Provost's Update - admissions reform, SAGE, and more

18 April 2019

Hi everyone

The Vice-Chancellor is currently enjoying annual leave after attending the International Astronomical Union 100 Years Under One Sky Event, so I have the pleasure of providing you an update via the VC blog.

I have just returned from China where I joined staff from the College of Business and Economics to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the partnership between ANU and Tsinghua University. The Master of Management Program is highly regarded in China, and in Australia it is viewed by experts as an example of best practice in transnational education.

Among the 1,000 plus students and alumni of the program are senior executives, public servants, professionals and successful entrepreneurs who are making valuable contributions to China's economic growth and social well-being.  Their studies facilitate their pursuit of innovative opportunities in fields such as medicine, agriculture, renewable energy and environmental protection. 

It is a first step in promoting a new level of research and education cooperation between our two universities in areas such as industrial transformation resulting from scientific and technological progress, and the challenge of developing human capital for successful innovation and commercialisation. 

China is the University's fourth largest research collaborator by publication volume and is the fourth most visited overseas destination for ANU students engaging in study abroad and exchange opportunities.

While in China I also met with some of our key agents to discuss the University's continuing admissions reforms. The conversations were very positive. Our agents welcomed the reforms and believed it is good not only for ANU but also the sector.

You are all aware that our strong performance is making us very attractive to international students. With increasing demand for places, it has clear that we need to change our selection and admissions processes.

This week the University went live with the second phase of the admissions reform program. This phase sees a change to the way the University admits international undergraduate and postgraduate students. The key change be a move from continuous offers to a pool and rank process. Similar to the current domestic, undergraduate process, the University will pool all applications received over a six month period and rank candidates against each other for the limited number of places available for each academic program. Applicants will need to meet all academic program requirements, including appropriate English language requirements, when they are assessed. More information about the reforms can be found at

The first Academic Board meeting for the year was held in March. In addition to discussing the admissions reforms, the Board discussed the finalised Academic Integrity Implementation Report, the ongoing commitment of the Academic Freedom Implementation Working Group and were updated on the ongoing replenishment of hardcopy books damaged in last year's flood. A full update from the meeting can be found at

The Chair of Academic Board also re-signed the Student Partnership Agreement, which formalises the collaborative working arrangement between the Academic Board, the ANU Students' Association (ANUSA) and the Postgraduate & Research Students' Association (PARSA).  The Student Partnership Agreement represents a commitment on the part of the Academic Board to consistently and meaningfully engage with the student body, as well as foster a community in which all members have rights and responsibilities. 

As a University community we are committed to equity of opportunity. Following on from more than two years hard work, the University submitted an application for a SAGE Athena SWAN Bronze Award. While we will not find out whether our application receives a Bronze Award until December, we are committed to continuous progress on gender equity. I would like to thank all those staff who engaged with the SAGE Athena SWAN pilot for their hard work and commitment. Over the past 12 months the University has launched two sector-leading parental leave initiatives available to both men and women: eligible staff receive 26 weeks primary carer parental leave for primary carers (including partners) and up to 26 weeks of employer superannuation contributions for staff taking unpaid parental leave. Striving to achieve equity and diversity makes the University a more inclusive and welcoming community.

In sad news, Emeritus Professor Michael Coper AO, FAAL who was Dean of the ANU College of Law from 1998-2012, passed away on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. As well as making a remarkable contribution to ANU, Professor Coper was Chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans, Vice-President of the International Association of Law Schools, and a member of the American Law Institute and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. He was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in January 2018, recognising a lifetime of service to our nation and its legal community. More about a memorial service can be found at

Michael will be warmly remembered for his work as a legal scholar and educator, and also for his unfailing humanity and sense of justice. He leaves a widow, Dr Judy Jones, herself an Associate Professor in the ANU College of Law, and five children. To them we send our sincere condolences.  

I hope you all get to take advantage of the upcoming long weekend. I will be spending time with my family in Tasmania and hope to get in a spot of fishing before returning to campus next week.