From the Vice-Chancellor
We make choices every day and sometimes those choices will have a major impact. Before the end of this year Australia will choose the Government which will shape society for the next few years. Much of the debate during the election campaign will be about economic issues and the happenings within marginal electorates. However, following the Labor Party decision to put higher education high on the electoral agenda and the subsequent Federal Budget which was led with a series of higher education announcements, we seem finally to have higher education being taken seriously as an election issue.
This would seem appropriate at a time when the demand for education and skills is high and not always being met. This failure to meet community needs in part reflects under-investment and a lack of clear thinking about our higher education system.
Just as Australia is making these decisions at a time of economic strength, so too is the University of Adelaide considering a new Strategic Plan at a time when our current financial strength permits us to consider a range of options.
Our last Strategic Plan written in 2002 and intended to take us to 2008 mapped out our direction for the University over that period. We have met or are on our way to meeting the targets and objectives we set and now is the time to make some decisions about the future.
Clearly we will continue to build a great research university, we will continue to address community needs whether they are in the area of mining, health, creative writing or elsewhere. We will continue to seek out the best students, give them a high quality experience and send them into the world to make an impact.
We are inviting the entire University community to help decide how we can best do this.
We will also hope that whoever wins the election will be keen to invest in education and research as well as willing to look to new directions. I hope the politicians have read the Group of Eight discussion paper about designing a new policy architecture for higher education and university research, Seizing the Opportunities. We need diversity in the sector and we need fresh air. We must get rid of wasteful and complex regulations that frustrate the sector and hamper innovation.
It is time for us all to look to the future not with nervous apprehension but with nervous excitement.
PROFESSOR JAMES A. McWHA
Vice-Chancellor and President