Over the past eight weeks, I have had the privilege to meet many of the groups, teams and individuals that make up the Swinburne community. The talent, passion and commitment our people display makes me more confident than ever that we will continue to advance our university.
We are in the midst of one of the most significant periods of change in education in the past two decades. How we, the University community, respond to these changes will determine Swinburne's future.
Over the past month the Executive Group and I have embarked on a series of important conversations about our plans for the future. We have held three planning meetings at which we've analysed very carefully our performance against the targets set in the Swinburne in 2015 plan and the new dynamics in education that will impact our planning into the future. We have also had a day of discussions with the University Council about the future, our responses to it, and the implications for our plans.
This week I hosted an important meeting involving the 90 senior leaders from across Swinburne. This group, the Vice-Chancellor's Senior Leadership Group, took a day out to examine how we can work together as One Swinburne. We discussed and debated a range of topics, including the changes in the Tertiary Sector, our vision for who we want to be, our external engagement, leveraging our research performance, and the University's resources and financial outlook.
I intend that the Vice-Chancellor's Senior Leadership Group will meet four times annually, to continue these important conversations.
I was delighted by the spirit with which the leadership from across the University engaged with the concept of One Swinburne. While we are a university made up of different education sectors and corporate units, none of us work in isolation from the whole. We all benefit from our research performance, our ability to attract new domestic and international students, and the quality of our TAFE and higher education programs.
I called on the senior leadership group to suit up, get in the game, and work with me to ensure that Swinburne is able to face the challenges and opportunities of the future.
The challenges include:
- The introduction of the new education quality regulators - TEQSA (higher education) and AQSA (TAFE and Swinburne College) - which will hold education institutions accountable for the quality of their offerings and the outcomes of their graduates;
- Research performance and the next rounds of ERA, and the likelihood that government funding will increasingly depend on our ability to produce world-class research;
- The uncapped and contestable education environment which will see students have much more power to choose the course and the provider that suits them;
- The ongoing difficulties in international education: 2012 and 2013 will be tough years for international student recruitment, and we expect the landscape to change as the federal government reviews the student visa program.
The issue that we must immediately address is our readiness to deliver on our stated aspirations in the 2015 plan and define our goals beyond 2015. Central to these aspirations is how we see ourselves, how we continue to build excellence in teaching and research, and how we project Swinburne to all our audiences.
All universities are in an uncertain political and economic climate. How we represent Swinburne collectively will be of paramount importance if we are to continue to grow.
As the outcomes and actions of these planning discussions become available, I will share them more broadly with the Swinburne community. We will be consulting widely on the topics and issues that emerge and will employ a range of communication processes to ensure that we have broad engagement. This is our University, and together - working as One Swinburne - we have a unique opportunity to affect the future.
Professor Linda Kristjanson
Vice-Chancellor & President