Q&A: Grounded in mission

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 Vice-President Father Anthony Casamento about Strategic Priority 1: All our endeavours grounded in mission.

 

Q. How is ACU working towards this strategic priority?

A. The Office of the Vice President (OVP) works across the university to achieve this priority:

  • The Identity and Mission team encourages staff to realise they are part of something bigger and that their work makes a real contribution to our staff, students and the wider community.
  • Campus Ministry provides opportunities for staff and students to deepen their experience of faith and to use their gifts and talents in service to the world.
  • ACU Engagement provides opportunities for staff and students to work with disadvantaged and marginalised communities that build capacity and affirm human dignity.
  • The La Salle Academy supports and enhances the preparation of teachers and leaders by utilising the capacity, skills and commitment of those engaged in the ministry of Catholic education.

The Faculty of Theology and Philosophy also plays a critical role in working towards the strategic priority of our mission as a Catholic university.

Mission is the number one priority, not just for OVP but for the entire university. This means is it not only the work of the OVP.

Q. What are some examples of how ACU is already achieving this priority?

A. The primary task of a Catholic university is to teach and conduct research. By doing this well, we are already engaged in the mission. However, as a Catholic university, we do more than this.

  • We prioritise our Catholic traditions.
  • We celebrate people of other faith traditions, or of none (eg, multi-faith prayer rooms, evangelical groups on campus).
  • We work from a theology of hospitality and are open to all.

Other ways we live the mission include:

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

A. At ACU, we seek opportunities to engage with the world, innovate for the common good and deliver services with a sense of ethics.

Opportunity

ACU is focused on the common good and caring for the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Opportunity is a key focus because we want to enrich people through education, so that they in turn can help those in need.

Innovation

To accomplish our mission, ACU can’t sit still. We take our inspiration from God, who is described in the Bible as having boundless creativity, and who wishes to communicate this creativity to his beloved creatures, who, being made in his image, are called to be co-creators (Behold, I make all things new. Rv: 21:1-8).

While our mission will not change, the ways we study, research, communicate with our students and educate continue to change. We continue to draw from the richness of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and apply it in new ways in the advancement of our mission.

Ethics

Our ethical focus gives us a wide and generous view of the common good. We draw from the Catholic Intellectual Tradition so that we can make a rich contribution to ethics.

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

A. In response to COVID-19, many of our pastoral and mission-focused activities have moved online. Be it prayer and reflection opportunities, discussion groups or virtual coffee hangouts, the vibrant ACU community continues to operate online.

The pandemic has also presented new opportunities to live out the mission. For example, because mission is at the heart of who we are, initiatives such as the Student Urgent Relief Fund and the direction for non-essential staff to work from home were natural responses. We value the dignity of our students and wanted to provide meaningful and practical assistance in this time of need.

Q. How can staff contribute to this strategic priority?

A. Stewardship of ACU’s mission belongs to all our staff: professional and academic. Be it in the classroom, research lab or professional area, only you can live the mission in your own work space.

You can live the mission through:

  • your interactions with colleagues and how you respond to the needs of our students. Our mission calls us to respect the dignity of each co-worker and student
  • supporting ACU Engagement’s campaigns or making a contribution to the Student Urgent Relief Fund
  • using Community Engagement Time Release days to contribute to your local community or places of need
  • joining a workshop, participating in a discussion group or going on a retreat
  • undertaking professional development opportunities to better understand our mission
  • learning more about ACU’s mission, starting with this Q&A video on Workplace.

Q. How can managers contribute to this strategic priority?

A. If all our endeavours are to be grounded in mission, then mission is not an optional extra, or an ornament. Rather, it should be a priority for all managers.

Managers can support our mission by:

  • encouraging and facilitating participation in mission-related opportunities for staff
  • providing an example of the mission by always treating staff with consideration and respect
  • ensuring mission is considered a priority in staff performance review plans - speak with the OVP, Identity and Mission, or your SEG member to see how we can support you to do this
  • considering our mission during recruitment - ensure new staff are ready, willing and able to support and engage in the mission.
Strategy Execution Framework

Want to learn more about how you can support the Strategic Plan? The Strategy Execution Framework has been developed to support leaders, managers and staff in implementing our Strategic Plan 2020 – 2023. Visit the ACU website for further details.


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