Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Leaps and bounds

I read the Australian Higher Education Review today and there was a line in an article that got me really fired up. I don’t expect many of you would have seen it – it really was just a throw away line in a story buried deep in the paper – but it reminded me that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you are able to achieve, there is always someone willing to drag you down.

The article was about trends in student numbers across the sector, and the line I took offense to went something like “...but not all universities are as well placed to expand. CQUniversity, X University and Y University lost student load from 2005 to 2009....”
I nearly spilt my Corn Flakes when I read that this morning. It really is an outdated, offensive and grossly mis-informed analysis of where CQUniversity is today.

Not well placed to expand? The truth is there is no University in Australia today that is better placed to expand than CQUniversity – anyone that has witnessed the unstoppable boom of the resource industry in Central Queensland can tell you that. CQUniversity is today benchmarking the way Universities capitalise on “the power of place”; engaging with the industries and communities from which our region derives its strengths. We enjoy a relationship with our stakeholders that is the envy of most Australian Universities.

Losing student load? CQUniversity’s student numbers have risen strongly in the past two years to the point where we are now one of the fastest growing Universities in Queensland. Our Mackay campus alone will be the fastest growing University campus in Australia this decade, with a 12% increase in enrolments this year, and a forecast tripling of student numbers in the next five years. CQUniversity introduced 20 new degrees this year, complimented by a $50 million investment in capital works. We remain one of the top three Australian Universities servicing the International Student market. And later this year CQUniversity will become Queensland’s first Dual-Sector University, with a planned amalgamation with TAFE that would effectively double the size of our operations.

CQUniversity has made some amazing leaps and bounds in recent times, of which I am immensely proud. Our transformation in the past two years has been truly remarkable. And I believe our best days are yet to come. So I’m not ashamed to say I take glib criticisms like the one in today’s paper quite personally. We’ve all worked too hard to turn this University around to attract this sort of “analysis”.

No doubt we will see more unfair media from time to time – all Universities do. But because of our efforts, because of our journey, because of our fight, this University more than any other has earned the right to be annoyed by this kind of media commentary.

No comments: