The leading edge of change

Photo of ACU Associate Vice-Chancellor (Brisbane) Professor Jim Nyland.

A message from the Associate Vice-Chancellor (Brisbane) Professor Jim Nyland:

Colleagues,

In a world of turbulence and uncertainty there is always a need to know where the leading edge of change lies:

  • the declining enchantment with neo-liberal market-driven change as a basis for university growth and expansion
  • the re-assertion of community-based and place-based values and ideas of social worth, as a key educational objective
  • the continuing impact of technological change, robotisation and displacement of meaningful work as we have known it
  • the impact of the digital age on young people in particular in both positive and negative ways (the paygo economy, identity issues, owners versus renters, decline in face-to-face interaction/speech, click bait on the internet, etc.)
  • the need for research to address critical social and economic challenges
  • the need for an engaged curriculum within an issues-based university still dedicated to excellence and scholarship
  • the impact of global climate change - especially in our Australian context
  • access and widening participation in its second phase for the 21st century
  • the need to make a successful, complex, inclusive and diverse institution such as ours flourish within a vision of what we want our future to be.

As a progressive and leading university ACU addresses such issues as a strategic necessity.  And our student markets have once again responded positively to our values proposition in these changing times.  ACU Brisbane has performed exceptionally well in these volatile markets with a record increase of 21 per cent in first preferences this year – the highest of any university in Queensland and nearly double that of our nearest State competitor.  And as we begin our academic year in earnest next week we in turn seek to repay the faith our academic community continues to show in us by striving to make our campus environment as good a place to work as possible for both students and staff to ensure they can achieve fulfilment in their work, study and in life. Listed below are just a few projects by way of example:

  • The ‘Mercy Building’ major capital project ($32m) continues at pace with its second stage design process phase now in full swing. The building is on target to be opened for Semester 1, 2018.
  • The new Health Sciences precinct building project is underway to support Nursing, Paramedicine and Science on campus with a similar target date for completion by Semester 1, 2018.
  • The School of Education staff have relocated back to their refurbished office space this week, hot on the heels of the School of Allied Health staff whose office area was recently enhanced to support their dynamic growth on campus (a five-fold increase in staffing in three years).
  • A new modern and spacious cafeteria  ‘The Hive on the Hill’  is now operational, with new owners offering great food, choice and soon to be opened bar - following in the footsteps of our sister campus in Melbourne.

My thanks to all colleagues committed to making ACU Queensland such an exceptional place to be, particularly those daring enough to drive our campus to its leading edge – their leadership is both vital and humane and offers another chance to serve, for all involved.

Jim Nyland.


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