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Curtin University
Vice-Chancellor

4 December 2008

 
 

For reasons of confidentiality, the following iLecture screen recordings are available to staff on the Curtin network only.

INTRODUCTION

Colleagues,

On 4 December 2008 I delivered an address to the University community which reflected on the achievements of this year and looked forward to some of the challenges of 2009. For those unable to attend, the speech can be accessed via the Curtin website. I also undertook to provide this written report to the University as it was not possible to detail all the achievements of 2008 in a 45 minute address. The report is also available as a downloadable PDF.

This has been a very strong year for Curtin on many fronts. In March we publicly announced our focus on four key areas: resources, minerals and energy and the science and engineering that underpins them; health, in particular the prevention and management of chronic disease and vulnerable communities; sustainable development in a range of contexts; and emerging science and ICT, most notably our involvement with the Square Kilometre Array radio astronomy project.

In May the University completed a survey of staff satisfaction entitled Your Voice. An overall response rate of 66 per cent was achieved, which almost doubled the previous response rate for 2006 (35 per cent). While the feedback was generally positive I have identified key areas in which University wide attention is needed, namely senior management, cross-sectional communication, staff bullying, reward and recognition, career opportunities, and workloads.

In October Curtin underwent its second Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) audit, a complex and demanding process involving eight of our offshore partners across four countries in addition to campuses in Sydney, Kalgoorlie and Bentley. During the audit, AQUA interviewed over 650 Curtin staff, students and external members, such as employers and alumni. Many staff were involved in the extensive preparation and the audit itself and I thank you for your work. Although we are yet to receive the panel’s report, the verbal feedback provided indicated that we can expect a positive outcome.

In addition to these achievements, great progress was made in our core business of teaching and learning, and research and development. Positive results were achieved in the Curtin Annual Student Survey, with 88 per cent of respondents indicating they would “recommend Curtin to a friend, relative or other student”. In addition, eVALUate results for Semester 2 2008 showed a strong pattern of improvement in student satisfaction. These survey results show that students are increasingly satisfied with the quality of their unit teaching and learning experiences at Curtin. Staff should be commended on this achievement.

On the research front, Curtin achieved its first ARC Federation Fellowship, awarded to Professor Peter Teunissen, and signed a $10.5 million partnership with Rio Tinto to develop a world-class innovation centre for strategic research and development in materials and sensing in mining. Work continued on the development of the Resources and Chemistry Precinct, the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute and the Australian Sustainable Development Institute, key initiatives for Curtin moving forward. More information on these and other achievements is provided in the pages which follow.

Curtin also performed strongly in a financial sense, with our surplus for 2008 expected to be approximately $79 million. This is our third successive strong surplus, and the consistent financial discipline we have shown has stood us in good stead in the global financial downturn. Given the current uncertainty around financial matters, and the fact that our costs are exceeding our income, we will continue to exercise caution in 2009 and work to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. However, I want to stress that Curtin remains in a health financial position and has been far less impacted by the global crisis than many other universities.

I hope you find the information provided in this report of interest. I wish you and your families a happy and safe holiday season and I look forward to working with you in 2009.

Yours sincerely

Jeanette Hacket
Vice-Chancellor

CONTENTS

The report is divided into the following three areas:

ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2008

  • Teaching and Learning
  • AUQA
  • General Area Achievements and Professional Staff Achievements
  • Research and Development
  • Indigenous & International
  • Physical facilities/Capital development update

CONTEXTUAL ISSUES

  • Government policy issues and competition
  • Higher Education Policy Update
  • Student demand

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE moving forward – into 2009

  • Financial and Economic Environment
  • 2008 budget
  • 2009 budget
  • Update on EBA negotiations
  • New Strategic Plan 2009-2013

ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2008

TEACHING AND LEARNING

Student satisfaction

  • In the Learning and Teaching Performance Fund Curtin ranks 19th or 24th depending on the data used. This data includes feedback from students whose last year of study was 2006. We want to lift our performance in teaching and learning rankings and are implementing plans for systematic improvement. We have initiated a number of systems reforms that are supporting improvement in our teaching and learning.

eVALUate

  • eVALUate results for Semester 2 2008 showed a strong pattern of improvement in student satisfaction. This continued success demonstrates the importance of surveying student feedback and making systematic change to improve Curtin’s performance.
  • Student response rates are increasing: the number of students who participated in the unit surveys increased from 35.6 per cent in 2007 to 40.5 per cent in Semester 2 2008.
  • The results for Semester 2, 2008 indicate that overall satisfaction with units is 83.5 per cent, an increase from 82.2 per cent (Semester 1, 2008), 81.4 per cent (Semester 1 and 2, 2007) and 79.9 per cent (Semester 2, 2006) and 78.1 per cent (semester 1, 2006). The items showing the greatest improvements for Semester 2 2008 are feedback on learning, workload, teaching quality, student engagement (thinking about learning more effectively), and overall satisfaction.

eVALUate teacher

  • The number of teachers requesting teacher evaluation surveys has increased. In 2006 664 teachers requested surveys which rose in 2007 to 1105, and in 2008 1446 staff requested teaching evaluation surveys.

Curriculum 2010

  • This project was noted in the verbal feedback from AUQA as a highlight of teaching and learning, particularly our method of embedding graduate attributes, and the concept of the triple-i curriculum. In addition to adopting consistent and streamlined processes and degree structures, much of the activity of staff is in the comprehensive review of courses and majors. To date, 26 majors and 48 courses have completed comprehensive course review, with many more well into the process and many staff investing a great deal of energy in improving course offerings.

Foundations of Learning and Teaching program:

Greatly increased participation rate this year (from 140 in 2007 to 386 in 2008) driven by:

  • the quality of the program – overall satisfaction was 99.5 per cent
  • support for sessional staff to attend
  • staff responding to eVALUate feedback
  • increased awareness of good curriculum, assessment and moderation through C2010

Teaching Performance Index

All claims for the 2008 TPI round have been processed and funds distributed to Schools and Faculties. Thanks to all staff who participated in the pilot of the scheme. It is pleasing to see the efforts of teaching staff who strive to improve the quality of instruction, feedback and learning environments at Curtin being rewarded. In particular, I would like to congratulate the five top performing individuals and teams:

Top performing individuals:

1. Euan Lindsay
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering

2. Peter Galvin
Graduate School of Business, Curtin Business School

3. Jaya Earnest
Centre for International Health, Faculty of Health Sciences

4. Richard Ladyshewsky
Graduate School of Business, Curtin Business School

5. Mohammed Quaddus
Graduate School of Business, Curtin Business School

Top performing teams:

1. Health Sciences: Pharmacy

2. Health Sciences: Physiotherapy

3. Curtin Business School: Graduate School of Business

4. Science and Engineering: Civil Engineering

5. Humanities: Urban and Regional Planning

An evaluation of the scheme is currently underway to inform further development and refinement of the TPI for the 2009 round.

Indigenous Education

  • The Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2008
  • Curtin was the first Australian university to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan
  • Curtin has the highest number of Indigenous students at any Australian university

Regional, Remote and e-Learning

  • Migration to Blackboard is on track with over 900 units already migrated from WebCT to Blackboard.
  • Curtin Open Universities Australia is expanding with three new courses starting in 2009 (including the much anticipated Bachelor of Education Primary) – over 9000 enrolments in 2008
  • Four large faculty based (whole course) flexible learning projects are underway with another starting before the end of the year

Library

  • The i-Zone, a technology-rich student learning environment in the Robertson Library, was opened this year. I encourage everyone to have a look.

Increased support for ‘at risk’ students

  • New services that focus on the implementation of the Retention Plan in partnership with all Faculties and areas. This includes the formalisation of START (the Student Transition and Retention Team) now based in the Future Students’ Centre opposite the International Office, and new services for students placed on Conditional Status. The approach is proving to be very effective in supporting new to Curtin students and students at risk of non-completion.
  • An expanded Learning Centre addressing learning skills and language proficiency

Enhancement of the Career Service

  • The International Careers Month held in September culminated in the International Careers Fair. This was the first event of its kind at an Australian university and Curtin received excellent feedback from other universities and employers. It was a great initiative for our international students and local students thinking of working overseas.
  • Over 6,000 students attended the Career Fair on the Bentley campus. This annual event attracted over 160 employers and accolades from the Australian Association of Graduate Employers as the best expo in Australia.

AUQA

As staff are aware the AQUA audit of Curtin was conducted between 13-16 October at Bentley. We expect to receive the draft report in December, and anticipation of this the AUQA panel provided a brief exit presentation which presented a flavour of what we can expect in the draft report. The flavour included the following feedback:

Chapter 1: Recommendations from 2002 Audit

All recommendations from 2002 were found to have been addressed and AUQA was complimentary regarding improvements to the :

  • Quality Management system;
  • Strategic Planning Framework; and
  • Strategic Planning and budget alignment.

Chapter 2: Quality of the Student Experience

The panel noted the considerable work undertaken in relation to:

  • eVALUate and C2010;
  • the ‘triple-i’ curriculum approach and graduate attributes;
  • The Standards Framework – while acknowledging the future development required;
  • Good student responsiveness e.g. security and safety;
  • The workload management approach was affirmed but noted as needing more work.

Chapter 3: Internationalisation

  • The panel noted Curtin’s commitment and contribution to the community through internationalisation and its reach into the region. In particular it noted:
  • Curtin provides a significant international experience to its domestic students but needs to continue the internationalisation of the curriculum and increase student mobility;
  • The staff involved in the International Office and the Faculty international offices, the ISO certification of the International offices and the relationship between the International Office and the faculties are to be commended;
  • International research linkages are effective and the growth of Miri research has been excellent.

The overall audit is seen as being a very positive experience and of considerable value in contributing to Curtin’s ongoing commitment to continuous improvement.

GENERAL AREA AND PROFESSIONAL STAFF ACHIEVEMENTS

Senior staff

Mr Geoffrey Searle has been appointed Vice President Corporate Services and commenced on September 2008. While teaching and learning and research and development are Curtin’s core activities, they are supported by the work of the professional staff who provide the infrastructure and support services which enable the work of our academics and researchers to continue and flourish. Some examples from 2008 include:

Student Central

  • Establishment of Curtin Student Short Term Emergency Student Loan and Emergency Student Loan Loans Program
  • Online graduation registration system
  • Implementation of Policy and Procedure Manuals suite
  • Establishment of a Student Discipline and Appeals Officer
  • Continued rollout of online services to students
  • Student and sponsor debt levels at an all time low

CITS

  • The Flow Project in information management is now being piloted in several areas of the University
  • A second data centre has been commission to safeguard Curtin’s electronic information

Marketing

  • WA Business News ranked Curtin second in its annual Branding Survey, after Wesfarmers.
  • The employer brand category considers the ways in which employers have developed campaigns designed to boost their appeal as an employer. Curtin was recognised for our Curtinnovation television campaign.

Security

  • The security of students and staff is of ongoing priority for the University.
  • Staff will be aware of the spate of incidents on and around campus, particularly in the latter half of the year.
  • In response to these incidents there has been increased liaison between the University and police, with an increased police presence in the area.
  • There has also be an increase in the number of Curtin security staff patrolling campus, together with the introduction of the ‘safer pathways’ program which highlights walk routes which are regularly patrolled by security staff.
  • These actions are in addition to a range of additional security initiatives that Curtin has implemented as broadcast throughout the University over the past 12 months.
  • Another initiative has been the formation of the Curtin Community Safety and Security Action Group. This is a collaborative working group with community representatives including the police, local Councils and Transperth, together with other interested parties as required. The group has met twice and is looking at ways in which Curtin and the local community can work together to increase safety.
  • CASS result showed that students appreciated the work that had been done to improve security on campus and the satisfaction level has risen from 56 per cent satisfaction in 2006 to 68 per cent satisfaction in 2008.

Your Voice Survey

  • In May the University completed a survey of staff satisfaction.
  • An overall response rate of 66 per cent was achieved, which almost doubled the previous response rate for 2006 (35 per cent).
  • Some areas recorded higher levels of participation in the survey. For example, CBS recorded an overall response rate of 77 per cent, with three schools achieving a 100 per cent response rate, and the Faculty of Humanities recorded an overall response rate of 69 per cent.
  • The overall satisfaction level was 77%, with academic staff recording a satisfaction level of 79%.
  • Information sessions on the Survey results were conducted across the University by Faculty and Campus in August 2008 led by Director Staff Services.
  • Work areas, in some cases assisted by consultants from ODU and Staff Services, engaged to facilitate action planning sessions with faculty/office work groups to generate local responses.

eVALUate Services

  • In response to a suggestion from staff, the University developed and piloted an ‘eVALUate services’ survey in 2007. This has been fully implemented in the University in 2008. This survey provides all staff with the opportunity to provide feedback on the central services of the University. The services which were part of the pilot in 2007 all responded to the feedback they received and if you go to the eVALUate services website you can see what they have actioned in responses to the client feedback they received.
  • To date the response rate in 2008 has been disappointing and is sitting at about 15 per cent. While we have some useful feedback it would be good to have a more representative sample.
  • I am sure that as we get used to this new tool to help with our continuous improvement, the response rate will increase.

Digital Media Unit

  • Curtin won the education category of the 2008 WA Web Awards earlier this year.
  • In addition, University’s website has moved from fifth to fourth in a ranking of 20 university sites. (We were originally 17th.)
  • This consolidates Curtin in the top five and positions us well to achieve our target of being in the top three by April 2009. The current rankings are the result of measurement against approximately 700 criteria.

Community Engagement

Staff and students within Curtin are actively engaged in the community and participate in a wide range of ways: These include

  • Open Day
  • Student and staff placements in disadvantaged areas both locally and internationally such as the Go Global: Curtin Health initiative
  • Staff involvement in voluntary boards and community projects,
  • John Curtin weekend
  • John Curtin Medals
  • Curtin Volunteers

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT – HIGHLIGHTS

Research income showed strong growth of 21% in 2007, while publications growth was at 15%.

Achievements

  • Winning of an ARC Federation Fellowship for Professor Peter Teunissen. First Federation Fellowship to Curtin and a significant milestone for the University, in an area of research strength (spatial sciences)
  • $10.5 million partnership with Rio Tinto to develop a world-class innovation centre for strategic research and development in materials and sensing in mining, led by Associate Professor Vladimir Golovanevskiy.
  • Funding of the Centre of Excellence for Radio Astronomy Science and Engineering, led by Curtin in collaboration with UWA. The commitment is part of a significant effort by the State to help Australia secure the world’s largest radio astronomy project – the $2 billion Square Kilometre Array. Centre will be led by Professors Steven Tingay and Peter Hall
  • The establishment of the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute under the renowned sustainability expert Professor Peter Newman.
  • Professor Zheng-Xiang Li of the Department of Applied Geology and The Institute for Geoscience Research, was a winner in the 2008 Australian Thomson Scientific Citation Awards. Made annually by Thomson Scientific, these prestigious awards are made annually to the most pre-eminent researchers selected on the average number of citations per paper that their published research has generated over a period of time. Professor Li achieved 591 citations on seven papers with an average of 84 citations per paper
  • Curtin’s Hydrogen Storage Group, headed by Professor Craig Buckley has won an inaugural research grant from Russian aluminium company Rusal, topping over 100 entries from around the globe. Effectively storing hydrogen in light metals such as aluminium will pave the way for hydrogen fuel cells in cars and reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A jointly funded Chair in Corrosion, funded by Chevron and Woodside, has been secured by Curtin. The inaugural Chair is Professor Rolf Gubner.
  • Curtin and Western Power signed a sponsorship agreement aimed at increasing expertise in the power industry. Western Power will provide the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering with close to $1 million over five years to fund a Chair in Power Engineering, together with undergraduate bursaries.
  • Curtin has joined the Western Australian Department of Sport and Recreation to establish the Centre for Sport and Recreation Research in the Faculty of Humanities.
  • Curtin secured funding of $300,000 under the CSIRO Flagship Program – Intelligent Grid Cluster, in projects led by Professor Daniela Stehlik
  • Curtin secured funding under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (NCRIS) – Population Health Research Network – under Professor James Semmens, winner of the Royal Australasian College for Surgeons Medal for Services to the College.
  • Sensear – a Curtin spin-off company with innovative products enabling speech communication in high-noise environments without the need to remove hearing protection – was declared one of the world’s most promising new companies at launch: Silicon Valley 2008, held by The Silicon Valley Association of Start-up Entrepreneurs (SVASE) and hosted by Microsoft.

Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute

  • Currently work is being progressed in the Faculty to realign the research centres and institutes with CHIRI to progress the development of the governance structure. This involves consultation and discussion with individuals, groups and key stakeholders and is progressing well.
  • A key group of health and industry professionals has been identified to for the CHIRI Advisory Board and individuals will be approached to form this important Institute group.
  • Planning for fundraising for the Institute has also commenced. Liaison is continuing with key government and health industry stakeholders to invest in a fully funded, five year, Professorial appointment in CHIRI in the new year.

Australian Sustainable Development Institute (ASDI)

  • The Australian Sustainable Development Institute (ASDI) is gaining momentum with significant activities and partnerships progressing.
  • Research projects and collaborations currently in negotiation include, 3D modelling of the rock art in the Dampier archipelago, clean coal technologies, Desert Knowledge CRC rebid, Sustainable Tourism CRC rebid, Australian Seafood CRC establishment, Centre of Excellence for Research into Energy for Sustainable Transport (Centre), the Geothermal COE, and Department of Agriculture and Food WA/Food Science Australia/CSIRO/Curtin research collaboration.

INTERNATIONAL

Opening of Curtin Singapore

  • Curtin Singapore was officially launched on 13 November. The launch was held at the new facility and attended by many guests including the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, Mr Doug Chester, and Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr S. Iswaran. It was followed by an Alumni function held later that evening.
  • Curtin Singapore will officially open its doors to students on 1 December 2008. It will initially offer Curtin Business School courses, but this will be expanded over time to include courses in nursing, health sciences and humanities. The campus has the capacity to accommodate 4,500 students.
  • The opening of Curtin Singapore demonstrates our long-standing commitment to international education, particularly in Asia.

PHYSICAL FACILITIES/CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT UPDATE Resources and Chemistry Precinct

  • The State Governments decision to co-locate the Chemistry Centre of WA on the Bentley campus with Curtin’s Department of Chemistry and the CSIRO Minerals Research Centre will enable the creation of a world-class knowledge precinct for research and learning in the Resources and Chemistry sector.
  • Work commenced in early 2007 and it is now anticipated to be completed by May/June 2009.

Curtin Stadium

  • This state of the art recreation, sporting and events facility will officially open in 2009 though the Fitness Centre will operate from December 2008. It includes three international grade sports courts, new fitness centre with two gyms and spin room, beach volley ball facilities and coffee shop. The design allows for the sports area to be used for large events such as graduations, examinations, design shows, formal dinners and other events with seating for 2,500 guests.

Future Students Centre

  • Curtin’s Future Students Centre was recently located in the newly refurbished Hayman Hall in Building 102 on 29 September 2008.
  • The main objective of the Centre is to improve the service to prospective students leading to enrolment.
  • A recent survey confirmed that the future student experience at Curtin has improved markedly to 83 per cent in 2008. Well done to all involved.
  • Curtin ranked ahead of other WA universities on all key indicators (e.g. response time, information provided, knowledge of staff, friendliness, enquiry follow up, etc), which is an excellent result for all areas.

Curtin Master Plan

  • Over the last six months the University and its team of urban planning consultants have been working in collaboration with State and Local Governments to review the Physical Master Plan for the Bentley Campus to ensure that future developments closely support the University’s vision for the future.
  • The principal aim of the Master Plan is to provide a vital physical environment in which innovation, interaction, research and learning will thrive.
  • The plan focuses upon the creation of an urban university town setting connected by a major public transit spine to the CBD and other knowledge and activity centres in the immediate region.
  • The plan envisages creating, over a 30 to 40 year period, a significant property endowment asset for the University as well as an exciting environment for people to learn, work, shop, live and play.

CONTEXT

GOVERNMENT POLICY ISSUES AND COMPETITION

Political and Corporate Engagement

  • This year considerable effort has been dedicated to liaison with key politicians and decision-makers to continue discussions as to how Curtin can align with State and national priorities.
  • Julia Gillard, Minister for Education and Workplace Relations; Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Nicola Roxon Minister for Health; Justine Elliot, Minister for Ageing; and Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy have all visited this campus this year. I have also had additional meetings with Ministers Gillard and Carr as part of the ATN.
  • On a State level I have met with the Premier and most of the new key Ministers and I will continue to meet with them throughout next year.
  • At a local level, we have also developed good working relations with the three local mayors of Cannington, Victoria Park and South Perth and I meet regularly with them both as a group and individually.

Institutional Assessment Framework (IAF) visit

  • Curtin has also successfully completed its annual Institutional Assessment Framework exercise with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and a representative of the Department of Science and Innovation.
  • The process examines the University’s performance across a series of topics such as our strategic direction, teaching, research and equity.
  • The IAF visit provided some insight into emerging government policy, and suggested that:
    • Discussion around the development of a compacts systemwas still underway in the Federal Government and that opportunities would be created for universities to provide input and comment.
    • Although no definitive position could be provided from DEEWR it did appear that all signs were pointing to deregulation in the sector. This will present challenges and opportunities for universities and Curtin is well positioned to operate in a deregulated environment.
    • Indexation of government fundingis unlikely to improve and universities should take a conservative position in relation to their finances
    • Curtin was also able to raise its concerns regarding a number of sector wide issues related to:
    • Reduced funding and indexation and the need for universities to maintain cash surplus to fund capital expenditure and to cater for economic fluctuations.
    • Increase in student poverty.

HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY UPDATE

Student Services Fee

  • Towards the end of the year, the Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, wrote to Australian universities outlining initiatives to support the delivery of essential services and amenities on Australian university campuses in place of voluntary student unionism (VSU).
  • The Minister advised that “from 1 July 2009, higher education providers will have the option of setting a compulsory fee, capped at a maximum of $250 per full time student and indexed each year, to help rebuild student amenities and support services.”

Bradley Report

  • A report arising from the major review of higher education commissioned by the Federal Government earlier this year is due before the end of the year. The review panel, chaired by Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley, was requested to examine and advise on how to progress key objectives for higher education.

The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Initiative

  • On 26 February 2008, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, the Hon. Senator Kim Carr, announced plans for a new research quality and evaluation system in place of the previous government’s Research Quality Framework (RFQ).
  • The ERA initiative is being developed by the Australian Research Council (ARC). It will assess research quality within Australia’s higher education institutions using a combination of indicators and expert review by committees comprising experienced, internationally-recognised experts.
  • A critical component of the ERA is the journal rankings to be used in the assessment process. The overall guidelines/specifications for the ERA are currently expected to be released on 18 December 2008. Journal rankings for the humanities and creative arts are expected to be released in the first half of 2009. A pilot trial of the ERA has also been planned to commence in the first half of 2009. This will be a “test run” with no impact on funding. Curtin participated and provided feedback on the SEER information management system for ERA.
  • There has been some concern throughout the higher education sector following the Innovation System Review that recommended the distribution of research block funding should be based on evidence of research excellence, such as ERA quality rankings. Peak sector bodies have declared general support for the ERA, but have expressed the view that all participants need to have confidence in the system prior to its deployment as a key funding mechanism. The ARC had earlier indicated that the ERA would be a longer term guide for such funding rather than a determining factor.

Higher Education Endowment Fund (HEEF)

  • The Higher Education Endowment Fund was established to provide funding to Australian higher education institutions for capital expenditure and research facilities. From 2009, the HEEF program will become part of the Education Investment Fund (EIF) announced in the 2008-09 Budget.
  • On 6 June 2008 Expressions of Interest for funding under HEEF were called. On 22 October 2008 fourteen institutions were invited to bring forward their proposals to the second round of the funding process. Curtin was not successful with its application for the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI). It is anticipated that the successful applicants will be announced in December 2008.
  • On 14 October 2008 the Prime Minister announced that the government would accelerate the implementation of the EIF, along with the other infrastructure funds announced in the 2008 Federal budget. Broad, interim evaluation criteria across all these infrastructure funds have been released (Building Australia Fund; Health and Hospitals Fund; and EIF).

STUDENT DEMAND FOR 2009

Preferences

Domestic students

  • WA total TISC applications have increased by 4 per cent overall this year. Applications from school leavers are steady, but mature age applications are up 13 per cent.
  • Curtin has achieved a small increase in school leaver applications, and a 19 per cent increase in mature-age applications.
  • Humanities and CBS have increased their first preference counts this year, with strong growth in both the school leaver and mature-age markets.

International – General:

  • Curtin has targeted a slight increase in the number of new international students in 2009.
  • Early figures show an increase in demand compared to same time last year.
  • Early indications from Curtin Sarawak are for a slight increase in 2009 enrolment. In 2009, Curtin celebrates 10 years in Sarawak. The PVC reported recently that the Malaysian Ministry of Education has offered Curtin Sarawak self-accreditation university status. A rare privilege for an international University operating in Malaysia. This recognises the hard work of many Curtin staff over the last ten years.

MOVING FORWARD

BUDGET AND FINANCIAL

Financial and economic environment

  • Curtin has strengthened its financial position over the last three years. However costs are growing faster than revenue and with the global financial crisis we will continue to exercise caution in 2009 and work to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.

2008 estimated financial outcome

  • Expected surplus $79.0 million
  • Capital expenditure $117 million

2009 budget – approved by Council on 10 December

  • Underlying revenues up 5.95 per cent, but expenditure up 8.74 per cent (including total salaried expenditure at 9.6 per cent)
  • Budgeted (unadjusted) surplus $40 million, but includes one-offs and investment income
  • Commonwealth supported student funding capped at 2.1 per cent indexation
  • No significant increase in student numbers budgeted
  • An additional 151 FTE staff budgeted for
  • Capital expenditure budgeted at $76 million

Overall the University will continue to look at ways in which to reduce costs. An operations review group will be formed chaired by Geoff Searle, VP Corporate Services to examine and improve our non academic business processes to simplify and streamline the way we do things. Professor Jane den Hollander will be chairing a similar group examining ways to improve academic processes. The Pro Vice-Chancellors will be involved in this academic group.

UPDATE ON ENTERPRISE BARGAINING NEGOTIATIONS

  • The effective salary increase for the past year
    • 5 per cent academic staff
    • 4.5 per cent general staff
  • Further increases tied to improvements in the University processes and systems
  • Curtin is seeking:
    • Changes to academic workload and hours of work clause
    • Annualise hours
    • Reasonable workload to be allocated through planning with supervisor
    • A clear meaning and purpose of consultation on change
    • Separation of current disciplinary processes to better deal with persistent unsatisfactory performance and limit the adverse impact on other staff in the area.

STRATEGIC PLAN 2009-2013

  • 2008 represents the final year of the University’s current strategic plan and work commenced early in the year on the development of a new Plan.
  • The strategic planning process has given consideration to the trends and changes in the higher education environment, obtained external input and provided opportunity for staff, executive management and Council to contribute to the development of the strategic direction of the University.
  • Curtin’s new strategic plan 2009 – 2013 will present clear strategies and targets for positioning the University for sustainability and growth in an ever changing environment the plan also provides a vision for 2020.
  • Council has already approved a new Vision for the University which positions Curtin as :
  • an international leader shaping the future through our graduates and research, positioned among the top 20 universities in Asia by 2020.
  • The strategic plan was approved by Council at its 10 December meeting and work on the related plans (Enabling and Faculty Plans) has already commenced.
  • The strategic plan presents the following five key strategies for the University:
    • Develop a culture of excellence and innovation – recruit and retain quality staff who contribute to the performance of the University within an environment where they can excel.
    • Focus on high quality courses in areas of strength – deliver differentiated courses that meet students’ and employers’ expectations.
    • Strengthen research capability and performance – consolidate and grow research strengths to address emerging global and community challenges.
    • Drive international excellence – build on achievements and exploit opportunities to become a leading international university.
    • Enhance capacity and financial sustainability – improve financial position and leverage the resources and capability of the University.