This post finds us at the end of a very busy, but also very productive, 2013. We have made progress on all the areas in the Charles Sturt University 2013-15 Strategy and I think we can face the future with confidence. It has been pleasing to see that so far the new Federal Government has announced no further major changes to the higher education system, although we wait to see what will flow from the review of the demand driven system and from the Commission of Audit of government finances more generally.
2014 will see the continuation of work against the strategy. In particular, the Smart Learning project will get into more detailed work with Early Adoption courses. This will allow us to pilot the approach, learn from that experience and hence refine the later and broader work.
We will also continue to work with the Your Voice Survey results. Human Resources have been assisting areas to understand what the results mean and how we might move forward. Senior Executive Committee have also been considering our communication mechanisms at the whole of university level and will be working next year to see how we can optimise these. This is critical work if we are to live up to the vision in our Strategy and our values of being an institution that has soul and that values and respects the contributions of staff and students.
Last week we had graduation ceremonies across our campuses. Including the Police Attestation Parade in Goulburn, I attended these across six campuses. As our Deputy Chancellor, Kathryn Pitkin, was unfortunately ill I officiated at ceremonies in Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst. I enjoyed all of these, and it is enormously satisfying to meet our graduates and to learn a little of what they are going on to do after completing their courses. More than anything I shared the joy on the faces of the graduates as they marked the completion of their courses and the pride on the faces of family and friends attending the ceremonies.
On a particular note, at the Wagga Wagga graduation ceremony we awarded an Honorary Doctorate to Mr Stan Grant AM for his contribution to our communities and the Wiradjuri language in particular. I got a pronunciation lesson from him on ‘yindyamarra winhanga-nha’ (the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in) and now feel more confident that I am not doing too much damage to the Wiradjuri language in attempting to say it.
Last and not least, it falls to me to wish you all a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas and New Year. We are grateful for the contributions of staff and students to the university and for the support of all our communities and stakeholders. I hope that you all enjoy time with your family and friends, that your mental and physical batteries recharge and that you return refreshed, confident and ready to dance into 2014.