Welcome to an exciting year at ANU

4 January 2016

We have a great year ahead of us at The Australian National University, and I am delighted to invite you to join me as we begin, on our 70th Anniversary, to write the next chapter of our history.

I'm delighted to lead ANU, one of the great universities of the world and an asset to all Australians.

This university is special. I could not have been part of the team that won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics without the intellectual environment, support network and freedom that this campus provided me as a 27 year-old astrophysicist.

It is an enormous privilege to now lead this place that nurtured me and have the opportunity to make sure that everyone who is part of ANU is provided with the tools and support to be their very best.

I am extremely fortunate to begin my tenure as Vice-Chancellor with the University in a strong position.  My predecessor, Professor Ian Young AO, did a magnificent job building on the University's reputation as a centre for world-leading research and education.

The Excellence in Research for Australia results in November last year confirmed that ANU leads the nation in research excellence, with the QS rankings a few months earlier put us in the world's top 20.

We stand tall amongst our peers, one of only 11 members of the International Alliance of Research Universities.

During my term as Vice-Chancellor, we will build on our reputation for excellence and be defined by excellence. Excellence in research, excellence in education, excellence in everything we do.

I will be asking all members of the ANU community - researchers, teachers, technical and professional staff and students to focus on being great.  

Together we will build on the University's reputation for providing a great educational experience, our ambition to offer education that is easily on par with our peers at the top echelon of global universities. The world of education and teaching is changing rapidly, and to give our students the best possible opportunities, we need to be a leader in educational innovation.

This University has been built on the foundation of great research - research that has had a profound influence on our nation, and contributed to global advances across science and humanities.  Attracting the brightest minds to ANU, and nurturing and supporting them to make discoveries, to invent, to innovate, to influence and shape our world is our national role.

We will build on our role as a great resource for this nation, deepening our collaboration with government, industry and the not-for-profit sectors.

Our motto points to our role in shaping the future, to be the first to know the nature of things.

I believe that by working together, we can make sure that ANU secures its rightful place amongst the great universities of the world.

I want you to tell me what makes you proud of this University, and what could make it better, I invite you to participate in the coming months in the staff forums I will host as part of a Listening Tour of the campus.

I encourage you to come along to one of these sessions to share your ANU vision.

Please feel free to leave me a comment and I look forward to meeting you over the coming months.


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Comment by Zacchaeus Lim
1.15pm 4 Jan 2016

Congratulations on your new appointment sir! I look forward to seeing the wonderful new changes you'll be bringing to the institution and hopefully, the revitalization of our campus grounds.

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Comment by Liz Sturgiss
9am 5 Jan 2016

Would be great to see you at off main campus locations for the Listening Tour - we have a vibrant medical school community over at the Canberra Hospital campus and we would welcome being part of your Tour!

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Comment by Lachlan McGinness
9.30am 5 Jan 2016

Since you were asking, I am proud of the university's generosity in science outreach. Each year we host the National youth science Forum, the science Olympiads, a mathematics day for local schools to compete it, the science and engineering challenge and recently the curious minds program. Many departments and academics also frequently give of their time to take school groups through experiments and on lab tours and others to out and visit schools. This has no doubt played a critical role in attracting young scientific minds to the ANU. A big thanks to all those who generously give of their time and resources to run these programs.

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Comment by Rowena Ball
2.15pm 5 Jan 2016

ANU has a very special heritage and history that is unique in the world, and I really appreciate that it is highly valued and well-documented. One of the keys to understanding ANU as an institution today and charting its course into the future is its history. I think that knowing the special stories of ANU also gives helps students a great sense of connectivity down the generations, in a world where many young people have lost connectivity to place and culture and, well, "dreaming". The ANU Dreaming is its history, its stories, its places, its landscapes, its buildings, its systems, its intangibles, and above all its people from 1946 onwards. Celebration of the ANU Dreaming should be embedded into the vision for our future, because this will give us the confidence to say "this is what we will be, because that is what we stand on, that is where we come from, that is our heritage, this is what we offer to the world".

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Comment by Lissette Geronimo
3.30pm 18 Jan 2016

ANU is a great university, very well known now as one of the top universities in the world.

We should keep continuing nurturing this distinction and invest more in staff capabilities as well as technology. There are still so many manual processes around the university.

Staff training to advance skills and innovation for both professional and academics and offer a stable career development opportunities as well as flexibility to achieve this to lessen staff turnover and retain valuable staff and their knowledge. In my opinion Knowledge Management is still a weak area that ANU can easily improve.

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Comment by Georgina von Marburg
10.30am 21 Jan 2016

Congratulations on your appointment! I'm sure you'll take us to great places.

As a law student, I couldn't picture myself at any other university. Physically, ANU has one of the most appealing campuses, encompassed by the natural beauty of Canberra. You really don't get such space from any other university in Australia. This has a positive affect on you as a student as well, creating a zone away from the hectic tides of the world where you can grow as an individual.

Academically I'd love to see ANU continue its surge as one of the finest universities in the world. It's clear at a national level we offer something different to the rest. ANU doesn't simply put its students through the meat grinder and churn them out into the work force; ANU isn't content with passing off common sense as a 'university degree' and boxing students into courses which slavishly cater to whatever jobs happen to be trending.

You definitely get the sense ANU is trying to foster the leaders ofsociety - not the sheep. From lecturers who maturely engage with the bigger questions, to student societies who take upon themselves issues big and small, to the university sporting clubs who settle for nothing less than excellence – ANU is just an awesome place.

Keep it heading in this direction Mr. Schmidt and I think you'll have few complaints!

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Comment by Rob O'Connor
10.45am 21 Jan 2016

Some sessions at times that suit alumni - maybe some events focussed at alumni - would be a good idea. We have views.