The pace of change, renewal, and innovation at The University of Western Australia is anticipated to increase.
On behalf of the Senate, I am pleased to present the 2015 Annual Report of The University of Western Australia.
A major focus of the Senate and the University's leadership in 2015 has of necessity been on the financial and competitive pressures on the higher education sector generally, and UWA more specifically. In response to this and the findings of the Functional Review Program which concluded at the end of 2014, the University embarked upon 'Sustainable Futures', an integrated program of University-wide strategic projects. Further details on some of these projects, which have wide-ranging impact on teaching, research, student recruitment and services, and the transformation of the University's IT infrastructure, are provided in various sections of the report which follows.
The pace of change, renewal and innovation at The University of Western Australia is anticipated to increase in the year ahead. We recognise the need to restructure our operations and finances to guarantee that the University can continue its record of success for the benefit of future generations of Western Australians.
In 2015 the University once again prided itself on a further elevation in its position in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Five star ratings against a number of criteria in The Good Universities Guide (the foremost non-government ranking of Australian universities) were also very encouraging. We acknowledge there is further work to be done to improve our ratings for teaching quality and the student experience generally.
As the founder and major financial supporter of the Perth International Arts Festival, the University was delighted with the overwhelming response by the Western Australian community to the 2015 Perth Festival's signature event The Giants. It attracted an audience of 1.4 million and has been billed as the largest public arts event the State has seen. It was a stimulating and exciting start to the year.
In May 2015 the Senate approved the unveiling of a refreshed university logo and a contemporary brand message to support the University's student recruitment and engagement initiatives.
In the 2014 Annual Report I mentioned that the Senate and management supported the deregulation of student fees and the general thrust of the Commonwealth Government's Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill. We were disappointed when it failed to win legislative approval.
Support for the University remains strong and has been demonstrated by the continued generous contributions to the UWA fundraising campaign. As at 31 December 2015, the New Century Campaign had received donation commitments totalling $295.6 million towards the target of $400 million which we aim to reach in 2017. We sincerely thank all our major donors and supporters for their dedication to the University. The selection and commencement of the first batch of Forrest Scholars, supported by the Forrest Research Foundation, which is funded through the generous donation of Andrew and Nicola Forrest, was another highlight of the year.
In closing, may I 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 thank my fellow members of the Senate for their contributions and service in 2015.
Chancellor AO CitWA