In my early weeks at the University, I have been struck by the commitment of staff to achieve the University's bold ambition of being counted among the top 50 universities by 2050.
International excellence does not come about by accident. There is a tremendous amount of work required to realise such a goal. We must put effort into continuing to build a reputation for international research excellence; maintaining an unrelenting focus on excellence in all things from staff and student recruitment to teaching and learning standards; providing an outstanding student experience; and pursuing initiatives which will see the University's funding base grow substantially.
These are all matters on which the University has been focusing in recent times, and to a large degree they are the very reasons I'm delighted to be here. I recognise it as a great privilege to be able to succeed Alan Robson as Vice-Chancellor and contribute as the University takes its place on the world stage.
Over coming months, I'm going to be spending a lot of time visiting the various academic and operational units to meet staff - to meet you - and to find out what you think we should be doing to achieve our goal of becoming one of the world's leading universities.
Already, we have made a great start to the 2012 academic year, welcoming the first cohort of students to join the University within its new curriculum framework. Offers to commencing students were at an all-time high and our prestigious Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) intake of 42 students (with ATAR scores above 99.35) is likely to represent the highest quality cohort of students in Australia.
The new course structure, which all in the University have worked so diligently to implement, reflects the University's openness to change, to meet the aspirations of our graduates and the wider community.
We must ensure that through our teaching, learning and research, we are serving our community, and working in partnership with industry, business and government, to produce outstanding graduates and internationally competitive research for the benefit of all.
In advanced and sophisticated economies, education, research and the community work in increasingly cooperative ways. These partnerships will be the symbols of the new style education.
The University of Western Australia is well positioned to engage in this expanding competitive environment.
The challenge is to nurture and promote a culture of innovation, education and high ambitions - a culture that says our future is too important to be left to chance. If we can do all this, then we will have built the ‘intelligence resources' that Western Australia and our nation needs for their longer-term future.
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