Tuesday, June 26, 2012

From Strong to Great

The last time I blogged on this subject I was ridiculed by an academic from another University on Twitter. Well good on him - shows we are getting noticed and if we gave him cause to laugh I am happy to do that. I like a good laugh myself.

When we set out about three years ago to make the University financially sustainable in two years, a strong regional in five years and a great University in 10 years many scoffed. But last week at the Senior Leaders Conference about 80 leaders reflected on what has been achieved and where we would go next.

There is now no doubt about our finances. Domestically we are just about the fastest growing university in Australia. A recent article in The Australian demonstrated that our finances are the envy of many in the sector. We had a good operating surplus last year. We have invested tens of millions in the past three years to put us in a very strong financial position. Yes our international student numbers are down but we have implemented innovative strategies on our metropolitan campuses to minimise the impact of the international down turn. So our two-year goal has been met and our reputation is in the ascendency.

We said we were going to be a strong regional university within five years. I would argue that we have met this goal in three years. We now offer about 30 new programs which are meeting the skills needs of the communities that we serve. Potential students love what we are doing - our Term 2 offers are up 70% on this time last year. We have made a stepped improvement in our research outputs. We are attracting some great researchers to our University. We are a strong regional university.

We have modified our five year goal. We now plan to be one of Australia's strongest universities.

So now to our ten year goal. We will be a great University by 2020. Last week all senior leaders in the University agreed that this was possible. We started to define what a great university would mean for us. It will mean being:

Australia's most engaged university
A dual sector university
Australia's leading DE provider
A national university
A university that gives back
A research intensive university
An inclusive university

We are going to make this happen. Many will laugh and scoff - it does not matter - we are going to make this happen.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Engagement @ CQUniversity

You will often hear me banging on about CQUniversity being (or at least aspiring to be) Australia’s most engaged university. But what does ‘engagement’ mean exactly? And what does it have to do with running a university?

The dictionary doesn’t offer much help; definitions for ‘engagement’ include “a pledge of marriage”, “a hostile encounter or battle”, and “a promise to be at a particular place at a particular time”!

For me, engagement is about partnership. To paraphrase an old saying, no university is an island. How can we hope to service the education and training needs of our local communities if we don’t engage them in a regular, ongoing two-day dialogue?

We’ve been putting our heads together at CQUniversity to find a definition of ‘engagement’ that applies to us – and we think we’ve found it. Here it is:

CQUniversity works hard to make a real difference in the communities it serves.

At CQUniversity, it’s not just about education; it’s about connecting, partnering and building relationships with local people to achieve great things.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as having a kick of the footy on the CQUniversity oval. At others, it’s far more than that – connecting CQUniversity researchers with small business and large industry to help solve complex problems; providing student scholarships so that people from all walks of life have the chance to go to university; and hosting community events that bring people together and contribute to the diversity of regional town and city life.

We pride ourselves on being open, responsive, approachable and easy to engage with. Whether you are a prospective student, a local business owner, a CEO, an MP, a charity worker or a school principal, you will find our door is always open.

That’s why we’re proud to call ourselves Australia’s most engaged university.
What do you think? Please leave a comment – I’d love to hear your thoughts as we continue on our journey of engagement. After all, that’s what engagement is all about.