Friday, March 26, 2010

Change happens

I start this blog with a picture of Professor Ken Hawkins and Mr Mike Donahue at recent VCAC planning day. In the interests of transparency I wanted you to know what we get up to on these days. The Village People were the guest artists over dinner.

The only constant in a university is change. I hope that you would agree that the changes made over the past six months or so are very positive. We are certainly starting to get accolades externally for the work that we are doing. I won’t go over all of these changes – but they have set us on the right course for the future. They have set us up on the path from “good to great”!

I think it is fair to say that the pace of change is going to ramp up over the next few months. We are going to be looking at renewing the Rockhampton Campus – this will involve a lot of disruption for staff. We are going to be placing senior academic leaders on the Bundaberg, Gladstone and Mackay campuses. I am going to propose that the Faculty of Arts, Business, IT and Education change its school structure to bring it more in line with the Faculty of Science Engineering and Health. I am sure that you will have noticed massive changes in the Chancellery team. We are starting many new programs next year. We will be renewing our efforts in Learning & Teaching and Research. We are looking to engage with our communities to deliver major projects on all our campuses. The list goes on and on.

This is all very exciting – but it can also be very tiring and worrying. I am sure we are all wondering where we fit in with the changes being made. I am very keen that your voice is heard with regard to the changes that we are making. We need genuine consultation with all our staff. Changes will be taken to the Staff Consultative Committee where your representatives will have an input. I will keep you informed through email, staff forums, school visits and this blog. But this should not be a one way process – I need to hear what you think. I am in the process of setting up some discussion boards on our web site so that staff can have a role in the changes that we are making.

I view all the changes that we are making as positive responding to our success. By the way our mid year 1st preferences are up 17%!

Often the idea for a change comes from one person. So we have one brain working on it. If we all apply ourselves to the change then in this organisation we have 1200 brains working on the issue. This must mean that we get a better result. We won’t always agree but we will get better outcomes if we work together.

I know that at times as VC I will get (and have gotten) things wrong. I hope you will feel comfortable in letting me know when you think I am barking up the wrong tree - or barking mad for that matter. I have always said that we need more accountability in the University – this includes accountability from the VC to the CQUniversity Community.

I have managed to get out of the Chancellery quite a lot in the past few weeks. I have visited a number of schools. As always I have been blown away by the calibre of the staff that we have in the University. I am always impressed by the ideas that are forthcoming. It seems that just about everyone has an idea for a new program or research project. If we can work to implement some of these the University will truly advance spectacularly.

I also hear lots about the bureaucracy that staff endure. I think we need work on this. We really need to remove a lot of the “busy” work from our procedures. I will be working with our new DVC University Services Alistair Dawson and the PVC Faculties to address this issue.

I have also taken on board the feedback about academic workloads and the complexity of these workloads. I think that put quite simply we need more academics. Over the next few months and years we will get them – simple as that!

I have also visited our Australian International Campuses and had a board meeting of CMS. We are just so lucky to have the AICs and CMS. You will not find a more dedicated group of staff anywhere in the University.

They are delivering quality higher education in partnership with the folks from the CQ campuses which I think is second to none. I think that all people who visit the campuses are bowled over by the level of student support that our AICs provide. If you have not visited one of our AICs (and I say this to both our staff and others who might be reading this) do so! I think you will be impressed and maybe even learn some lessons on how we should be delivering programs across the University.

The AICs do deliver a very welcome income stream to the University – but I am working very closely with Professor Ken Hawkins to look at ways that we can have better communication between our domestic and international students. This will be a great help with our internationalisation strategy. Ken will be working with all parts of the University to pursue this strategy.

The AUQA preparations are going very well. As we move towards October I think you are going to be hearing a lot form the team over the next few weeks. Remember this is our chance to show off!

I was also very honored this week be the guest of honor at a lunch held by the Syrian Ambassador His Excellency Tammam Sulaiman in Canberra. Also present were Ambassadors from Kuwait, Iraq, Palestine, and the Lebanon. It was a fascinating lunch and helped to develop our links with the Middle east.

I have also been to the Mackay Campus. I have no doubt that over the coming years Mackay will be our fastest growing campus. I am really looking forward to seeing this campus grow and rival the size of the Rockhampton campus. Last week I just missed out on a visit to the Bundaberg campus. I was going to fly myself down their but Cyclone Ului prevented this flight – I will get to Bundaberg very soon. I am not just off to Gladstone to meet with the Campus Advisory Group.