Q&A: Strategic Priority 5

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

The ACU Strategy Execution Framework supports the effective execution of the ACU Strategic Plan and provides more information about strategic priorities, key focus areas, annual priorities and enabling frameworks. 

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 Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global and Education Pathways) Chris Riley about Strategic Priority 5: Deeply engaged, globally renowned.

1. How is ACU working towards this strategic priority and what are some examples of how we are already achieving it? 
Over the past five years, ACU’s global reputation has truly blossomed, as is evident in our performance in international rankings such as the Times Higher Education World Universities Ranks and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

Our Rome Campus has also made a significant contribution to our engagement with the Church globally and our reputation with our partners. The Rome Campus defines ACU as a truly international institution.

Informed by the university’s strategic plan, we launched the new Global Strategy 2023 in June this year. This is a comprehensive strategy addressing the global context for the university’s teaching, research and engagement. 

ACU International is now working on an implementation plan that will breathe life into the strategy and ensure that we achieve our key outcomes.  
2. How does this strategic priority interact with ACU’s focus on opportunity, innovation and ethics?
ACU has a critical role domestically and is a major institution in the domestic context. That being said, global renown is a key measure of institutional impact and innovation. We have a critical emerging leadership role internationally, with other Catholic and secular universities looking to ACU for leadership in key discipline areas, in mission and in research. Our global success will continue to be underpinned by innovation and embracing strategically aligned opportunities as they arise.

The Global Strategy 2023 has a particular focus on deepening and broadening our relationships with significant international partners and networks, and with the Church. This will result in a much more mature and holistic level of engagement with partners that will support many elements of the university’s strategic plan.
3. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed or influenced our work in this space?
COVID-19 has had a profound impact and this is reflected in the Global Strategy 2023. While we have seen a significant impact on international student enrolments and student mobility programs, the pandemic has also required us to be more innovative in our positioning of the university and how we ensure our global engagement continues to grow.  

We have been looking at new ways to provide our students with international experiences through our global partnerships and networks. We have also participated – and had a leadership role – in exciting initiatives such as the Global Conversations program with DePaul University in Chicago.

No doubt there will be a long-term impact on global higher education as a consequence of COVID-19 and innovation will be fast-tracked. Increased use of technology and flexible approaches will continue alongside more traditional models to support program delivery and partner engagement.  
4. How can staff contribute to this strategic priority?
As a first step, I encourage all colleagues to read the Global Strategy 2023. This will provide the institutional context, and help staff and managers understand how their work contributes to our global reputation and engagement.

It is important that the global context informs what we do at all levels, and that we understand its centrality to the future of ACU as a leading Catholic university. Domestic and global reputation are strongly interrelated. Excellence in all of our activities, teaching, research and engagement is therefore critical.  

I encourage everyone to reflect on their work and how it supports our identity as a globally renowned Catholic university. I also strongly recommend that, if you are interested in learning more about the specifics of our global activities and engagement, you contact us in ACU International at PVC.GEP@acu.edu.au.

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