from the Chair and the Chief Executive

Margaret Gardner.jpg Catriona Jackson.jpg









When it comes to the public good, universities deliver.

This is crystal clear in all the articles from Universities Australia’s first HIGHER ED.ITION for 2019.

We can see it in the personal stories of researchers Karlie Noon and Liz Allen who discuss the ways university education and research profoundly changed their lives. Their compelling experiences mirror the lives of so many individuals who have enjoyed the opportunities higher education unlocks — particularly under the uncapped system of student places. 

We also see it in the way that university researchers and experts make facts and evidence the basis of important public discussions and decisions — as outlined by the French Higher Education Minister Frédérique Vidal in her speech to the Universities Australia 2019 Higher Education Conference.

The invaluable role university experts play injecting evidence into debate buffeted by fast facts and fake news is confirmed by recent polling from JWS Research. The survey of public sentiment also shows most Australians strongly oppose damaging cuts to research and student places, and recognise the importance of international education for the nation’s economy and prosperity.

And in her address to the National Press Club, UA Chair Professor Margaret Gardner touched on the many ways universities drive civic transformation — whether it be from breakthroughs that make our lives and world better, to the civic role universities play in healthy democracies.

UA Chief Executive Catriona Jackson takes a look at the university of 2040. Spoiler alert: much of their mission will remain, with the campuses of tomorrow already appearing in the universities of today.

Professor Gardner also details an innovative new partnership between universities, Our Watch and the Victorian Government set to help address gendered violence in our society.

We also share some of the other highlights from this year’s Universities Australia Higher Education Conference which took place in Canberra in February.

We hope you find all these contributions as inspiring as we have.

Until next time

Professor Margaret Gardner and Catriona Jackson
Chair and Chief Executive
Universities Australia


june // 2015



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Degrees of Change - Universities Australia Higher Education Conference wrap
The Universities Australia Higher Education Conference is the signature event on the Australian higher education calendar.
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From disadvantage to inspiration: the power of a uni education
n this edited extract of a powerhouse panel at the Universities Australia 2019 Higher Education Conference, Dr Liz Allen and Karlie Noon outline their journeys from disadvantage to becoming some the next-generation of Australia’s inspiring research talent.
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Australians say international students are important to the economy
Four in five Australians say international students are important to Australia’s economy, new polling confirms.
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A higher purpose: universities, civic transformation and the public good
Each morning, millions of Australians stir from sleep and reach for their smartphones. Over the next few minutes and hours, we make sense of the day’s events.
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How will the university look in 2040?
The university of 2040 isn’t a world away. In fact, the campuses of tomorrow are already visible. They are being designed right now – as you’d expect given that universities are the world’s original disruptors.
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Universities seek to shift the dial on gendered violence in society
In 2016, more than 30,000 university students took part in Australia’s first national survey on their experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment – whether in their homes, at their part-time jobs, on campus, at social events or on public transport.
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Every day, tens of thousands of university researchers work on life-changing research.
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MYEFO rips $330 million from research funding despite budget surplus
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Why the university of the future will continue both teaching and research
In Ireland, in 1854, some two hundred and sixty-two years after Queen Elizabeth I founded Trinity College Dublin, and around twenty years before the foundation of Adelaide University, a new higher education institution, University College Dublin, was founded by John Henry Newman, a Roman Catholic Cardinal.
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New Chairs for UA Executive Women's group
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Advancing the Indigenous Academy
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2018 - higher education year in review
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Every year there countless research breakthroughs, discoveries and advances by Australian universities.
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One in half a million - why international students study in Australia
More than 540,000 international students now choose to study in Australia. Educating some of the world’s best and brightest talent in Australia brings in $32 billion for our national economy and supports more than 130,000 Australian jobs.
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Regions apart: why higher education is critical to regional Australia
Every Australian should benefit from the same educational opportunities, no matter where they live.
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Expanded university access is fundamental to Australia’s prosperity
I am excited to be given an opportunity to serve as Labor’s Shadow Assistant Minister for Universities and to work with Australia’s world-leading university sector.
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The elements of strategy — listen, lead, and have a narrative as well as a plan
It’s a strange feeling hearing the announcement of your successor splashed across the media, and it caused me to reflect a little on what and where Deakin is in the world at this pivot in the leadership of the university.
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Uni grads' earning edge remains
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The reality for students who live below the poverty line
It’s the personal accounts of students living in poverty that bring the reality home. Among the scores of data and stories collected by the 2017 Universities Australia Student Finances Survey, ultimately it was their own words that spoke the loudest.
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What it’s like to be a student on the poverty line
One of my memories as a child was walking through Adelaide University with my family on open day.
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Brains add brawn to national prosperity: record international student enrolments
Australia’s growth in international education has set another new record, with more than 548,000 overseas students studying here in the latest official numbers from April.
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Why the right research infrastructure will deliver jobs and innovation
Access to world-class equipment and facilities is critical to keeping Australia at the forefront of advanced science, research and innovation in an increasingly competitive global environment.
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A life of learning: something all Australians deserve
Labor wants every Australian to get a great education. Everyone should have the opportunity to go to university or TAFE, regardless of postcode or income, if they have the inclination and the aptitude.
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Gazing at the stars will give us a bright future
Last month a group of politicians, academics, and business leaders gathered at Curtin University to celebrate the launch of Phase II of the Murchison Widefield Array.
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In his 1964 Nobel Lecture, physicist Nikolai Basov described two distinct trends in the development of modern physics. The first pursues a theory to explain contradictions and irregularities: the second sets out to build new physical devices, and may discover new insights along the way.
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An uncapped university system means many more opportunities
I want to tell you the story of two remarkable women. Similar to a growing number of Australians, Melissa Schenck thought she would never have the security of a career. Across two decades, she went from one casual job to the next while rearing five children.
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A fact that every young Australian and their parents need to know
If there was anything you could do to get a job faster, I'm sure we would all want to know about it.
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Funding freeze an economic own-goal
The Government’s mid-year Budget backdoor cuts to university funding were meant to be about repairing the nation’s bottom line.
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Keep open the doors of opportunity
When Australia decided in 2009 to uncap university places, educational opportunity was to be matched to the knowledge demands of the future. It was a bold advance – and one supported by both sides of politics.
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The Future of Work and Learning
The future of work is top of mind not just in Australia and the US but throughout the world. For many of us, the future seems to offer a dazzling array of choices. We can decide when to work, we don’t have to dress up for work and we don’t even have to show up for work.
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Winning the game of faculty
I recently came across a board game called Power Grid. It’s like Monopoly for electricity: each player represents an energy company that bids for power plants, and then competes to supply the market.
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Research in the age of Brexit and the opportunities for Australia
The value of knowledge is hard to narrow down and talk about coherently. Whether that might be putting up satellites, better understanding our oceans, or how we can better live within our environment.
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Dispelling Dystopia: why many jobs will change rather than disappear
I’ve spent most of my life building robots and studying Artificial Intelligence (AI). And I feel it's time to dispel some myths about AI, the future workforce and the rise of technology in our lives.
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Australia 2030: the role of universities in our economic and social future
In January 2018 the Innovation and Science Australia (ISA) Board released our report to Government entitled Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation. The report includes 30 recommendations to Government aimed at strengthening Australia’s innovation performance and put our nation into the international top-tier by 2030.
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Genuine partnerships: practical tips to build university philanthropy
University philanthropy can profoundly enhance our impact in the world. It now supports a wide array of additional activities at Australian universities – from life-changing scholarships through to critical funds for research to cure disease and improve our quality of life.
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Australia reaches new international student milestone
Australia has welcomed more than half a million international students over the past year, helping to deepen our ties with the world.
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The best Keep It Clever research stories of 2017
Over the course of this year, there have been literally hundreds of new research breakthroughs, discoveries and advances by Australian universities.
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The changing world of work: preparing uni grads for an unpredictable future
Another academic year over. Another 333,000 university students who have completed their studies and are headed into the world of work. And what does their future hold?
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Night thoughts: why expertise still matters to us all
I could say that almost nothing keeps me awake at night because in truth I sleep very soundly. But, perhaps, in the spirit of the program, I can say a number of things keep me awake at night.
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Q&A with Council of International Students Australia
International education makes a major contribution to Australia’s economy and society. Not only is it the nation’s third largest export – generating income of $28 billion a year – but it’s also a powerful contributor to our connections and soft diplomacy across the world.
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2017: The higher education year in review
It’s been a rollercoaster of a year in higher education in Australia. Universities Australia has led a vast program of work on behalf of the sector – driving advocacy on a wide array of issues affecting our members.
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Q&A with Universities Australia Executive Women's Group
The lack of women in leadership roles is an issue across many industries and sectors – from top-listed companies to the not-for-profit sector.
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The importance of both universities and TAFE
It is a mistake to talk down the value of universities in a populist attempt to pit the higher education and vocational education sectors against each other.
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To thrive in the future, our clever country must back its universities
In the present environment, when university leaders speak about university funding, cries of self-interest spring up from some quarters of the political arena and beyond.
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Averting a quiet catastrophe – why changes to enabling pathways would have been a mistake
Over the past months there has been a concerted focus by universities across Australia to highlight the potential of the Government’s higher education package to derail Australia’s productivity and economic growth agenda.
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Flexibility the key to uni study for people whose jobs are changing rapidly
The Australian economy is currently transforming. We are moving away from a resource-based economy while simultaneously dealing with the automation of many tasks previously performed by people.
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Universities in a Next Gen World – UA Higher Education Conference wrap-up
The Universities Australia Higher Education Conference was held in March with a record turnout of almost 1000 delegates.
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Equipping Australia to manage economic transition: the missing elements in Budget 2017
Federal Budgets can be as noteworthy for what they do not include as for what they do. The Budget handed down by Treasurer Scott Morrison on 9 May is no exception.
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At the heart of the community: revitalising regions through higher education
The pathways to socioeconomic improvement in a post-industrial age are difficult to predict.
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