Do you have any questions about the Canberra project?
This site is designed to keep you informed. Please email any queries to CanberraProject.VC@acu.edu.au.

Why is there a need to build a new vision for Signadou?

While growth in student enrolments has been steady, it has not been strong enough to fund the operations of the campus and the capital investment needed to maintain and enhance current buildings and facilities to the standards required.  
There are a number of realities facing the Campus that need to be addressed:

  • The Campus is operating at a loss and many of its service areas are being subsidised;
  • The Campus operates in a highly competitive higher education market and needs to significantly raise its market profile;
  • Unfunded maintenance is a notable issue and needs to be addressed.

Signadou is a vital part of ACU: an important contributor to the long-term aspirations of the University, but change is needed for the Campus to become financially viable, and to potentially grow and prosper in the future.

What has come of the review of Signadou?

As many staff are aware, an external review of the Canberra Campus was conducted in 2011. In summary, the recommendations of the review panel were that:

  • Strategic development of the Campus is required to raise the profile, contribution, effectiveness and credibility of Signadou in the intellectual, professional and political environment of the national capital.  
  • ACU recognise the national importance of Signadou and invest in the campus so that it can progress to a position where it is making more of a significant contribution to the University’s Mission and Strategic Plan.  
  • Signadou urgently needs a concerted approach to ‘re-market’ itself to the ACT community. The panel identified two potential courses of action:
    1. improving the learning experiences within the context of contemporary needs and expectations of tertiary education, and
    2. taking a bold visionary approach to secure the continued viability and operation of Signadou in Canberra.
Following submission of this review, the Vice-Chancellor formed a Working Party to analyse the Panel’s recommendations and provide him with advice. The Working Party identified a number of key activities that follow the findings and recommendations of the external panel:
  • Establish a Campus Management Plan that articulates a clear vision for the Campus and its direction in terms of niche area(s) and course enhancements.
  • Create a Bold New Approach and Focus for the Campus.
  • Establish a Consultation Group to involve individuals with local insight in the development of the Campus Management Plan and new approach
What has been decided with regard to the new vision?

The new vision is not formed. This requires input from the various stakeholders within the University and its external partners, including staff and leaders who are directly associated with Signadou.

How will the new vision be arrived at?

The development of a new vision will occur in four phases:
four phases

How will this process affect the day-to-day operations of the Campus?

It will be business as usual while this project is carried out. The Campus Dean, Associate Professor Patrick McArdle, will continue in his current role of leading the Campus, stakeholder liaison and overseeing day-to-day operations. 

Implementation of changes related to the new vision and Campus Plan will be overseen by the Steering Group and implemented in a planned and collaborative approach.

Who is involved in this process?

Canberra Steering Group
A Steering Group will be formed to provide governance, leadership and direction for development and implementation of a new vision for Signadou. The Steering Group will be chaired by David Craig (Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director, Marketing and External Relations) and include the following members: Executive Deans, a senior representative for the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and senior representative for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching).

Campus Consultation Group
A Consultation Group has been established as a forum for consultation between local staff and the Canberra Steering Group. The group consists of eight members who will represent staff across the Canberra Campus:

  • Ms Rachael Bahl, Senior Librarian (Electronic Resources) and National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) representative
  • Dr Alan Cadwallader, Senior Lecturer, School of Theology
  • Mrs Jane Douglas, Lecturer, School of Nursing
  • Ms Petra Hastings, Lecturer, Faculty of Education
  • Ms Maria Hegerty, Executive Manager, Office of Student Success
  • Ms Susan Love, Manager, Campus Operations
  • Associate Professor Patrick McArdle, Campus Dean
  • Ms Dimity May, Marketing Coordinator (Canberra)
  • Professor Morag McArthur, Director, Institute of Child Protection Studies

What is the role of the Canberra Consultation Group?

The role of the Consultation Group is to:

  • Gather feedback and ideas from Campus staff on specific matters under consideration.
  • Assist in communicating information about the development of the new vision and Canberra Campus plan including recommendations, decisions and overall progress.
  • Provide feedback about the change process and associated needs of Canberra staff.

Who is the Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor and what is their role?

The Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor, David Craig (who will also retain his role as Director, Marketing and External Relations), is responsible for the Canberra project. He will be acting for the Vice-Chancellor and has the full capacity to not only conduct the planning around this project but to execute and implement the plan.

He will be spending a significant amount of time on the Canberra Campus over the coming months and will be consulting closely with staff, students and external stakeholders throughout the process.

The Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor will be supported by a Business Development Director, Accountant, Communications Advisor and Human Resources Consultant.

The Office of the Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor can be contacted at CanberraProject.VC@acu.edu.au.

How are the unions being consulted?

The NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union) will be closely consulted throughout the plan development and implementation process, and a representative of the NTEU is in the Canberra Consultation Group.

The ACUSCC (ACU Staff Consultative Committee) will play a role in the consultation process and any associated changes at ACU and will be consulted accordingly.

How will a new vision impact on existing staff?

It is too early to tell how the new vision for Canberra will impact upon current programs, operations, students and/or staff. The aim of this project is to develop a vision and plan that enables Signadou to become a sustainable campus in its own right.

The project is committed to staff involvement and open communication throughout the process. Face-to-face consultations will occur throughout the development and implementation of the plan; this website will be updated regularly; email updates will be sent to all staff; and you are invited to contact the Canberra project team at any time at CanberraProject.VC@acu.edu.au.

Staff are invited to discuss the project with members of the Canberra Consultation Group (listed above), their nominated supervisor, a trusted manager or Human Resources consultant.

Please remember that the issues discussed as part of this process are confidential to the University and should not be discussed with external people such as such as stakeholders, media and peers in other organisations.

Staff experiencing particular difficulties with change can contact ACU’s EAP (Employee Assistance Provider) for support. The EAP provides counselling sessions (in person or over the phone) to staff members and their immediate family who are facing personal and work-related issues. The service is free, voluntary and confidential. ACU’s current EAP provider is ACCESS programs, which provides: a 24/7service. Contact the EAP on 1800 818 728 or 1300 667 700.