Message from the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor

Chancellor headshot Vice Chancellor Caroline McMillen

In 2012, the University of Newcastle continued to build its standing as a world-class institution that delivers quality education and innovative research.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings ranked us in the top three per cent of universities in the world, and in the top 50 universities in the world under the age of 50. This is an excellent outcome for a young university competing against the world's best.

Nationally, the University is acknowledged as a leader in providing more opportunities for people from all walks of life with ability and determination to enter and succeed in higher education. With a continued focus on building access and participation, 27 per cent of our students in 2012 were from low socio economic backgrounds, compared to the sector average of 16 per cent in 2011. Importantly, our focus on supporting Indigenous students was maintained and 2.6 per cent of our students were Indigenous, almost double the sector average of 1.4 per cent.

Our research active academic staff delivered outstanding results in 2012. The University was ranked equal 7th in Australia for research 'well above world standard' in the Australian Government's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment exercise – and 44 fields of research at the University were assessed as 'at', 'above' or 'well above world standard', representing 90 per cent of our research submitted.

In the same year, Laureate Professor John Aitken was named NSW Scientist of the Year recognising his remarkable contribution to the international field of reproductive biology and health.

During 2012, we were delighted by the engagement of our staff, students and communities in the development of our 2025 Vision, our Values and our NeW Directions Strategic Plan 2013-2015. We have expressed a clear vision that by 2025 we will be global leaders in each of our spheres of achievement and that working with our partners, we will deliver worldclass innovation that supports the development of strong communities in our region and across the globe. It is this vision that will inform our priorities and strategies in the years to come.

The NeW Directions Strategic Plan identifies our objectives and strategies for our lead priorities in education, research and innovation for the next three years; and we have also developed objectives and clear strategies for our future workforce, campuses, facilities, and IT, and financial plans required to achieve our 2025 Vision.

The University recognises that its achievements are due entirely to the passion and commitment of our staff, the calibre of our students and alumni, and the support of our friends and benefactors. We have had a focus throughout 2012 on strengthening our support for professional and academic staff, and in 2012 our staff took up more than 10,000 training opportunities to develop their skills and capabilities across a range of areas.

It has been a remarkable year for the University of Newcastle. As we move forward with the implementation of our NeW Directions Strategic Plan, we will continue to engage with our communities to build on our record of achievement as we strengthen our international and national standing and reputation for excellence.

The Hon John Price AM, Acting Chancellor

Professor Caroline McMillen, Vice-Chancellor and President