The 2014 Annual Report provides an opportunity to reflect on a year of achievement for ANU. Despite obvious challenges faced by the Australian higher education system, ANU forged ahead with significant innovation of our administrative systems and processes. These reforms have led to solid improvement of the University's budget, as is reflected in this report. Whilst these reforms have been difficult, there is no doubt the University is better placed to both innovate and respond to future challenges.
The University's most important asset, our academic community, continue to achieve extraordinary things. ANU academics publish more per staff member than any other Australian university, are more likely to be awarded a Laureate Fellowship and conduct research that is 'above' or 'well above world standard' than academics at other Go8 universities. Our commitment to research-led education is stronger than ever before and the benefits of this is reflected by a 93 per cent student retention rate, one of the highest in Australia.
The student experience at ANU has never been better, with curriculum renewal at the forefront of innovation in this area. The first students studying a flexible double degree began in 2014, with 38 per cent of the total cohort of undergraduate students selecting these unique courses. We welcomed more international students, increasing international enrolments by 8.5 per cent. All academic programs met new research-led education requirements, and more ANU students ranked their experience as 'Excellent' than the Go8 average.
In acknowledgement of the incredible experiences students have whilst studying at ANU, the University has prioritised communication with graduates in 2014, communicating with more alumni than ever before. The University also increased its global reach with more than 50,000 enrolments in our edX Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
In conjunction with University Council, I moved to review the current strategic plan, ANU by 2020. ANU by 2025 will contain our vision for the ANU of the future, outlining our strategy to achieve these aims. Staff, student and alumni opinion will be essential in outlining this vision. To ensure everyone is heard, I will be building on 2014 efforts to consult widely with all members of our university community.
Finally, on 4 February 2015, I announced my intention to retire at the end of my term in February 2016. I am motivated by this deadline to ensure that my agenda of development across the University is completed, including the mid-term review and ANU by 2025. I have no doubt it will be another complex year for Australian higher education. Despite this I am committed to ensuring that ANU is in the strongest possible position for the next person given the privilege to be Vice-Chancellor of this world-class institution.
I want to reiterate my pride and thanks to all staff of the University for their hard work in 2014. I also want to thank the students for choosing to study at ANU and for making our campus the vibrant and exciting community that it is.
Professor Ian Young AO
Vice-Chancellor and President