Arts $34,316 $46,189 $36,605
Dentistry $94,461 $100,875 $123,886 $102,315
Economics $39,572 $46,373 $52,494 $46,793
Education $44,131 $55,386 $49,205
Engineering $51,384 $69,075 $53,206
Health Sciences $41,514 $61,195 $49,662
Law $51,507 $98,927 $79,329
Medicine $54,271 $77,719 $68,300
Music $29,965 $29,382 $37,659 $32,126
Nursing $40,926 $56,856 $46,167
Pharmacy $34,542 $58,540 $40,424
Science $24,801 $48,878 $34,738
Vet Sciences $39,146 $38,690 $92,750 $48,036
Visual Arts $18,307 $29,330 $23,197

1 Data not provided for all faculties (but a blank does not mean that honours cannot be undertaken in that faculty).

Graduate Gross Hourly Rate by Faculty

Faculty Undergrad Honours Postgrad Overall
Agriculture $21.80 $25.28 $22.65
Architecture (average hours worked not provided)
Arts $22.76 $26.13 $23.46
Dentistry $53.43 $48.50 $61.09 $54.66
Economics (average hours worked not provided)
Education $24.96 $29.59 $26.28
Engineering $25.34 $34.96 $26.93
Health Sciences $22.81 $32.69 $27.29
Law $27.51 $45.30 $37.21
Medicine (average hours worked not provided)
Music $26.19 $23.54 $25.86 $25.74
Nursing $21.27 $28.77 $24.00
Pharmacy $17.48 $31.27 $21.01
Science $21.68 $26.86 $24.74
Vet Sciences $17.51 $18.15 $44.59 $22.53
Visual Arts $14.67 $20.89 $18.59

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When the SUITS web server went down a couple of weeks ago, the skies darkened and there was much outpouring of grief.

In the words of one committee member:

At approximately 1445 today, suitsbeta shut itself down, never to wake up again. Attempts were made to revive it by powering it up, but alas it failed to POST. Our thoughts go out to its family and friends.

Another expressed regret:

It was nice knowing you suitsbeta. We’re sad that you toiled alone and in sickness for your last few months.

But it was well-loved:

Although I did not log into suitsbeta many times I did appreciate the machine and the contribution it made to this society. Few can claim to have sustained such continuous service to the society and its members, never asking for recognition or relief.

However, death can give rise to hope:

The memory of suitsbeta’s cranky innards will live on in the cron messages, reboot requests, and database errors that pepper my email archives. May the metal be reborn and the warnings silenced.


The ads at the uni bus stop are hard to miss: UNSW now offers Juris Doctor for graduates instead of LLB. What’s the difference? From what I can see, postgraduates will be taught separately from undergraduates, JD students can take Masters-level courses as electives, and some of the courses might be taught at their new city campus. Intriguing.

Speaking of which, I only just found out that UNSW had opened a city campus on O’Connell Street, right in the heart of the financial and legal district in Sydney. If you look at the photos, a Sydney Uni law graduate intimately familiar with the bowels of the old law school might be left just somewhat envious. Sydney Uni had better do something soon, because UNSW has just taken away a point of competitive advantage, our city location.

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Dan and I, back in third year, wrote up our Australian constitutional law case summaries as Wikipedia articles as we were studying them: click here for a list of case summaries. (We didn’t quite finish though: the red links link to pages that don’t exist.)

01 Sep 2009 | No comments

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