Strategic Plan

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Strategic Plan: 2011 – 2015

After a period of considerable growth and change the Faculty now faces the challenge of consolidation and ensuring the range and diversity of our programs work for the benefit of our students, staff and the wider community. We aspire to being the premiere liberal arts faculty in Australia and the Asia Pacific, conducting teaching and research across the breadth of the humanities and social sciences. But relying on our size alone is not sufficient. How does the diversity and range of our majors and disciplines enable us to offer our students a genuine liberal arts education and one that differentiates us from other institutions in Australia and the region? How does the breadth and depth of our research enable us to make fundamental contributions to the pursuit of new knowledge, as well as help address many of the challenges the world faces today? In particular, we need to take advantage of our scale by finding ways to link disciplines to build capacity that produces vibrant intellectual communities for the benefit of our students, staff and the broader community.

A unique strength of the Faculty is its deep engagement in Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region, and hence our capacity for truly comparative teaching and research. Another strength is our capacity to link established disciplines in the humanities and social sciences with newly emerging ones – from ancient Greek to digital cultures. A key challenge over the next five years is to develop teaching and research programs that manifest and make visible these particular strengths. We need to take full advantage of and contribute to the new cross-University initiatives in area studies (Southeast Asia, the China Studies Centre, the US Studies Centre), the Centre for Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease (CODCD) and the creation of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (with the faculties of Law and Education and Social Work). We also need to commit to greater community engagement, finding ways to communicate our research and the value of the humanities and social sciences to the wider public culture.

Finally, we need to ensure our ambitions are sustainable. We need to strike the right balance between the demands of teaching large numbers of students and our vision for research. We need to ensure we are investing sufficient resources in providing administrative and academic support for our students and staff. And we need to identify those areas where it makes strategic sense for us to grow, and those where it
does not.

Statement of Purpose and Values

Our mission is to conduct research and teaching across the breadth of the humanities and social sciences that makes a difference in the lives of our students, staff and the broader community, both in Australia and globally.

We aim to create and sustain a community of scholars committed to:

  • free and open inquiry;
  • academic excellence and the inherent value of teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences;
  • providing opportunities for our students to develop the attributes and capacities required for leadership and global citizenship;
  • bringing the methodologies and insights of our disciplines to bear on many of the fundamental questions facing humanity today through basic research and engaged public comment and debate

Through our research we aim to discover new knowledge and ways of understanding human experience and culture. Through our teaching we aim to foster critical and creative thinking and intellectual breadth. Through the diversity and rigour of our programs we seek to provide our students with opportunities for learning that reflect and manifest these values.

Our goal is to become the leading Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, and among the top 20 faculties of our kind in the world.

Strategic Goals (top line objectives)

  1. To achieve our vision of an integrated, dynamic and sustainable faculty of Arts and Social Sciences that takes advantage of its diversity and breadth to become among the best of its kind in the world.
  2. To put in place the distinctive “Sydney Arts and Social Sciences offer” for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  3. To develop our capacity to identify and promulgate excellence in teaching to achieve improved outcomes in learning.
  4. To conduct world-leading research and develop our capacity to identify, mentor and support research excellence.
  5. To attract, support and retain, the most promising students and staff from a diversity of social and cultural backgrounds.
  6. To develop local and global partnerships, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, that enable us to deliver distinctive programs, further our commitment to fostering research excellence, deepen our engagement with alumni and friends, and enhance our reputation globally.
  7. To plan, develop and seek support for major new infrastructure (both buildings and technology) that manifests and enables our commitment to innovative teaching, world-leading research and community engagement.