UOW Coronavirus Update - 21 October
I want to begin by acknowledging the history of this beautiful country, recognising colonisation has taken place. I am deeply respectful of Aboriginal peoples past, present and our future emerging leadership.
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.
I only have time to talk about the top three priorities in our civic strategy today. And I'm going to cover inclusion, the partnership strategy and creation of jobs and opportunities across our regions, inclusions whihc are fundamentally important to not only who we are as a university, but to the success of society overall.
We want to strengthen our commitment and actions towards a 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. 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 community's needs and aspirations.
And thirdly, it's really important that we work together in these tricky economic times, particularly to grow jobs and opportunities. Our iAccelerate centre creates new start-up businesses and gives them 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 ageing population. The health and wellbeing precinct is really at an exciting stage of development.
Just to remind you, the precinct is focussed on ageing and ageing well and high quality clinical services, education and research provided at a community level and in partnership with others. We're at a really exciting stage now because we've undertaken the initial design, are submitting the development application and expect to have the buildings completed by 2024.
What this will also give the University is a really strong drawcard for health and beyond health, education and research, to really make us an iconic centre of community delivered practise and where to come to learn those new models of care. What this will give the university is key opportunity in education and research, as it reflects new modes of practise clinically and allows us to really focus technology into health and new ways of undertaking research in collaboration with communities.
I've been so impressed by our students at our regional and metropolitan campuses, all of our campuses have remained open. Our students have been really adaptive in working with the technology that we've provided for them for online education. They still touch base with each other and library facilities and the staff at all our campuses while maintaining appropriate social distancing. So they've been just incredible in responding to assisting community, but also being part of the community of learning practise. That is all regional and metro campuses.
I've been hugely impressed with the leadership of the Woolyungah Centre in providing additional support to students, even though we're operating in a more remote mode of operation. And the students are continuing to enjoy strong success, 89 percent in high distinction or distinction categories, doing fantastically well under the navigating student success strategy.
And we've made progress with our reconciliation action. This is the first year that the university in its history has had a reconciliation action plan and we're really beginning to roll out some of those key outcomes.
Now, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all of our students and all of our staff for an amazing contribution to what has been an exceptional year of 2020. Who would have imagined, as we celebrated the holidays at the end of last year, what we would collectively face together this year with bushfires, with COVID-19 and much more.
It's been amazing to watch and be part of a collective group of talented people pulling together to do the most amazing things in what are really challenging and difficult circumstances. I think it speaks a lot to our humanity as an institution and our capacity to adapt to the most extraordinary circumstances. And it speaks well of the future of the University of Wollongong that we have these people as part of our family.