August 1, 2023
Vice-Chancellor’s statement on Universities Accord Interim Report
Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia Davidson responds to the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report
I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Mary O’Kane and her team for their diligent work on the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report. It's a testament to the ongoing conversation surrounding the future of higher education in Australia.
At the University of Wollongong, we are keenly interested in this dialogue–it aligns with our longstanding commitment to expanding access to higher education, an aspiration ingrained in our DNA. We have always been passionate about fostering education for all, irrespective of one's background or circumstances.
In Minister Clare's words, I, too, recognise the transformative power of education. Education has had a profound impact on my life, and I am a firm believer in its potential to change lives. In the face of rapid societal and technological changes, it is crucial to keep our education ecosystem adaptive and inclusive, a principle that resonates profoundly with the mission of our university.
We are encouraged by the attention given to the Job Ready Graduates Scheme. The many views of this policy are mixed–as mixed as the results of the policy itself. We eagerly anticipate a fairer and simpler model to be recommended in the final report, that aligns focus squarely on students and their agency to choose.
We are committed to the first steps outlined in the Report and support their immediate implementation. We concur that the 50 per cent pass rule should be abolished, and we must explore innovative methods to make university more accessible for Indigenous Australians. We are thankful for the two-year funding guarantee, which provides much-needed certainty.
The University of Wollongong will take the time to assess the proposals contained in the Report. We are consulting with our staff, incorporating the broad expertise and diverse perspectives of our colleagues, and also our student representatives.
We must ensure that higher education policy strengthens Australia’s global standing. Along with the significant role universities play in our home communities, our universities provide an immense contribution to the Australian economy. Having seen many across the world, and if UOW is any measure; our universities (and our graduates) are world-class.
This University will continue to weave itself into the social fabric of the communities we serve. Our responsibility is not just to provide quality education, but to be an enduring contributor to the social and economic prosperity of our graduates, and our communities. That’s how we began in Wollongong almost fifty years ago, and that’s how we will carry ourselves forward, as one of Australia’s most global Universities.
In true Wollongong spirit, we will continue to strive for a future where excellence is not an exception but is accessible to all. This is our vision, our commitment, and our contribution to the evolution of Australia’s higher education landscape.