Introduction

Opening of La Trobe University 1967

The purpose of La Trobe University is:

'To serve the community of Victoria for the purposes of higher education, for the education, economic, social and cultural benefit of Victorians and for wider Australian and international communities... providing access to quality higher education to those from disadvantaged communities.'

La Trobe University Act, 2009.

Our past

La Trobe was the third university created for Victoria, and was established to be complementary to, but different from, the other two. Its founders aspired to create a university that would:

  1. Provide an accessible alternative to the two pre-existing universities
  2. Bring university education to the northern suburbs of Melbourne
  3. Excel in a number of selected disciplines

Shaped by the era of our birth, La Trobe developed a distinctive ethos which joined 'social engagement' to the pursuit of academic excellence. Reflecting our desire to engage with the outside world, our public intellectuals became and remain among the most engaged in the nation, and our alumni are some of the most influential their generations have produced.
In the 1980s and '90s we redefined the University through new relationships, especially in country Victoria. We are now a multi-campus university and the largest provider of higher education to Victoria's regions. Moreover we have the largest regional enrolment of the mainland Australian universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 'Top 500'. La Trobe University now has some of the world's best researchers in the sciences and humanities contributing to the achievement of this ranking.

La Trobe is a globally recognised university, transforming the lives of its students, many being the first in their family to attend university, and playing an important role in its local communities. These are achievements of which we can be justly proud.

Our future

Times have changed, and the manner in which we must play our part in the world, as well as the complexity and cost of academic research, have changed with them. For instance, Melbourne's North is being transformed by population expansion and rising demand for higher education. All the regions we serve face new challenges as a result of structural changes in national and global economies along with environmental and social challenges. Students have greater choice than ever before, and expect a high quality educational experience, together with engaging, relevant and flexible curriculum. The issues facing our society, and to which our courses and research must respond, include climate change, the ageing of our population, the rise of Asia's relevance and influence, the revolution in the medical sciences, and the resilience of societies in the face of rapid change. Other challenges will arise during the lifespan of this Plan, and La Trobe will be agile in responding to them.

Our history equips us with the appropriate formula for success in such an environment. Our geography, ethos and academic strengths can be the starting points for an even livelier and stronger La Trobe that retains its relevance and remains true to its ideals.

Our objectives for 2017

Excellence in the key world issues

La Trobe will be a university known for its excellence, creativity and innovation in relation to the big issues of our time, and for its enthusiasm in providing the leadership needed to make a difference. We will lay claim to selected areas of teaching and research which address issues fundamental to the future of human societies and their environments. In such areas we will be amongst the best in the world and will attract outstanding partners to work with us.

Outstanding students

In the tradition of great campus universities, we will improve our attractiveness to creative and independent thinkers from diverse walks of life, cultures and backgrounds, including those with a passion for challenging the status quo and driving change. La Trobe students will choose us because we are at the centre of important social, economic, environmental, political and scientific developments; because we respect them as partners in their learning; because we are flexible and innovative in our modes of delivery; and because we equip them with an identifiably modern, globally relevant education, and send them out to be successful and to make the world a better place.

Exceptional staff

Our staff will be highly skilled and motivated, creative and ground-breaking, willing to act and be held accountable for results. They will be people who pursue new ideas and who want to create knowledge afresh. They will be recognised for high performance and expect high performance from those around them. We will make La Trobe an attractive place for early career academics and professional staff, and career changers with exceptional industry knowledge to build their careers. We will provide staff with the support, rewards and flexibility they need to excel. Risk-taking, creativity and innovation in teaching and research will be supported and encouraged.

Lively connected campuses

Our campuses will be beacons of research, learning, cultural and sporting activities that make their communities richer for La Trobe's presence. We will provide leadership in the development of Melbourne's north and Victoria's regions, and turn our campuses outwards to better engage with their communities.

Game changing partners

Our external partnerships will transform our capacity as a teaching and research university. We will be distinctive for the quality and depth of the external partnerships that enrich our work, transform our capacity, advance our partners' objectives, and open up opportunities to help solve the fundamental challenges of the day.

National and international ranking

We will regain our place as one of Australia's top twelve universities, improve our current ranking in the world's 'Top 500', and reclaim our place as unambiguously one of the top-three ranked Victorian universities.

Sustainable and ethical

We will continually enhance our intellectual, physical and financial resources so that future generations of scholars and students can continue the advancement of knowledge for the public good.

This is a bold vision for the University that seeks to return La Trobe to its radical beginnings, but reinterpreted and refreshed in a modern context.

Our values

At La Trobe University we:

  • Take a world view
  • Pursue ideas and excellence with energy
  • Treat people with respect and work together
  • Are open, friendly and honest
  • Hold ourselves accountable for making great things happen