University of Melbourne Magazine

From Horace to the digital age

  • For the University of Melbourne, a successful strategy today demands continuing improvement in many fields, including the impact of our research, the quality of our students’ experience of learning and our partnerships with industry and communities around the world, including alumni.

    Growing Esteem 2014 canvasses some important proposals in all these areas.

    • One dilemma for a comprehensive university such as Melbourne is balancing enquiry-led research with world-changing discoveries. Institutionally, we have adopted three Grand Challenges as research goals: understanding our place and purpose; fostering health and well-being; and supporting sustainability and resilience. Articulating these research goals has been an important step towards greater research impact. Our next steps toward greater impact will include working with individual scholars on how they contribute to the wider picture, recruiting more senior researchers with a capacity for impact, and more closely aligning our research training offerings with the strategic big picture.
    • The University seeks to build innovative, blended learning opportunities into all its programs to improve student experience and learning outcomes. We seek to build on the considerable attractiveness of the University’s existing atmosphere to provide physical and virtual on-campus infrastructure that will further enrich the student experience.
    • Effective research and teaching at Melbourne are both bound up with greater opportunities for students to engage with the world and with future employers. Industry engagement is a critical area here. Accordingly, we propose to develop new incentives to encourage more academics and research higher-degree students to engage with industry. Our international engagement and public engagement are also being enhanced in important ways.

    The University of Melbourne hosts hundreds of conferences, seminars, lectures and other community activities throughout the year, providing an important mechanism for the debate of public issues and sharing of expertise. Many of our research programs are established as resources for government and community organisations, both in terms of research findings and practical application in the community.

    There is also an opportunity to encourage greater public engagement through an emerging precinct around public policy. A number of significant partners have set up around the University’s Parkville campus in recent years. These include the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, the Centre for Advancing Journalism, The Conversation, the Grattan Institute, the LH Martin Institute, the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, and the Melbourne School of Government.

    Finally, building relations with the University’s many alumni and supporters is a key part of our engagement strategy. Alumni support the University in myriad ways, acting as ambassadors, mentors, volunteers, career advisers and donors. The demographic of our alumni body is becoming more interstate-based and more international. The nature of student experience, and therefore the strategy for alumni interaction, is being transformed through the delivery of the Melbourne Curriculum.