Greetings! What a momentous day in our history! Our colleagues in the Graduate School of Business and Law are already in a renovated, iconic learning, teaching and research building in the Emily Mac. Today we move closer to them (or half of us do, from Building 108 – the rest in two weeks!) into our superb, cutting-edge, new home in SAB – or Building 80. And, what a building it is! The buzz this morning downstairs as students and staff came into the building was palpable. As you saw on page 3 of Saturday’s Age our new building continues to get national attention as an academic building unparalleled for what it will deliver in business research and education in Australia. We are the envy of every business school in this country.
But, as I said in the Town Hall meeting on Friday, it is you and our students who will make the building come alive. It is through your use of it, your inventiveness in trying new things with it, in experimenting with teaching, learning, research and engagement that it will deliver its potential. This will happen as you try new things and take bold steps in trying out the building’s capabilities.
SAB is yours to use and ours to celebrate. Ultimately, as a student-centred building, it will produce graduates who are known for their innovativeness, their openness to designing and trying new things, and for managing organizations and businesses differently.
The building serves as a powerful symbol of the identity we are building as an internationally renowned business school. There is nothing else like it in this country – its fabulous features, its central place in the business district of Melbourne, its urban setting, and its incredible design.
SAB sets the benchmarks for others to follow.
SAB makes a statement about our strategic differentiation as a business school – that we are bold, that we are different to other business schools and that, through our “one-College-way” identity, we have a collegiality and coherence that sets us apart from all others.
Getting to this point has been achieved through all of our collective efforts. “One-College-Way” connects us and helps us to act in ways that make us more than the sum of our parts. And SAB has this concept in-built. We have prepared for SAB by re-designing our BBus suite of programs to enable students to draw on courses across our Schools – and across other Colleges that we are now closer to. This variety gives them greater breadth to their education and an innovativeness for solving problems that comes from being able to draw upon different disciplines and perspectives. The permeability of our new SAB building has this inter-mixing of disciplines and perspectives built into its desig
For our students, the professional re-organization of our College’s administrative functions will deliver a truly world-class and consistent student experience – streamlined, responsive and timely.
Restructuring 97 professional positions over the last four months represents one of the most audacious administrative changes that many of us will have experienced. And the rationale was very simple – to prepare us to deliver the student-centred promise of the new SAB. It is not the systems that will do this (although they will help!) – but it is through your collective will, your insight, your motivation and your collegiality to provide this that this aspect of our student experience will emerge. I thank you for this.
I am enormously proud of the challenges that you have faced in arriving at this point – a point which starts today, in earnest – as does our higher education Semester 2!
Our research and engagement opportunities will abound in our new building – whether the pride in bringing industry partners to it, the new conferences, seminars and meetings that we will hold in it, or the closer engagement that we will have with our HDR colleagues through the new co-location arrangements that it enables. Engagement with industry will reach new heights through our specialist spaces – the TAFE spaces of the Agency, NEIS, and the Virtual Office – along with our new Business Innovation & Design Studio.
Engagement will also occur through the new ways of interacting that the Building will produce – the serendipitous conversations and interactions that a permeable building encourages. These interactions will lead to new insights that come from crossing disciplinary boundaries. These “crossings” will be an ever-present feature of our new future. The building encourages us to be far more engaged with each other. No longer will we isolate ourselves on one level of a multi-storey building, shut off from knowing each other. The new SAB will connect us through a myriad of informal ways. And, being up this part of town, we are finally closer to the rest of our RMIT colleagues – in the GSBL and in the other Colleges and Institutes. This closeness will facilitate a research excitement and engagement that was always difficult from our more isolated Building 108 location.
Ultimately, it is our mindsets that will never be the same again. We will see things differently. We will research and teach differently (and many of you have spent some time preparing for this through a variety of professional development sessions). We will experience a cutting edge identity that other business schools can only dream about. We will be living that dream from today onwards.
The pride I feel in the people who make up our College – all of you – who will make this happen, is second to none. Along with you I celebrate our new future – and I look forward to co-constructing and designing with you what that future will be and how it will take us in new directions that we can still only barely begin to perceive.
It is yours to enjoy. Kick the tyres, smell the “new car” aromas – and take it for a spin today!
Professor Ian Palmer, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business) and Vice President