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Enablers and Supporters

Aflame with Inspiration

Small-group discovery will set the university on a path of improved quality rather than growth in the coming decade. Successful transformation in a university requires imaginative, skilled people, innovative thinking in our processes, responsive services and resources, effective systems that encourage relevant measurement, and a productive partnership between central administrative units and academic divisions. It also requires that we inspire and engage our external supporters.

Becoming a beacon for small-group discovery will mean many challenges for university services and resources. Most critically, success will depend on the capability of our people. Whilst we must develop recruitment practices that strive for excellence, we must also develop our people to adapt to the new ways of working and lead the transformation required.

We will need to find ways of recognising and rewarding staff who wish to contribute more to teaching than research. With their supervisors, staff will need to be able to set their work objectives on a continuum between research and teaching, and be appraised accordingly. Moreover, we will need to address the makeup of our staff and the conditions in which they work. Adelaide has a number of challenges in the gender balance, diversity and age profile of its workforce, and also in human resources systems and procedures not optimal for a leading Go8 university. The University will set targets for addressing these progressively across the planning period.

We will need to rethink the way we timetable and allocate space, and the way we populate the academic calendar. Seminar rooms will be in much greater demand, often in evening or other nontraditional hours. Lecture theatres may be needed for core teaching only in certain weeks, freeing them up for an expansion of teaching in intensive mode, blended mode or other innovative delivery methods. Once the Beacon of Learning Taskforce finishes its work in 2013, a university working party on academic timetabling, space allocation and calendar planning will need to rethink the University’s use of space.

We will also need to reanimate and re-energise the support the University has traditionally enjoyed from external stakeholders. We will enhance participation of our large and ever-growing alumni through more intentional communications, events, and benefits. A major philanthropic campaign will be launched to mark the 140th anniversary in 2014, seeking to double our donation income and treble the endowment from our alumni and those in the community who wish to advance our cause. We will also develop a coordinated Stakeholder Management Plan aimed at engaging better with leaders of government, business and the community. This will also help communicate our research discoveries and capabilities to the community, and create a climate in which government and business might support our capital program more actively.

We will take a fuller part in the national policy debate about higher education, to seek to remove the constraints that prevent leading universities in Australia competing with their peers abroad. These include moderation of the increasing government intervention in planning, course design and academic standards.

The new Adelaide educational proposition and recovery of the founding vision will also mean revisiting our current and successful brand campaign to align it with the new narrative. Part of this will involve featuring the qualities Adelaide city offers to students who come here, as one of the most appealing university towns in the world. Rebranding and enhanced marketing will also contribute to our retention of a student profile of high international student enrolment and expanding graduate fee-paying coursework enrolment.

The university is already undertaking rigorous reviews of its administrative units and rolling out a more transparent budget model. It will commit to ongoing regular benchmarking and optimisation of its administrative organisation and systems. To ensure we achieve our goals, we need a balanced score card, which will set out clearly the targets to be achieved and who will be accountable. To develop this, a third Taskforce will meet from 2013 to identify and establish the metrics and a process by which the University will manage its transformation.

The University budget will also require a willingness to evaluate and innovate in the coming decade. As well as trebling our expenditure on IT and e-learning, introducing new research scholarships, international research staff recruitment, and an interdisciplinary research fund, we plan to build a number of new facilities, most urgently a new integrated medical, nursing and dental school, developed in partnership with our clinical titleholders, to relocate our clinical schools to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital precinct at the western end of the CBD. We will need new development on campus, new leasing off campus, and the intensification of use of existing space. These aspirations will require more capital works funding over the next Plan period than current forecasts predict we will have. Several of the initiatives mentioned above will contribute to expanding our resource base, but we will also review our investment policy, our approach to cost containment, to debt financing, and other ways of funding our aspirations.

NEXT: Towards 2024 - Adelaide Shining

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