A message from the Provost Professor Pauline Nugent

Published: Monday 9th March 2015

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to be able to share with you some recent highlights from the work of my portfolio:

Rome Centre: Ceremonial signing and 25th IFCU General Assembly work, Washington DC

On 29 January 2015 in Washington DC, Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Catholic University of America (CUA) to establish a joint study centre situated on Janiculum Hill, in Rome. This signing was a highly symbolic moment in our University's history and was the conclusion of 12 months of negotiation and preparation to conclude the agreement.

While in Washington, I held two days of meetings at CUA with key staff, including CUA Executive Deans and staff managing undergraduate and international portfolios for CUA. These meetings were highly productive and there were many opportunities evident for collaboration.

CUA's interim Provost, Fr. Mark Morozowich, and I have begun to put in place governance structures to guide the establishment and development of this centre. Additionally, a focus of upcoming work with ACU's Executive Deans is the development of a strong suite of academic programs that could be offered jointly with CUA or as standalone programs.

My Washington visit also involved attendance at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) conference with the Vice-Chancellor, including presenting at the IFCU Board meeting, where we promoted ACU's hosting of the 25th International Federation of Catholic University (IFCU) General Assembly. While at ACCU, I also had the opportunity to meet with Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, President and CEO, Loyola University Chicago and President of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. ACU is assisting with the staging of the Jesuit's Higher Education Conference, as a related event to the 25th IFCU General Assembly, in Melbourne in July.

I also had the opportunity to hold a meeting with Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor, St Mary's University to discuss further academic collaboration between our two universities.

I look forward to briefing you on further developments related to the Rome Centre as developments occur. We have established a webpage on our website where updates will be progressively listed as these occur.

Rome Study Centre MoU signing

Ceremonial Signing of the Rome Centre MoU: Front: ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven and CUA President John Garvey. Back Row: ACU Provost Professor Pauline Nugent, CUA Interim Provost Very Rev Fr Mark Morozowich, and CUA's Dr David Dawson Vasquez.


ACU has exceeded total CSP enrolments by 2.7 per cent as of 5 March 2015, with commencing student numbers 9.2 per cent above target. Total ACU Bachelor CSP offers are up 4.2 per cent (434 EFTSLs) compared to 2014, with the most popular choices for students including paramedicine, business, exercise science, secondary teaching and social work.

Postgraduate enrolments are still open and building, with increased pipeline for many offerings in second semester.

International fee paying load will continue to be monitored as the University is in the process of enrolling commencing international students with the final enrolment numbers expected to be confirmed in the near future. Currently Semester 2, 2015 load is performing comparable to Semester 2, 2014.

I will be leading a mid-year enrolment strategy again this year to assess mid-year intakes, with the faculties.

ACU Postgraduate Workshop: Strategising in a crowded competitive postgraduate market

It was pleasing to see over 45 of our faculty and directorate staff working together on priority actions at the second annual ACU Postgraduate Strategy Workshop held in Sydney on 4 March. This year the workshop had a focus on faculty strategies including plans for midyear enrolments, progressing our international Catholic partnerships and specifically how we best leverage ACU's hosting of the 25th IFCU General Assembly to be held in Melbourne in July 2015. Key officers involved in leading postgraduate developments across ACU and supporting implementation and communication were engaged in small group discussions. Key topics included supporting our mission, increasing postgraduate enrolments and study experiences for students and strategies to support postgraduate students.

A focus of the meeting was postgraduate 2015 targets and the challenge of achieving significant increases on the back of a 23.5 per cent EFTSL increase between 2013 and 2014. Critical developments from the workshop identified greater cross-promotion of postgraduate products across faculties, consolidated alumni approaches, product mapping to demonstrate alignment to specific markets, careers and jobs for prospective students, coordinated follow up after our events and more targeted work with international partners as part of IFCU as critical developments. Faculties also 'pitched' their midyear intake strategies, in a high pressure 'Shark Tank' session where a challenging panel of 'sharks', including David Spencer, Andrea Turley and Judy Laverty, interrogated their proposals.

Thank you to all ACU staff who provided their time and ideas as part of this important planning session. Contributions from the workshop are currently being collated by my office and will be circulated to participants shortly. Specific priority actions and milestones will be included in the Postgraduate Strategy Reporting and Implementation Framework to take forward these ACU wide inputs. For further information on the workshop outcomes please contact Dr Judy Laverty.

Professor Pauline Nugent