Improving education through innovation

A message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Zlatko Skrbis.

Dear colleagues,

Through engagement with the faculties, academic staff and various organisational units across the University I continue to refine my understanding of the array of touchpoints, needs and priorities that intersect with ACU’s approach to education. These conversations will feed into the development of the new ACU Strategy 2020 – 2023, in which education will play a critical role.

I recently addressed Academic Board to provide a high-level snapshot of the future of education at ACU and some critical aspects of our institutional evolution. I identified four preliminary areas of focus as we move forward:

  • Student attrition/retention – making continual improvements to student retention rates by working on the range of aspects of ACU academic experience which are the greatest influences on whether a student graduates at ACU or withdraws from ACU before graduation.
  • Structured professional development – giving ACU academic staff the best opportunities to grow and refine their pedagogical skills so that we can offer the highest standard of education and student experience, and so that staff are able to progress in their careers.
  • Pathways, non-award opportunities – in addition to the need to continuously refine and diversify our courses, we need to elevate the importance of entry pathways. It is inherent in ACU’s mission to try to enable access to tertiary education for a broad segment of the community. Alternative entry pathways and a diversification of the achievements and qualifications we recognise will assist in this goal. They will also contribute to our University’s sustainability in times of uncertainty in government and higher education policy.
  • Digital strategy – offering students flexible course delivery options and supporting staff in adapting to digital advancements and change. It is our responsibility and to our advantage to offer students choice and flexibility. Digital technology is making continual leaps forward and both staff and students will benefit from the educational innovation it entails.

Another significant and exciting development that I wish to draw to your attention is the upcoming launch of ACU’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The Australian Catholic University Reconciliation Action Plan 2019 – 2021 will serve to acknowledge, uphold, recognise, respect, value and celebrate the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, as our Nation’s First Peoples.

It will underpin our portfolio’s activities and help us to educate and empower our staff and students to influence positive change in their communities.

Best wishes,

Professor Zlatko Skrbis
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)

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