Uni Adelaide vision for a state university and university for the state

With the Uni SA merger off, Peter Rathjen’s University of Adelaide is planning to go it alone, sending staff a draft directions paper for a 2030 plan. “Our next strategy must help the university transform from ‘commentator’ on society to ‘active participant’, vested in delivering economic and social benefits,” it states.

The paper is standard Rathjen, presenting his university as transformer of economy and society, a vision he sold so well to Tasmanians as VC of the state uni.

‘The virtuous orchestration of our core capabilities will enable us to steer a path through … inescapable technological, societal and environmental challenges as we aspire to address society’s grand challenges, for the benefit of all.’’

The new paper sets out “three major vectors of change”, that should be “reflected” in education programmes and research projects; * tech transformation by big data, AI and machine learning,’ * social transformation generated by Industry 4.0, and * sustainability, “the imperative of the planet’s shrinking natural resources and climate change predicament, but an even broader concept when applied to the university itself.”

And it proposes five industry-facing research themes; agri-food futures, health solutions, defence and security, sustainable energy and resources and creative and cultural industries.

As in Tasmania, where Professor Rathjen worked to broaden sources of students, UniAdelaide is anxious to expand enrolment markets, with the paper referring to Indigenous, first-in-family and regionals. “Over the next 11 years, the university will transform its offerings to become more accessible and to positively impact a much larger proportion of the population than ever before.”

“Catering for such a broad and inclusive community of learners will require that the university becomes more accessible by offering flexible, modular and relevant programs, in a comprehensive range of disciplines. … To ensure the sustainability of our education enterprise, teams of academic staff and education professionals will work collaboratively with industry partners to design and deliver online and on-campus programs, and modules that can be selected by diverse learners to suit their own educational needs, as and when required.”


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