Continuing to move forward – and grow – in a year like no other

Posted 22nd December 2020

Growth in student enrolment despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a successful transition to online learning and the expansion of executive education short courses are among the highlights of 2020 at Carnegie Mellon University Australia (CMU-A).

CMU-A Head Professor Emil Bolongaita said while 2020 had ‘tested the very fibre of our beings’, both as individuals and as a higher education institution, the past 12 months had also produced many success stories.

“Our students, staff and faculty have been resilient, creative and innovative in responding to the challenges of COVID-19 and have managed to continue to move forward remarkably well,” Prof. Bolongaita said.

As the year draws to a close, Prof. Bolongaita said highlights of 2020 included:

  • Enrolment numbers for CMU-A’s Masters programs growing by 3 per cent despite international border lockdowns and all study being conducted online. A February 2021 intake of was re-established to cater for both new students and those whose study plans were disrupted by COVID.
  • The swift and effective transition to remote teaching in March. While it proved a testing adjustment at first, student feedback about the online classes had been positive. A recent survey found 86 per cent of our students rated their overall experience with CMU-A’s online learning as good or excellent.
  • Partnering with the Central Bank of the Philippines to deliver training for the bank’s digital transformation strategy. This included running several online programs, including a 28-week program on Business Intelligence and Data Analytics for select technical and policy staff, and a series of one-day ‘Building a Digital Mindset’ programs that trained almost 5000 staff.
  • Expanding CMU-A’s executive education program through partnerships with the Australian Awards and the Philippines Commission on Higher Education and Mapua University.

CMU-A Head Professor Emil Bolongaita reflects on the challenges and highlights of 2020.

“We are thrilled that our students decided to proceed with enrolments in 2020 despite the classes being delivered remotely and that the feedback we have received about our online offering has been so positive,” Prof. Bolongaita said.

“The offerings that we have on digital transformation and digital analytics together with our longstanding programs on information systems and IT have really continued to appeal and we’re confident that we’ll continue to expand next year.”

Prof. Bolongaita said the university will continue to focus on enhancing the diversity of its student body – and welcoming students from all corners of the globe either online or in person when they are able to travel again in 2021.

“I am confident that we are looking at a very exciting 2021 and that as a global community, we will come out a better and stronger because of what we have gone through in 2020,” Prof. Bolongaita said.