Welcome Message to New and Continuing Students of The University of the South Pacific in 2013
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President
I extend a very warm welcome to all our new and returning students. Seeing the University with so many bright young people is always heart-warming and reminds all of us why we are all here: to provide the best educational, research and living experience to our students so they can have a firm foundation for life-long success. Welcome once again to the University.
The commencement of the 2013 academic year was preceded with a week-long Orientation, held from 11-15 February. The 2013 USP Orientation Guide and 2013 Handbook and Calendar, available online, are valuable sources of information for all students. Take full advantage of them.
2. University’s Commitment to You
This is the first year of the Strategic Plan 2013-2018. This plan marks a shift in our vision and expectations and is aimed to transform USP from a good to an excellent university as we approach our 50th Anniversary in 2018. It also plans to make the University more regional, undertake more (and more relevant) research and expand postgraduate studies; focus more sharply on certain areas where the University can develop world-class reputation; provide an even better learning and living environment; and to leverage IT to promote our learning and teaching, research, community engagement and the development of a knowledge economy and society in our region.
The success of the Strategic Plan 2013-2018 is in your interest, as it will be a huge achievement for USP that will reflect very positively on students and alumni. The quality and reputation of a university are very important during the job search. You can contribute to the success of the Strategic Plan by succeeding yourself, in your own academic programme and in terms of your own extra-curricular interests. Your achievements will reflect very well on your university.
3. Student Centred and Strongly Engaged with Student Leaders
The University is student-centred. During this year and throughout the new Strategic Plan, we will expand and improve our student support and services. All members of the Senior Management are fully committed to it, and we expect to see this commitment fully honoured at all levels of the University.
We are working closely with the USPSA leadership in the development of the University and we will continue with this. I encourage all of you to engage fully with the USPSA and provide effective feedback to our staff regarding our learning and teaching and overall campus life experience.
4. Special Welcome to Flexible Learning Students
A very large number of our students are studying through flexible delivery of our courses and programmes at our regional campuses. I extend a special welcome to all of you.
I realize that you face difficult challenges in your studies. In the new Strategic Plan, there is a major plan to invest heavily in our regional campuses, especially to improve student services, learning and teaching quality, and facilities.
Major changes are being made to USPNet to provide more reliable and faster services to students and staff. You should see tangible improvements in our IT services this year.
We have upgraded to the latest version of Moodle that should also improve your learning experience.
In a major innovation, we are piloting a project to provide tablet computers to students with pre-loaded learning materials. If this works, we will consider expanding this in the future.
5. Succeeding at the University
At the Orientation Ceremony on last Friday, His Excellency the Acting Australian High Commissioner, Mr. Glenn Miles, I, the Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Student Leaders all spoke about succeeding at the University.
The main points made at the orientation were:
- The University will provide you with higher education that is internationally recognized, and give you excellent campus life experience.
- While opportunities are provided for you, you need to have the ambition and drive to succeed.
- Work hard. There is no substitute for hard work for success!
- This means that you need to set goals and manage your time carefully to meet your goals. With so many activities—and for so many of you enjoying new freedoms for the first time—it is crucial that you are disciplined in what you do.
- Ask questions when you are not sure—approach your lecturers and tutors; learning support people; ask anybody but do not be shy of asking questions.
- Balance your study with other activities to get an excellent all-round experience, taking advantage of our exceptional cultural diversity and opportunities.
- Exercise, play sports and look after your health and safety.
- Be a participant rather than an observer as your journey through the University.
6. Grievance Procedures
The University believes strongly in good governance. If you have any grievance, please follow the procedures to lodge complaints and also provide feedback. Where complaints are received, they will be fully dealt with in compliance with our procedures. Nobody can be victimized. Please read the policies and regulations in the Handbook and Calendar.
7. Concluding Statements
I trust that you are excited to begin the academic year, and I extend my best wishes for every success. I look forward to celebrating your achievements. Set your own goals, take up the support that is on offer, and enjoy the benefits of the Strategic Plan 2013-2018 implementation. USP is growing in size and in stature amongst universities; it is becoming even better in terms of quality, facilities, reputation, results, and contributions to the Pacific Islands region. It is the best place for your university studies and the best choice for a bright future full of opportunity.
Welcome to the University of the South Pacific once again.