sydney university

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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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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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Last year, the Sydney Law Revue, I thought, deserved nothing but vitriol (to the dismay of one of the revue directors I happened to chance upon at a clerkship function last year). This year, however, the revue was much better and well deserving of praise: who could forget the singing Taliban or the all-singing, all-dancing jury trial? The nudity was much abbreviated, however, and most of the singers are still impossible to understand. And that disability skit: what were they thinking (given that Ron McCallum would have had to sit through that)? Anyway, a good performance with lots of talent. Well done.

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Update: Thank you to all who have contributed to the discussion below. For the impatient, here is a summary of what you might like to do:

  • If you hate Sydney Mail, fear not: you have options.
  • To redirect your Sydney Mail email to another email account, you can either a) use a “redirect” rule in Sydney Mail or b) get your email client (such as Gmail) to pick it up via POP3 (for this, see the main post below). Both a) and b) do the job.
  • To send email from within Gmail as if you were sending it from Sydney Mail, add your Sydney Mail address under the Addresses tab in Settings in Gmail.
  • However, some recipients, such as those using Outlook, may see that the sender of your email is “ on behalf of”. If you don’t like this, you can fix this by getting Gmail to send email via SMTP. To find out the address of the SMTP server, see these instructions.

“Sydney Mail is a new and significantly improved student email service,” announced the email from the university proudly.

The truth is that the university has delivered something that’s better, but is rather deficient in its own right: they’ve outsourced email to Microsoft so it’s all now run off Outlook Web Access. I could go on and on about why I would never use it, but I’ll just show you how to avoid using it.

The existing email system allows you to forward to a personal email address, and the university provides instructions for how to do it on the new system. Don’t follow those instructions! It is true that email will be forwarded from Outlook to your personal email but what happens is that the emails are literally forwarded! If Bob sends you an email, when it pops up in your personal email, the From field will show your university email as opposed to Bob, which is incredibly inconvenient.

The solution? Get your mail client to retrieve mail from Outlook via POP3. If you’re using Gmail like me, go to Settings > Accounts. Look for the “Get mail from other accounts” section and click the “Add a mail account you own” link. A window will then pop up; try the following settings:


Email sent to your university email won’t get forwarded instantly like it used to, but it’s a much better solution than the one offered by the university.

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From my blog stats:

What weird fetishes some people have.

18 Mar 2009 | 3 comments

“What are the factors of 336?” I pondered, staring at the KENKEN puzzle on the screen of the computer in the SciTech library I was seated at.

Cursed computer! No calculator!

I’ve been annoyed by how locked down the computers at Sydney Uni’s libraries are for a while, so I set out to find out whether I can, in fact, bring up the humble calculator.1

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Hong Kong Law Fair will be coming to the University of Sydney this year, and it’s being coordinated by the Chinese Law Students Society. Register now to attend, and spread the word!

04 Mar 2009 | No comments

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