Interview with the Chancellor
Sir Neville Jordan reflects on our role as a capital city university and the role of universities in society along with key University achievements.
Victoria University is well and truly embedded as a capital city university. This was enhanced in 2017 with the establishment of the Miramar Creative Centre, in partnership with world-renowned film and digital production companies.
We also grew our global networks through international partnerships and research collaborations, and hosting international experts at conferences on important global issues. Being appointed the host of two Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence provides an exciting avenue from which we can build new and meaningful connections in the years to come.
A Strategic Plan that's working
We tracked against the Strategic Plan incredibly well in 2017. For example, the establishment of the new Bachelor of Health and the Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) are two examples that illustrate how we are continuing to develop the University’s academic strengths through our world-class teaching and research.
On top of that, enrolments for both domestic and international students are increasing, and that’s a really good sign—it shows the Strategic Plan is working.
There were several significant milestones throughout 2017. We began the academic year with the Prime Minister opening the new six-storey annexe at Rutherford House and ended with the opening of the new School of Biological Sciences building, Te Toki a Rata. It was great to see these two long-term capital development projects come to fruition and provide modern facilities fitting of a top-class university.
Throughout the year, university researchers received $57.8 million in research funding, an increase of $9.4 million on 2016, which is indicative of the calibre of our researchers and the work they’re doing.
Embracing our digital future
Victoria University is embracing its digital future, which is already changing the way we teach and learn. Through the Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Digital Futures) set up in 2016, the University is working towards a future enriched by technology.
Part of that is building capability across the University in our digital processes and our teaching. For example, there were nearly 7,000 enrolments from around the world across our two massive online open courses, offered for the first time in 2017.
The future of universities
Universities should maintain the fundamental basic tenets of our existence. That is, to provide quality higher education, produce meaningful research, find new solutions to complex problems, generate public debate and cultivate creativity.
As a university, we also strive to be the critic and conscience of society. It was pleasing to see our academics do so with vigour in 2017, contributing to debates on major societal issues.
An enduring memory
At an event to farewell a senior staff member, several grandchildren of the retiring staff member were playing on the stairs. These young children were completely at home in the university environment. In that moment, I saw them as future students who would one day be equally at home in a lecture theatre. It was a great reminder of why we are all here and doing what we do.
The year wouldn’t be the success it was without the tireless efforts of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford, and the Senior Leadership Team. Likewise, I would like to thank all staff, both academic and professional, who every day contribute to Victoria University being a world-class, globally ranked university. Thanks to my fellow Council members and thanks also to our students—their creativity, energy and commitment fills me with confidence that our future is in good hands.