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How UC plans to become a world-ranked university by 2018

By Kim Fischer 6 July 2015 26

university of canberra

If the University of Canberra is to become a world-ranked university, we need to improve infrastructure in Belconnen.

I attended a public meeting late last month in which UC Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker explained his 15 year vision for the University of Canberra. I was impressed at the level of interest, with a packed auditorium that was standing-room only.

Bruce is an important education hub, with over 20,000 students attending the University of Canberra, UC Senior Secondary College Lake Ginninderra, Radford College, the Australian Institute of Sport and the Canberra Institute of Technology.

UC has outlined an ambitious program for transforming itself into a world-ranked university that supports a wide range of teaching, research and development programs run by both public and private enterprises. This will reshape the suburb and the Belconnen town centre forever.

As the university expands, better infrastructure and stronger links between the town centre and the university would encourage students, staff, and employees from UC to come to Belconnen and vice versa, invigorating the lakeshore precinct.

This will need investment in improved infrastructure as part of the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan. For example, my submission to the consultation process suggested a promenade for cyclists and pedestrians from Emu Bank to the College Street entrance for the university, and it seems likely that dual-lane upgrades to the already congested Aikman Drive and College Street will be necessary.

Highlights of the $1 billion plan for UC include:

  • An increased focus on whole-of-life education 
    UC wants primary and secondary schools to be located on campus and to offer strong pathways into university courses.  UC already has an arrangement with two schools, UC High School, Kaleen and UC Senior Secondary College, Lake Ginninderra to provide opportunities for Territory teachers’ professional development and engagement with academics of the university. The university expects the University of Canberra College to continue to grow, helping domestic and international students of all ages enter tertiary education, while the University of the Third Age offers courses for Canberra’s growing retiree community.
  • A health precinct
    This includes the 140 bed sub-acute care UC Public Hospital announced by the ACT Government focusing on providing a more “home-like environment”. The precinct will also house private hospitals, independent living and aged care facilities, specialist clinics and health research facilities.
  • Building residences for staff, alumni and members of the public
    In addition to the existing 1700 beds on campus, 3000 new “dwellings” will be built for staff, alumni, and the public to live on-campus.
  • Developing an Innovation Park
    This includes biomedicine, biotechnology, sports technology, materials fabrication and IT solutions. The goal of this R&D facility is for “national and global organisations [to] compete for space on campus to be close to research academics and students”.

The university aims to embrace new and emerging kinds of employment and help build the next generation of jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Professor Stephen Parker explained at the meeting that as a comparatively young university, UC does not have an additional income stream. However, it does have a large allotment of land, so by building commercial and residential facilities onsite it can unlock funds to invest back into the university and its students with the goal of achieving a world ranking by 2018.

I think Professor Parker has an exciting vision for UC that will bring substantial changes both to Belconnen and Canberra. What do you think about his plans?

Photo credit: University of Canberra


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26 Responses to
How UC plans to become a world-ranked university by 2018
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devils_advocate 11:20 am 08 May 17

I did my first degree at UC. It put me on the road to a series of well-paying jobs, culminating in a very-well-paying job. However I agree with the above comments, it was all focussed on career outcomes for students (at least they do this well) and no focus on research or careers in academia. I think post-grad studies and PhDs are a relatively recent phenomenon in UC?

dungfungus 6:25 pm 09 Jul 15

Antagonist said :

dungfungus said :

Antagonist said :

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

dungfungus said :

I have some acquaintances who never even finished college yet they gained admission to UC.
Apparently they have special concessions for “20 year old mature students” most of whom will bleed the system and never pay the student loans back.
I suppose business is business.

All universities have that sort of concession including ANU

Even Sydney and Melbourne Universities?

Most definitely, all of them.

Interesting.
When I enrolled at Canberra University (as it was known 30 years ago) as a mature age student I was only accepted because I had the minimum requirement which was a NSW Leaving Certificate with matriculation.
Even with this behind me and 15 years in commerce, I struggled.
Knowing the background of these “young mature” students who have no formal qualifications I can only assume that the induction standard has been dumbed down.
The losers are we taxpayers who will underwrite the student loans which will fund these pretenders’ lifestyles.

Most (all?) universities have bridging courses if people are not demonstrably capable, particularly for undergraduate courses. I would expect that many post grad courses wouldn’t exist without the mature age student market.

I’m not aware of how many mature age undergraduates drop out and don’t pay their HECS or even if this is an issue. You have to be an inveterate povvo to never rise above the HECS repayment threshold of $54k.

Bridging courses are hardly a ‘concession’. I proved my worth by completing a UC Diploma which took 12 months of hard work on a full-time study load. I will finish my degree in November as a 40 year old and I can assure you that nobody made any special concessions for me, or any one else I know for that matter. I earned my place and continued to work hard – along with all of the other mature age students. Concession my foot.

A mature age 40 year is a lot different to a mature age 20 year old. At least you have 20 years life experience which is something that cannot be acquired from lecturers.
By the way, are you funding the course yourself or is it courtesy of the taxpayer?

I paid taxes for 20 years. Aren’t they my taxes too? And won’t the government have a long-term benefit when I pay taxes at a higher rate because my degree helped me to get one of those good, high-paying jobs like Uncle Joe Hockey told me about?

I paid my taxes as well and I also paid my tertiary fees out of my own pocket. When I finally got that “high paying job” I was retrenched in the 1990s recession. I found out then that it is almost impossible to get a career job if one is over 40.

creative_canberran 4:44 pm 09 Jul 15

Derek65 said :

Given the fact that some of ANU’s top academics are fleeing to UC, I wouldn’t be surprised if UC jumps up in the rankings considerably. Politics & IR is only one area where UC is benefiting from ANU’s mismanagement. Apparently a full third of the academics filed formal grievances for workplace harassment and half the academics left in a year. As the Canberra Times said, “To compound its financial problems, the school has experienced a substantial reduction in its Higher Education Research Data Collection points, a government reporting requirement which collates research income and publications and is used as a measure to calculate future government and performance funding.

Of the more than 100 HERDC points earned by the school in 2012, more than 75 per cent were earned by staff who have now left. This suggests the school’s rankings will plummet, particularly given newly recruited replacement staff are junior academics.”

In particular, ANU drove out John Dryzek, who is basically a god in political science. So Dryzek just set up shop at UC.

I’ve heard similar stories about top ANU academics moving to UC in sociology, history and other fields.

ANU’s politics and international relations section is a wreck, has been for years. Toxic culture, lots of good academics gone.

It was interesting that Ian Young earlier this year admitted that the ANU is doing badly in the citation rankings, which measure the influence of a university’s research.

And just this month the ANU lost another ARC fellow and senior academic, this time from law who moved to Qld.

Daniel 4:00 pm 09 Jul 15

The world ranking UC is pursuing is being in the Top 50 of the “youngest” universities in the World (those aged 50 or less). UC was created during the Dawkins reforms when CCAEs were combined with some smaller tertiary schools to form universities, and these are 30 years ago now. Macquarie was Australia’s highest placed Uni on this list up until last year when it no longer met the age criteria.

Even though they may gain a relatively large number of skilled academics and researchers from ANU and elsewhere, UC would be pushing the proverbial to get into this circle even by 2020.

Derek65 1:54 pm 09 Jul 15

Given the fact that some of ANU’s top academics are fleeing to UC, I wouldn’t be surprised if UC jumps up in the rankings considerably. Politics & IR is only one area where UC is benefiting from ANU’s mismanagement. Apparently a full third of the academics filed formal grievances for workplace harassment and half the academics left in a year. As the Canberra Times said, “To compound its financial problems, the school has experienced a substantial reduction in its Higher Education Research Data Collection points, a government reporting requirement which collates research income and publications and is used as a measure to calculate future government and performance funding.

Of the more than 100 HERDC points earned by the school in 2012, more than 75 per cent were earned by staff who have now left. This suggests the school’s rankings will plummet, particularly given newly recruited replacement staff are junior academics.”

In particular, ANU drove out John Dryzek, who is basically a god in political science. So Dryzek just set up shop at UC.

I’ve heard similar stories about top ANU academics moving to UC in sociology, history and other fields.

mr_pink 8:06 pm 08 Jul 15

“UC wants primary and secondary schools to be located on campus and to offer strong pathways into university courses.” This is another way of UC admitting the flimsy linkages (or lack thereof) are nothing more than lipstick on a pig.

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