Australian Catholic University’s new vice-chancellor and president, Professor Zlatko Skrbis, last night presented his inaugural lecture at the university’s Melbourne campus and via a livestream.
Picking up on a theme proposed by his predecessor, Greg Craven, Professor Skrbis advanced the concept of the purpose of an Australian Catholic university.
Exploring the practical role of a Catholic university, he said that in order to remain faithful to the fundamental tenets of its mission and be relevant in the current environment, it was necessary to harness its skills and nurture its capabilities in three key areas:
- In the approach to scholarship and academic pursuit – consistent with the Catholic intellectual tradition.
- In the capacity to teach and practice global responsibility and global citizenship.
- And, via a commitment to serve and lead in a manner which facilitates the transformation of others.
“By holding these as our purpose objectives we can achieve something that is our raison d’être: to align the enactment of our mission with the key challenges of the modern era,” he said.
The theme of innovation being core to advancement underpinned the lecture.
“As we explore new frontiers, there is a need to continually and critically evaluate the effects of new advancements on individuals, communities, and environments. To ensure that they are truly and wholly benefiting human wellbeing.
“I have previously spoken of the need for ACU to have a stable core and a disruptive edge. For me, this means fulfilling our mission whilst proactively transforming to meet the demands of our changing times, particularly when our environment is in flux. And our university sector is undeniably in a state of flux.”