A portfolio of opportunity

A message from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Hayden Ramsay:

In the last quarter of 2023, the new Education Portfolio finally took shape consisting of the Libraries, First Peoples, Centre for Education and Innovation (CEI), Ethics and Student Experience directorates. Of these areas, the newly formed Student Experience Directorate brings together a dozen or so student-facing services and support areas.

The Portfolio is keen to develop its strategy, stemming from the strategic position of the university, and always with the focus on the student as a unique person within our community.

All units of the Portfolio already do terrific work. The next stage will be to ask how we can reconceive the services and supports we offer, banish siloed-thinking and encourage greater integration.

How can we make it easier for a student with a question or problem to know where to go, what to do, who to talk to? How can we deliver our responses more effectively in a way that listens, genuinely comprehends the need and addresses it? The team will be looking at these questions in the first months of this year.

I taught students for almost 30 years. Lately, I have been away from this academic task. It’s now a delight and a privilege to be back looking at questions that directly affect students, their wellbeing and their learning.

I’m particularly proud of our new Student Experience model. It offers support and advice in each area of student experience and activity - from sport to careers, accommodation to healthcare, student clubs to the brilliant new Thrive approach to learning.

We would all agree that every dimension of our students’ experience matters but that in a university, the ultimate reason all else matters is education: learning more and learning well. At the heart of the student experience is education. Everything else matters both for itself and for education; but education matters just for itself. In a Catholic institution, explicitly committed to unpack and explore the relation of faith to reason and science, we will keep in mind that centrality of education well as we plan our portfolio strategy.

For now, our students will soon return! Many already have - I have seen students on placement, as well as postgraduate and international students around our buildings as the place slowly comes to full life once more.

As we say goodbye to January, hopefully everyone has had a break and is refreshed, ready to continue with the year’s prep. My team and I will be very grateful to build new relationships with our colleagues and to gain from your ideas as we begin to make a new contribution to ‘education’ at ACU.

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