So here we are at the end of the year. With the completion of 22 graduation ceremonies across CSU this week, we will see out the academic year.
A couple of graduation photos from the recent ceremonies, first one of graduates from the Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage including Uncle Stan and Aunty Flo Grant
and second one from the Port Macquarie graduation today featuring Policing graduates:
2017 has proved to be a big year for the University with many great achievements as detailed in our 2017 EOYW_FINAL. Not least it is great to see that on the recently released 2016 figures we are still leading in terms of undergraduate and postgraduate online load, as well as leading on Indigenous enrolments and completions. We are also leading in terms of graduate employment outcomes.
Based on the strategic foresighting work we did in 2016, we have worked long and hard throughout the year to develop the detail of the strategic direction of the University. That has challenged us to be more market-oriented – to think about how well we are serving our students, our communities and our industries – in order to live up to our ethos. As a result of this work, we finish 2017 with a clear picture of our students so we can confidently progress the strategic plan.
We have also taken the opportunity in the second half of the year to strengthen change management at CSU. This was picked up in feedback in the Your Voice survey and we are using the key strategy projects to develop our in-house change management framework. Through this we will support all managers to manage and communicate change better.
From discussions with staff across the University, it is clear that we have significant talent, intelligence and resources at CSU. I have every confidence that what we can work with and by our communities to deliver positive change and future-proof our regions. We saw just a taste of what is to come in this space with the launch of the Royal Far West partnership earlier this month.
If you are a member of CSU staff, you can read more about where we are up to with the strategy in the documents from the Vice-Chancellor’s Forum here.
Our students have achieved great things this year, and helped to fill the trophy cabinet yet again. They have also raised funds for many great community organisations. This is testament not only to the focus and determination of our students, but also the support and culture we have built here at CSU.
I am immensely proud of our entire CSU community and the successes we have had this year in our teaching, research and administration. We have won awards for individuals who have excelled in teaching, celebrated the architectural brilliance of our facilities and stayed in the headlines with our research efforts.
I would like to note with great sadness that the CSU community also suffered the loss of many good friends and too many students this year with the passing of Wal Fife, Joe Schipp OAM, Richard Wise, Maddie Clarke, Alexandra Henderson, Emma Philip, Uncle Bill Allan Senior, Emeritus Professor Bruce Mansfield, and Professor David Biles OAM. I will be thinking of the friends and families of all of these great people over the Christmas period.
This week we have seen announcements regarding higher education in 2018 as part of the MYEFO headlines. While we don’t understand the full impact of these measures, we are seeing funding capped at 2017 levels. We will need to work to understand the impacts of this fully, but given this is in many ways worse than the reforms rejected by the Federal Senate, I would expect significant community backlash to this. Certainly, while it was unfortunately not unexpected, this has not been a great start to my Christmas! In the New Year we will ensure we continue lobbying for the higher education sector and are able retain essential funding for our regional students and our communities.
Next year we will also continue to focus on the priority areas highlighted in the Your Voice staff survey. Respect and recognition was one of these areas and I have released a What’s New message on that this week for staff. A renewed approach to ensure we have impact on cross-unit collaboration will be a joint effort from all members of staff in 2018 – so I invite you all to come up with innovative ways to work together and communicate the great work you are doing.
From a leadership perspective, and with the retirement of Professor Ken Dillon, we welcomed Jenny Roberts to the CSU family as DVC Students. Next year we will farewell Professor Julia Coyle and Professor Toni Downes.
2018 will, I am sure, be a big and exciting year. I am going to enjoy some down time over the Christmas and New Year period. After that, I am very much looking forward to the challenges and projects we will see developed as part of our strategic direction. I know that staff will continue to deliver for our students and our regions on a daily basis. I also hope that we can settle on an Enterprise Agreement soon, to support our employees through the next phase of the Charles Sturt University journey.
On a (hopefully) fun note, this year I have tried to merge my love of the humble banjo with a Christmas carol (and save my staff the embarrassment of live carolling on campus!). You can see the outcome of this in a video message here.
I wish you all a peaceful, restful, safe and happy break and look forward to seeing you in 2018.