Professor Lewis Bizo
The first Executive Dean’s newsletter for 2023 is a perfect opportunity for me to welcome everybody back and highlight a number of issues, challenges and opportunities ahead. The teaching session is well underway, and I have been lucky enough to have seen firsthand the hard work and dedicated effort that all our staff have engaged in as they make preparations for the academic year. I am confident our students will have a fantastic learning experience in 2023.
This year will be challenging for us financially, and we will need to be prudent as we look to secure a sound financial footing for all of our activities. Many of you will be aware of the various initiatives that are underway to promote greater retention of our students. There is a specific retention project which is looking to focus (in the first instance) on subjects and courses where we believe we can have the greatest impact on student retention. I want to thank all staff involved in those efforts for working constructively with their Head of School and with the retention team in revising their subjects. I appreciate that change can be challenging and hope we will see the positive impact of those efforts in future student satisfaction and retention rates.
In this edition of our newsletter, we have a personal testimonial by Dr Kristy Campion, Senior Lecturer in Terrorism Studies, who completed EEL522 Foundations of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. I would encourage everybody to read Kristy’s piece about the way this subject positively impacted her work experience at Charles Sturt. EEL522 introduces important topics for staff teaching and professional development at Charles Sturt, with a focus on First Nations issues and information specifically relevant to our context. This subject is an excellent professional development opportunity for staff with teaching responsibilities. I would recommend EEL522 to you if you haven’t already undertaken it. I encourage you to discuss the possibility of doing this subject with your Head of School.
I would like to highlight the fantastic work being done by our Regional Work and Organisational Resilience group who organised a Regional Disaster Resilience Symposium in Bathurst held on March 7th 2023. I had the opportunity to attend some of the afternoon presentations and learnt a lot about many of the challenges facing local communities, but also the great work being done by our researchers. This was a fantastic initiative and demonstrates the commitment of our staff to contributing to our local communities who have experienced severe challenges over recent times.
This year there will be a particular emphasis on getting high completion rates of staff work plans. At Charles Sturt we use the Employee Development and Review Scheme (EDRS) to record those plans. It is an excellent opportunity for a supervisor and staff members to have meaningful conversations on career aspirations, performance and professional development needs regardless of whether they are a professional or academic staff member. For academic staff, it is also a great opportunity to discuss teaching and research plans, including where they might wish to explore applications for teaching awards, research grants or promotion. If you haven’t commenced your EDRS yet I would encourage you to do so.
I had the pleasure of attending the School of Business forum in Canberra at the beginning of February and it was a great opportunity to meet with staff and talk with them about the university strategy (Charles Sturt 2030) and the Faculty’s operational plan. I will be getting around the rest of our schools and administrative areas of the faculty over the next couple of months to talk with each area about how they are progressing with delivering on our goals in the university strategy by actioning our operational plan, responding to the Your Voice Survey and how that relates to your area. I hope some of these visits will include a face-to-face component as I travel to different campuses.
We will be putting out regular newsletter updates over the course of the year, and I am also looking forward to improving Faculties’ communication of important events to you via the blog. I hope to meet everyone throughout the year, and I thank you in advance for all your hard work and effort in 2023.