Message to Students 2014 - University of the South Pacific
I hope that all of you have been able to settle down for the new academic year. The University has made a good start to its 2014 academic year and is already a hive of energy and activity. I welcome all new and returning students.
It is customary, when celebrating a new year, to reflect on the year that has passed and to make some plans for the months ahead. While you have all followed different paths to arrive here at USP, you share a proven record of academic success and the determination to better yourself through further and higher education. I trust that, as you engage with your fellow students, you will enjoy the diversity of the USP community and our stimulating campus life, and take full advantage of the universityís outstanding facilities and the highest quality educational offerings available in the Pacific Islands.
You have chosen to study at a very ambitious and rapidly growing university. You may be aware that USP has set itself a goal of transforming itself from a good to an excellent university, as explained in detail in its Strategic Plan 2013-2018. USP intends to be ranked amongst the best universities in the world in Climate Change, Pacific Studies, and ICT in Education. As a student, you will feel this drive and push at USP; in order to improve as an institution, our staff and students must do the very best that they can.
This positive momentum helps to bring out the best in individuals, and will help you to achieve as much as possible while here. For USP also has high hopes for you. We want you to extract as much knowledge and as many skills as you can from your programmes, and to leave USP well-prepared and motivated to achieve real success in your chosen career. USP is the regionís university, and we wish to see our member countries grow and prosper, driven by the knowledge, vision, and entrepreneurialism of our many alumni.
USP pledges to support you in your studies and to facilitate your success. In order to make the most of your time here, and to maximize the support you are given, it is advisable to set some clear goals for the year, and beyond, if possible. If you are able to envision your aims for the year, these can be discussed with academic and administrative staff members, who will offer advice and help you plan how to meet your objectives. I urge you to make a conscious decision that 2014 will be your most productive and successful year yet, and to move ahead with determination and confidence to achieve your goals.
In deciding what you wish to accomplish at USP, and after graduation, I hope that you will remember that your university experience is not limited to your classroom-based learning. In order to be successful here, you also need to immerse yourself in the learning opportunities found outside the classroom. Simply getting to know your fellow students, both those from other Pacific Island Countries and from outside the region, is a learning experience.
Cross-cultural understanding will help you in your career, regardless of your field. USP staff and students are increasingly making links with the communities surrounding our campuses and centres, and seeking to make an impact, including through volunteer service. There are a range of sporting, religious and special interest activities available at our campuses. I encourage you to participate in a range of activities in your free time; we find that it is often the busiest people who make the best students, as active and engaged people can manage their time wisely.
While you have expectations of yourself, you also should have expectations of USP. We will provide you with top-notch academic programmes, developed by researchers, teachers, and practitioners, many externally-assessed for quality and all tested for value and relevance to the Pacific Islands. USP has extensive resources, including modern, networked lecture theatres, well-equipped laboratories, market-leading ICT facilities, and unparalleled links with private industry and the public sector.
At USP, we regard your happiness and well-being as our priorities, and we offer a wide range of support services to keep our students healthy, productive, and secure. The Disability Resource Centre and Career Services offer focused advice and assistance, while the Medical Centre, Library, and Student Learning Support have enlarged their suite of offerings to cater for all students.
Our Fiji students now notably have access to the NTS and TELS schemes, which provide valuable financial assistance for your chosen area of study. In addition, USP offers you access and exposure to the type of events and activities, including major international conferences, public debates, academic trips into the field, and cultural celebrations and performances, which will encourage and inspire you.
As USP moves toward its 50th anniversary, you will likely observe some of the many improvements being made. At some locations, the changes will be more readily observable than at others; however, across USP, in particular in our regional campuses, facilities are being enhanced or expanded, and support services and teaching tools and methods are being modified. Current and future students stand to benefit greatly from these improvements.
Whilst USP is already renowned for its quality and for the Pacific context that features strongly in all it does, we are committed to avoiding complacency. We continue to strive to do better, and to become outstanding and globally recognized for quality across our operations at all campuses and centres.
I hope that you will join me in committing to a positive and productive 2014. Let us aim to finish the year as we are starting it, with energy, vision, and a real sense of purpose. Welcome and enjoy USP and live your dreams.