Uniting an ambitious team behind a strategy to  engage communities, develop partnerships, and Advance Melbourne.

Learn more about this project


The University of Melbourne is Australia’s top-ranked university, with campuses in Melbourne, Goulburn Valley and Northeastern Arnhem Land. In May 2020, the university published the Advancing Melbourne strategy to guide its ‘contribution to advancing the state and national interest and make vital contributions to Australia’s standing on the world stage’. Within the Chancellery, the Engagement & Partnerships (E&P) team has a critical role in key focus areas: Place, Community, Education, Discovery, and Global.

After a sustained period of change and uncertainty, the E&P team sought to establish a strategic foundation and direction, aligned to the goals of the Global, Culture & Engagement portfolio led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor.


Within a collaborative approach, and applying Ellis Jones’ deep experience in both strategic planning and cross-sector partnerships, the project comprised:

  • Project design, interviewing leaders and advising on changes to the original brief to address strategic requirements and team culture.
  • Full day workshop with chancellery and faculty leaders to understand needs and place E&P competencies.
  • Strategic planning  and team building workshops with E&P team members.
  • Development of architecture, strategy and content informed by workshop outcomes.
  • Guidance on scoping and briefing-in projects arising from workshops.


Identity, team member capability and drivers, and Clifton Strengths talent workshopping answered the questions of ‘who we are’ and ‘how we show up’ in a strategic approach, recommendations for operational integrity and a credentials overview for positioning with stakeholders.

Purpose, vision, beneficiaries, outcomes, value propositions, core capabilities, services areas, key activities, and measurement areas were all defined in a draft strategic approach for endorsement by university leaders. Subsequently, two projects were initiated: partnership models and process; and, evaluation and reporting.

Importantly, the E&P team emerged from the project with a clear direction, motivated to ‘own’ their capabilities, and leading back to the chancellery ensuring influence over their destiny.

Thank you for the process, advice and strategic documentation which enabled and contributed to us taking a constructive path forward. So important if we are to achieve the critical ambitions and opportunities ahead.

Padmini Sebastian OAM, Director, Engagement and Partnerships


strategic planning for the university of melbourne
case study strategic planning university of melbourne ellisjones
case study strategic planning university of melbourne ellisjones