VC's Update - Times Higher Education rankings, the University's direction and more

3 February 2017

Hi everyone,

I start this week's blog with some fantastic news. The latest Times Higher Education rankings on International Universities is out and shows ANU has jumped to 7th place placing us between Oxford and Cambridge universities. Not a bad place to be! This is an outstanding achievement and a credit to everyone in the ANU community. It shows that ANU is fulfilling its founding mission to ensure Australia has a strong presence in global research and learning.

Over the next few weeks I'll be talking about our new strategic plan for the University. Last year we undertook one of the largest community consultations ever at ANU. The plan will help shape our future and further cement our unique place in Australia and the world. I encourage all staff and any students around to join me on Thursday 9 February at the State of the University address at Llewellyn Hall where we'll talk about the plan.

The following week, I hope all members of our University family will join me at the Commencement Address on the lawns of University Avenue to welcome new and returning students to campus. I'll be joined by alumni Thérèse Rein and Jamila Rizvi as well as our ANUSA and PARSA Presidents.

Colleagues in the College of Business and Economics have been awaiting some news about their next Dean. The recruitment process remains active, but I have made some interim arrangements from March to allow current Dean Professor Shirley Leitch to transition fully into her new role of Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Global Engagement. So I am delighted to announce that Professor Ian Clarke from the University of Edinburgh, has agreed to be Dean of CBE until the end of 2017. Ian recently completed his term as Dean of the Business School at Edinburgh, where he achieved some great things, and was previously Dean at Newcastle University (UK) for four years. He has taken leave from Edinburgh to join us for the rest of the year. Ian is a visiting Professor at CBE and completed his PhD at ANU in the 1980s - so we look forward to welcoming him back! In the meantime, please join me in thanking Professor Shirley Leitch for her outstanding leadership as Dean.

Each year ANU academics from various backgrounds are recognised for their contribution to Australian society by being included in the Australia Day Honours list. 2017's list includes a number of ANU staff and alumni including distinguished composer, pianist and teacher from the School of Music, Emeritus Professor Larry Sitsky, and High Court Justice Stephen Gageler. Read the full list on the ANU website.

Congratulations also to three of our postgraduate students who are among 22 recipients of the 2017 Westpac Future Leaders scholarships. The funding means they will be able to continue the research they began in their undergraduate studies, and ultimately give back to society through their research findings.

I'm pleased to announce the release of a new 2017 HR Division Staff Development Calendar which has been created to foster and support the development of staff. All courses offered by HR have been designed to deliver on the University's Strategic Plan and are located in one place on the HR services 'Leadership & staff development' webpage. This makes it easier for staff to undertake further career and personal development and select courses that fit in with their PDR (Performance Development Review).  I encourage staff to explore the course listings on the calendar and make 2017 your year for professional development.

As many of us continue to be fixated on events happening overseas, our regional security remains a top priority to many in the Indo-Pacific region. Earlier this week I opened the National Security College conference, Strengthening Australia-Japan-US Strategic Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges, where I welcomed dignitaries from the US and Japanese embassies on to campus. The conference and the recent signing of an MOU between ANU and the Japanese Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, demonstrates the University's commitment to providing a platform for discussions on world events and how they shape affairs in our own backyard.

I hope you all enjoy the week ahead as we prepare for, and look forward to, welcoming our students to campus from 13 February.