Murdoch international education executive departs

Western Australian university’s deputy was ‘instrumental’ in international recruitment

April 17, 2020
Murdoch University
Source: Murdoch University
Murdoch University

A senior academic who has overseen Murdoch University’s international operations during a turbulent period is moving on, the Perth institution has revealed.

Murdoch’s deputy vice-chancellor (DVC) international Lyn Karstadt will leave the university on 24 April, vice-chancellor Eeva Leinonen told staff. “I have taken the difficult decision that the role of DVC international is no longer required in the context of the significant impact of Covid-19,” Professor Leinonen’s message says.

“We will be repositioning international recruitment and admissions, and teams reporting into Lyn will be merged into the portfolio of the provost.”

Professor Leinonen said she regretted the change. The two are longstanding colleagues, having worked together for nine years at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. Professor Karstadt, who subsequently worked in Queensland, joined Murdoch several months after Professor Leinonen became vice-chancellor in 2016.

Professor Leinonen acknowledged the contribution Professor Karstadt had made to Murdoch. “She has been instrumental in putting in place strong foundations for our international recruitment and promoted further development of the transnational education portfolio and our advancement activities so they can continue to flourish into the future.”

Murdoch’s international operations suffered a setback in May last year when a television broadcast aired allegations that the university was enrolling international students with inadequate English language capabilities.

Four months later, the department of home affairs raised Murdoch’s immigration risk rating to the highest setting. This meant that to obtain visas to study there, people from countries considered to represent even moderate immigration risks were obliged to supply extra evidence of their financial capacity and language ability.

The department lowered Murdoch’s risk rating again in March this year. Times Higher Education understands that Murdoch staff had worked hard to forestall unsuccessful or fraudulent visa applications involving the university, including changing its arrangements with agents.

THE understands that the number of new international enrolments at Murdoch has plummeted, partly because of the unfavourable risk rating and the efforts to have it overturned. Recruitment from Murdoch’s top market of India has declined right across Australia – an apparent consequence of the UK’s reintroduction of two-year post-study work rights – while more recently, the coronavirus has further stifled recruitment.

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