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 (www​.sydney​.edu​.au).

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 “xyz@​gmail.​com on behalf of abcd1​2​3​4​@​uni.​sydney.​edu.​au”. 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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