Message from the Provost: China partnerships, global focus for PG strategy

Published: Monday 9th May 2016

Partnership: Signing of the MoU with ACU Provost Professor Pauline Nugent and Tongji University Vice President, Dr Bo Jiang

Strengthening partnerships in China

I have recently returned from a successful week in China in April where our existing Health Sciences partners were visited at Hunan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (HUTCM), Tongji University, Peking University and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. An MOU was signed to facilitate a student placement exchange with Tongji University, enabling Health Sciences students from both institutions to undertake practical work within affiliated hospitals of the partner Universities.

Evidencing the strong ties between Australia and China, was the invitation for our Executives to participate in the Health Focused Trade Delegation to China by New South Wales Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, which coincided with my visit. While in Shanghai with the Minister, Professor Campbell and I were given the opportunity to network with Australian and Chinese businesses and China’s Chamber of Commerce as well as visit Chinese Health Institutions.

A pleasing outcome of this partner visit to China is the developing opportunities for partnerships in both the Education and Business Schools.  The interest in forming an exchange program is strong and will present opportunities for students and staff both onshore and in China. As international collaboration is focus for both ACU and the Academic portfolio, work to pursue these valuable partnerships is currently being undertaken. I look forward to updating you on the progress of this work in the future.

Bringing a global focus to our Postgraduate Strategy

With the theme ‘Global Perspectives – Mission, Ideas and Partnership,’ high expectations were set for the third annual Postgraduate Strategy workshop held in late March in North Sydney. Over 48 staff from ACU Faculties and Directorates were involved in the joint planning workshop to progress ACU’s Postgraduate Strategy goals. The Strategy is an important development for ACU as it focuses on increasing postgraduate full fee paying coursework enrolments and diversifying our student profile and revenue. Significant work is already underway across the University to increase postgraduate courses and improve current and prospective student experiences, recognising the postgraduate market is very competitive and ACU is not yet well known for its postgraduate offerings.

The workshop demonstrated the collaborative skills of ACU staff, with tangible proposals being developed to increase ACU’s international postgraduate profile and course offerings. The introductory keynote by Strategic Partnerships and Executive Education highlighted specific learnings from recent developments such as the collaborative economy, uber models and digital disruption and how these could be used to create advantage through collaboration (and collaborative advantage).

Given the significant competition in the postgraduate market in Australia and recognising ACU’s growing international profile, the major focus of the workshop was on growing new international markets and enrolments. Significant work was undertaken prior to the workshop by Faculties and ACU International, to enable informed discussion of new strategies and proposals on the day. These proposals aimed to address current gaps in ACU’s course profile for international students but also to develop new pipelines and types of ‘entrepreneurial’ careers for a global context.

It was great to see the significant enthusiasm and engaged leadership of ACU staff in driving Postgraduate Strategy outcomes at the workshop. The significant work by Faculty staff to create  ‘suites’ of offerings and related work on new flexible graduate certificate models will also enable ACU to respond to different types of needs  in the future in the postgraduate space. A number of postgraduate proposals being developed by Faculties are focused on Asia-Pacific collaborations, reflecting ACU’s presence and potential strategic role in our region. To ensure a coordinated and well considered approach for these and other Asia-Pacific developments, my portfolio will be developing a broader ACU Asia-Pacific strategy, with a focus on the higher education sector and development of new types of partnerships and collaborations with Catholic Universities and other stakeholders in the region.

Workshop: Ms Jessica Vidigal, Marketing Manager, Faculty of Theology & Philosophy; Associate Professor Michael Ondaatje, Head - National School of Arts, Faculty of Education & Arts; Ms Catherine Lees, Executive Officer, Office of the Provost;  Ms Diana Stevens, Acting Associate Director, International Marketing and Student Recruitment, ACU International; Professor Tania Aspland, Executive Dean, Faculty of Education & Arts; Mr Kirk Doyle Associate Director, International Relations and Partnerships, ACU International.

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