Innovation at ACU

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

In my last article I talked about what does innovation mean for ACU which is about looking at how we do things, and having the courage to ask, can we do it better? It’s about being curious and persistent, creative and energetic. It’s about making changes that have a positive impact on our staff, students, stakeholders, and communities – in line with our Catholic mission.

In today’s article I would like to expand on the principles of innovation by sharing with you what makes something a ‘good innovation’. In short, a good innovation needs to be:

  • Objectively and subjectively better than what it replaces (e.g. in terms of returns, brand strengthening, market advantage, convenience, satisfaction)
  • Compatible with our needs and abilities
  • Simple to understand and use
  • Able to be tested on a small scale / limited basis
  • Observable and measurable
  • Consistent with ACU values and strategy

May I encourage you to give these principles some thought, and the Education and Innovation Portfolio Workplace group is an open forum for us to share our discussions on Innovation at ACU. I look forward to interacting with you further on this topic.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the five key projects I mentioned in the last article that are led by my portfolio:

  • develop and implement a full suite of ‘non-degree’ courses including pathways into university This is partially under the remit of the Course and Academic Innovation Working Party to look at our overall course product portfolio. We also have a Pathways Think Tank led by Mr Chris Riley, PVC (Global and Education Pathways) to examine existing pathway programs and confirm priority pathway and entry programs for 2020 and beyond.
  • promote interventions to encourage a productive, collegial and collaborative academic culture The Innovation in Academic Culture Working Party is overseeing the overall success of this project and is currently considering strategies to the promote the intellectual engagement of all ACU staff including those on smaller campuses, part-time and sessional staff. Professor Michael Ondaatje, PVC (Arts and Academic Culture) is our key lead in this project.
  • implement a digital education roadmap Recruitment for a Director, Digital Education is currently underway to lead the expansion of ACU’s digital education offerings. We look forward to sharing with you the recruitment outcome in due course.
  • strengthen collaboration and approaches to identifying and rolling-out new courses. Also under the remit of the Course and Academic Innovation Working Party. A draft Action Plan has been developed and reviewed by the Vice-Chancellor and President. We will keep you updated on the progress in the coming months.
  • target specific areas in need of improvement in terms of attrition, retention and student satisfaction. The ACU Retention Steering Committee which is co-chaired by Professor Pauline Nugent, Provost, and myself. The Committee will oversee the development of strategies that effectively target low retention and high attrition issues across the University. We are also in the process of finalising a whole-of-University Retention Strategy which is being led by Ms Evelyn Picot, Director, Office of Student Success.

Best wishes
Professor Zlatko Skrbis
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Innovation)


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