Friday, August 21, 2009

The Engaged University

It’s come to the end of my third week as Vice Chancellor – quite possibly the most unsettling but satisfying three weeks of my professional life as I come to learn new things and discover for myself all the excellent people and projects underway at CQUniversity.

I’ve spoken and met with hundreds of staff and community members – including current students and alumni – and I must say that I’ve found all of these encounters enriching and thought provoking. We’ve talked mostly about CQUniversity’s role in Central Queensland; how the University is perceived and the many things we should and can do together to build-up Central Queensland and make CQUniversity the best regional university and one of Australia’s greatest universities.

I’ve also met with Queensland Minister for Education and Training Geoff Wilson and representatives from DEEWR (the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations) and I have been very encouraged by their interest in our activities.

Much of the conversation has been around access to university, career outcomes for our students, and the relationships that the University has with industry, government and businesses in Central Queensland.

I’ve been listening a lot and talking with people, too, about making CQUniversity the most engaged university in Australia. We’ve been focusing on how CQUniversity engages and will engage and, in turn, how CQ communities will become more learning-orientated. I’ve come away from every one those gatherings believing more firmly that CQUniversity’s transformation can only be achieved when we – with community – define our problems jointly, set common goals, develop measures of success and leverage university, public and private resources.

We must also leverage the “power of place” – the bond that exists between people and Central Queensland; its natural resources, characteristics and geographical location. The role of the University is to make that bond stronger by drawing on the strengths that exist in the communities we serve and our equally giving back to those same communities through research, learning and teaching and other services.

That “power of place” can be applied to how the University approaches its Learning & Teaching, from face-to-face to fully online teaching, as well as our engagement with partners on research projects that involve mutual input and benefit.

We’ll be working closely with State and Federal Governments and consulting widely in Central Queensland, harnessing that “power” to introduce new programs (perhaps in areas such as health, sport and engineering), broaden community access to courses and give our students greater control over their learning environment and outcomes.

Ultimately more Central Queenslanders, who are under-represented in higher education, will become active learners benefiting from their local university. Over the next two-to-three years, more than 10 thousand new students from Central Queensland will come to CQUniversity. Or perhaps more accurately said, we’ll come to them.



Jocene said...

Thank you for your positive energy. I see that it is already making a difference to staff morale. There is new hope in the air!

Anonymous said...

This is very exciting for the staff, students and the community! I would really love to see more post graduate options for health degrees. Maybe courses such as pharmacy, occupational therapy and perhaps even physiotherapy and medicine would be wonderful to see down the track.
The contact that I have had with the lecturers at residential schoolings has been tremendous. I really enjoy this university and all of the support that is in place for students.
Good luck with your new appointment! Many wonderful challanges to concur.

Leisa said...

Off to a great start to becoming Australia's most engaged Uni!
I think one of the strengths of CQUniversity is how accessible and helpful the university personal are. I'm amazed at how approachable the lecturers are and believe CQUniversity is heading the way learning should be in the future - anyone from anywhere studying anything they want with the support of the learning facility.

Peter Smith FSEH said...

I would suggest thatwe have a critical regional engagement role to work with others in helping to manage under-employment and unemployment.

Anonymous said...

I think there may a law school in CQU........however it may have focus on the topic related to the CQ region such as Energy Law relating to mine, Intellectual Property Law for the utilisation of technology and resources, Environmental Law with focus on climate change and great barrier reef and may make a community law centre to research on indigenous peoples, elderly peoples and research on subjects associated with child, youth and domestic violence. Ultimately it will have great positive impact of engagement on the community and CQU as well.

Cindy said...

Well I am excited with the vision of CQuniversity. I am encouraged also, and "have been from the start' CQUniversity one of Australia's leading University, I never doubted it for a minute. The start of the STEPS program settled this for me. I am looking forward to seeing CQUniversity forge forward positively, with a purpose that is good for all. Many Thanks

Anonymous said...

I'm very impressed that you've started a blog where one can comment. It's outstanding. A VC who can be reached. It's just so profound. This makes you much easier to relate to. There's no barrier anymore. Very empowering. This is something I've always known. A much better feedback system, direct from the front line (or coal face)and therefore potentially more accurate.


Unknown said...

As a recent graduate, who is continuing with further education through CQUniversity, I am encouraged by your views and positive energy, and am looking forward to seeing the university prosper into the future.

Geoff said...

Welcome aboard. We have some work to do, and are certainly up to the task. It would be great to see you post about your view of the role of leadership in the modern academic institution.

...Geoff Higgins

Anonymous said...

The blog space is a great idea! Your vision is inspiring - I love the idea of the "power of place" - don't forget us distance ed students as well, whose "place" could be anywhere in Qld!

Jo said...

The blog space is a great idea! Your vision is inspiring - I love the idea of the "power of place" - don't forget us distance ed students as well, whose "place" could be anywhere in Qld! Jo

Anonymous said...

Is CQU has any law school? If not, new VC can take the initiatives to establish one as a step forward to more engaged University.
Good wishes for new plan.

Anonymous said...

congratulations on the new role.

When I intially started at CQU, it was due to the ability to smoothly articulate through the qualification levels (Ass Dip to B Eng), the flexibility of distance Ed. and general feedback from my work colleagues on their experiences with CQU.
When the articulation benefits changed, I found it was the change management impacts associated with this project that let the university down the most.

Best of luck.
Matt (s0107108)

George Livanos said...

I would very much like to see CQU cultivate an Architecture/Structural engineering faculty - there are very few of these anywhere in the world and none currently in Australia.
Congratulations on your appointment as VC.

Anonymous said...

As a former employee and now current distance education student, I can already sense a lightening of the corporate mood since your arrival....hopefully that will translate into providing a seemless academic service for those such as I...
Indeed, a refreshing approach being approachable!

Anonymous said...

How bout offering pre-apprenticeship courses? Tafe only provides 1 pre-apprenticeship course in Rocky

Vice Chancellor - CQUniversity said...

Many thanks for all these very positive comments. There are some really great ideas here. I have passed these on to those who can make things happen! It is great to see that we all seem to be pulling in the same direction. Again many thanks - regards


Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

I would love to see a full law degree, rather than a few courses that are available. I am about to gradute with a B Bus (MRKT & Bus Law & Tax). And am about to start GD(MGMT) as a step for M Mrkt Mgmt

Anonymous said...

Dear VC - your blog is already being used by viral marketers - see Susan's (or is it Margaret?)comment.

The trick is to use as many freely available online blogs and fora to list URLS and products (see the poster's profile) - the more you list your URL on other website, the higher you rank on search engines, such as google