- Improving our approach to Internationalisation is paramount as we all know that in this century we must take an international perspective. In our case we are working hard to continually increase the numbers of domestic Deakin students who have an international study experience somewhere in the world. Equally, the diversity and cultural mix of our student body must continue to expand and we mostly do this through international enrolments. This diversity helps our financial sustainability but, crucially, it also absolutely ensures we have a wider reach, an expanding reputation as more people know who we are and what our value proposition is – all great universities are defined by their international reputation. We have work to do and this is a long term project.
- Continuing reasonably active growth in our Commonwealth Supported load is also important, probably for the medium term. This may surprise you given our recent success so here is the issue: The cap has come off demand and we now operate in an aggressive market. To date we have done well. But as we approach a federal election and the possibility of a change in government, we must ensure that we are ready for a range of policy changes that often flow from a new and different broom – one of these must be the cap back on demand and the other the cap off fees. Research funding may also be scrutinised. Growing our CSP in T2 2012 and 2013 a bit more will provide a buffer and we will face what might be a reasonably disruptive set of policy changes from a position of reputational strength and financial security. The recent experience of our TAFE colleagues has clarified this for me, and I hope all of you will join with me in the work that needs to be done during the rest of 2012 and in 2013 to assure our position.
- Implementing our new Strategic Plan LIVE the future is my overarching priority. The Deakin Offer, which builds on our history and takes account of our Australian context, is essentially about education where you are for the jobs of the future and research that makes a difference to the communities we serve. Our points of difference from our competitors include:
- Cloud learning is a new (disruptive) innovation that many of you are aware of and have heard me talk about. We are taking a proactive approach to harnessing the opportunities of the digital economy in the way we deliver learning, engage in research and deliver the business of the University. This is not an online strategy and instead involves a deepening of the excellent work we have done in stage one of the CReaTe project. A substantial budget has been allocated to help with the ongoing curriculum development, especially in relation to assessment. I hope everyone makes use of the training and professional development opportunities – the speed dating in the cloud events were a great start over the last few weeks but there is much more to come. Be part of it.
- Campuses matter and the huge investment we are currently making is aligned to ensuring our new Plan has a framework in which to operate. Alongside this the parallel significant investment in video and all things ICT will ensure those who do choose to study from places other than our campuses are as connected as those on campus. But let’s make sure that we use our campuses for real learning experiences with real interaction with teachers and tutors. Things more easily done in the cloud should be put in the cloud.
- Connected learning and the need to ensure we are true to our values of access and participation remains as strong as ever. Addressing academic preparedness and ensuring social inclusion are things we excel at and, together with making sure that our graduates have the learning outcomes and skills needed for the jobs of the future, is a central theme for me. If we are not succeeding here it does beg the question what it is we are doing?