Victoria U’s unity ticket

The university’s new strategy (CMM yesterday) was a team-effort – a really big team

Adam Shoemaker started at VU just before Christmas and it appears had ducks sufficiently in a row to start the strategy process in March, using on-line forums, with some 900-staff engaging in the creation. There was a separate stream for students, with 300 plus responses to what management proposed.

A draft went to Council in June, followed by all-staff virtual meets. The now in-place plan was signed off by Council a fortnight back.

Smart stuff – the more people in the tent the better. And it shows how VU has changed.

The last savings round was tense and votes on enterprise bargaining demonstrated staff suspicions of management – the university lost two votes on a proposed agreement.

But well before Professor Shoemaker arrived there was a concerted campaign by management to engage with the workforce, demonstrated by then DVC Marcia Devlin organising a “festival” with “recognising and celebrating our staff a key theme.”

It worked. Victoria U won the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association award for “substantial positive change” demonstrated in staff surveys (CMM September 2019). And it won in five of ten categories at the staff-focused Association of Tertiary Education Management Awards that year (CMM October 2).

Shoemaker inherited a store of staff good-will – it;’s got to last the seven years of change the new plan will take.