Our statement of purpose and values

We aim to create and sustain a university in which, for the benefit of both Australia and the wider world, the brightest researchers and the most promising students, whatever their social or cultural background, can thrive and realise their full potential.

In pursuing this purpose, the University community shares two key values. These are values to which people repeatedly returned in the consultation process for this Strategic Plan. They run like a thread through all of the strategies included here. They will serve to guide our activities during the planning period:

Engaged enquiry

The University is a place of enquiry. It is a place in which the skills of critical thinking are sharpened and exercised. There are three senses in which our enquiry is ‘engaged’. First, we hold education and research together. There should be a seamlessness in the learning of our students and researchers as they work to sharpen their skills in critical thinking and analysis to advance knowledge and understanding. Second, while building on the traditional disciplines, we bring them together to solve complex problems in cross-disciplinary education and research. Third, the work of our University is engaged with the communities of which we are a part, both in Australia and overseas.

Mutual accountability

Individual members of the University, and the academic communities of which they are a part, are accountable to one another for their contribution to the academic and financial health of the institution. This concept of mutual accountability shapes the University’s commitment to, and the responsibilities of, individual staff and students. It also has implications for our approach to decision-making, and for the relationship of the various academic communities that constitute the University.


These values shape our aspirations: they determine both what we seek to achieve and how we seek to achieve it. With our statement of purpose they constitute a test of the extent to which our various initiatives do, or do not, meet our strategic directions.