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Reflections: towards our 2025 Strategy

Landmark Paper


Purpose - RMIT’s identity, origins and strategy

RMIT building

Why we are here

RMIT is a unique educational institution born in Melbourne in 1887, amidst dramatic economic, social and scientific change.

RMIT exists to create transformative experiences for our students, getting them ready for life and work, and to help shape the world with research, innovation, teaching and engagement. As a university, we aspire to offer an education deeply grounded and enriched by the communities we serve.

As the world economy transforms, we have a responsibility to make the resulting changes work for the whole of society.

We embrace the multitude of ideas and values that arise from different fields of endeavour and sources of life experience.

RMIT’s roots are in our commitment to create meaningful education for all, advancing opportunities for success through applied skills, enterprise and immersion in technology, science and art.

Founded to provide training for the workers of Melbourne after the 1850’s gold rush, RMIT emerged during a time of explosive population growth and disruptive globalisation. The same period saw widespread dispossession of the Indigenous peoples of those lands, which we acknowledge remain unceded.

Over decades, RMIT has adapted and grown, facing outwards to a fast-changing world, while remaining anchored in the diverse and complex urban communities that we serve in many parts of the world.

Now, we are increasingly recognised as a global university of design, technology and enterprise.

RMIT’s original motto – “a skilled hand, and a cultivated mind” – speaks to our purpose today as an applied institution

We have a legacy of responding to the challenges and opportunities facing our communities as they adapt to global change. In the 21st century, we still pursue and celebrate positive impact as the measure of our success.

This is who we are proud to be today.

students and educator talking

We have achieved a lot in recent years, amidst disruptive change on every level of life and work.

Now it is time to reflect on our progress and purpose, as we launch a conversation with the whole of our community, to understand how our environment is changing around us and how we can adapt in order to thrive in 2025.

Two people standing with VR machine

Who We Are

Every year, more than 20,000 students complete an educational credential at RMIT. Our student community exceeds 95,000 and we have more than 11,000 passionate and talented staff, working across more than ten different geographic locations.

As a whole, RMIT works at the scale of a fair-sized city. We are an applied university with a difference: our activity centres and partnerships are embedded in some of the most dynamic and diverse urban communities in the world, spanning four continents.

We deliver learning programs, research and engagement activities at locations in Melbourne, Vietnam, Singapore, Barcelona, Hong Kong and beyond.

This range of activity creates an amazing mix of skill and culture, linked by technology, travel, values, community and partnership. The basic importance of mutual respect and cultural understanding in all the places and communities where we live, work and learn, also drives our focus on creating trust and mutual respect across our global network of activity.

We are an applied university with a difference: our activity centres and partnerships are embedded in some of the most dynamic and diverse urban communities in the world, spanning four continents.

We also reflect and acknowledge our landmark history. The unceded lands of the Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations, on which our Melbourne City campus stands, have for thousands of years been an important meeting place between nations and cultures.

Our appreciation of what we can learn from the people and the culture of the traditional custodians of this land drive our dhumbali (commitment) to Reconciliation.

We have taken further steps along our Reconciliation journey through two Reconciliation Plans and an RMIT-wide dhumbali to a shared future with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, grounded in their self-determination and sovereignty.

Our students come to RMIT from all lands and at every stage of life. We create a place for everyone from school leavers to lifelong learners who bring with them their own experience of life and work.

Students from across the globe join us for a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. Many of those who arrive with us start a new life, and as RMIT alumnus, join a growing community of lifelong learners.

An RMIT education can include foundation studies, senior secondary, vocational certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas, associate degrees, bachelors, honours, masters, higher degrees by research, short courses, executive education and micro-credentials.

woman pinning feedback to a wall

Our Strategy

In 2015, the whole of the RMIT community shared its expertise, knowledge and ideas to create Ready for Life and Work, our strategy to 2020.

The project, #shapeRMIT, explored RMIT’s roots, identity and current activities, and asked ‘what should a university like ours set out to achieve over the next five years?’

The answer is laid out across three directions, seven goals and 28 priorities that define our objectives, aspirations and shared accountabilities.

Ready for Life and Work declared our dhumbali to being a global university of technology, design and enterprise.

Creating life-changing experiences, combining passion with purpose and shaping our world through research, collaborative innovation, entrepreneurship, community and industry engagement, established a set of aspirations for our whole institution.

Being ready for life and work is about combining deep knowledge and relevant, up to date expertise with cutting edge learning skills and contemporary, inclusive values.

RMIT’s identity is reflected in our values: passion, courage, agility, inclusion, imagination and impact.

As a public institution, RMIT is dedicated to deep understanding, freedom of inquiry and expression, and the inherent value of ideas and evidence. As an applied institution, we are equally committed to applying knowledge, insight and passion to the world around us.

We have worked to build the capabilities that produce excellent research and engage our research community in creating practical outcomes with partners, stakeholders and the wider ecosystem.

Since 2015, the strategy has come to life in many ways. To name a few, we established the RMIT Activator, RMIT Online, cross-disciplinary Enabling Capability Platforms and grew RMIT Europe. We established a new Indigenous portfolio and Reconciliation goals, set ourselves a more ambitious research agenda and prioritised a strong, clear focus on student experience across the whole of RMIT.

As we approach 2020, we can see that our shared dhumbali over the past five years has helped RMIT build a stronger foundation in a fast changing world.

Now, the question is – where to next?

Join us and read on!

Next Section: Direction 1: Life-Changing Experiences