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Alumna and Indigenous artist instructing community member in technique

Goal 3: Civic University Strategy

2020–2025 Civic University Strategy

Making a difference for our communities

As a publicly funded university, demonstrating our value to society is now more important than ever.

Our civic university strategy provides a roadmap towards 2030, guiding our journey towards being a truly civic university where our teaching, research and civic engagement is aligned to national priorities and local needs, providing a platform for economic and social regeneration.

3.1 Growing diverse and inclusive communities

We will promote safe, respectful and socially inclusive communities where our common commitment to equity, diversity, reconciliation and human dignity is lived by all.


3.1 Strategic Objectives

Drive equitable access to, and participation in, tertiary education for all. This includes disadvantaged groups, and/or groups traditionally underrepresented in tertiary education. In addition, we will provide inclusive and safe educational environments that celebrate equity and diversity.

This will be measured by:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student participation, progress and completion
  • Low socioeconomic student participation, progress and completion
  • Regional, rural and remote student participation, progress and completion
  • The number of new student enrolments in UOW lifelong learning activities
  • Percentage of students and staff with disabilities
  • Gender participation, progress and completion

Support and champion programs led by UOW and our community partners that promote inclusivity, equity, diversity, ethics, reconciliation and human dignity.

This will be measured by:

  • Reported outcomes from:
    • UOW Accessibility Action Plan 2019 to 2021
    • UOW Safe and Respectful Communities
    • UOW Reconciliation Action Plan
    • UOW SAGE/Athena Swan program
    • UOW programs aligned with the Australian Human Rights Commission’s principles to promote and protect the human rights of international students
  • Growth in the delivery of LGBTQI+ and gender equity educational and support programs across UOW locations

Continue to evolve our governance structures to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion are embedded at every level to guide policy development and drive our leadership and workforce profile to reflect the diversity of our communities and locations.

This will be measured by:

  • Development of institutionally agreed metrics to assist in guiding inclusive governance structures
  • The percentage of staff who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • The percentage of female professoriate
  • The percentage of female staff in senior leadership roles
  • Continued achievement in:
    • Athena SWAN accreditation
    • Australian Workplace Equality Index initiatives
    • Workplace Gender Equality Agency initiatives

3.2 Creating value for our communities

We will enhance our civic and social role by showcasing a wide range of benefits to our communities through the adoption of best practice in knowledge exchange. We will share ideas, research, skills and expertise with our partners and all our communities.


3.2 Strategic Objectives 

Co-create civic university agreements with key community partners across UOW locations, which articulate how we will work together on a clear set of shared priorities to meet community needs.

This will be measured by:

  • Development of a partnership engagement framework that captures the breadth and depth of our engagement activities and coordinates them towards strategic initiatives informed by local, national and international priorities to deliver impact at scale
  • Co-creation and implementation of civic university agreements across UOW locations
  • Development and implementation of an institutional tool to capture partnership engagement data across the institution

Build an engagement framework that aligns our education provision and research strengths with community needs; and leverage our international capabilities to provide value for our communities.

This will be measured by:

  • Proportion of students completing at least one UOWx recognised activity
  • Proportion of students engaged in UOW employability programs
  • Research income generated from community engaged research projects
  • Increase in WIL opportunities at all campuses via industry, community and government partnerships
  • Positive student experience as reflected in the International Student Barometer survey
  • Increase in student ambassadors representing UOW across the globe

Adopt best practice principles and methodologies of knowledge exchange in all our partnerships, ensuring ongoing sharing of information, skills, and experiences that create value for all. In doing so, encourage and provide reciprocal opportunities for our students and staff to contribute to shared social purposes with our communities.

This will be measured by:

  • Development and reporting of an institutionally agreed metric to report on the number of UOW leaders appointed to key civic and community forums
  • Number and reach of community engaged high-quality research publications
  • Development of an institutionally approved reporting format for reporting community access and visitations to UOW open source materials, events and outreach facilities.

3.3 Powering up partnerships for change

We will partner with organisations and individuals on shared social purposes through philanthropy and investment to create transformative change.


3.3 Strategic Objectives 

Continue to cultivate and foster strong relationships with schools to provide opportunities and pathways for individuals to support educational aspirations and build capacity in our regions and; position UOW to secure opportunities and funding through higher education reform initiatives to support projects that align with expressed community need and national priorities.

This will be measured by:

  • The number of students who successfully engage with UOW outreach, pathway and transition programs
  • The value of Government funding secured from the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund (NPILF) and similar initiatives

Continue to cultivate and foster strong community partnerships that provide philanthropic support for shared social purposes.

This will be measured by:

  • The development of metrics and reporting that take into account existing UOW governance arrangements and align them with the sector-led approach currently underway to develop a framework to capture, report and enable rankings for university civic engagement

Continue to nurture our culture of giving among our staff and students, to grow our contribution and add value to shared social purposes.

This will be measured by:

  • The value of donations through the UOW Cares program
  • The proportion of staff volunteering in community engaged programs
  • The proportion of students completing at least one UOWx recognised activity

3.4 Creating jobs and supporting industries

We will partner with community and industry, especially emerging, start-up and global businesses operating in all the regions in which we have campuses, to create new jobs, job opportunities for our graduates, and assist industry in improving practice.


3.4 Strategic Objectives 

Collaborate with local and regional councils, agencies and peak bodies, the private sector and NGOs to: a) participate in externally led local and regional planning, policy development and strategic initiatives that support long-term community prosperity and development and; b) secure/expand our business accelerator and incubator programs across all of our communities.

This will be measured by:

  • The number of business accelerator support programs established across UOW locations
  • The number of start-up businesses incubated through UOW business accelerator and incubator programs
  • The number of initiatives involving UOW collaborative participation or input
  • The number of external bodies inviting UOW membership or representation

Develop public-private partnerships aligned with shared social purposes to stimulate innovation, assist industry in improving practice and create job opportunities for our graduates.

This will be measured by:

  • Establishment of the UOW Health & Wellbeing Precinct, serving its local community
  • Measure of new or improved public service informed by community engaged research evidence
  • The number of Australian Postgraduate Research internships with local businesses
  • The number and value of Tech Vouchers through SME Advantage to local businesses and organisations

Stimulate a culture of innovation and social entrepreneurship in our students and staff to equip them to address local, national and international challenges through novel approaches.

This will be measured by:

  • Development and reporting of an institutionally agreed metric to report on the contribution of staff to public debate and advocacy
  • The proportion of students engaged in UOW Univative Program
  • The proportion of students completing at least one CRLP200 strategic consultancy project
  • The number of community organisations affiliated to UOW student volunteering programs
  • The number of social enterprises supported through iAccelerate that have a community connection
  • Increase in the number of service learning WIL opportunities aligned to the curricula

3.5 Sustaining our environments

We will embrace the circular economy and initiatives which promote environmental sustainability. We will maximise the environmental and fiscal efficiency of our assets, optimise the performance of our systems and transition from product-centric delivery models to person and service-centric models.


3.5 Strategic Objectives 

Develop a UOW Circular Economy Policy to guide decision making as we transition to a circular economy. The policy will provide a framework for prioritizing and implementing circular economy initiatives.

This will be measured by:

  • Establishment of a Circular Economy Advisory Group which reports into an overarching UOW sustainability framework governance group
  • Development and implementation of a Circular Economy Policy
  • Development and implementation of a framework to guide the identification, prioritisation and implementation of circular economy initiatives

Embed circular economy initiatives in an overarching UOW sustainability framework aligned with our commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This will be measured by:

  • The ongoing mapping of UOW Circular Economy initiatives to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Collation and transparent communication of outcomes from sustainable circular economy initiatives in an annual UOW Sustainability Report

Develop, procure and deliver education resources and programs; and engage with Sustainable Circular Economy research to build our institutional capacity to assist our transition to a circular economy.

This will be measured by:

  • Ongoing membership of a global network for the advancement of circular economy initiatives for higher education institutions, which promotes the sharing and development of educational resources and programs
  • Development, identification and prioritisation of a program of relevant circular economy educational resources and programs for implementation at UOW
  • Development, implementation and evaluation of sustainable circular economy initiatives derived from research activities