When the university year commenced in February 2020, we had no idea of what would follow. A 21-month rollercoaster filled with immense global disruption and challenge. The unique thing about this rollercoaster was that it was a shared experience – one that impactedon each of us personally and professionally. It impacted on communities on organisations, systems, and countries around the world.
The pandemic arrived at the most incredible time. That Summer was particularly harsh in Australia, with the unprecedented 2020 bushfires raging around most of the country.
At the same time, higher education globally was facing a reckoning about its purpose and its role in the future. New players and new ways of facilitating learning prompted the question - is higher education facing a global disruption?
Torrens University has always had the vision of being a university for the future, and although these past 21 months have been full of all sorts of surprises and twists and turns, we are proud of how we have responded to this moment in time.
In short, our response has been to lead with care and compassion, and above everything, to live and die by our values. We made a promise to keep our teachers teaching and our students learning. So, at a time when the Australian Higher Education sector has been struggling, Torrens University bucked the trends. We grew. Our community became more connected. We genuinely innovated. We are preparing ourselves for the future of learning.
Why did we do this?
Because it is up to businesses like ours to continue to lead with care and compassion as we strive to make the world a better place.
On Monday (15 November), we launched our Social Impact Report, an extensive report demonstrating how we have brought care and compassion to the centre of everything we do.
We stand on the precipice of a momentous time
Care and compassion will not begin and end with COVID; it will begin and end with people.
Our Social Impact Report is a report card, a manifesto, and a call to action. It is our story of resilience, creativity, and triumph in the face of global disruption. It is an example of what we mean when we say business can be a force for good. It is a reminder of what it means to connect the world for good in partnership with our students, alumni, industry, government, and the B Corp movement.
The achievements detailed in the Social Impact Report – from our students, alumni, staff and partners – are extraordinary and must be acknowledged and celebrated.
This is our story.
Together we have made this happen.
I hope you feel proud of our collective impact.
We cannot stop now
Now is the time to look ahead to what we can and will do next month, next year, and beyond to continue the momentum gained over the past 21 months and continue to make an impact locally and globally.
With less than nine years remaining before the UN's 2030 deadline to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, there has never been a more critical time to connect the world for good.
Now is the time for the changemakers, the disruptors and the agitators. Now is the time to truly connect the world for good.
Here are just a few examples of how we put our vision into action -
Thin Ice VR
On Friday (19 November), Thin Ice VR will make its world premiere in Adelaide. This groundbreaking production – produced by award-winning studio Monkeystack, written and directed by Torrens University Senior Lecturer James Calvert and featuring modern adventurer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis AM – highlights the devastating impact of climate change in Antarctica over the past 100 years.
As we follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton, we must ask ourselves, as individuals and businesses, what will we do to curb the effects of climate change?
Research that Matters
Soon, we will launch our Research that Matters podcast series highlighting how our world-class researchers are finding impactful solutions for society, industry, and communities in Australia, New Zealand and globally.
Sport for Good
Our new Sport for Good short courses will challenge athletes, sporting organisations and administrators to explore how sport can be a force for good in the world and make a positive impact on a global scale.
Social Enterprise Hub
Our Social Enterprise Hub continues to grow and forge partnerships between our students and organisations committed to changing the world at a local, national or global level.
Social Enterprise World Forum
And then in September 2022, we will help bring together changemakers and disruptors from around the world at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Brisbane to champion the social enterprise sector and accelerate the creation of a global impact economy, rooted in care and compassion for our people and our planet.
Businesses must continue to lead with care and compassion
The global COVID-10 pandemic has changed our world and as we emerge from its shadow, we are left with some important questions.
What sort of future are we designing? What are we going to do to ensure we are truly compassionate? How will we emerge from this time stronger, with more care and a willingness to face the big, dangerous questions?
One thing is certain – our vision to connect the world for good is hollow without compassion.
We have shown that it is possible to do good business and care about people. It is up to businesses like ours to continue to lead with care and compassion.
Finally, I want to say thank you. The Social Impact Report profiles hundreds of our students, staff, alumni and partners.
We say our number one value is 'Begin and End With People.' This social impact report is ultimately a testament to our people and what we have collectively designed, and what we collectively achieve. For that, I can only say a sincere and humble thank you.