Office of the Vice-Chancellor

Office of the Vice-Chancellor

VC and President’s New Year Message to Staff, 2018

Welcome back to work after the festive season. This year is a very special one for the University as we come together to celebrate 50 years of accomplishments for the region. I am very proud of our staff contingent and extend my thanks and appreciation to all of you for your contributions to USP’s success.

We enter our 50th year with a very strong record of achievement in our journey to excellence. The ultimate mark of excellence is how independent, international agencies assess our academic programmes and how we perform in terms of research and innovation. As you know, we have already surpassed the SP KPI of achieving 23 international accreditations—having obtained 26 by the end of last year together with 10 international formal recognitions (see

We have also exceeded our targets for the number of ranked publications and A and A* publications.

One of the outstanding achievements of the University in recent years has been that it has registered five innovation patents with the Australian Patent Office. Three of these were obtained in 2017, while two others were registered in 2016. The successful development and registration of these innovation patents mark an unprecedented maturing of our research and development efforts and plans. The world already belongs to organizations, firms and countries that innovate and this focus on design and innovation will only intensify. USP is well placed to help our member countries sustain and prosper in a world increasingly driven by knowledge and innovation.

We have also worked very closely with our member countries and CROP agencies, and the University is truly embedded in our member countries and in our regional system in partnership with other CROP agencies.

As you would all know, the current Strategic Plan 2013-2018 comes to its conclusion this year; Member Countries contributed to its creation, endorsed the finished product, and have followed its implementation, congratulating us on its success and providing advice at roadblocks and during discouraging times. I am confident that our Members will play just as big a role in the development of the new Strategic Plan, which will reflect greater regional character of the University, bolstered by the many new and revitalized Regional Campuses that are expected to play a major role in USP’s future decision-making, enrolment growth, and research accomplishments. 

The development of the new Strategic Plan 2019-2024 is an exciting opportunity for all staff.  We have already made progress with the early components of the new SP, and staff as well as students have been involved in the development of its Vision. I expect you to engage fully with its development so that you can be enthusiastic about the finished product and our next six years’ of work.  As staff are provided with numerous opportunities to offer input into the development of the new Strategic Plan, I encourage each and every one of you to think carefully about your vision of USP in the future. Please think beyond your role, your campus, and your home country to consider how USP should grow and excel for the region.

It is very important for USP to aim for another step-up in its development, one that builds on its recent developments and success—and pushes even harder for growing its reputation, increasing its relevance, dealing with the major development priorities of our member countries, leverages numerous possibilities of digitization and innovation and consolidates its path to being a great university.

I wish to assure you that I and the SMT value the ideas and opinions of all staff.  If it is not immediately evident how you can provide input, then please raise this with me so that I can clarify it with you and all your colleagues.  Work with your colleagues near and far, with students, and with our Member Countries to think about our trajectory and your role in it. The development of our new Strategic Plan is intended to be more inclusive than ever so that we come up with the optimal roadmap for the University’s, and the region’s, future development.

This year also sees the conclusion of USP’s current partnership with Australia and New Zealand.  As we negotiate new partnerships with Australia and New Zealand, we will be challenged to bring “something new to the table”. We have shown those valued donors that we are capable of making long-term changes and delivering outstanding value for money.  We must now determine how we can add further value.  For example, some years ago we agreed with Australia that we would make the accessibility of our campuses a priority.  This idea expanded, and we now are able to state that we provide more and better opportunities and support than ever to students and staff with disabilities. We should now consider the next step, and work with employers to advocate for people with disabilities. It is imperative that we demonstrate to our most steadfast donors, Australia and New Zealand, that we are willing and capable of going above and beyond to really embed the improvements we have made, to work with Member Countries to apply our research for the betterment of their populations, and to generally use our position of exemplar institution to assist and positively influence the public and private sectors, and society as a whole, in all areas where we hold a competitive advantage, such as ICT, disability, cultural preservation, and Climate Change.

Our current Triennium will also end this year and we will be preparing our UGC Submission and seeking approval of our Finance Ministers for next triennium’s funding. We have a very tight framework for this and we will need to work in parallel on other areas such as the new SP and the conclusion of the new development partnerships with Australia and NZ—but I am confident in the ability of our staff to meet tight deadlines and in their passion for and commitment to the region and our member countries.

My hope for this celebratory year is that all staff will think not in terms of limits, but about the importance of being limitless.  We should perceive our challenges in a positive light; yes, our geography means we operate across time zones, so, while this can make communication tricky, it can also make us more efficient as the University as a whole is “at work” longer hours, and yes, we were established only 50 years ago, so we lack all of the traditions of other institutions, which means that we have the freedom and ability to create our own.  In your own sections and departments, you face challenges that I hope you might come to see as inspirations that help you to appreciate the value of creativity, resourcefulness, consultation, and conservation. Let’s work on our excellent work on improving quality by getting all our programmes accredited or recognized-something that sets us miles apart from other universities in the region.

As always, my door is open to all members of staff, and will remain so throughout the year. We have an exciting year ahead, which will include strategic planning exercises, partnership negotiations, accreditations and construction and refurbishment of campuses and centres in parallel with our core remit of providing the region’s best and most innovative tertiary education. Most importantly, throughout the year and all around the University, we are going to celebrate USP’s 50th Anniversary - all that it has achieved over the past five decades and what it plans to accomplish in the future.

I joined the staff of the University in 1976 as a Research Assistant and have served it for 38 years. I am enormously honoured and privileged to have led the University since 2008 and to lead it in its 50th Anniversary year as its Vice-Chancellor and President. I am so pleased that we will be celebrating together including colleagues who studied and joined USP at the same time, or were already here when I joined.  I thank you all for your role in our success.  I cordially invite everyone to join the University in its celebrations—and in strengthening its future through the development of the new Strategic Plan.


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