I am pleased to be able to share with you some recent highlights from the work of my Portfolio:
The university has met enrolment load against a target of 23,673 EFTSL with the Mid-Year Enrolment Strategy a key contributor in this achievement. Faculties in particular have worked hard to re-shape their offerings and refine a Mid-Year strategic approach, so my thanks to the Executive Deans and my office for leading this work, supported by the Admissions team and marketing and communications.
The Enrolment Planning process for 2016 has begun with the first meeting scheduled for 16 June with preliminary planning underway. Faculties will be planning for moderate growth within disciplines and faculties as a priority and also across campuses.
A recent trip to China with Professor Michelle Campbell, Executive Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences resulted in two very important outcomes for the University. Firstly, ACU has now signed an MOU with the Hunan University of Chinese Medicine (HUTCM), securing another partnership to facilitate both staff and students from China to work and study at ACU.
Secondly, an agreement has been reached with the Beijing Centre to host our Core Curriculum students from 2016, in the June-July period. This is an exciting new opportunity for students to study in an international setting, complementing the Core offerings currently in place in Paris, London and soon Rome.
During the visit we also met with the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM), consolidating our current agreement to send our cohort of Nursing students there again, via a Study Tour related to traditional Chinese Medicine. In late July, ACU will have the pleasure of hosting two BUCM staff to work for four months at ACU on curriculum and research matters.
I am delighted to advise that ACUcom has been awarded re-registration for a further seven years by ASQA. ACUcom was able to demonstrate during the audit that it is meeting all the 2015 Standards for Registered Training Organisations and is delivering high quality training to all its students and is considered a low risk provider by ASQA, which is very pleasing. My thanks to Professor Spencer and Debbie Wilson for achieving this milestone.
Canberra and Ballarat Academic Renewal
Work is continuing in 2015 through the ACU wide Canberra and Ballarat Academic Renewal Group involving senior leaders from the Ballarat and Canberra Campuses and Faculties and Directorates.
Academic proposals for both campuses have been consolidated into one Renewal Framework 2015-20 aimed at increasing EFTSL load and the quality and viability of offerings for these Campuses. A major focus is on health and education offerings, including the development of new interdisciplinary dual degrees aligned to ACU’s national approach and strengths as well as specific regional, Catholic and other stakeholder needs and markets. Ballarat’s developing focus on Health Science offerings continues to be evident, and the introduction of the Bachelor of Physiotherapy program in 2017 will further consolidate this strength. A sub-group has been established to coordinate areas of work to achieve course accreditation, facility development, and support partner and other stakeholder engagement.
As of 3 June 2015 enrolment growth has been strong in Canberra with reports showing a total of 970 EFTSL (7.7% above target), with the commencing intake representing 43% of total EFTSL. Ballarat likewise has had a steady growth of around 4% above target.
Postgraduate Operations Planning Workshop
To support broader engagement of ACU staff in the Postgraduate Strategy, a workshop was held in early May for ACU officers involved in handling postgraduate course enquiries, offers, admissions and course coordination. Over 30 staff from Faculties, Student Administration, International and other areas came together to work on practical strategies to convert more enquiries into enrolments and to ensure the first experience prospective students have of ACU is a great experience.
It was very pleasing to see the way staff worked together on solutions focused on mid-year processes but also in developing longer term plans. Feedback from the workshop was very positive, with staff highlighting the value of working together on bringing about tangible improvements.
Core Curriculum Minor Review Working Group
The Working Group continues via four Sub-Groups to review the Recommendations and map actions against these recommendations. A Vision Workshop for the Core Curriculum was held on 6 May, to review ACU’s journey to date with the Core Curriculum in terms of focus, implementation and feedback. Involving a cross-section of ACU staff, the Vision Workshop was a highly productive meeting, which has provided context to further the Working Group’s progress towards crystalizing the approach around the project’s vision, the vision for the curriculum itself and its meaning and experience to ACU- be it to stakeholders or students.
My thanks to all staff from Faculties, Directorates and Campuses for your collective efforts on these important ACU developments.
Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Pauline Nugent