Vice-Chancellor's update

A message from the Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven.

Ahead of my upcoming Staff Talks, I would like to provide you with an update on several University matters.

Thank you for participating in myVoice

I would like to thank you for taking the time to respond to the 2019 myVoice staff engagement survey.  The response rate of 69 per cent was a strong result and shows that our people are committed to ACU and passionate about our success and providing feedback.

This year’s survey results will give us detailed information about your views on our performance, culture, relationships, how we go about our work and where we are headed.

Your feedback comes at an important time in our development and provides a clear indication of the areas we must focus on as we work together to realise our vision for ACU. The Executive Planning Group and I will take time to reflect on your feedback and the themes that arise from it.

ACU’s high level, University-wide results will be presented at campus-based sessions in November and December.  These presentations give you an opportunity to see where we have made progress and learn about the areas we’ll be focusing on into the future. The dates and locations of these presentations will be shared with you shortly.  The high-level results will also be published on the myVoice website following the campus presentations.

Continued success for ACU

I am very proud of our results in the THE World University Rankings 2020, which saw ACU reach the top two per cent of universities worldwide.

This outcome demonstrates that we are one of the most significant Catholic universities in the world. We have been recognised as a leader in our research specialisations and we are known for our quality teaching, learning, research and institutional performance.

Thank you for the contributions you have made, which have helped us to achieve this impressive result.

The results of the 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS) were also released in September and paint a very positive picture, with ACU ranked first among Australian universities in labour force participation rate.

The GOS is conducted annually and provides information on the labour market outcomes and further study activities of graduates.

The 2018 survey results show:

  • ACU had the highest labour force participation rate at almost 97 per cent.
  • ACU ranked top three for overall employment rate at almost 91 per cent (the Universities Australia benchmark is 85 per cent).
  • ACU ranked among the top seven universities for domestic graduates full-time employment rate at 82.3 per cent.

These results are a very positive outcome for ACU and demonstrate the success of our graduates. You can see a report on our GOS results here.

Blacktown Campus

Work on the ACU Blacktown Campus is progressing and we will be holding a Heads of Agreement Signing Event with the Blacktown City Council on Thursday 17 October.

The University Senate will also be meeting at the Blacktown City Council Chambers on the same day.

We are excited about what the future holds for us in Blacktown and how we can work with and serve this community. ACU will open a Future Students Information Centre at 22 Main Street Blacktown in 2020 and begin offering courses from 2021.

2019 Mission Based Compact

ACU is currently finalising it’s 2019 Mission Based Compact for submission to the Department of Education.

The compact is an agreement between the federal government and the University and is one of the quality and accountability requirements higher education providers must meet under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, as a condition of receiving a grant.

This year, we are required to provide information on:

  • admissions, offers and enrolments policies, particularly regarding students entering higher education courses without an ATAR
  • security and data storage plans, policies and risk management plans
  • strategies for meeting labour market priorities and how these are considered in our course offerings.

Our innovation agenda

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Innovation) Professor Zlatko Skrbis recently updated you on a number of innovation projects his portfolio is leading, as part of our innovation agenda.

Three ‘Innovation Identification Working Parties’ have been formed to lead our innovation work, under the overall sponsorship of Professor Skrbis. These working parties have been tasked with assessing opportunities in course and academic, student administration and academic culture.

Innovation is a university-wide strategic imperative and I am pleased to see our work in this area progressing. Thank you for your support of this important work, which is vital to our continued success.

Free Speech Code

Earlier this year I advised that ACU would draft a Free Speech Code, based on the model drafted by former High Court Chief Justice the Hon Robert French AC.

A working party has been established to draft our code, with myself as Chair and the work led by our General Counsel.

Universities are due to report to Minister for Education Dan Tehan on their progress towards drafting Free Speech Code by the end of the year and we are well on target to meet this timeline.

Religious Discrimination Bill

As you may be aware the federal government released its proposed Religious Discrimination Bill at the end of August.  At its core, the bill focuses on the proposition that everyone is entitled to their religious belief or non-belief, and the right to speak, preach, teach and live their lives according to it.

We are currently reviewing the proposed legislation and considering how it may impact ACU. We have also made a submission in response to the government’s consultation on the religious freedom bills.

Strategic International Program

During October and November, I will be travelling to India, Nepal and Spain with Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global and Education Pathways) Mr Chris Riley.  Nepal is our largest source of international students, while India is the second largest. The trip is very timely as opportunities for collaboration and engagement continue to develop.

I will be one of the first Australian Vice-Chancellors to visit Nepal and will meet with senior Australian Embassy staff, including Ambassador to Nepal Mr Peter Budd, as well as rectors from local universities. I will also host a reception for ACU’s international education agents and alumni.

While in India I will be meeting with education agents and visiting partner institutions including Christ University in Bangalore and the Catholic Health Association of India in Hyderabad.

I will also travel to Barcelona, Spain to participate in the Strategic Alliance of Catholic Research Universities (SACRU) general meeting and seminar. ACU is a founding member of SACRU, which was established in 2018 and comprises eight international Catholic universities. Members include Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Portugal), Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore (Italy), Universitat Ramon Llull (Spain), Boston College (USA), Pontifica Universidad Católica De Chile (Chile) and Sophia University (Japan). In addition to leading ACU negotiations for the SACRU, I will visit ACU partners and potential partners in Barcelona to discuss opportunities for collaboration.

I’m looking forward to discussing the matters above and any other questions you may have when I visit your campus for my Staff Talks in November and December.

More details about the Staff Talks will be shared with you soon.

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