September 29 2010
Bright Future on the Horizon at UniSA
The University of South Australia has released a 10-year strategic plan that includes more than a billion dollar investment in infrastructure to support an exceptional student experience.
The aspirational plan, Horizon 2020, outlines a renewed focus on both research and teaching and includes the construction of a new $95 million building in the heart of Adelaide’s west end that will deliver the most up-to-date teaching and learning spaces for students.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Høj says the strategic plan is unashamedly ambitious.
“In going through the whole process of consultation with staff and more than 900 students and alumni, we got a very clear sense of just how rapidly UniSA has progressed in the short time since its foundation,” Prof Høj says.
“Our current growth trajectory gives us some justifiable confidence that we can continue to improve in our research and teaching and learning and to believe that we will grow even further in stature as an institution.”
Key aspirations in the plan include seeking to establish a UniSA Medical School to focus specifically on addressing the health needs of disadvantaged populations, particularly in northern Adelaide, and to complement UniSA’s full range of allied health programs and its international excellence in population health research.
Other key elements in the plan include a multidisciplinary approach to research, focussing on the big issues of our times including health care, natural resource protection, clean sustainable energy, design and technology innovation, life quality and productivity, and inclusive and resilient democratic societies.
Prof Høj says the plan has some specific research targets including the foundation and development of 20 world-class research concentrations, engaged internationally through their staff, students and research partners. This goal is matched by a target of 1500 research-active academic staff and a drive to have more than 1500 research students at UniSA from around Australia and the world.
“We also believe that in developing research, we have the opportunity to develop a real and creative interaction between teaching, learning and research that will be of enormous benefit to students. In this environment students will be learning about new possibilities, new developments and new research as they are happening,” he says.
The plan scopes further opportunities to consolidate UniSA campuses to make better use of resources and develop a more sustainable profile in the environment with a focus on boosting student numbers in the heart of the city and in the north at Mawson Lakes campus.
The UniSA College, announced earlier this year, is another key strategy in the plan and is being developed to increase opportunities for participation in higher education for a broader range of students.
Prof Høj says improving and enhancing the student experience at UniSA is a top priority.
“We want to continue to create a distinctive environment for students at UniSA – part of that is to give them a learning experience that equips them for the world,” Prof Høj said.
“They have told us they value industry experience, the facilities and infrastructure to support practical and theoretical learning to the highest level, and a learning environment that is internationally engaged and supports interaction and collaboration.
“We intend to deliver on that. Our goal is to consistently be in the top 20 per cent of universities in Australia for student satisfaction and student progression. We want to be the University of Choice for increasing numbers of local and international students and when they graduate we want them to be the graduates of choice for employers.”
The strategic plan reaffirms UniSA’s commitment to its core values including its social justice mission, international engagement, scholarship, sustainable societies, innovation and full engagement with the wider community.
Professor Høj says the development of Horizon 2020 has been one of the most valuable tasks the University community has embarked upon.
“The participation and collaboration in developing this strategy has been incredible,” he says, “and because of that wide involvement I believe that the plan reflects the energy of our University community – staff, students, alumni, friends and Council members – and that is what will carry us forward to achieve our ambitions.”
News editors please note – Copies of the full plan - Horizon 2020 - are available on request in hard and soft copy or online here