Monday, October 26, 2009

Canberra and Christmas

I had an interesting week last week with a trip to Canberra to meet some of the politicians and senior officials who are in charge of Australia’s higher education system. I’m grateful to Kirsten Livermore, our local Member of Parliament in Rockhampton, who did a fantastic job coordinating and making those meetings happen.

I had the good fortune to meet with Minister Julia Gillard, Senator Kim Carr and also with Minister Warren Snowdon. I also met with senior officials from DEEWR and the Department of Health. Overall these people were very supportive of the direction we are taking the University but also noted the challenges that we face as we move forward.

I think those decision-makers were pleased to hear that we have a clear vision for CQUniversity and a path to get to that vision over the coming years,

On Tuesday I briefed Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, on our operations in Melbourne. The fact that our University runs over three states and has significant operations in three capital cities makes my job incredibly interesting….

Soon after Christmas I hope to have started a staff climate survey at the University. One of my objectives is to make CQUniversity an employer of choice. I really need to know how people are feeling about the institution and how we can do things to improve the lot of our staff. I really hope that we get good participation in the survey. One of the things that I am sure the surveys will highlight is concerns about recognition of staff achievements. I know that this is an issue in most Universities and it is one which people have raised with me at CQUniversity. I think all of us in the University have a responsibility to recognise the achievements of others. Those of us in leadership positions have a responsibility to recognise the hard work that people are doing and particularly the extra work that people are putting in to make the student experience of the University more positive. But it is not just for those in leadership positions to recognise the work of others. We all need to make it a point to comment on the achievements of others and I think this will go a long way to improving the culture within the University. I am very keen to look at how we can recognise and reward good service to the University.

Christmas is a time that has massive impact on the University. I think all of us now are talking in terms of doing things before Christmas or post Christmas. I think Christmas creates a sense of urgency in the University but this sense of urgency is one that we need to keep up for the next two or three years. It is absolutely imperative that we recruit more students for the University as we are not filling our Commonwealth Funded Load and hence are being paid for students that we do not have in the University. With the introduction of demand led funding in 2012 this situation will cease and we will lose significant income to the University. Hence by 2012 we must have another 500 full time equivalent students in the University. This is not a want it is a need!
We’ll achieve this together by recruiting more students and retaining the students that we have and I am looking forward to working with you all over the next couple of years to make these numbers reality.

Christmas is also a time to celebrate and I am very grateful to staff who have decided to organise a Christmas Ball this year and also a Children’s Christmas Party, I think these will be great events which will celebrate the end of a very challenging year. You would have received a short email about this last week, with more details to follow. I hope you will be able to attend these events.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's a audio description of the approach and some insight from a project at the Australian Airforce on staff de-motivation. The approach seeks to address some of the limitations of surveys.

More information here.