Growth, Progress, Renewal
In 2008 the University adopted a five-year strategic plan, Building a Great University. By 2012 it had significantly improved its research performance and built impressive new facilities at North Terrace, Waite and Roseworthy, funded by a near doubling of its student numbers. The University became Australia’s top performer on a per-capita basis in attracting national competitive research grants.
Five multi-disciplinary Research Institutes were established to work on major problems, and in 2010 all became associated with Excellence in Research for Australia’s top 5-rated disciplines. The University’s research income increased to $170 million p.a. by 2011, at an average rate of 12% p.a. over the plan period, one of the highest growth rates over the period in the Group of Eight (Go8) universities.
The outlines of the founding vision could still be traced beneath the multi-layered surface of the University’s appearance. The University’s continued success in the preparation of educated leaders was manifest in the present Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Premier of South Australia, Prime Minister of Australia and President of Singapore; over 150 of its alumni and staff became members of Australia’s learned academies, and two won the Nobel Prize in the past seven years.
The University continues to embrace a democratically broad student body: its enrolment includes not only some 60% of the brightest school leavers in South Australia, but also many students who entered via an array of alternate pathways it had established. It has a strong indigenous presence, and 14% of its students are of low socioeconomic status—the largest such enrolment in the Go8 universities. With nearly 30% of its students and a large contingent of its staff being recruited internationally it has also become one of the most cosmopolitan public universities in Australia.
A commitment to excellence in teaching has brought forth many learning and student experience initiatives, and the 2012 Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) results now reflect their success: after a period of trailing behind its peers, its CEQ results are now equal to or better than those in the other Go8s. Some of the initiatives, like Hub Central, can lay claim to national student learning leadership. And its importance to the community is evident in the many public programs it presents, from Research Tuesdays to public lectures and concerts, from its Northern Suburbs pathways initiatives to its Port Augusta centre, and the Advisory Boards and industry links maintained in several faculties. The University arrived in 2012 with much achieved.