Message from the Dean

Building on the past, towards a new strategic vision

Earlier this year the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences embarked on a journey to develop a strategic plan for the next five years and beyond.Our reputation for excellence has been forged over 150 years of teaching and research leadership. To build on and continue the work of those who came before us we have been engaged in wide-ranging, consultative conversations with our staff, students and partners about what is most important to them, and why.

Earlier this year, nearly 2000 people, including undergraduate and postgraduate students, academic, honorary and professional staff participated in research about the Faculty’s current activities, followed by in-depth roundtable discussions about the priorities they believe we should set to remain successful.

It is clear that we are united in our purpose: we are overwhelmingly motivated by a desire to improve the health and wellbeing of the individuals and communities we serve. We do this by educating a health workforce and by carrying out world-class research, but we don’t just stop there. We must also work with our healthcare partners in translation, with governments on important health policy and issues, and with our communities, engaging them on this journey.

Teaching is core business for this Faculty. Teachers who excel and lead must be recognised and rewarded and will be at the forefront of our thinking and planning. Students come to us because of our reputation for offering exceptional research-informed education. They want to be stimulated and challenged to reach their full potential and their interactions with their teachers are central to this experience. Integrating these personal interactions with innovative technologies and opportunities for ‘real world’ engagement will continue to be central to our educational offering.

The Faculty is distinguished by the research we do. In developing a strategy for our research we need to balance the reality that we can only be world class in a limited number of areas with the need to respond to emerging opportunities and areas of relevance to our communities. There is broad recognition that significant improvements in global health and wellbeing will increasingly rely upon better integrated and better-connected health data. Greater coordination of the University’s many activities in this area will enable us to draw more effectively on our multidisciplinary academic strengths and advance our expertise in this area.

Many have expressed a deep commitment to our social responsibility of sharing our knowledge where it is most needed to improve health and wellbeing in our local and global community. There is also a strong appetite throughout the Faculty to increase interdisciplinary research and new models of collaboration. As competition for an increasingly limited pool of research funding grows, the wisdom of positioning the Faculty and its partners to take full advantage of new types of research funding is widely acknowledged. Likewise, we should look to opportunities that lie in the Asia-Pacific region as a way of increasing international experience for our students and staff and ensuring that our work benefits our region.

Just as the Faculty’s priorities are important to those who currently work and study here, so too is the work of our alumni and their ongoing connection with the Faculty. Your work in health, education and research is integral to our continued good reputation, and without a doubt, an influencing factor for new students and future staff. It is in all of our interests that we recognise and maximise the strengths of our Faculty to build a future together that is forward looking, engaged and relevant, both locally and globally.

The next step in the Faculty’s planning is to set priorities based on a consolidation of all we have learned. Thank you to all who contributed. The final strategy will represent our collective thinking about the opportunities and challenges ahead and will guide our decisions into the future.

This is an ambitious project that will inevitably lead to some exciting and challenging decisions. I very much look forward to sharing the next stages with you.

With warm regards,

Professor Shitij Kapur
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Health)
The University of Melbourne