A pivotal year

Academic excellence is a core value at ACU. Together with a commitment to truth and service, the pursuit of excellence in teaching and research underpins all that we do – so equipping our graduates to go out and make the world a better place.

I emphasise this value not only because Semester 1 starts shortly, but also because yesterday was the Academic Board’s annual Governance Day. On this day, board members outline the academic agenda for the year ahead and engage with important issues in the higher education sector.

Governance Day 2021 was particularly significant. I am a new Vice-Chancellor and President, and this was the first meeting of the Academic Board for our new Provost, Professor Belinda Tynan, and newly appointed Chair of Academic Board, Professor Tim McKenry. Furthermore, our university has exciting new strategies to implement, and the higher education landscape is changing.

Academic excellence will be a real driving point for the year ahead, together with serving our mission, our students, and our professional stakeholders. How we define academic quality, how we monitor it, and how we articulate it will decide where ACU sits in Australia’s education landscape.

Good governance

Academic Board is central to the healthy functioning of ACU. This forum acts as an end point for the entire academic governance structure of the university, from our faculty boards to our Learning and Teaching Committee to our Student Experience and Retention Committee. All these bodies work together to provide coverage for research and teaching activities.

The Board is vast in terms of the extent to which it influences and informs university life. It administers and implements ACU’s academic policies and programs, and it informs and advises the Senate and me on the progress and quality of all research- and teaching-related developments and initiatives. It is also a forum that allows us to interrogate ideas, evaluate what we’ve done, make evidence-based, data-driven decisions and monitor students’ performance.

Learning from experience

As we head into a pivotal year, we were honoured to have two high-profile guests share their extensive experience and leadership with the Board yesterday.

The incoming Chief Commissioner of TEQSA, Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake, spoke about excellence in teaching, research and engagement in the 2020s and what constitutes a trend versus a fad in higher education. Professor Coaldrake has a distinguished record in higher education and his insights into how universities should focus their attention in a swiftly changing sector are important.

Associate Professor Tony Masters, Chair of the Academic Board at the University of Sydney, also spoke on the calibration of innovation with robust academic oversight. He offered valuable wisdom as one of the longest-serving Chairs of an Academic Board in Australia, and Chair of what may be the largest Academic Board in this country.

Kind regards,
Professor Zlatko Skrbis
Vice-Chancellor and President

Chair of the Academic Board at the University of Sydney, Associate Professor Tony Masters,  and ACU Vice Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis.

Pictured above: Chair of the Academic Board at the University of Sydney, Associate Professor Tony Masters with ACU Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Zlatko Skrbis.

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