2017 was a significant year in the life of The Australian National University, as we launched our ambitious new Strategic Plan. The plan was produced after extensive consultation with the ANU community, and it outlines a bold vision and strategy for ANU as a contemporary national university.
We will serve Australia and the world by delivering tertiary education of the highest quality, undertaking excellent research that has impact, and engaging with the societies we serve. This will include setting the national standard in gender equity, through our commitment to the values and principles of SAGE Athena SWAN, and delivering on our ambitious new Reconciliation Action Plan in partnership with Australia's Indigenous peoples.
To achieve our goals, we have redefined our vision and values, determined our new direction and outlined the actions we must take together. Our vision, values and strategy belong to every member of the University, and we each have a responsibility to deliver on them. ANU has always been a distinctive university. The University attracts excellent researchers and teachers, receives high international rankings, and is ranked top in Australia for producing employable graduates.
We are renowned for our engagement in public policy, an aspect of our work we seek to grow. The University has consistently proven its value to Australia over the seven decades since its inception, and it lives up to the vision that led to its creation. The presentation of one of the top academic prizes in the world, the 2017 Kyoto prize, to Professor Graham Farquhar, exemplifies the quality of the University's
We set in place a plan to multiply our impact by strengthening our relationships with business, industry and government, and other organisations such as CSIRO. To this end we established a new Vice-Chancellor's Business and Industry Advisory Board, chaired by Brian Hartzer of Westpac, and drawn from leaders across a range of sectors. We also made some significant appointments to carry our capability into the areas society will need in the future, including artificial intelligence, cyber security, energy and space.
Professor Genevieve Bell, a globally renowned anthropologist, is one such appointment. She joined the University as a Vice-Chancellor's Entrepreneurial Professor, having been Vice President at Intel, and in 2017 she achieved exceptional national impact as the ABC's Boyer Lecturer. This year, Professor Bell also established the ANU Institute for Autonomy, Agency and Assurance (known as the 3A Institute), a joint venture between ANU and CSIRO's Data61.
We are reinvigorating the ANU School of Music with the appointment of Professor Ken Lampl as Head of School, a composer who has written music for more than 70 films, TV shows and video games. He has a vision to develop fine musicians who are also musical entrepreneurs, building careers in music and also taking their artistry to a more diverse audience than ever before.
Of course, ANU should not only strive to set the national benchmark academically. Our organisation will invest in attracting, retaining, and mentoring outstanding talent from all walks of life, staff and students. As part of this broad ambition, in addition to prioritising gender equity and growing the number of Indigenous staff and students, we will change our admissions process to bring to the University students who supplement academic achievements with successes in other domains.
We plan that every part of our campus will reflect the high quality of what we do here. To that end, a major regeneration project will deliver renewal at the very heart of our campus - including student accommodation, retail spaces and state-of-the-art teaching and learning rooms. In addition, we substantially upgraded our IT infrastructure throughout the campus.
In 2017 we have also had to confront our shortcomings. The release of the Australian Human Rights Commission report into sexual assault and harassment at universities across the country shone a light on troubling behaviour that has caused distress to many. I have apologised unreservedly to victims of sexual misconduct at ANU, and have taken steps to urgently improve our culture, our policy framework, and the way we respond to incidents. Our campus and community must be a safe and respectful place for all.
As I reflect on a remarkable year for ANU I am clear that, with the right strategy and people, our future can be even better. Our new Strategic Plan has placed us on course to being the truly great institution that Australians are entitled to expect of their national university.
Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC
Vice-Chancellor and President