Taking the talk to the road

The field lies open to talent – University of Tasmania motto

One of the defining statements in Open to Talent, the university’s new strategic vision, is the assertion that ”Tasmania deserves a world class university”. As the only university on the island, part of a national system in which student mobility remains rare, it falls to UTAS to accept this responsibility. We have chosen to embrace the role.

UTAS is a fine university, forged in the tradition of universities the world over. Yet we are by necessity and design a peculiarly and uniquely Tasmanian institution.

Over the past year, much enterprise has been directed to mapping directions for this university overthe coming decade. We have chosen to describe the UTAS we aspire to be in 2020, recognising that the pathway to achievement of our ambitions will be subject to factors in the economic, social,
political and higher education environment which we cannot control, but for which we need to be equipped to respond.

During the latter part of March, university staff at all campuses attended forums to discuss how our institution is tracking and where our future might lie. It was an opportunity to continue the conversation initiated last year as the genesis of Open to Talent. Communication across the broad and dispersed organisation that is UTAS and that is inclusive of groups outside the university has proven challenging, but critical to creating the commonality of purpose and shared aspirations that imbue our plan with meaning.

Many of the challenges that confront us are shared with other universities, nationally and internationally: uncapping of undergraduate places, capping of pre- and post-graduate courses, research performance and funding, infrastructure and stimulus funding, international student markets, curriculum responsiveness, student experience and administrative support are top of mind issues for Australia’s highest performing institutions.

Open to Talent grapples with the balance between these generic issues and the opportunities that arise from our unique environment and positioning. We have made a commitment to the regions of Tasmania on three campuses, we recognise the importance of research and teaching that reach international standards and we have stated with clarity the relationship we want with community.

Open to Talent identifies that our progress will be guided by collegial debate, respectful of a diversity of views. Ongoing discussion and conversation will provide the foundation for our progression through an environment of uncertainty to the future that we have chosen.

I encourage you to make contact with me at: vice.chancellor@utas.edu.au with any feedback.

Published on: 19 May 2012 9:57am