We have positioned the University to launch exciting new projects and initiatives which will enable it to deliver on its mission and excel in its core activities of teaching and research.
On behalf of the Senate, I am pleased to present the 2016 Annual Report of The University of Western Australia.
A major focus for members of the Senate in 2016 was the Universities Legislation Amendment Bill which, when passed by the State Government at the end of the year, amended the Acts of the five WA universities. The only significant impact for The University of Western Australia has been on the size of the governing body, which has been reduced from 21 to a maximum of 17 members: the ability for students, staff and members of Convocation to elect representatives to the governing body has been preserved.
As anticipated in my introduction to the 2015 Annual Report, the pace of change, renewal and transformation at The University of Western Australia quickened in 2016. The Renewal Project resulted in recommendations to the Senate for approval of a new academic structure and the implementation of five functionally aligned Service Delivery Centres for the provision of professional services. We are confident that in an increasingly competitive environment, the approved changes have positioned the University to launch exciting new projects and initiatives which will enable it to deliver on its mission and excel in its core activities of teaching and research. Further details are provided in the various sections of this report which follow.
Support for the University remains strong and has been demonstrated by the continued generous contributions to the UWA New Century fundraising campaign. As at 31 December 2016 commitments totalling $331.8 million had been received and the Campaign Committee remains confident that the target of $400 million we aim to reach in 2017 will be realised. We sincerely thank all our major donors and supporters for their dedication to the University. The ground-breaking ceremony that marked the start of the project to build Forrest Hall, a residential facility for Forrest Scholars that is funded by the generous donation of Andrew and Nicola Forrest, was one of the highlights of the year.
In the final quarter of 2016 the Senate began a process to select and appoint a new Vice-Chancellor to take over from Professor Paul Johnson, who stepped down from the role at the conclusion of his five-year term. On behalf of the Senate I wish to acknowledge Paul's contribution to UWA and place on record our appreciation of him embracing a significant reform agenda, which has positioned the University very well for the future.
Early in January 2017 we welcomed the appointment of Professor Dawn Freshwater as Professor Johnson's successor. Professor Freshwater has served the University for three years as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and it is with great pleasure and optimism that we welcome her to lead this great institution through the next phase of its journey as one of the world's top 100 universities.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the University Executive, staff and students for their unwavering commitment to the success of the University and the achievement of its strategic goals, and I thank my fellow members of the Senate for their contributions and service to the University in 2016.
Dr Michael Chaney AO CitWA