Friday, 05 December 2014
With the festive season nearly upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your hard work and commitment over the past year and to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
This was a year in which major changes to the way universities are funded hung as a backdrop to our day-to-day activities in the form of the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill. Universities have been at the forefront of much of the political and social debate in Australia for much of 2014. The community support for the purpose and role of Universities has been gratifying. There is still some work required to ensure that the interests of current and future students are addressed, but the direction is positive. A more considered approach and further debate in 2015 will lead to improvements for students and the sector.
ECU has in 2014 continued to educate the next generation of engineers, nurses, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs and others. We’ve been recognised for doing so, receiving five star ratings six years in a row from the Good Universities Guide for the quality or our teaching and student experience. This is a great achievement that demonstrates the focus that ECU staff place on our students and their experience.
ECU researchers have continued to make an impact, a fact recognised in the regular awards and grant funding we have received, including a recent ARC Discovery Project grant and ECU’s third national iAward in three years among other successes.
A highlight in 2014 was the opening of the ECU Health Centre in Wanneroo. Encompassing the Wanneroo GP Super Clinic, the facility will take pressure off emergency departments and help prevent hospital admissions. This reinforces an approach to teaching and research at ECU that acknowledges that effective engagement should result in two-way benefits.
It was a pleasure to welcome Hugh Jackman back to ECU this year, when he launched the Jackman Furness Foundation for the Performing Arts together with Australian veteran actor, friend of ECU and WAAPA, and Patron of the Foundation, Mr Jack Thompson AM.
In September we farewelled a Vice-Chancellor when Professor Kerry Cox retired. At the most recent graduation ceremony, the University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) and the title of Emeritus Professor. We have also announced the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Chapman, who will join the University in April 2015,
I thank all members of the University community who have contributed to ECU in 2014. These include our hard working current and past staff and students, visiting scholars, Council and Committee members. Through our collective efforts, ECU continues to provide an exceptional student experience that adds value for our graduates and communities.
For those of you taking a break over the festive season, I hope you enjoy the time off and return in the New Year feeling refreshed.
For those of you working during our Essential Student Services Period, I thank you for your contribution during this time and trust you have an opportunity for a break early in 2015.
Professor Arshad Omari
* Professor Arshad Omari was Acting Vice-Chancellor of Edith Cowan University from September 2014 to April 2015.
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