Proposal for a new College structure

Discussion paper

Dear students

The 50th Anniversary of Flinders University has highlighted not just how far we have come, but also our tremendous potential.

During the consultation on the Strategic Plan and the Professional Services Project earlier this year many staff and students consistently said excessive bureaucracy and process are key issues that need to be addressed in order to make the University more efficient and flexible, and to improve the student experience.

We have given careful thought to these views and responded with a discussion paper which proposes a new College structure as one way to address these issues.

Should the proposed structural change proceed then all existing degree programmes and topics, together with the relevant teaching staff, would be mapped from their existing Faculty/School to one of the new Colleges. This administrative change would have no direct impact on your studies but it would be expected that, in time, the change would lead to improved student support (through improved systems and processes) and to enhanced educational opportunities.

I am very keen to hear your views on the proposal and I have asked Professor Warren Lawrance to seek your feedback over the next three weeks in relation to the paper, which you can find here, as well as details of a range of new initiatives designed to improve our capacity to deliver innovative, world-class education experiences at Flinders.

Download the discussion paper here.

I invite you to read the paper, put forward your thoughts and participate in the discussion, so we can all contribute to an even stronger future for Flinders. 

Update 9th September 2016

Academic Structures

I would like to thank those students and staff who took the time to provide feedback on the recent discussion paper proposing a new College structure.

Professor Warren Lawrance led this process and has advised that close to 240 staff and students attended nine forums to discuss the implications. There were a further 150 email submissions and a number of you expressed views on the Have your say blog.

The process concluded on Monday of this week and I have enjoyed reading your feedback which has been rich and thoughtful.

It is clear that further work is required to refine the current proposal but a number of consistent themes have come through. There is a shared recognition of a need to change and a sense that the proposition of consolidating two academic layers into one is worthy of further consideration. However, staff and students have raised a number of questions and issues relating to the details, the rationale, and the process and it is, therefore, appropriate to create a further opportunity to reflect on these before any decision is made with respect to next steps.

I expect now to come back to the University community later this month to engage in a second phase of discussion intended to probe these important issues. In particular, I am keen to seek advice on the optimal constellations of disciplines and the specific opportunities these might present in both education and research that will enable us to achieve our 2025 vision.

One major question that has arisen includes how professional services could be configured in a future model in which two layers might condense into one.

I have asked Interim Vice-President Corporate Services Stuart Mossman to develop a discussion paper on this question to be based on the extensive work undertaken by the Professional Services Project (PSP). The paper will reflect the significant feedback the PSP team has received through consultations early in 2016 about better aligning and organising Professional Services to meet our changing academic and research needs. It will also address the common question that arose in discussion of a new College structure as to how PSP would impact, or be impacted by, the Academic restructure proposal.

I have asked Warren and Stuart to assist in planning a second phase of discussion in coming weeks, the details of which will follow shortly. This will provide an extended period in which to consider our options before committing to any specific proposal. However, I am very conscious that it is important to not allow this period of uncertainty to become overly protracted. I therefore expect to be in a position to propose a future configuration before the end of the year for formal consultation, with any implementation plan being timed to best meet the needs of the University.

Once again, thank you for the time and consideration you have given to this important proposal in relation to our Academic structure.


Professor Colin J Stirling

President and Vice-Chancellor