Saturday, July 19, 2014

Standards for Academic Gowns Developed in the Cafe

Tom Worthington receiving a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education from Professor Gareth Evans, Chancellor of the Australian National University, 19 July 2013. The ANU now uses the Pantone colour standard for its Academic and Cermonial Dress Order. At the mid-year graduation ceremonies this week, one student was sent back at the door to get a new gown, as they one they had was last year's model and not exactly the right colour. This is partly my fault. ANU was previously using a British colour standard for specifying the colours of the academics gowns in the different disciplines. This made the gowns expensive:
"In relation to the Academic and Ceremonial Dress Order, the Vice-Chancellor informed Council that ...  High gown hire costs are due in part to the plethora of hood colours tied to those in the Dictionary of Colour Standards of the British Colour Council. ..." From ANU Council Minutes, 22 March 2013
During a conversation in the cafe, I suggested using Pantone, as this was already being used by the marketing department for colour coding printed and online publications:
ColourPantone Colour Reference*
BlackPantone Black C
Gold lace1255C
Old gold871C
Union Jack blue285C
Union Jack red200C
WhitePantone White C
*Derived from Pantone Formula Guide Solid Coated & Solid Uncoated, ISBN 978-159065268-8
From: Table 1: Colours, ANU Academic and Ceremonial Dress Order 2014,16 June 2014
My suggestion that the student's identity number be embroidered onto their hood or sash (or they have a badge), with a QR code, was not adapted. This would allow the students to be scanned as they approach the podium to collect their certificate, to verify it is the right person. Also anyone could later verify the person in a graduation photo was entitled to wear the gown they have. This would combat the problem which universities have with persons falsely claiming degrees.

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