Stewardship at ACU

A message from Chief Operating Officer Dr Stephen Weller:

This week is ACU’s Sustainability Week, and it coincides and aligns strongly with a conversation we have started about stewardship at ACU. ACU’s Strategic Plan 2020–2023 introduces the concept of ‘stewardship’ alongside ‘sustainability’ within Goal 6: Service, Stewardship and Sustainability, and while we have a university-wide sustainability framework, we are seeking to clearly articulate stewardship as it applies at ACU by developing a stewardship strategy.

Why develop a stewardship strategy?

Stewardship already exists at ACU, though we may all have different understandings of stewardship and demonstrate it in different ways. A stewardship strategy would seek to express a shared understanding of stewardship, its relevance to our university, and how it could be enhanced and more deeply demonstrated at ACU.

The concept of stewardship resonates strongly with ACU’s unique mission with its focus on the common good, human dignity, and acting in truth and love. Our students already identify with the mission via the Core Curriculum units they study, and a stewardship strategy should aim to be a meaningful expression of the mission in action for staff. Stewardship is about our culture: how we work, lead, engage with each other and operate in a collective way.

What we know about the concept of stewardship

While a stewardship strategy may be unique in higher education, stewardship is not a new concept. It features in human rights and leadership discourse and is an inherently Christian concept.

Stewardship-related literature consistently refers to:

  • acting as custodians entrusted with the long-term care of an organisation for future generations
  • promoting empowerment and growth of others
  • fostering a collaborative rather than competitive environment seeking collective success
  • creating accountable and committed workplaces without increasing control or compliance
  • caring about meaning and impact
  • choosing service over self-interest
  • creating institutional cohesion and buy-in to a collective goal
  • meeting the needs of both the organisation and people.
How to get involved

Over September and October, a range of activities have been and are being undertaken to help shape the stewardship strategy, including workshops with a random sample of staff representing different campuses and organisational units, as well as with identified groups. A draft stewardship strategy is anticipated to be available for broader staff consultation in November.

In the interim, we are keen to hear from you on your thoughts about stewardship at ACU. What does it mean to you? What could the strategy focus on and aim to achieve? You can join the conversation on Workplace.

Questions or comments can also be directly emailed to Sharone Ciancio Director, Corporate Services.

I look forward to your engagement with a future stewardship strategy, which will provide a meaningful context for our work at ACU through a stronger connection to the ACU mission.

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