Transformation Board Chairman Sir Maarten Wevers says the future can be optimistic for Lincoln University. Building on a tradition of nearly 140 years, Lincoln has an important role to play in the development of New Zealand’s land-based economy through the creation and application of new technologies, science, innovation and research.
“The road to success will be challenging and will take time but the vision is achievable and will deliver enormous value to Lincoln University, its partners and the community,” said Sir Maarten. “The responsibility now lies with Lincoln University and its leadership to accelerate and expand its change programmes in order to realise the opportunities in front of it.”
The report identifies five strategic themes which should be addressed by the University Council and management and provides recommendations on each theme in order to achieve the vision.
Chancellor Smith thanked Sir Maarten and his Board, which included the Tertiary Education Commission Chair and Chief Executive, and three international advisory panel members, for their important work in setting out a bold new vision for Lincoln University, one which foresees an expanded contribution to the success of the food sector and primary industries.
“This collaborative model took a big step forward in 2012 with the establishment of the Lincoln Hub, a virtual research and learning network involving the University working alongside scientists from AgResearch, Landcare Research, Dairy NZ and Plant and Food Research, Chancellor Smith continued.
“The opportunities and benefits of closer collaboration with science and industry were cemented further this year with agreement to construct a Joint Facility with AgResearch on the Lincoln University campus which will see Lincoln students and staff combining efforts with 700 researchers connecting the agrifood and technology industries to promote industry-led innovation.”
Chancellor Smith said the Joint Facility and the Lincoln Hub generally will enable the University and its partners to address challenges around sustainable food production, more efficient land use, restoring and protecting water sources and fortifying the resilience of New Zealand’s eco-systems.
“These new collaborative ways of working will provide Lincoln University students with a world-class education, further improved employment outcomes, and to strengthening the University’s contribution into issues of great importance to New Zealand and our export markets,” he said.
“Lincoln will continue to seek out new partners, domestically and internationally, to achieve its vision”.
Sir Maarten said the Board recognised that Lincoln University is not the only tertiary institution having to reconsider the way it operates: “All New Zealand universities are having to seek improvements in performance and introduce innovations in teaching and research.”
“When it comes to making the changes that are needed, Lincoln’s small scale affords an agility that other University’s don’t have, and its traditional areas of specialisation is a strength,” he said.
The Transformation Board also acknowledged that since 2016 and under new leadership the Lincoln University Council and management had been active in addressing some historical issues and implementing programmes to stabilise and strengthen the University to ensure it can adapt to the changes it needs to make.
Chancellor Smith says the University is on-track to continue its improvement in financial performance following its return to profitability in 2016. New course offerings have been put in place to better meet student and employer demands, and Lincoln is continuing to put in place the right capabilities at all levels of the University.
The Transformation Board report can be accessed here