Student engagement the focus at Avondale

Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Brenton Stacey
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Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

VC announces three-year renewal plan

Student engagement and a strong sense of mission are central to a three-year plan to sustain and strengthen Avondale University’s legacy of preparing graduates with a greater vision of world needs.

The Renewal Plan provides “a fresh focus on our mission as a Seventh-day Adventist university in the South Pacific and beyond,” says Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Kerri-Lee Krause. And it responds to priorities of the 2023 Australian Universities Accord, which place increasing responsibility on universities for supporting their students to succeed.

“Our students are at the heart of this plan for sustainability and growth,” says Kerri-Lee, who announced details of the plan to staff members and students this afternoon.

In a strategic move, the plan will see Avondale align the structure of its Executive team to strengthen focus on academic and wellbeing support services across each stage of the student journey.

A new role will replace the roles of Provost and Executive Dean. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic will lead a portfolio responsible for enhancing the quality of academic and wellbeing support services, including those provided around academic orientation and transition to address student retention. The portfolio will further integrate these support services with others such as career advice and counselling.

A newly configured portfolio—Students and Engagement—will take responsibility for the student experience by enhancing the quality of each stage of the student journey, from pre-enrolment as future students to post-graduation as alumni. It will consolidate existing student life functions such as chaplaincy, communication, events and residential life with marketing services and recruitment to provide a “seamless transition experience for students as they move into the university.” A re-investment in full-time residential leadership roles will “foster the holistic student experience that makes Avondale so unique in the sector.” Spirituality will remain a core focus, with chaplaincy building an even stronger partnership with the pastoral team from Avondale University Church. Providing an integrated approach to student engagement within a single portfolio with senior Executive leadership means the role of Director, Student Life Services, becomes redundant.

Implementing the plan “has been a matter of earnest prayer and careful consideration among our Executive team,” says Kerri-Lee. “Our students are our top priority and their experience, whether on campus or online, must be one where they are nurtured, supported and inspired with a greater vision of world needs.”

Kerri-Lee acknowledges the challenge of change. “Change can be unsettling for any community and we’ll no doubt experience some of this as we implement our plan with its focus on advancing Christ-centred higher education at Avondale. So, I thank our university community for demonstrating care and offering support for the students and staff most impacted by this change.”

If you have questions about the Renewal Plan, send them by email to [email protected] where they will be treated as confidential and addressed as appropriate.