Q&A: Strategic Priority 2

ACU’s Strategic Plan 2020-2023 features six strategic priorities that outline our vision for ACU in the coming years.

To help you understand how you can support our strategic plan, we’ll be highlighting a different priority each month through a Q&A. This month, we hear from Acting Provost Professor Zlatko Skrbis about Strategic Priority 2: Distinctive, inclusive, dynamic and student-centred education.

1. How is ACU working towards this strategic priority and what are some examples of how we are already achieving it?

All four objectives of the ACU Innovation Strategy respond to Strategic Priority 2:

  1. Course innovation: work is underway to future-proof our courses so that we prepare our students for the new work reality.
  2. Digital innovation: to extend ACU’s offer and capability into digital to further enable flexibility. This will ensure that students will be able to access the right education at the right time.
  3. Student experience: we want to bring a consolidated and holistic approach to student experience that not only addresses key pain points across the moments that matter in the student lifecycle, but also provides a deeper understanding of the 'why'. Understanding why students come, why students leave and why students stay on – so that we can provide fit-for-purpose support and educational experience.
  4. Revenue diversification: by strengthening our business and funding model, we enhance our capability as an institution to meet the changing needs of students and industry. 

2. How does this strategic priority interact with ACU’s focus on opportunity, innovation and ethics?

Opportunity: new courses and programs, new delivery model, new discipline, new technology, new transition and pathways.

Innovation: as we explore and implement the range of new opportunities, it is also about balancing and managing the disruptions on existing systems, structures and ways of doing things.

Ethics: this is evidenced in our commitment to advance and support the widening participation agenda. Increasing educational opportunity and reducing disadvantage are some of the key practical ways in which ACU lives out its mission to promote the dignity of the human person and contribute to the common good.

3. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed or influenced our work in this space?

COVID-19 has put new perspectives on our institutional vulnerabilities as well as giving us the opportunity to rethink and increase our reach, viability and expression as a modern Catholic university. What COVID-19 has affirmed is the need to significantly increase our online offerings and digital presence in terms of scale, quality and accessing new markets. At the same time, we must leverage innovative digital approaches to encourage student connections with their peers as well as the university.

4. How can staff contribute to this strategic priority?

Staff are already contributing to this strategic priority in their day-to-day activities and interactions with students. Both our academic and professional staff work together to provide a quality student experience that is engaging and fit-for-purpose.

The student experience is made up of every interaction between a student and the people, places and systems they encounter at ACU. A quality student experience involves connecting and engaging students at multiple levels. It is about the on-campus experience as well as the virtual experience. A student’s collective experience at ACU has profound and lasting impact on ACU’s reputation, attraction, retention and graduate outcomes.

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