A strength of purpose in challenging times

A message from the Acting Provost Professor Zlatko Skrbis.

As we know, 2020 is a challenging year for all universities including ACU, with COVID-19 continuing to impact on our families, neighbourhoods, work arrangements and the way we engage with students.

An extraordinary amount of effort has gone into moving our teaching and learning online. Our staff across faculties and directorates have demonstrated amazing energy, expertise and commitment to make this possible for our students. Planning is well underway for Semester 2, with a strong focus on improving the online student experience, drawing on student feedback, as well as research previously undertaken through the Empathy to Experience (UX) project.

A very big thank you also to all staff in my portfolio and across the university who continue to provide services on campuses during these unprecedented and challenging times.

Student Urgent Relief Fund

One important part of ACU’s multi-faceted response to COVID-19 has been the establishment of the Student Urgent Relief Fund,  providing immediate aid to students affected by the pandemic. 

So far, more than 100 staff have donated to the fund and we have raised close to $20,000. Through your donations, along with additional philanthropic gifts and ACU’s matched donations, we will be able to give grants to 520 students and will continue to fundraise.  

If you would like to support our students, you can donate to the fund here.

Through this fund, along with related supports for our international student community, and through the ACU student loan scheme, we can make tangible differences to students’ wellbeing and lives. 

Our Provost Portfolio

During this time and in my new role as Acting Provost I am committed to connecting our innovation efforts, academic leadership, a strengthened online presence and quality learning and teaching. The combining of the Education and Innovation and Provost Portfolios into one academic cluster provides new opportunities to do this. All our endeavours, academic or otherwise, must be grounded in mission and are underpinned by the objectives and strategies of the ACU Innovation Strategy.  For these reasons, I will be working with Executive Deans and other faculty leads on strengthening the impact and relevance of the Innovation Strategy and related outcomes during 2020:

  1. A contemporary suite of courses that is future-proofed and responsive to the market, community needs and evolving professions.
  2. A robust and comprehensive digital education offer and delivery mechanisms to broaden reach and access to education.
  3. A student experience that is enriching, satisfying and meaningful, as well as designed to attract, retain and support students to achieve their potential.
  4. A strategic financial model to diversify the overall revenue mix incorporating both traditional and new revenue streams. Only a sound financial position will provide the basis to support the preceding objectives and support our mission.

The current COVID-19 context demonstrates the significance and relevance of these developments for ACU. While the pandemic is creating logistical and personal challenges, the current times also present opportunities to plan, build, amplify and find new ways to increase our reach, viability and expression as a modern Catholic university.

I look forward to working with you all on these important strategies during this time.


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