Impact through Empathy


Since Australian Catholic University first opened in 1991, it has been an institution committed to delivering excellence in education, research, and engagement. As a result, the university has progressed from strength to strength. ACU now has eight campuses in Australia and another in Italy. It is also currently ranked in the top 2% of all universities and is among the world’s top 10 Catholic universities. This impressive achievement stands testimony to the efforts of the many people who have served ACU with passion and dedication over the past 30 years.

The ACU Strategic Plan 2020-2023: Impact through empathy was launched in 2019 by my esteemed predecessor Professor Greg Craven AO GCSG.

This plan articulates ACU’s mission, vision, focus, and strategic priorities for the coming years. Significant steps have already been undertaken to meet its objectives. Few could have foreseen the levels of global disruption and economic uncertainty which occurred in 2020. However, the ACU Strategic Plan’s vision, with its focus on hope, faith, and reason through opportunity, innovation, and ethics, proved to be robust and relevant during this challenging time.

As the new Vice-Chancellor and President of ACU, I am proud to be continuing with this plan as we commence the next stage of the ACU journey.

As a university community, our collective purpose is neatly captured in the title of the plan – Impact through empathy. This phrase reflects our intent to make a positive, lasting, and measurable difference to students, staff, communities, and societies. 

As we move forward, we will create impact by adhering to our Catholic mission and remaining committed to the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of the human person, and the common good. We will continue to offer our students an inclusive, ethics-based education, and we will search for solutions to local and global challenges through mission-aligned research. We will also support the broader community and advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves.

As we work towards these shared objectives, I know that our hope, faith, and reason will provide us with the fortitude we require to face any challenges which may lay ahead.

Professor Zlatko Skrbis
Vice-Chancellor and President
Australian Catholic University

Our mission

In truth and love.

Within the Catholic intellectual tradition and acting in truth and love, Australian Catholic University is committed to the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of the human person and the common good.

Our vision

Hope, faith and reason through opportunity, innovation and ethics.

All our endeavours are grounded in mission. ACU will create future opportunity, foster innovation and embrace ethics with hope, faith and reason. The dignity of the human person and flourishing of society will engender every facet of our impact on learning, research and operations.

Our focus

ACU staff assisting student.


Our focus is to enrich lives through learning and knowledge.

We create opportunity and stand for those in need. We believe society is enriched through education, and that everyone should be treated with dignity. We aim to inspire and connect people, and act with empathy and courage. We foster a vibrant intellectual life for students and staff, and seek new knowledge which has a tangible impact on real world challenges.


Our focus is to cultivate the imagination and defy expectations.

We animate hope, on the pillars of faith and reason. We are enterprising and bold, we are unique and agile. We stand for reason and for the betterment of society. We invite, explore and embrace new and creative ways to make a difference.


Our focus is to strive toward a better future for humanity.

Our ethical focus gives us a wide and generous view of the common good. We celebrate diversity and welcome different ideas. Our mission, founded in Catholic faith and tradition, makes a rich contribution to ethics and our ethical approach.

ACU staff discussing strategic priorities.

Our strategic priorities

Our mission is at the heart of everything we do. It guides our approach to education, research, academic excellence and service. We strive toward building a better world through each of our strategic priorities. We engage the Catholic intellectual tradition to bring a distinct perspective to higher education in Australia and across the world, supported by our focus on opportunity, innovation and ethics.

  1. All our endeavours, grounded in mission.
  2. Distinctive, inclusive, dynamic and student-centred education.
  3. World-leading research, with impact.
  4. Vibrant academic culture, enriched by innovation and discovery.
  5. Deeply engaged, globally renowned.
  6. Service, stewardship and sustainability.

Take a closer look at our strategic plan

Access the full ACU Strategic Plan 2020 – 2023 for details on our:

  • mission
  • vision
  • focus areas
  • strategic priorities
  • principles

Strategic Plan 2020-2023 (PDF, 3.6MB)

Strategy execution framework

Access the ACU Strategy Execution Framework that supports execution of the ACU Strategic Plan 2020 – 2023 to:

  • achieve our mission, vision and strategic priorities
  • embed our focus on opportunity, innovation and ethics
  • manage our resources and risks effectively.

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