VC's Update - campus masterplan, staff survey and more

14 September 2018

Hi everyone,

While the Vice-Chancellor is enjoying a well-deserved break with his family, I am pleased to be able to take over his blog to share my reflections on my first six months at ANU.

A particular privilege has been taking on responsibility for oversight of the Campus Masterplan project - an opportunity to reimagine the future of the University through the redesign of its physical landscape.

To design our future, we have started by re-examining our past. This has included a review of maps that trace the original path along which Sullivans Creek weaved through our campus 70 years ago. Today, the Chifley Library, the Tjabal Centre and Toad Hall stand upon that original course - on land that was, of course, inundated by floodwaters just prior to my arrival at ANU in February. Those floodwaters underscored the power of the waterway's natural course, and the futility of trying to work against it.

With this in mind, I have been reflecting on our Strategic Plan, and the path it carves out for the University's pursuit of excellence. The Plan picks up the original aims of those who founded the University 70 years ago, and reaffirms their commitment to our distinct national responsibilities. It recognises that an unwavering focus on the transformation of our society remains the natural course for Australia's national university.

As Provost, it is my role to help build momentum to drive this course of action. I want to empower Research Schools to tackle issues of national significance; to encourage new, collaborative approaches towards solving global challenges; and to inspire our students to lead change throughout our region. Collectively, we need to build an institutional ethos that can help propel the University along that original path.  

I take immense pride in the University's commitment to academic autonomy. I also look forward to supporting the strategic commitment to distinguish ANU from our peers by maintaining a small, single campus university, with excellent student-teacher ratios. This will ensure that we continue to offer a truly transformational educational experience to all our students and enable our high-quality staff to excel in their research.

I am excited by the initiatives underway which align with these ambitions: as prime examples, I point to the enormous potential for us to lead the sector through redefining the ANU PhD, and our commitment to improving diversity and gender equity of our staff and students.

So, what about you? I'd love to hear your reflections on how the University is progressing.

If you are a member of our staff, I encourage you to take the opportunity to share Your Voice in the upcoming Staff Survey. The survey is facilitated by our HR team every two years and gives us an indication of how staff across campus feel we are progressing. Your feedback is essential to help guide us to better meet your needs and address your concerns.

The survey officially starts next week, and on Monday you should receive an email inviting you to participate. In the meantime, I encourage you to reflect on your own experience and watch this short video from the Vice Chancellor with his thoughts about the survey. I look forward to hearing views from across our community, either in the comments section below or via the survey for ANU staff.

Enjoy your weekend,

Mike