SCU is bold and brave in its vision – bold for ambitious targets, brave, because unlike many uni plans, it includes hard numbers
The university’s new strategy is based on doubling student numbers and growing research income by 2026; “achieving a scale that is essential not only to the university’s sustainability, but also to its commitment to creating a better future through research and education.”
VC Adam Shoemaker’s plan commits to;
* doubling overall EFTS to 20 000
* a 100 per cent increase in international enrolments, to 40 per cent of total students
* 75 per cent of UGs and 86 (sic) per cent of PGs in FT employment within four months of completion
* 75 per cent retention rate for all starting UGs
* 6 per cent base operating margin (locals say the university is now running around a 1 per cent surplus, the first in some years, after losing $5m in 2017 and recording a $493 000 surplus in ‘18)
* $50m in research income from government and industry – public funding was $10m in 2017
* branding SCU in research, teaching and service as a university for subtropical Australia
* extending on pathways programmes across sectors and transitions into education for people of all ages and education levels
* integrating Indigenous knowledge and “caring for country” in courses and culture
How to pay for it: SCU observers suggest the university will need to make a case for more Commonwealth funded student places, arguing that the base for growth from next year was set when the university was at what one calls “a low ebb”. SCU’s strategy may also appeal to Education Minister Dan Tehan, who is keen on expanding university opportunity in regions.
The university is also looking to grow on-line courses in health and business, building on its present partnership with Keypath Education, which provides product research, student recruitment and support services. It also partners with The Hotel School, in Sydney and now in Brisbane.
How long has SCU got: Not the whole six years. Professor Shoemaker is three years into his first term and will want to get things going. “The first two years are critical,” a Southern Cross watcher says.