2020 - 2025 Strategic Plan

A Purposeful Future

Our purpose is to inspire a better future through education, research and partnership. Guided by our 2030 and Beyond White Paper, this five year Plan will take us to our 50th Anniversary, ending our time as one of the world’s youngest universities. Our 2020 - 2025 Strategic Plan has been developed to ensure UOW is positioned to rapidly adapt, respond to and lead change.

2020 - 2025 Strategic Plan


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A New Era

Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge-based economies, sharing economies, wearable technologies, rapid urbanisation, food security, climate change

A New Response


Inspiring a better future through Education, Research, partnership, Values-driven-culture


Here Now

For our students

Goal 1: Empowering students for their future

Digitally-enriched curricula, students are partners, career-ready global citizens

For the world

Goal 2: Creating Knowledge for a better world

Addressing Global Challenges, supporting global researchers and influencers, driving change that matters

For our communities

Goal 3: Making a difference for our communities

Knowledge exchange, emergent industries, responsible and sustainable practices

Transforming Priorities, digitalisation, growth, collaboration

Enabled by, people, culture, infrastructure, finance

The future is not born of complacency

2030 and beyond

Starts here, we are here, defying convention, here now, here uow

Leading change, here now, here uow

2020-2025 Strategic Plan a Purposeful future

University of Wollongong, Stand for Purpose

Our Plan

This Plan outlines three ambitious Strategic Goals supported by three Transformative Priorities and four Strategic Enablers which will be critical to achieving our Strategic Direction and 2030 Vision: A Purposeful Future.

Strategic Goals

Goal 1: Empowering students for their future
Goal 2: Creating knowledge for a better world
Goal 3: Making a difference for our communities

2020-2025 University Strategies

The University Strategies outline the specific priorities, actions and measures required to activate and realise the three goals of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan related to education, research and innovation, and our role as a civic university.

UOW 2020-2025 Strategic Plan

University Strategies

 Professor Joe Chicharo [00:00:06] Covid-19 has certainly impacted at least our medium-term planning, because it's been such a massive impact in the way we live, the way we work and how we do business. 

Professor Joe Chicharo [00:00:16] But when you look at the University's 2030 and beyond vision, that was actually forged on the basis that we were going through very disruptive times, whether it's, you know, seismic shifts in geopolitical landscape or the changing nature of jobs, the technology revolution or climate change. So we developed our long term vision on the basis that we're going through rapidly changing times.

Professor Joe Chicharo [00:00:47] But what Covid-19 has done is actually accelerated all of those things, and it's actually required the University and all its staff to respond in compressed time. So the long term ambition hasn't changed. We still have clarity around our values. We've got clarity around our pillars of success, which is around maintaining a global outlook, the recognition that we need to trust through partnerships and also change that matters. 

Professor Joe Chicharo [00:01:17] Our vision or our purpose is to create a better future through education, research and partnerships. That's a very lofty ambition, but I think it's something that we can achieve. As you know, the University has three major goals and strategies that go with it. 

Professor Joe Chicharo [00:01:34] The first strategy, our Education Strategy which is about empowering students for their future, and that's led by Professor Theo Farrell. The second strategy is around research, which is about creating knowledge for a better world, and that's led by Professor Jennifer Martin. The third strategy, which is around being a civic university, which is around making a difference to our communities, is led by Professor Alison Jones. 

Professor Joe Chicharo [00:02:03] This particular Strategic Plan is actually very important in the history of the University Wollongong, because by the end of it, in 2025, the University will turn 50 years of age and that will be a great time of reflection about life, its achievements and its direction of travel. 

Professor Theo Farrell [00:02:20] So the UOW 2020 to 2025 Education Strategy unpacks the first goal of the University's Strategic Plan, which is to empower our students for their future. 

Professor Theo Farrell [00:02:31] And so within that, we have five themes. The first theme under the Education Strategy is to future proof our graduates. And so that's focusing on a more digital learning, more work, integrated learning and more lifelong learning. The second theme is around engaging our students as trusted partners. This is very much around enhancing the student voice and empowering our students to co-design their educational journey. The third theme is around developing our students as global citizens. And so this is about creating more opportunities for international mobility and also, very importantly, more opportunities for a digitally enabled cross-campus education. And the fourth theme is leveraging and learning analytics and AI to improve our personalised support to students. And here, something that is very important for us, is using data in an ethical and transparent way, and of course, ensuring data protection and security. And the fifth theme is our promotion and rewarding teaching excellence. And here, of course, we're recognising that our core strength at Wollongong is the marvellous academic staff. So this is about investing in our staff. 

Professor Theo Farrell [00:03:46] There's obviously a lot in the Education Strategy, so perhaps I'll just pull out at three of our top priorities. The first is to widen and deepen the use of digital platforms and resources, and here, of course, we want to leverage the immense success we've had this past year with the move to remote delivery. Second priority is to widen and deepen our work integrated learning across all of our courses, and this, of course, is really important to support the future employability of our graduates. And a third priority is to develop an integrated portfolio of lifelong learning offerings, which would include micro credentials. 

Professor Theo Farrell [00:04:19] So there's lots of the strategy that's new and there's also some stuff in there that's not new, that these are enduring commitments to, for instance, embedding Aboriginal knowledges across our curricula and also to advancing environmental and social justice. And so, for instance, on that theme, we're developing a curated portfolio of subjects on the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals. 

Professor Jennifer Martin [00:04:46] Our Research and Innovation Strategy is set around our three priorities of people performance and planet. Obviously, we need to make research excellence our number one goal, and that's what we're focused on. Those two extra parts of the puzzle are people, so focusing on our researchers, particularly best practice higher degree research students, investing in our early career researchers, our next generation of researchers, and also addressing issues of equity and diversity in our research cohort. And then planet is because we've embedded the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals right throughout our strategy. 

Professor Jennifer Martin [00:05:27] One of our goals, obviously, is best practice, higher degree research, student training and support. And through that strategy, we've appointed this year our Dean of Graduate Research, Professor Clive Baldock, and he's now tasked with implementing the review recommendations from our 2019 Graduate Research School Review. So there'll be a lot of change there that we'll see coming through around that particular goal of our strategy. We're also looking at transformative applications and processes to help facilitate our research. And we've embedded across the strategy the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to make sure that we're focused on research with global impact. The Associate Deans of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are a direct result of our implementation of the Sage Athena Swan action plan. You might recall that we were awarded a bronze award in the Sage Athena Swan Charter a couple of years ago now, and one of the actions that we have is to implement people responsible for equity, diversity and inclusion across the University. So we now have Associate Deans, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion appointed in each of the faculties and in our AIIM institute and they're doing a great job in implementing some of the sub-goals within that that area. 

Professor Alison Jones [00:06:50] I'm very excited about the Civic University Strategy because it leverages all of our relationships and all of our potential to influence and work with our communities. 

Professor Alison Jones [00:07:03] Inclusion is fundamentally important to who we are as a university, but the success of society overall. We want to strengthen our commitment and actions towards truly diverse student and staff body and partnership with communities that support diversity. There's nothing more important for a regional university than its partnerships with others, from the smallest NGO to the biggest corporate. Our new Civic Strategy renews our commitment to that deep seated partnership towards mutual benefit. 

Professor Alison Jones [00:07:41] What's different in the University of Wollongong is we're not asking the question, what are we good at? We're asking the question, what are we good for? And the answer to that will come from our communities' needs and aspirations. It's really important that we work together in these tricky economic times, particularly to grow jobs and opportunities. 

Professor Alison Jones [00:08:06] And our i-Accelerate centre creates new start-up businesses and is a chance to think outside the box. And at the other end of the spectrum, we've got the developing Health and Wellbeing Precinct, which will bring with it so many jobs and opportunities to this region, focussing on the needs of this region, of the aging population and creating added value through our partnerships across our communities from the smallest NGO to the very biggest corporate organisation. 

Professor Joe Chicharo [00:08:39] As you know, we answer to our governing body, Council, and we have a clear set of key performance indicators, there's a dozen of them. And against each of those key performance indicators, we have targets which we measure. So we've got an ultimate five year target, but we break that down on a year by year basis. So we'll have clarity around each of those key performance indicators and whether the University is achieving its goals. 

Professor Joe Chicharo [00:09:06] We've engaged deeply with everybody, staff and students in the development of this Strategic Plan. It started with the 2030 and beyond vision, and I think that without their input and ownership of the plan, we're not going to achieve our goals. So it's very, very important that we engage deeply. And I'm really grateful for the input and commitment that staff have shown and students to recognise that we've also got a university that's ambitious not just for the communities and for the staff, but also for the students and their future. 

Our transformative priorities

We will achieve the strategic objectives we have outlined in our 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan and our 2030 and Beyond: A Purposeful Future through pursuing three interconnected institutional priorities.

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We will pursue projects which further enhance our digital capacity and teaching, learning and research practices.

Molecular horizons building


We will focus on the opportunities to differentiate our offerings and ensure our long-term financial sustainability.

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We will increase our strategic engagement with our industry partners, peers and communities to help address wicked problems.

Our Strategic Enablers

Our students, academic and professional services staff drive our success and create our impact. As we move towards a purposeful future, our people recognise the imperatives for change and lead the way for our transformation.

Our workforce management strategies will attract and retain the best talent and continuously develop our people to create the re-imagined workforce of the future. We will value and recognise innovation, entrepreneurship, resilience, and the initiative to develop meaningful partnerships. We will invest in our people to provide them with the best tools to develop and expand their leadership and skills.

Our people will confidently embrace technology to drive change. As an agile and responsive community, we will blur the distinctions between students and staff and unify our professional and academic structures. We will enhance channels of communication to ensure that students and staff are informed and engaged, and that support to them is efficient and timely.

Our staff will actively seek and participate in industry networks and global mobility opportunities.

Our culture will be characterised by excellence, collaboration, agility, nimbleness, and responsiveness to the market. Supported by flexible systems and processes we focus our efforts on creating positive change. As we adapt quickly, we will remain grounded in our institutional values, and we will continue to champion inclusion, diversity, and gender equity to create a welcoming environment for everyone. We will continually strengthen and adapt our governance structures to ensure we thrive while upholding the strongest principles of integrity, accountability and transparency.

Our globally networked learning and research experience will be enabled by state-of-the-art physical and digital infrastructure. Our physical and virtual presence will create a deep sense of belonging to UOW and demonstrate contemporary practices in safety and accessibility.

Our commitment to realising the vision of our campus masterplans will provide smart, environmentally sustainable and purposeful facilities that enhance workplace productivity and the university experience. We will embrace user-centred design, automation and artificial intelligence, so our people are able to focus on meaningful and rewarding work. We will be at the forefront of advanced technologies, embedding them into our research and learning.

Our focus on best practice resource management and diversifying of revenue streams will support our ongoing financial viability. We will inform and resource our student recruitment practices on the basis of market insights and evidence to optimise our enrolment and retention outcomes. We will continue to embed effective planning and reporting practices, ensuring transparency and optimal allocation of resources.

Our funding and financial models will evolve to match rapid changes in our research and education. We will focus our investments and redirect resources from under-performing to promising programs. We will grow and diversify our research revenue by creating global funding partnerships and facilitating commercialisation.

Our values

Intellectual openness

We are driven and determined, yet collegial and ethical in all that we do. We are always looking to serve our communities and share our knowledge and expertise with them for mutual betterment.

Excellence and dedication

We work tirelessly to excel in our research and education, and to address complex, real-world problems in partnership with our communities.

Empowerment and academic freedom

We celebrate the freedom to have different opinions and different ideas. We encourage the asking of difficult questions and discovery of innovative solutions.

Mutual respect and diversity

We aspire to set the standard for inclusiveness, diversity and equity. We welcome – and benefit from – the diversity of our communities within Australia and internationally. We will continue to champion Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reconciliation.

Recognition and performance

We celebrate the hard work and dedication of our staff, and recognise and reward their achievements. We expect all our staff to meet the challenges of our changing world by seizing opportunities that deliver continuous improvement. 

A Purposeful Future

Our 2030 and Beyond White Paper outlines our strategic direction.