CHAPTER 6 – 2015
We believe that the 17 strategies that we have outlined in this White Paper both flow from the purpose and values of the University and set a clear course for the next five years.
Of course, each of the initiatives that we have outlined here will have key performance indicators to measure the attainment of our strategic goals. But it is important that, at a high level, the University has a core set of indicators of its performance, of the extent to which we may be said to be travelling well. The beauty of the ‘1:5:40’ slogan that the University adopted for several years was that it set a high-level measure of the health of the institution. We propose that the metrics outlined in Appendix 2 be used as such a ‘dashboard’, and be made available to Senate on an ongoing basis.
However, the real measure of whether the University is travelling well is the extent to which our staff, students, government, alumni and friends find in it the institution that is entailed in our statement of purpose, our values and strategies. This is the vision of an institution in which there is freedom for individual researchers to pursue their own lines of enquiry, but also an evidence-based understanding of our research strengths and an institutional ability to invest strategically in research and education projects (particularly large-scale, cross-disciplinary projects) of national, regional and international importance. It is the vision of an institution in which students and researchers have a sense of belonging to a single community of scholars, of being engaged together in learning and enquiry, and in which excellence in research is prized. In this vision, the community of scholars is marked by its diversity, by its global orientation, and by its commitment to working in partnership with Indigenous Australia. Researchers and teachers are drawn from all over the world, some on flexible employment arrangements with other institutions, and both staff and students from overseas are impressed by the cosmopolitan nature of the academic community that they find. The University is well connected and regarded in a series of local, rural and international communities, and has grown its links with China. Its alumni are actively involved in the life of the institution and financially support it.
In this environment, students have a rich campus life and their experience of dealing with University administration is seamless from first enquiry to alumni engagement. They have opportunities for both formal and informal learning, in classroom and community-based contexts, in Australia and overseas. Teaching is stimulating and constantly refreshed by new thinking about pedagogy disseminated broadly across the institution. Curriculum delivers on our graduate attributes in ways that can be measured and the suite of the University’s degree offerings is coherent and well coordinated, allowing students ease of movement between faculties, particularly in the generalist undergraduate degrees.
Administratively, the University in this vision is marked by a commitment to transparency and shared governance. Resources and costs are allocated in a way that ensures the financial and academic sustainability of the institution. Planning and decisions are made on the basis of evidence, in fora in which the different academic communities of the University are equitably represented and decision-making is informed by appropriate expertise. Administrative services are effectively and efficiently delivered and the working conditions of staff, and our digital and physical infrastructure, are first rate.
In short, the University delivers on its mission of being a place in which both academic quality and community engagement are valued, in which ideas are not only intrinsically important, but also important because of the difference that they can make in the world. It is a place of both engaged enquiry and mutual accountability, in which the brightest researchers and most promising students can thrive and realise their full potential.
Of course, there are ways in which the work of the University already matches this vision. And to some extent we will never fully match it. But the strategies outlined in this White Paper are directed towards realising that vision, and it is against that goal that our success over the next five years must be judged.