A message from the Provost Professor Pauline Nugent

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015

Dear Colleagues,

This month, I wanted to update you on the work of two areas within my academic portfolio - ACUcom and the Office of Academic Partnerships. Led by the Deputy Provost, Professor David Spencer, both areas are engaged in important work to help position ACU as a quality education provider and provide opportunities for students.

ACUcom, as ACU's Registered Training Organisation (RTO), delivers pathway programs into ACU's bachelor programs and has an enrolment profile of approximately 1,000 students. Established in 1994, ACUcom fulfils mission by offering VET education to students who do not seek a higher education qualification or did not qualify for university entrance. Additionally, ACUcom plays a role in enhancing access and participation of students from various backgrounds, including indigenous students and students for whom English is a second language. ACUcom supports ACU's Enrolment Plan, via guaranteed entry agreements into ACU undergraduate degree programs.

Professor Spencer notes that "a highlight has been the development of pathway programs to nursing education and exercise science and more recently, the start of a Certificate III in Education and a Diploma of Nursing in Ballarat."

ACUcom has just completed re-registration with ASQA and are expected a favourable outcome in due course.

Headquartered in Melbourne, ACUcom staff have now moved into newly updated premises in Brunswick Street, Melbourne, which allows more space for both teaching and administrative staff.

A strategic focus of ACUcom in 2015 is work to lay the foundations for expansion of its course offerings and locations in Melbourne, and possibly Sydney and Brisbane. A thorough Business Case is under development.

Complementing the work of ACUcom is the Office of Academic Partnerships, which acts as a conduit between RTOs, ACU's faculties, the International Directorate and the Office of General Counsel, to manage ACU's academic partnerships. These third party providers deliver ACU coursework based on ACU teaching standards and policies. The Office of Academic Partnerships also conducts quality assurance audits and site visits of our RTO partners to ensure they are appropriate for ACU to partner with.

Established in 2006, assessment of the appropriateness of partnerships and any parameters of any resulting partnerships is a key function of this office. Academic partnerships allow students to be exposed to and directly credited towards ACU undergraduate subjects. The agreements also allow equity and access pathways for some students who may not have considered university education as an option.

There are currently 107 partnership agreements secured since the Office of Academic Partnerships began and staff conduct regular site visits to ensure quality delivery and adherence to quality assurance processes.

2015 will see this office map out its future direction, consolidating its contribution to the enrolment plan and addressing various scenarios which could be faced by RTOs.

Both ACUcom and the Office of Academic Partnerships are two important areas of my portfolio, which are working hard to support the strategic goals of ACU. Their focus reinforces our pursuit of academic excellence to meet the needs of a diverse student body, in conjunction with our partners and community.

Professor Pauline Nugent