Engaged enquiry: integrated education and research


Strategy Three: Initiate a University-wide program of curriculum renewal

Our aim is to produce flexible and creative thinkers, leaders for Australia and the wider world. An education here will equip students with essential skills in critical thinking and communication, and foster an enquiring mind. It will support students in their transition to university, offer a coherent program of courses, and distinguish pathways through degrees.

Initiatives

  1. Establish a Curriculum Committee of SEG to oversee a University-wide program of curriculum renewal and ensure coherence of our programs and courses.
  2. Develop University-wide principles for curriculum development.
  3. Conduct a fundamental review of the major undergraduate generalist degree programs.
  4. Articulate the standards and outcomes of teaching and learning experiences that distinguish different degree levels and pathways through degrees.
  5. Implement the assessment principles flowing from the Academic Board review, begun in 2009.
  6. Identify and empower scholars with expertise in curriculum development to champion curriculum renewal and best practice across the University.
  7. Recognise and reward staff contribution to curriculum renewal and innovation.

Strategy Four: Enrich the experience of University life for all our students

We aspire to build upon our reputation for the high-quality student experience enjoyed at the University. Our aim is to increase student participation in University life by enriching the services and support that we offer, and enhancing the ways in which they integrate with one another and with our academic programs, to meet the needs of all the students that they serve.

Initiatives

  1. Review and develop the University’s provision of services for student health, wellbeing and welfare.
  2. Support universal access by investing in implementation of the Disability Action Plan 2011–2015, including the allocation of disability officers and ongoing training for staff.
  3. Provide more affordable and appropriate student accommodation on and near the University’s campuses, consistent with the Work Slate project on student accommodation.
  4. Undertake a feasibility study of the virtual colleges.
  5. Build upon the current Teaching and Learning Capital Fund project regarding networks of informal learning spaces around campus.
  6. Complete the Sydney Student Lifecycle Management project to create a seamless student experience of the University’s administration, from first enquiry to alumni engagement.
  7. Prioritise and implement the recommendations of the University Review of Co-curricular Experience to increase the effectiveness and relevance of our co-curricular programs.
  8. Prioritise and implement the recommendations of the University Review of Support for International Students.
  9. Complete the Work Slate projects on social and catering facilities.

Strategy Five: Expand and diversify opportunities for students to develop as global citizens

Promoting the University’s position in the international academic community is fundamental to all that we do, from education and research to alumni and community engagement. We aim to create more opportunities for our students to engage in research and education outside Australia, to develop our students as global citizens, and to ensure that staff and students who come to the University from overseas find an environment that values the contribution they can make.

Initiatives

  1. Build on international exchange opportunities for our students and international experience for our staff.
  2. Finalise the implementation of the Second Language Acquisition project.
  3. Expand the number of World Scholars Program scholarships to attract the best PhD students from priority countries.
  4. Introduce a World Fellows Program for short-term visits by leading international academics and public figures.
  5. Complete and implement the project on Appointments for Overseas Academics to facilitate the fractional appointment of academic staff also employed at an overseas university.
  6. Pursue new funding opportunities to build capacity for international engagement and exchange.

Strategy Six: Develop our capacity to identify and support research excellence

Fundamental changes in the research environment, both in Australia and internationally, require new approaches to achieving and sustaining research excellence. While researchers must be free to follow whatever line of enquiry they choose, a more strategic focus is needed for University investment in both disciplinary and cross-disciplinary work. This will help us to attract, enable and empower researchers in well-resourced and well-maintained environments.

Our aim is to develop and implement an integrated and coherent University-wide approach to planning, delivering, managing and funding our research in a way that demonstrably supports researchers engaged in internationally recognised, transformational research.

Initiatives

  1. Develop divisional research strategies and negotiate compacts with SEG for endorsement, and, where necessary, support of these strategies.
  2. Develop the capacity for comprehensive recording of University research outputs and for the evidence-based identification of areas of research strength.
  3. Establish a University-wide research fund to allow strategic investment in identified areas of research.
  4. Apply divisional and University research strategies in the ongoing assessment of our infrastructure needs and priorities.
  5. Establish a program for the systematic review and development of University research policies in collaboration between SEG and the Academic Board.
  6. Complete the construction of the Australian Institute for Nanoscience.

Strategy Seven: Develop our capacity to identify and promulgate excellence in teaching

Our academic staff should be engaged in developing and applying the best pedagogical practice at all levels, and our students’ educational experience must be of a consistently high quality.

We aim to build the capacity of individual teachers and foster the development of teaching teams and communities in degree programs, schools and faculties. All our staff will have access to opportunities for development and teaching and learning support. We will share the best of local practice across the University.

Initiatives

  1. Develop divisional teaching excellence strategies and negotiate compacts with SEG for endorsement, and, where necessary, support of these strategies.
  2. Develop new tools for identifying teaching and learning strengths to inform divisional strategies and support the promulgation of best practice.
  3. Establish University-agreed minimum standards for teaching and learning support as appropriate to each faculty.
  4. Apply divisional and University teaching excellence strategies in the ongoing assessment of our infrastructure needs and priorities.
  5. Complete the Learning Space Network Project.
  6. Establish a program for the systematic review and development of University education policies in collaboration between SEG and the Academic Board.
  7. Complete the Abercrombie Precinct infrastructure project.

Strategy Eight: Develop a small number of major cross-disciplinary initiatives in research and education

To have visible impact in addressing the complex problems facing our nation and our world, we must harness relevant intellectual resources from across the University and provide structures for cross-disciplinary research and education at the University level.

Our aim is to create an environment that promotes and facilitates cross-disciplinary collaborations of high social impact, through targeted and transparent investment in visionary research and education initiatives.

Initiatives

  1. Establish the Centre for Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease as an exemplar of a major program of cross-disciplinary research and education in an area of high social impact.
  2. Develop governance and financial arrangements for University-wide research and education programs based on the lessons learned from the establishment of the Centre for Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.
  3. Develop criteria and processes to identify, support and maintain strategic and University-supported research and education initiatives.
  4. Evaluate existing University-wide and University-supported research and education projects, including the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, and refine and strengthen the University Centres Policy.
  5. Establish University-wide centres for education and research on China and South-East Asia Studies, as recommended in the Review of Area Studies, and implement the other recommendations of that review.
  6. Determine the feasibility of up to two new major cross-disciplinary programs of research and education.
  7. Create for each major cross-disciplinary program of research and education a strategy for implementation in the University community which embodies and exemplifies the program’s core purpose in our institutional life.

Strategy Nine: Agree coordinated strategies for identifying, developing and supporting research talent from undergraduate students to research leaders

Our aim is to create and sustain an environment in which our research talent is supported through technical disciplinary training, but also in more general training in research leadership and management, in skills in commercialisation and communication, and in developing cross-disciplinary research capabilities. We must also provide support and development that is tailored to each stage of the researcher career pathway, from the undergraduate student to the senior researcher.

Initiatives

  1. Embed discovery-based learning in all curricula, with opportunities for research experience appropriate to discipline and level.
  2. Develop coordinated faculty, divisional and University-wide programs for researcher induction, and for research training and mentoring at all career stages.
  3. Extend the standard full-time duration of the PhD program to four years to provide scope for broadening methodological and generic skills training, where appropriate.
  4. Develop clearer pathways to the PhD from Honours and alternate prior programs.
  5. Establish discipline-specific guidelines and training for supervisors, including provision for co-supervisors.
  6. Charge the Graduate Office with enhanced responsibility for candidate administration, monitoring of consistency of practice and policy, and procedural development across the University.
  7. Develop a more transparent model for the allocation of income from research students, consistent with the University Economic Model.
  8. Develop programs to extend the leadership skills of researchers heading major research initiatives.

Strategy Ten: Promote indigenous participation, engagement, education and research

The University has a strong commitment to advancing Indigenous education and research and ensuring that it is well supported. Our aim, as a contemporary Australian institution, is to ensure that Indigenous issues and knowledge are core elements of our decision-making, teaching, research and community engagement activities.

Initiatives

  1. Develop and implement clear strategies in response to the recommendations of the Review of Indigenous Education.
  2. Foster stronger relationships based on mutual respect with local, regional and national Indigenous communities.
  3. Ensure Indigenous perspectives are taken into account in our planning and decision-making processes.
  4. Enhance the pathways and support we provide for Indigenous students to access higher education and pursue both academic and professional staff careers.
  5. Establish mentoring programs specific to Indigenous researchers at all career stages.
  6. Ensure that the specific accommodation needs of Indigenous students in particular are addressed as part of an integrated approach to solving the University’s accommodation challenges.
  7. Ensure that more students who graduate from the University do so with a deeper knowledge and understanding of Indigenous culture.

Strategy Eleven: Attract and support promising students from a diversity of social and cultural backgrounds

Attracting promising students whatever their social or cultural background is core to our sense of purpose and consistent with our history. Our aim is to diversify our student population and, particularly, to increase the participation of students from low socioeconomic, Indigenous, rural and remote backgrounds. We are committed to improving the preparation, aspiration and achievement of intellectually able students from groups currently underrepresented in our student population.

Initiatives

  1. Expand our partnerships with specific schools and community organisations to raise awareness of the value of tertiary education, support educational attainment, and increase aspirations for further study.
  2. Review admissions criteria and policies, including those covering pathways, special admissions programs, and ATAR bonuses, to increase participation by underrepresented groups.
  3. Set University, faculty and school targets for recruitment and retention of low SES, Indigenous and rural and remote students.
  4. Complete ongoing negotiations with universities in rural NSW for greater cooperation in education and research, and the provision of flexible pathways for students.
  5. Ensure appropriate support for the retention and achievement of students from underrepresented groups.
  6. Provide staff development activities and resources to build the necessary skills to support the successful implementation of social inclusion and Indigenous education initiatives.
  7. Convene a cross-disciplinary network of researchers into social inclusion and exclusion and related community issues.

Strategy Twelve: Provide enhanced learning opportunities for all our staff

As a community of engaged enquiry, we will provide all staff with a rich variety of opportunities for learning, opportunities intended both for professional development and for their intrinsic educational value.

Initiatives

  1. Continue the review of the University’s Performance Management and Development system to simplify and better support the University’s performance and development needs.
  2. Develop and implement processes for succession planning for the University, ensuring growth opportunities and career development for all staff.
  3. Systematically review current learning programs and initiatives with a view to meeting identified capability development needs.
  4. Facilitate participation by staff in formal academic programs, and also as both teachers and students in non-award and public programs of education.
  5. Review arrangements for performance progression.