Cross-disciplinary teams from across campus presented their progress last Friday on projects that support our values and strategic priorities at the inaugural University Annual Conference: A Framing of Futures.
“Being a University of service and engagement is how we can make ourselves distinct in the face of increasing local and global complexity,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton in his opening address, “and the work you’ll see here today clearly demonstrates that we’re equipped to meet these challenges.”
Held in Macquarie Theatre on 3 October, the day was split into an exhibition space in the foyer open to all staff – where units and project teams displayed their contributions to our strategic initiatives – and a series of discussions by executive leaders on the momentum and outcomes in each priority stream, to an audience of senior staff from across the University who were tasked with reporting back to their areas on what they learned.
A steady stream of staff made time to view the Shared Identity and Campus Master Plan exhibitions, partake in a post-it note brainstorm with the Strategic Planning and Information Office, create information architecture models with the Web Transformation Project team, and check out the latest offerings from Macquarie International and PACE.
“Having staff participate in interactive exercises allowed them to experience our web research techniques and captured some really useful data,” said Web Transformation Project Manager Rich Powell, “and we’ll provide more opportunities for this kind of interactive feedback from staff and students as the project takes shape.”
After establishing the context and complexity of our challenges and opportunities, the Vice-Chancellor introduced the following speakers:
- Deputy-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sakkie Pretorius and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity and Development) Professor Lesley Hughes, who outlined the bold but realistic targets that have been set in the 2015-2024 Research Framework.
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor John Simons and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) Professor Sherman Young, who reiterated the need for bravery in challenging of the status quo in the development of the forthcoming Learning and Teaching Framework.
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar) Deidre Anderson and Executive Dean (Human Sciences) Professor Janet Greeley, who summarised the improvements being made to aid student retention and progression and improve the overall student experience.
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Engagement and Advancement) Professor David Wilkinson, who gave an overview of the corporate and alumni outreach that is gaining momentum within our local business precinct and all over the world.
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Jim Lee and Executive Dean (Business and Economics) Professor Mark Gabbott, who outlined our international activities and goals, and how they relate to the work of the other portfolios.
- Chief Operating Officer Dr Paul Schreier, who introduced some of the staff who worked on the Lean exercise to improve postgraduate admissions, then brought the Chief Financial Officer John Gorman to the stage to give an overview of how the University’s finances work, as a way to give context to a discussion about what the nature and size of the University’s offering could be in the future.
Our future framed
Feedback on the event so far has been positive, with many staff appreciative of the chance to see how all of these strategic initiatives interrelate in service of a broader vision.
“The conference provided a unique opportunity to show how each of these initiatives is making real improvements to the day-to-day work of our academic and professional staff” said Director of Strategic Planning, Associate Professor James Rabeau.
“And crucially,” he adds, “I think we demonstrated how the University is coming together across professional and academic areas of expertise to achieve these goals, giving us a glimpse of what our future looks like when we work together.”