The Corporate Services portfolio was established in 2017 with the role of providing professional services across four University directorates — Finance, Information Technology, Campus, and Service Delivery.
Universities across Australia are experiencing pressures of increased competition in a difficult funding environment. UWA has responded by consolidating our services to ensure we improve our customer service and governance as well as our financial investment in teaching, the student experience and research.
Guided by our pursuit of excellence, in research, learning and teaching, student satisfaction and sustainable operations, there have been four major accomplishments across the Corporate Services portfolio in 2017.
The first is the migration of our services to a new service delivery model. The new model provides a one-stop-shop for professional services and increases efficiencies to better support education, research and community engagement. Already we are seeing more responsive, consistent, and effective services — a foundation on which we will build in 2018.
The second accomplishment has been our planning to improve infrastructure (physical and digital) and financial and management systems. This will support our long-term financial plan, campus operations and information technology.
The Corporate Services portfolio was established in 2017 with the role of providing professional services across four University directorates — Finance, Information Technology, Campus and Service Delivery.Robert WebsterExecutive Director Corporate Services
This work has been supported by the third, and most significant, stream — appointments to key positions across the portfolio. This includes new leaders for each of the four directorates, staff in client service roles and my appointment as the Executive Director. These new appointments provide a fresh outlook and support our commitment to improving service quality, transformation and sustainability with fair and transparent leadership.
With the new leadership in place, work has begun on the development and roll-out of performance improvement projects. These will gain momentum in 2018 and position UWA for success in the years ahead.
Building on our new process improvements, there were a number of notable successes in 2017. The University implemented a new budget process with greater transparency and control over where we direct our resources. This delivered a strong operating result in 2017 and will see in excess of $150 million directed to capital, strategic and sustainability initiatives in 2018.
The continuing capital works program has progressed across four major initiatives. The $80 million EZONE UWA project, a development under way on campus to provide world-class facilities for our engineering researchers, students and industry, will be completed in 2020. This is complemented by the $1.8 million refurbishment of the Masonic Hall (to be opened in 2018), a collaborative innovation hub for entrepreneurs including students, industry, community and academics. Work has also commenced on UWA's $16.5 million School of Indigenous Studies building. Due for completion in 2020, the contemporary four-storey building will house the School of Indigenous Studies and the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health. Lastly, construction of the philanthropically funded Forrest Hall significantly advanced, and was on track for completion in 2018. Forrest Hall will provide accommodation for Forrest Fellows and Scholars.
Throughout 2017, Information Technology focused on upgrading the University's critical systems. These improvements provided immediate benefits to staff and students, including increased mailbox size, enhanced staff collaboration tools and the introduction of online payments for prospective international students. Through this work, new services will be implemented that will support our teaching and learning capabilities. The improvements include upgrades to audiovisual equipment in teaching spaces, wider adoption of High Performance Computing and improvements to lecture recordings.
In addition, the new Service Now Portal has improved the way staff and students engage with University IT, providing a user-friendly system for requesting services and assistance, and enabling quicker identification and resolution of issues. Improving the experience of future students has also been a priority in 2017, and the offer acceptance process for prospective international students has been greatly enhanced through UWA Accept — an upgraded web portal. Work is under way to roll out this acceptance process for all prospective students in 2018.
The work of 2017 has strengthened Corporate Services' capability and enabled a clearer focus on service excellence, student satisfaction and sustainable operations.