Blink and you'll miss it
In the famous short story by Washington Irving (coming up now for 200 years old - so not exactly pop culture - it doesn’t even have a DeLorean in it) Rip Van Winkle lay down and slept for twenty years. He missed a whole chunk of American history while he dozed, including the birth of a nation through revolution. Now, while I sometimes feel like I could sleep for a year, (usually on Thursdays), I think that if that was to happen, given our rate of pace in UniSA, the place I woke up in would be totally unrecognisable.
Just look at the year we’ve had.
Our best ever performance in research. Pridham Hall, Samsung SmartSchool and the Cancer Research Institute facilities opened. Our highest ever enrolments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. MOD welcoming over 50,000 visitors in just its first four months. International recognition and ranking for many of our key subject areas. A new stretch RAP. A $450,000,000 software grant from Siemens.
And...the M word. (rhymes with...what does it rhyme with?)
A new Chancellor. A new council-approved strategy and path forward out to 2025. Certainly 2018 was never dull, not for a second.
So what about 2019? Well, we begin the journey of Enterprise25 in earnest. Our plan is to invest in the core business of the university - teaching and research - and through focus, lift our game even further. We’ll see some changes at SMG early on and later in how we organise ourselves as a university.
On that, in early 2019, we’ll be putting together some of the biggest representative focus groups we’ve ever assembled - involving around 300 staff, academic and professional, across all levels of the organisation - to come together and workshop our E25 structures for the future. A physical jam where we’ll engineer our new academic enterprise together, before bringing the output back for whole of university consultation and refinement. This exercise in co-creation reflects the UniSA culture we value so much.
An open expression of interest call for this process and more details on what we hope to achieve and how we will set about doing it will issue early in the New Year, so watch this space.
Through Enterprise25 we will see the logical alignment of cognate activities in the university, so that we can concentrate on the construction and delivery of great programs for our students and great research for our end users and partners. Our professional services will map to the teaching, research and corporate functions of the organisation. Reporting, KPIs, roles and responsibilities will all be clear and joined up and teaching and research will be central to all that we do. We will make some very big investments in human capital - our people - and we will hold true to our CTH undertaking to only hire great staff. Then we’ll match our physical infrastructure to our needs and provide a great environment for our students and our staff.
We’ll cement our standing as Australia’s University of Enterprise and one of the world’s very best young universities - by any measure.
Before the end of the year there’ll be another MYEFO (brace yourself) and in 2019 we will have a federal election - doubtless bringing about higher education changes that we can’t control, so we will simply concentrate on controlling what we can, where we can.
For the rest of the year, the take home message is pretty simple - keep on being awesome. Our SATAC first preferences are strong, as are our international applications and we have already exceeded 2,000 UniSA Online enrolments (more than half of whom are from interstate). Our year 12s will have their early offers from December 20 - and once again we will welcome thousands of new students through our doors in early 2019. They’re choosing to study with the best* - and we intend to get even better. The Bestest. (Note to CMK - don’t panic, this is not the new recruitment campaign). (Note to self - tempting).
We will have plenty going on in 2019 and beyond to keep us busy. So please, do have a great break over the Christmas period, rest and relax secure in the knowledge that you’ve contributed to another outstanding year for UniSA and the New Year will doubtless bring us all new opportunities and rewards.
Thank you for making 2018 a year to remember.
To you and yours, I wish you all the very best. Enjoy.
Ps - if you do wake up in 2020 after a very long and restful sleep and everything looks different - don’t panic. It’s all good.
* yes, in 2018 we were ranked #1 in the State (again) for graduate careers. It’s nice being the bestest.
Through The Big Picture, I hope that our whole community gains a greater and current appreciation of what is going on, how it fits together and how our activities connect and reinforce each other at a whole of enterprise level.