Welcome to another great year at AUT.
In my role as Vice-Chancellor I constantly have cause to feel proud of AUT. On a weekly and even daily basis I hear about the superb achievements of our researchers and teachers, our students and our alumni.
I am always delighted by the successes of our AUT community, but I am not surprised by them.
I know how much work our researchers are investing in their respective fields of expertise. I know how much time goes into ensuring that our approach to teaching and learning is keeping pace with best practice. I know how much energy is spent giving our students access to relevant, practical skills and experience with industry both here and abroad. I know how rapidly our alumni network is growing and how well-respected our graduates are.
But not everyone is as aware of the breadth of AUT’s successes or the rapid growth and development it has achieved since it was established as a university in the year 2000.
We are the youngest of New Zealand’s eight universities by a number of decades, but we are already the country’s second largest university. In a competitive tertiary environment we are the only university that is growing - students are choosing to study at AUT.
We are also now New Zealand’s third largest postgraduate university. AUT has more postgraduate students than Canterbury, Victoria or Otago Universities. We have 800 doctoral students and the fastest growing number of domestic doctoral students.
Our global rankings continue to climb. The latest QS World University Rankings now place us in the top 450 or the top 3% of all universities worldwide.
Five of our disciplines rank in the top 250 universities worldwide - art and design (top 100), accounting and finance (top 150), communications and media studies (top 200), computer science and information systems (top 250), education (top 250).
Other indicators show us as the leading university in New Zealand for design, communications, sports science, hospitality and tourism, computer science and IT, and many of the health sciences.
We also lead New Zealand (and Australian) universities in terms of our international outlook. This ranking reflects how many international academics and students we have and how many of our research publications are co-authored with international research colleagues.
Our research gains international attention in a diverse range of fields, for example biotechnology, radio astronomy, ecology, applied neurosciences, big data, predictive economics, biomechanics, linguistics and finance to name a few.
We are committed to a diverse, inclusive learning environment and to making education amenable to more people. Our South Campus is a tangible example of this commitment, it now has 2000 students and New Zealand government has renewed its funding in recognition of its success to date.
As AUT grows we are continuing to invest in our campuses and in providing our staff and students with cutting-edge facilities and learning spaces. We have major development projects underway on the North, South and City campuses and AUT Millennium.
AUT Millennium, where we recently opened a second Olympic size pool as the National Aquatic Centre, was the training base for half New Zealand’s medal successes in Rio.
All of these achievements show that AUT is an increasingly competitive university locally and internationally, however, I am also very proud of the areas where AUT is carving its own path and leading the way.
Our focus is first and foremost to provide our students with an exceptional experience of higher learning, and to send them out as outstanding graduates.
Many universities are beginning to expand their focus beyond the curriculum requirements, but AUT has always known that we must prepare our students with a learning experience that balances knowledge with experience, theory with the ability to apply it, and understanding with the skills to communicate and collaborate.
"I know how rapidly our alumni network is growing and how well-respected our graduates are."
Evidence of this wider focus includes our programmes that support student entrepreneurship and enterprise, and our Internz programme that connects our students and recent graduates with incredible local and international internship opportunities.
Our research also shows the value we place on collaboration and applied research, development and innovation. Our researchers often partner on industry and government projects, ensuring their work and findings make a direct contribution to our understanding of vital health, science, environmental, computing, engineering and education issues.
There is much to be proud of at AUT. I hope as you read this edition of Insight - whether you are a current student, new graduate, longstanding member of our alumni network or part of our wider AUT community - you will feel proud of what has been achieved and excited by all the possibilities that lie ahead.
Auckland University of Technology