The Corporate Services portfolio provides professional services across six University directorates: Campus Management; Finance; Information Technology; Service Delivery; Strategy, Planning and Performance; and Venues Management.
Our campus is renowned for its heritage, contemporary architecture and landscaped grounds that see the campus acknowledged as one of the most beautiful in the world. We had six million visits to the campus in 2018, including 500,000 visitors within our film, theatre and conference venues. The University Club has maintained its reputation as one of WA’s premier conference facilities, hosting more than 2,000 conferences, and University Theatres has expanded its Young People’s Performance audience to more than 12,000 people, attending performances of Bell Shakespeare’s Last Great Hunt, Josephine Wants to Dance, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the AWESOME Children’s Festival.
The continuing capital works program has progressed across four major initiatives. The $1.8 million refurbishment of the Masonic Hall is complete, providing a collaborative innovation hub for entrepreneurs including students, industry, community and academics. The philanthropically funded Forrest Hall is also complete, providing accommodation for Forrest Fellows and Scholars. Work continued on the $80 million EZONE UWA project, a development to provide world-class facilities for our engineering researchers, students and industry. This facility will be complete in 2020. Lastly, construction began on the $16.5 million School of Indigenous Studies building, also due for completion in 2020. This building will house the School of Indigenous Studies and the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health.
We have had great successes in information technology this year, with significant progress towards mobile and Wi-Fi coverage campus wide and the launch of a new staff intranet. There has been continued strong focus on upgrading critical systems, enhancing cyber security and improving support of teaching and learning capabilities. In addition, we have made significant strides in improving the way students engage with the University through the implementation of an upgraded web portal for the offer acceptance process and the replacement of about 130 student printers across campus.
In 2018 we built on the foundations initiated in 2017 when the portfolio was first established. We conducted a comprehensive 12-month review of the new Service Delivery Model, engaging widely across the University to understand the effectiveness of the model. The results of this review show that we are seeing a more responsive and consistent service. This is in no small part due to the collaboration of service delivery staff progressing change initiatives, process improvements and persistent effort towards a culture of service excellence.
In addition to embedding the service delivery model and ensuring strong operational support for teaching, student experience and research, it has been a year of strategic planning for the future sustainability of the University. The portfolio has supported the development of the UWA2030 vision and Strategy 2025, both planned for release in 2019, as well as a supplementary financial strategy, information technology roadmap and campus masterplan.
We introduced further transparency in to the budget process and will continue to work towards improving financial management and literacy in 2019. Further, a new systemised costing module is being developed to provide insight in to the relative cost of the University’s activities. This will enable us to focus our expenditure for greatest research and education impact. We expect it to go live in the first half of the coming year.
The work of 2018 has strengthened the core capabilities of Corporate Services and built a strong foundation for future development. Our focus in 2019 will be to improve service quality even further and pursue our mission to provide timely, quality and contemporary physical and digital spaces and services in support of UWA’s education, research and engagement activities.