Academic Portfolio highlights

A message from the Provost Professor Pauline Nugent.

Dear colleagues,

I warmly welcome you back for another busy year. While 2018 has been especially challenging in many aspects, I am very pleased that as a University we have successfully met the challenges head on and continued to build on our strengths and explore new opportunities.

The Academic Portfolio begins 2019 with a very busy Summer Term at our Rome Campus and a closely monitored enrolment offers period on the domestic front. I am pleased to share with you some highlights from the portfolio.

ACU students fully engaged in Rome

The Faculty of Health Sciences, in collaboration with Loyola University Chicago (LUC), held its fourth iteration of the two-week intensive unit Health Care Ethics (HLSC220) from 30 December 2018 to 12 January 2019 in Rome. The unit attracted a total of 35 students from both universities.

For Melbourne-based Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Business Administration student Samantha Binney, joining the unit is something she will forever be grateful for.

“The experience was amazing. The unit content was so interesting and relevant. Having the option to study with students from Chicago was very engaging and learning about their health care system was a great contribution,” she said.

HLSC220 students had an opportunity to volunteer at a local centre for the homeless, walk with pilgrims during the World Peace Day March, as well as join vespers at St Peter’s Basilica with Pope Francis and thousands of other faithful.

Meanwhile, 23 other ACU students recently concluded their two-week International Core Curriculum program experience held from 6 to 19 January. Led by School of Education lecturer Dr Renata Cinelli and Peter Faber Business School’s Dr Thuy-Linh Nguyen, the students were highly engaged in classroom lectures and committed in their practical experiences, working with the Community of Sant’ Egidio’s programs for the underprivileged.

International Core students joined volunteers at Città Ecosolidale (Eco-Solidarity City) market which supports the community’s DREAM program for the fight against AIDs in Africa.

The Institute of Religion and Critical Inquiry (IRCI) held the first of its 2019 Rome Campus Seminar Series, Atheism, Religion and Experience, from 10 to 12 January.

More than 20 leading scholars from ACU, Boston College, Fordham University, Trinity College, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kingston University London, College Dublin, University of Strasbourg, and Università degli Studi "La Sapienza" di Roma participated in lively discussions and deliberations on issues related to this significant topic.

The Rome Campus will continue to be busy with 16 more academic units, six research seminars, two symposia, and a teachers’ formation program scheduled for the rest of year.

ACU students at the Piazza Venezia.
Health Care Ethics students Nina Wrathall, Siobhan Tepe, and Samantha Binney enjoying a break from intensive study at the Piazza Venezia.

International Core Curriculum students volunteering their time at the Città Ecosolidale
International Core Curriculum students volunteering their time at the Città Ecosolidale (Eco-Solidarity City) market run by the Community of Sant’ Egidio. Proceeds from the market support the fight against AIDS in Africa.

Enrolment update

The main offer rounds for undergraduate courses via the Tertiary Admission Centres (TAC) are currently ongoing. I am working closely with Student Admissions and the Faculties to monitor applications and offers.

Enrolment numbers are slowly building up with preliminary figures already showing an improved performance from the same period last year. Detailed analysis and close consultation with Executive Deans will continue over the coming weeks as we shape load for 2019 within a competitive environment. International enrolments will commence in mid-February.

Strengthening alliances in 2019

From late January to early February, I will be in the United States to attend the annual meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), the peak body representing more than 230 Catholic universities worldwide, of which ACU is a member.

This year’s theme 'Mission, Myth, and Money: Securing Catholic Higher Education for the Future' is highly relevant in today’s competitive and fast-changing world. I look forward to interesting discussions on how we can continue to maintain and articulate the relevance of a Catholic higher education in an extremely challenging market.

While there, I will also be visiting our key partner universities Boston College, St. John’s University, and The Catholic University of America (CUA) to strengthen existing ties and explore new opportunities for our students and staff. I look forward to progress discussions with CUA Provost Dr Andrew Abela regarding changes in our Rome Campus collaboration.

Professor Pauline Nugent

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