Every day progress is being made towards the goals set-out in our NeW Directions Strategic Plan 2013-2015 – and you can stay up-to-date on all the latest key developments right here!

In the spotlight this week

Education Plan

Launch of Inaugural Innovation Flagship Programs

Last week UON launched the first two Flagship Programs – the Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) and the Masters of Education. These new programs will build upon the University’s reputation in its areas of strength through establishing strong links to industry and the professional community, as well as supporting existing and emerging industry sectors in our region.

Graduate outcomes will be enhanced through the significant application of a Work Integrated Learning component – and in the case of the Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours), the final year is practicum-based with our key partners in South East Asia, including strong links to UON Singapore. Stay tuned, as other Flagship Programs are just around the corner!

Making learning outcomes stronger

We have been working to review our academic programs for the Australian Quality Framework (AQF) - not just from the perspective of compliance, but with an eye to how we can make the learning outcomes from our programs even stronger. This work takes us a considerable way towards our goal of benchmarking our educational activities in line with national and international best practice to ensure the delivery of high quality internationalised programs.

Centre for Excellence and Equity taking shape

With our diverse student population and pathways into our academic programs, transition and retention has assumed a priority for the University. While we celebrated our five star rating for student retention in the Good Universities Guide, we are aware that we have much to do to better understand the factors that underpin student success.

The preliminary work we have been doing to scope the activities that will be supported by our Centre of Excellence in Equity for Higher Education will ensure that the Centre is positioned well to contribute nationally and internationally, linking equity and excellence in an evidence based way. We intend to provide a briefing on the shape the Centre will take in December, spanning the areas of improving transition to university and student retention, building effective enabling education programs and developing cultural competence for inclusive education.

A framework for evaluating academic programs

As we move towards a more robust evaluation of our academic programs, work has started on an evaluation framework that encompasses financial viability, quality and demand in order to ensure that we meet the needs of students and employers of our graduates. This detailed work will give us, for the first time, a quantitative insight into the attributes of our academic programs and will provide Faculties with an important tool to plan effectively for future needs.

Research and Innovation Plan

Research and Innovation Clusters

In 2013, we launched our Defence Research and Innovation Cluster. Clusters are models of collaboration that translate our research into innovation and real benefits for our communities. A UON initiative, clusters build research performance and our reputation both nationally and internationally.

Stay tuned for the launch of two more clusters in late 2013 - Creative Industries and Food - and our e-Health and Holistic Aboriginal Research clusters will launch in early 2014.

Industry Innovation Precincts (IIP)

IIPs are another important model of engagement and industry-led innovation. Established by the Australian government, IIPs are open to many partners, including other universities. UON are members of a Food IIP and Manufacturing IIP, working with our partners to generate new ideas and create new opportunities for research breakthroughs, which translate into practice.

Newcastle University Research Outputs - (NURO)

The NURO publications system has delivered to the University a 'first of its kind' system that will genuinely improve outcomes for our researchers by significantly increasing the speed of uploading their work to their web profiles. NURO also provides our leaders with real-time and customised research publication data.

Helping Research Careers

Strategies are being developed that focus on a best-practice model of development that will propel our early and mid-career researchers into the next stage of their careers. As a part of this, our Emerging Research Leaders program will be re-introduced in 2014.

Global Partnership Plan (GPP)

Led by the University's International Office, the GPP will help us create formal linkages with leading international partners. The GPP will build upon several significant relationships already established in 2013, particularly those of the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).

As an important building block towards the GPP, we have refreshed our Jointly Awarded RhD process, which makes it easier for staff to link students with suitable overseas institutions - including a simplified checklist!

Postgraduate studies

We are also on track for record PhD and Masters completions in 2013 (one of our really important KPIs); and the Office of Graduate Studies has developed innovative strategies in 2013 to increase our research student numbers - we know that excellent research students are the mark of any research intensive university and this great work in the OGS team is very timely for UON.

Future Workforce Plan

Healthy UON Strategy

We have brought together health, safety and well-being initiatives under a healthy UON strategy to support a working and learning environment that promotes positive physical, mental and social health. We have also recently refreshed our Diversity and Inclusiveness Policy - and this online guide outlines ways for the UON community to address concerns about inappropriate behaviour. You can also familiarise yourself with the respectful and collaborative workplace policy and guide.

New Professors Talk

We often miss the chance as a University community to be introduced to our new Professors and to hear about their research. The New Professors Talk series is a dynamic monthly lecture series held at the Newcastle Museum. From May 2013 our University's new professors have presented to our community, sharing their knowledge and expertise as leading commentators and thinkers. The series will continue in 2014.

Performance Review and Development (PRD)

Staff told us that the Performance Development Framework (PDF) needed improvement and this is why Objective 3.1 of our Future Workforce Plan aimed to devise a new PDF that "clarifies and aligns performance expectations and career aspirations". Drawing upon various sources of input from across the University, the new Performance Review and Development (PRD) process focuses on meaningful conversations that produce quality performance and development plans and related goals.

The PRD is evolutionary change and builds upon our previous approach, to considerably enhance how UON supports staff performance and development. PRD information and training sessions are planned for implementation before the end of 2013.

UON Leadership Framework

'Tailor-made' for UON, the Leadership Framework sets out expected leadership behaviours and will also support all our leaders - from those leading a team of a few staff, to those who are heading up large Divisions, Schools and research centres - with career planning and leadership development, as well as improving succession planning. The Leadership Framework will also guide our recruitment strategies by clearly articulating UON's expectations of our future leaders.

Campus, Capital and IT Plan (CCIT)

Streamlining resource support and delivery

The bringing together of IT Services, Infrastructure and Facilities Services, and Financial Services in 2013 into one resource "powerhouse" has enabled the University to streamline its approach to resource support and delivery.

The Resources Division now integrates the major administrative and resource management portfolios within a single, cohesive division to deliver customer-focused, responsive, professional support services and resource delivery to enable the achievement of the University's NeW Directions strategic plan.

NeW Space update

Excitement is building as the NeWSpace project gathers momentum. The Vice-Chancellor and Newcastle's Lord Mayor recently 'unlocked' the development site in the Civic precinct. The project will see the development of a state-of-the-art facility supporting business and law programs into the future. This will require innovative thinking for successful design and delivery and is a fantastic opportunity for the University to establish a world-class facility in the Newcastle CBD.

Support for key projects

The establishment of the Resources Division Strategic Governance Office is providing essential support for the implementation of key projects within IT and Infrastructure & Facilities Services.

The embedding of the new IT Governance framework has resulted in greater understanding and visibility of the IT Program of Works and enhanced forward planning for the 2014 Program of Works.

Similarly, the establishment of a Strategic Asset Management Governance Framework brings together key capital planning processes including the Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP) and Strategic Asset Management Framework. Work is also being undertaken on elements within the SAMP and Asset Management Gateway Process.

Expansion of UON's Wireless Network

A planned expansion of the wireless network will deliver increased density coverage. IT Services are progressing strategies for 'BYO' devices and mobility, cloud computing, disaster recovery and IT asset management. These are exciting initiatives that will ensure stability in our virtual environments into the future.

Refreshing UON campuses

A significant refresh of the University's master plans at the Callaghan, Ourimbah and Newcastle City campuses is underway. This project will roll into 2014 and involves significant input from stakeholders across UON.

The Campus Master Plan will outline the University's vision for each campus and provide a campus-wide plan capable of facilitating the coordinated growth and improvement of campus facilities. The Plan will guide the physical development and evolution of the Campus Estate to deliver infrastructure which supports world-class education and research.

Understanding our physical assets and teaching environments

The implementation of the new Archibus space management system is progressing well and the Works and Assets system implementation is largely completed, with refinement planned in the production environment for the remainder of 2013. This is a great achievement in our understanding of the use of our physical assets and teaching environments!

Service Improvement

The Uniforum benchmarking project commenced in June 2013, and has delivered a base line data set which provides a clearerpicture of how and where administrative and professional staff services are delivered across the institution. The UniForum project provides opportunities to inform discussions around more efficient and effective end-to-end service delivery models.