Story of Our Engagement
Community action played a key role in bringing a university presence to Wollongong and its region 60 years ago. Since then, the University's sphere of engagement has progressively expanded from an active commitment to the local region to interaction with communities around Australia and overseas.
At UOW, Community Engagement is:
- Overseen by the Vice-Principal (Administration)
- Guided by the Community Engagement Committee;
- Promoted by the Community Team in the Office of Advancement
- Supported through the Community Engagement Grants Scheme;
- Recognised through various awards for Outstanding Community Engagement, and
- Evaluated using Community engagement Performance Indicators and against an annual Management Plan.
The University Strategic Plan 2013-18 takes an integrated approach to engagement, recognises mature and complex relationships and opportunities for social and economic growth. It aims to clearly express the purpose and nature of UOW's engagement with its communities and embed it in academic, teaching and outreach programs.
The University achieves its goal of 'dynamic engagement with our communities' in a myriad of ways:
- The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, a partnership between UOW and the South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service (SESIAHS)
- The Innovation Campus development, a flagship for regional engagement
- The Graduate School of Medicine, with a special curriculum and purpose for training medical practitioners for remote, rural and regional areas.
- Through our valued partnerships with industry and business and other community groups at a local, national and international level.
- Our growing links with schools, continuing collaboration with TAFE and expansion of courses at our satellite campuses in Shoalhaven, Bega, Batemans Bay, Moss Vale and Loftus.
- Internationally, through provision of off-shore courses at the University of Wollongong in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and partner institutions in other countries including China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
- Development of student engagement programs and a range of experiential learning.
- Through more than 120 public events including lectures, forums, exhibitions, performances and book launches throughout the year.
- Through dedicated funding for collaborative community projects via the Community Engagement Grants Scheme
- By supporting major community infrastructure including the Science Centre and Planetarium, the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music and IRIS at the Innovation Campus.
UOW is committed to best practice engagement and has been recognised nationally and internationally for its commitment to engagement including:
- In 2012 the inaugural QS Intelligence Unit benchmarking audit awarded UOW 50/50 points for engagement
- In 2009, UOW Cares Staff Workplace Giving Program was awarded the Association of Commonwealth Universities PR, Marketing and Communication Award for Outreach and Community Relations
- In 2006, UOW received the inaugural Commonwealth University of the Year Award.
UOW is an active and contributing member of associations such as Engagement Australia - an alliance of universities and affiliations committed to university-community engagement across Australia and Asia Pacific which works with the Business Higher Education Roundtable (B-HERT), Universities Australia, Talloires Network and other like-minded organisations to strengthen University-Community Engagement activity within and beyond the Australian higher education sector.