The Big Picture


What’s your strategy going forward?

11/10/2017

That’s a question I’ve been hearing more and more of late. I sometimes respond with ‘keep scoring goals’ the Brazilian football team’s strategy from the late 70s and early 80s, but I worry about its currency. In reality, everyone knows that UniSA has been doing well and they know that after five years of successful delivery against the objectives we set ourselves in Crossing the Horizon that a...


Our Survey Says....

6/07/2017

Family Feud (or Family Fortunes as it was known in my neck of the woods) was one of my favourite shows when I was growing up. The battle to be the first to the buzzer to win the right to answer the questions, the occasional unintentional-wholly-inappropriate-but-hilarious responses to seemingly innocent questions, the play-at-home guessing what would be the top score… It made for good TV and I...


The big business of education

6/06/2017

Even as we huddle together for warmth this winter – and I’m now Australian-enough to complain about the cold this side of the Equator – I wanted to update you on our response to the Federal Government’s higher education reforms. I had an opportunity a few weeks ago to put our case before the Education and Training Minister Senator Simon Birmingham. I’d like to share with you what I told him in ...


The rewards of patience

6/04/2017

Penfolds has a book about the production of their flagship Grange wine which is called The Rewards of Patience . That’s something I think about from time to time. Not Grange, (well not all the time, I do think about Grange from time to time in the context of what it means to have well marketed products of great quality) but the rewards of patience. How sometimes it takes a while for a seed to...


We're in for a great ride

23/01/2017

Welcome to 2017! This month marks the beginning of my fifth year as VC of UniSA and work really took off this past week with the Tour Down Under – a perennial highpoint and a great way to start the year. I’d originally intended to pen a ‘welcome back’ blog for the first Big Picture instalment of 2017 – but then decided that instead I would share the brief address I gave to those present at our...


Great things come to those who wait…

30/10/2016

It’s been quite a year. As Spring is finally sprung and weather assumes some semblance of normality following its celebration of Winnie the Pooh’s 90 th  birthday (that’s a very oblique cultural reference- points will be awarded to those that get it) and, most worryingly, the trappings of holiday season appear ever earlier in the shops, I’m taking a moment to reflect. Only a moment though,...


UNIJAM: Shaping the Enterprise

3/06/2016

Well, we came, we saw, we jammed and jammed and jammed for 30 hours straight. And then we slept and suffered through withdrawal. Some of us sneaked back online to read and re-read the jammy content (the site is still live, in read-only form until the 10 th June). The statistics tell us that 85% of our staff registered, a major group within the near 5,000 registrants of staff, students, alumni a...


The Red Heart

14/04/2016

Forty-three years ago, the South Australian Institute of Technology – SAIT – an antecedent institute of the University of South Australia was the trailblazing institution in Australia for the provision of opportunity and education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The Aboriginal Task Force was formed at SAIT and after that everything began to change – for the better – across th...


An outbreak of common sense – Watt?

17/02/2016

I have been asked by Times Higher Education to contribute a regular blog on the tertiary education sector in Australia and how changes within it might impact on universities elsewhere. This month I’ve taken a close look at the Watt Review into research funding. For the loyal readers of this blog I enclose the blog in full, a director’s cut.  I mentioned previously that we live in turbulent high...


New traditions have to start somewhere

3/11/2015

I now have an almost Pavlovian response on long haul flights. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with fluffy meringue. After I sort out my inbox and have a bite to eat, I find myself writing another ‘Big Picture’ blog entry. This one might just write itself. Last week alone was filled with sufficient highlights to outshine almost everything else that’s gone on since I last penned one of these...


Above and beyond the call...

18/08/2015

Another plane journey, another blog. I'm on a flight to Singapore, where a flurry of activity including a State dinner with President Tan and the announcement of a strategic partnership with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University await me. Sunday was open day. Or Open Day to give it its official capitalisation. More on that later. Last week was a pretty good week, all in all. In fact, as spring i...


Halfway through the year...

26/06/2015

The year has turned its corner, the days are getting longer and midwinter has passed. It's pretty easy for me to type that, sitting as I am in Singapore in 32 degrees of sunshine (with 65% humidity though - it's not all a bed of roses). I'm offshore to celebrate graduations. We've been to Malaysia and Singapore and next up is Hong Kong. The trip affords a little time to reflect and to pen this...


In other news...

13/05/2015

While yesterday's blog post touched on some hypothetical self-defeating strategies we might employ to simply rise higher in the rankings - more money/ fewer students (not on our watch) - today's is reserved for more immediate matters. Specifically, last night's budget. In summary, higher education is to be affected in the following ways - The measures introduced in last year's budget to reduce...


Takers, sometimes makers

12/05/2015

In the throes of the political debate on fee deregulation (12 months old with this budget tonight) I often found myself thinking about whether we were just legislation takers, or could we be influencers, makers. Little has happened to change my view that we are primarily the former, and have to work very, very hard to be the latter. I've made my own position clear on the issue of funding - the...


A week is a long time in politics

20/03/2015

Spoiler alert - (overly) very detailed political blog follows... They say a week is a long time in politics and they're not wrong. We have seen decisions, revisions, reversals and new submissions in a flurry of higher education-related high stakes poker played out in Canberra during this past week. The climax, if one can use that word, the endgame if not, was the defeat of the government's...


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

9/12/2014

Last Tuesday evening I was in Canberra as the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill was voted down in the Senate. I wasn't there for the politics, rather I was attending the launch of the New Colombo Plan scholarships for 2015. I was also coming off the disappointment of our not securing the dental tender, and the coincidence of significant efforts unrewarded had cast a little clo...


Stop and smell the roses

3/11/2014

I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat down at the desk, determined to write up a piece for this blog, only to find myself pulled in another direction, into a meeting or dealing with something or other that has conspired to stop me writing. I was beginning to think I was prevaricating – putting off a blog session for some unknown subconscious reason. But, on thinking about it – I was simply...

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Are we there yet?

14/08/2014

Hello all, I’m sitting at my PC on what is the eve of the first anniversary of the launch of Crossing the Horizon and thinking – wow, what just happened to the last year?  It’s a familiar state of mind to us all whenever we pause to reflect, but it really jumps out for me as I look back on the past twelve months in the context of our strategic action plan and all that has come to pass since we...


Now the rubber hits the road

28/07/2014

I’ve made more than a few statements about change on this blog site over the past months – signalling it, heralding its inevitability, highlighting the need. Now past the midpoint of the transition year, we’re getting to the point where the rubber hits the road. A lot of carefully analysed water has passed under the bridge in the past eighteen months or so and we are steadily making changes in...


There and back again

16/06/2014

There, and back again…. It’s now been a month since the budget. And it’s been a busy four weeks. I made my views on the budget and what it means for students fairly clear in my last posting, and with a certain degree of oscillation (vacillation?) many other VCs have said pretty much the same in various fora. But not all! The reality is we are still waiting to see what exactly will happen with t...


The Budget

15/05/2014

Isn’t it strange how sometimes you know the news you are about to receive is going to be bad, but you still hope against hope that it won’t be? Perhaps that says more about the eternal optimism of humanity than it does about our ability for rational thought. Either way, it has to be said that Tuesday’s budget news was largely as expected. Despite our hope for the contrary. While we’re still...

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Demanding Times

2/05/2014

The Kemp Norton review of the demand driven system makes interesting and sometimes intriguing reading. It presents a fairly pragmatic proposed solution for a seemingly insoluble conundrum. How do you sustain a government funded demand driven system? Their answer is to shift the bulk of the cost base to the end user, the student, expand the system for unlimited participation and allow the market...


Interesting times!

2/05/2014

Since my last posting we've enjoyed back to back long weekends, but that hasn't impacted on the momentum of UniSA or indeed the external drivers of the sector. What a couple of weeks it has been. We've had the release of the Kemp Norton review of the demand driven system, confirmation of our standing among the very best of the world's young universities in the Times Higher Education top 100 und...


Enterprise Agreements

16/04/2014

As I sat down to type this, almost at the exactly the same time, I received notification of the outcome of the staff vote on the new Enterprise Agreement. I am truly pleased that we have been able to advance an agreement that has had such resounding endorsement from our staff. I wanted to note my thanks to the negotiating teams on both sides of the table, who together advanced an agreement that...


Change

16/04/2014

The common denominator in everything I’m talking about here is, of course, change. Change (like other stuff) happens. It’s not intended to make things worse – most people don’t mind change, as long as they’re not being changed.  My view is that we have to take this on together and not shirk from improving how we operate. Where we’ve identified the need for structural change, we are calling it o...


Enterprise Support Plans

16/04/2014

Once you understand that our core ‘Enterprise’ comprises Teaching and Research, it is clear that the Provost’s review, the DVC-RI’s review and the Global Engagement framework set out what we need to do at a macro level for core business. These exercises are informed by and are structured to deliver on the actions of Crossing the Horizon. However, we have to remember that our University comprise...


Big Ticket Items – Teaching & Research – locally and internationally

16/04/2014

The Provost & Chief Academic Officer, Allan Evans, has an ongoing Curriculum Innovation Process – looking at what we’re doing well, where we could do better and how best to ensure we capitalise on the opportunities afforded to us by new technologies and learning analytics as we seek to deliver relevant, student-centred education. The first phase of that process has concluded, and all our School...


One Team

16/04/2014

I have to admit to being hugely influenced by the NASA approach to big challenges. The whole organisation unites to deliver – making, as NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said in Unijam, ‘the impossible possible’. We have no designs on taking on the impossible – but the one team approach to operating and engaging across the University has great appeal. It has such potential as a differentiator...


Introduction

16/04/2014

I’m now 16 Months into the role of Vice Chancellor and our ongoing achievements as a dynamic, relevant university and our huge potential for the future continues to inspire me on a daily basis. Getting to grips with communicating not only our successes, but our challenges posed a challenge in itself however.  Emails take you so far and town halls don’t always provide the inclusion you might wan...

 

Areas of study and research

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