Interview with the Vice-Chancellor

Professor Grant Guilford discusses advancements made in key strategic areas.

Key achievements for 2016

It’s been a positive year for Victoria. We continue to make gains in international rankings: Victoria is in the top 2 percent of the world’s 16,000 universities and among the top 100 universities for 10 subjects.

Enrolment growth has been pleasing; we have exceeded our targets with a 2 percent increase in domestic equivalent full-time students (EFTS) in 2016, which is occurring across all faculties.

Another highlight is the ongoing endorsement from our students, with 88 percent rating our facilities and services as good or very good.

Progress on delivering skills for industry

Employment readiness, long-term future employability and citizenship are at the core of our teaching and efforts to ensure a world-class student experience.

In 2016, we launched an online employability self-assessment tool, which helped thousands of our students identify their skills and attributes. In addition, we have a strengthening focus on providing internships for students.

We were delighted to partner in the new Wellington ICT Graduate School, which will produce future leaders for this important sector. Our graduate employment rates also demonstrate our successful delivery against the Government’s agenda for the tertiary sector; a year after completing their studies, 93 percent of Victoria graduates are in work or further education, or not looking for employment

Boosting Maori and Pasifika achievement

As reflected in the make-up of our Council and Senior Leadership Team, diversity is an important thread that runs throughout Victoria.

As such, we are actively growing Māori and Pasifika enrolments, improving retention rates and supporting more students to undertake postgraduate study. This is partly due to the success of our network of Māori and Pasifika liaison and outreach staff who visit secondary schools and facilitate mentoring programmes.

On campus, we offer academic support and pastoral care services, such as Te Rōpū Āwhina, a mentoring environment for Māori and Pasifika students in Science, Engineering, Architecture and Design, and Te Pūtahi Atawhai, which provides advice, academic mentoring and culturally safe places.

Our scholarships partnership programme with Māori agencies expanded in 2016, and brought students to Victoria to realise their potential. It also led to research collaborations with iwi and new contributions of mātauranga Māori to the University’s curriculum development. Victoria proudly shows national leadership in this area through the roles of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika).

Enhancing research quality, quantity and impact

In 2016 we achieved excellent levels of external research funding, and a number of notable research honours were awarded to staff, reflecting the quality research undertaken at Victoria.

We continued to align our research to eight interdisciplinary themes of capability and academic distinctiveness, all of which are areas of national and international significance. We also continued to recruit world-class scholars.

Our commitment to conducting more collaborative, mission-led and translational research is evident in the work of groups such as the Ferrier and Robinson Research Institutes and our commercialisation arm Viclink, while Victoria spin-out company Ferranova, which is developing a cancer detection device, illustrates the growth in our commercial activities.

Growing international linkages

The Asia–Pacific region is particularly important to us. Our international student numbers, from Asia and emerging markets in Latin America, are increasing. Some of that growth is driven by demand for our expanding suite of Master’s programmes such as our new Master of International Trade.

We continued to forge links with universities and research agencies overseas. For example, our new Capital City Universities Initiative unites scholars from capital city universities to explore shared opportunities through our institutions’ proximity to public sectors.