From the Vice-Chancellor: Favouring the bold
The world - and higher education with it - is always changing.
In Australia today there are significant changes occurring in higher education on multiple fronts - changes to research funding, to the way students can choose where they study, and to the equity and access of university study, to name just a few.
For universities, the bold will almost certainly prosper in this new world. At the University of Adelaide, we have been and will continue to be bold in our decisions for the benefit of the future of our University and for the broader community.
In many ways, the University of Adelaide is well placed to deal with the emerging changes in our sector.
We are the largest University in South Australia and we are the university of choice. We already have more low socio-economic enrolments than any other Group of Eight (Go8) university.
Our plans for partnerships with Kaplan and TAFE, which will help us to boost pathways to university study, are well advanced and were arrived at irrespective of the Commonwealth's agenda to broaden access to higher education. That is, we were moving in those directions anyway, because it is right and fair.
Building on our long-term relationships in the western suburbs, we are also developing a strategy for greater engagement with the northern suburbs, to embrace the fastest-growing area, economically, in the state. Population to the north of Adelaide is projected to boom dramatically over the next couple of decades. With Roseworthy Campus already in place, we have the opportunity to become an integral part of this development, but it requires a long-term vision to achieve. Again, this thinking predated the Commonwealth's announcements, but it will be greatly facilitated by them.
We are also moving ahead in relation to teaching and learning. Last year we introduced the Excellence in Education initiative. This project focuses on improving our student satisfaction, our retention of students (which is a challenge right across the sector) and the quality of our teaching. It includes developing mechanisms to improve feedback to students, improving our e-enhanced learning capability, and identifying effective support for new and casual teachers.
There is no doubt that further improvements are needed. Many of us may wish to develop and improve what we do but we are often inhibited by what is available to us. This is why some of the University's recent initiatives will position us for future success. These involve not only our approach to teaching and service but also the quality of our facilities and infrastructure.
Much of our space is in real need of a makeover. Better facilities are a vital part of the transition to a better University: the student hub on Hughes Plaza, the science building we have proposed for the Union Hall site, the new Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences building (known to some as Innova21), Nexus 10 (the revamped facilities at 10 Pulteney St), the new Vet School at Roseworthy and the Plant Accelerator at Waite are all exemplars of what we are seeking to achieve.
These significant developments are not merely buildings but major strategic initiatives that will give us the capacity to embrace the new world far more effectively than would otherwise have been possible. They are a genuine commitment to our staff and students - providing them with the best possible facilities means also that we are presenting them with the best possible opportunities for work and study. This is a commitment to the South Australian community too.
Making bold decisions is not easy but it is necessary in our changing world. It is an exciting time to be part of the University of Adelaide.
PROFESSOR JAMES A. McWHA
Vice-Chancellor and President