A few weeks ago, the nation’s vice chancellors - supported by hundreds of deputy and pro-vice chancellors, deans, and other members of the senior leadership teams - assembled in Canberra for their annual gathering at the Universities Australia Higher Education Conference. With the summer holidays behind them and the academic year barely underway, it seems logical that the mood would be relaxed, upbeat and optimistic, much the way many of us recall feeling at the start of the school year, with a clean backpack full of fresh notebooks, new pens, and sharp pencils.
When he took over as Prime Minister just seven months ago, Malcolm Turnbull did so with a commitment to lead the nation through an urgent transformation into a knowledge-based economy. “We are living at the most exciting time,” he said, acknowledging the changes happening to the global economy. To fully participate in this revolution, he explained that Australia needs to build a national workforce with strong science, technology, engineering and maths skills to drive a culture of innovation. It's an inspiring vision.