Real and relevant learning in ACU's changing university campus.
The strategic vision and direction for the University has
been clearly laid out to senior leaders across the University in the VC’s Address
delivered at the recent ACU Leadership Retreat . The prime concerns are to implement the
transition from growth to ‘establishment, enhancement and excellence’ – that
is, to ‘establish’ our share of the expanded, demand driven student market, to ‘enhance’
our academic strengths and specialisms and to achieve ‘excellence’ in chosen
areas of research.
ACU’s Brisbane Campus is both an integral part of the whole Australian
Catholic University and an identifiable entity serving our people and region in
ways which are specific to our history, our economy, our culture and our
aspirations. ACU’s national needs and perspectives are necessarily wide and
embrace diversity as well as commitment to a common ethos and set of core
values. The emphasis on unity in diversity allows the specific and detailed
aspects of ACU Brisbane‘s qualities and characteristics to come to the fore as
we look to achieve excellence across all our areas of mission.
A number of factors have shaped recent perceptions of what
could be done in ACU Brisbane to support the new triple ‘e’ strategy. These
the specific growth and development of our curriculum areas
and professional learning in our local
and regional economy
the drive to achieve excellence in our chosen areas of
research within our newly established Institutes that seek to produce real and relevant
research for the communities that we serve
the need to know and research ACU Brisbane student expectations
and behaviours in relation to choice of subjects and careers paths offered
campus and potential off-campus growth and the footfall
evidence of student choice and the student voice from the
wider university sector
the significance ACU Brisbane has for the wider Australian
debate on the future of university education as we enter a more privatised and
The AVC Office in Brisbane is sponsoring a major research
project that will seek to capture the student voice about these critical issues
that are framing the debate about the future of higher education over the
lifetime of our new triple ‘e’ strategic plan – spanning out to 2020 and beyond.
The crucial themes will seek ACU student views on the following 5 sets of
issues and challenges:
University life as an adaptive response to the failures of
some social market models, which has involved the growth of mass higher
education, the marketisation of learning and growth of demand-led provision,
the emergence of mass , on-line learning – only this week Wharton Business
School has offered a number of its MBA courses online to all, at no charge -
and a sense of permanent re-structuring of universities and their staff.
The campus response to the emergence of work as a key site
of learning and accreditation and of work itself as a “principle” of learning
The impact of digital
and new literacies on the future of University programs -which involve
new skills of personal performance, multi-tasking across different media,
transmedia navigations , distributed cognition and the role of digital
networking- on university campus life , study and achievement.
The possible future for university campuses- which might
include the need for a curriculum more relevant to people’s lives, a revised
approach to access and widening participation and universities as a motor for
renewal and rejuvenation.
Global developments of interest to our students - including the hollowing out of traditional economies and
communities ,creation of mass migration
, de-skilling of traditional labour markets ,a rapid pace of change , a
vulnerable ecology and de-stabilised and more security conscious communities.
Listening intently and understanding deeply our student
voice is the crucial starting point to the debate about the future of
universities as we enter uncharted waters.
The findings of this major research project which is now under way will
be presented at the Blessing, Naming and Launch of our fabulous Saint John Paul
ll building on March 16 2015. I look
forward to welcoming many of you to view our newly established, enhanced and
excellent campus at this time.