Posted 19/10/2018 by: Professor David Lloyd

Sometimes my mind wanders. Well actually, more than sometimes. I tend to suffer from the same issue that caused Yoda to poke Luke with a stick in Empire. (I still can’t believe that was 38 years ago :o) Looking to the future, to the horizon. Sometimes at the expense of the now.  As an aside, Google ‘Yoda Seagulls’. See, I did it again.

While we are busy being awesome, and doing a great job of it, we are also busy being uncertain. We’re uncertain about the possibility of merger and we are similarly uncertain about whether Enterprise25 will roll out and the changes that it would bring about for us on implementation. In such circumstances it’s tempting to imagine different futures, to avoid the now.

So what happens next? Decisions are part of the job – for all of us. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with every choice. On Monday of next week, our Council will review the data, inputs and analyses arising from the merger exploration process thus far and they’ll discuss and debate the merits presented. It’s a ‘decision gate’ meeting, where high level pros and cons will be objectively challenged and assessed. They’ll look at capital, community and cultural costs and benefits – tangibles and intangibles. The sentiment of the organisation and our stakeholders. They’ll hold up E25 as a lens through which they can compare possible futures – and they’ll make a call on whether to continue with the assessment process or not. That’s the job.

I like the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indy has battled his way through each of the perilous tests and made his way into the Grail room and has to pick the right cup in order to save his dad. ‘Choose wisely’ is the advice offered to him by the Knight. Pretty obvious, right? But sage advice nonetheless. We’re very fortunate to have a Council that can engage rigorously as ours does on such matters of institutional importance. I do know that they will ‘choose wisely’. Whatever comes from the meeting – whether it is decided that we should continue the exploratory process through to December or if we decide to go one way or the other on the evidence and data amassed to date - there is, happily, no downside for UniSA. We will continue to be awesome – that comes naturally. There will be the collapsing of an uncertainty wavefunction to reveal the current status of our cat in a box, and through that, the provision of a greater degree of certainty and clarity around next steps for our organisation.

Where we are right now is just as important as where we might end up in any hypothetical future. Right now we are placed in the top 10 Universities in Australia by Times Higher Education. We are on track for our best performance in research, ever. That’ll be further borne out in early 2019 through the forthcoming ERA results. We are top of the pops for industry engagement in research – number 1 in the country. The first of this year’s batch of subject rankings – released yesterday by THE - have us at #1 in SA for Law, for Education and for Business and Economics – I’ve no doubt that more #1s will emerge in the next few weeks as they release further data. Our graduates are gaining employment on leaving us, again with the best rate in the State. Just last night our amazing staff brought home six (count ‘em, six!) of the ten Winnovation awards. What’s not to be proud of? All of the indicators on our Council corporate dashboard are green – which is nice to see for an Irish fella. That sets us up for any future.

Of course, we might open the box and get attacked by a zombie cat…it’s been in there for four months now and is probably a bit grouchy. Oops. I’m doing it again.

Professor David Lloyd

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.


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