A message from the Provost, Professor Pauline Nugent: I am pleased to share with you some recent highlights from my portfolio.
In recent months, members of the team in Government, Policy and Strategy (GPS) have held a number of meetings with bishops and senior church leaders to discuss ways in which the University can continue to support our church partners.
Areas of particular interest to the Church include the formation of future church leaders, professional development of clergy and the sharing of University expertise with lay professionals, who now take up the bulk of leadership in church agencies in fields such as health, social services and diocesan offices.
Church organisations have sought ACU’s advice and assistance in managing a changing workforce, meeting the challenges raised in Royal Commission hearings in recent years, and developing a distinctly Catholic approach that is informed by best practice and the kinds of insights available among our leading academics at ACU.
Senior Advisor Church Policy Nigel Zimmermann has led these interactions on behalf of the GPS team. Dr Zimmermann joined ACU in late 2016 after several years as Private Secretary to Most Rev Bishop Peter Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay. Dr Zimmermann is available to provide advice to ACU staff and directorates with any questions regarding working with the Church around Australia.
Postgraduate Coursework Strategy
ACU’s Postgraduate Strategy work continues with the aim of significantly increasing postgraduate coursework student enrolments and enhance the postgraduate student experience. New courses and academic models have been developed under the Strategy, focused on domestic and international students. Recent developments include:
three new Masters programs in Public Health
High Performance Sports and Rehabilitation with specialisations
a Graduate Certificate in Safeguarding Children and Young People designed for the Catholic education sector
resources to support the Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity work being progressed with KU Leuven
a new Politics and Religion postgraduate offering linked to ACU research strengths
new virtual classroom and teaching models in collaboration with international partners in Indonesia and the US focused on our business students.
In 2017 a more targeted approach is being implemented to increase the impact of the Strategy, including funding for courseware focused on ‘industry shaping’ as well as responding to needs in the areas of public health, health leadership, new teaching specialisations, migration law and involving world leaders in shaping our theology and ethics offerings.
Creating Safe Cultures - ACU’s contributions to Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults
A range of important initiatives are currently being progressed across ACU in the areas of creating safe cultures and safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults.
These developments include the preventative and targeted approaches progressed through the Institute of Child Protection Studies over many years, and more recently through their research undertaken for the Royal Commission and development of diagnostic tools.
Specific programs are also being developed by Faculties including work by Education and Arts for Catholic Education Melbourne and delivery of ACU courses for future social workers, teachers and in other discipline areas to ensure ACU is equipping future workforces.
ACU continues to have an ongoing focus on student wellbeing and support and has recently rolled out an online unit for ACU staff.
A small Reference Group has been established to help drive this coordinated approach, whilst supporting strategic leads across ACU in their areas of work with the Church, Government and other health, education and welfare service sectors. A key priority in this initial phase is to broaden current unit and module offerings to meet the needs of a range of sectors and to include a stronger focus on vulnerable adults as well as children and young people.
Mid-year Enrolment Strategy
Work to lift commencing load in 2017 is currently progressing via the Mid-Year Enrolment Strategy. As in previous years, my office is working alongside Faculties, International Directorate, MER, Student Administration, and OPSM with a focus on building load across disciplines, campuses, and funding sources.
I look forward to providing further updates about these important university initiatives.