21 October 2020Share
I would like to acknowledge the recent COVID-19 recovery budget message that the Vice-Chancellor sent to staff last week. The university’s financial position – and indeed that of the wider tertiary education sector – is undoubtedly challenging. Uncertainty surrounds us but we will navigate the way forward responsibly together. There will be difficult decisions ahead; however, they will be made following wide consultation, and based on solid evidence and good business sense, taking into consideration the university’s strategic priorities while also trying to minimise impacts on our workforce. We will do our utmost to safeguard the foundation of our mission and core business to ensure a sustainable future for ACU.
I understand that staff may feel concerned or anxious about any potential changes to the university's workforce or organisational structure as we head into 2021. I want to assure you that thorough consultation with staff will continue to inform the budget recovery process and communication with you will be both transparent and timely.
The Education Strategy was approved by Senate last week. The strategy sets the direction for learning and teaching at ACU. Led by the Deputy Provost, the Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre, and the Director of Digital Education, the strategy was developed following extensive consultation with the university community. I thank all those who contributed to that consultation and engaged in the positive and exciting conversations about learning and teaching at ACU.
Our next steps will harness that energy and enthusiasm in the development of plans and projects to deliver the strategy. In the coming months, you will see some further shifts and emerging opportunities in the learning and teaching landscape, and I urge you to stay connected and involved in this critically important work.
ACU held its first Sustainability Week earlier this month. The inaugural event was a great success and it launched our commitment to develop a university-wide program of work that will support the call to action in Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si’, and of each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our approach to sustainability will inform our operational efforts, teaching activities, research, and offerings for our students.
I was impressed and inspired by the unprecedented number of emails I received from staff in response to the launch of this project. There is clearly strong and passionate support amongst staff across the university for the implementation of sustainability initiatives. Many staff are already working on projects that closely align with the SDGs.
I encourage you to continue the conversation about enhancing sustainability at ACU by sharing your ideas and/or a short summary of your current projects into the Sustainability@ACU group in Workplace. I hope that our collective enthusiasm for sustainability will help to drive innovation in this space.
Professor Zlatko Skrbis
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