New Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor David Grant, has set his sights on delivering an outstanding learning experience for students at Griffith Business School; one characterised by an increased focus on employability and the potential of new technology to deliver content in innovative and practical ways.
High-impact research is also a top priority as he aims to bring more of the School’s academic expertise to bear on industry — both the private and public sectors — and on the not-for-profit sector.
Professor Grant joined Griffith University in January from the University of NSW where he was the Senior Deputy Dean at the Australian School of Business. He has a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is internationally recognised for his expertise in organisational change and leadership.
“We have to move quickly and with innovation into the digital space to provide programs that are attractive to potential students; students who are comfortable with digital technology, and who increasingly expect us to use technology in ways that provide flexible study opportunities and enrich the experience of learning.”
A new PwC report, commissioned by the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association, recently stressed the importance of universities meeting the growing expectations of students in terms of employment outcomes after graduation and access to an online education that is useful in a work context.
“We’ve got to think very carefully about what we teach and how we teach,” said Professor Grant, who pinpointed the need to produce graduates with the skills, knowledge and attributes that enable them to contribute to an economy increasingly driven by digital innovation.
Further, he called for the development of soft skills among students to complement the business acumen learned in the classroom, and pointed to Work-Integrated-Learning as an integral part of any student experience.
“Employers today want someone who has had hands-on experience and exposure to the workplace, be that in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors,” he said. “They now require high-calibre graduates who not only exhibit cutting edge professional knowledge, but who also demonstrate key interpersonal skills and competencies such as leadership, an ability to work in teams and an ability to think critically and to be creative.”
Students can also look forward to the rewards of a curriculum enriched by heightened levels of engagement between Griffith Business School and the business community as Professor Grant seeks to bring more industry practitioners into the classroom to share their experience and knowledge and draws on the Business School’s large alumni base as a means by which to help expand the mentoring and career advice opportunities available to those studying business degrees at Griffith.
Professor Grant’s engagement agenda also extends to research. “Engagement should lead to high-impact research that has demonstrable effect; research that has real-life value,” he said.
“Griffith Business School already does this extremely well where, in partnership with industry, we are working to understand their strategic environment and concentrate our research efforts on producing results and findings that influence policy and change the way companies and other organisations are run. We want to increase our activity in this respect; doing so is commensurate with our aim of engaging in scholarship and education that benefits the economy and society.”
Understanding and keeping pace with the complex and rapidly-evolving state of competition in the tertiary education sector is also high on Professor Grant’s agenda as the influence of international providers emerges as a player in the domestic market.
“I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead as we strive to establish Griffith Business School as an internationally recognised premier provider of business education in Australia and the Asia region.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to lead such an outstanding group of academic and professional staff who are so clearly passionate about Griffith Business School and committed to its success.”
“I’m confident that we can take advantage of the many exciting opportunities that are emerging in the business education sector and that we can build on the terrific foundations already put in place by my predecessor, Professor Michael Powell.”