New universities and college colleges for Australia

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Australia has its first new university in seven years and three new university colleges, as revamped provider category standards usher in a shift in the country’s normally static higher education sector.

Avondale University College, a 124-year-old Adventist institution based in north Sydney, achieved full university status less than two years after its elevation as a university college.

Three Sydney institutions – the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), Moore Theological College, and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) – were granted university college status, a category that had been vacant for eight years before. for Avondale to become the first holder in 2019.

These developments accompanied Australia’s transition to the new standards on July 1. Education Minister Alan Tudge said the reforms would boost diversity, especially in regional areas and specialist fields.

“We have … streamlined the number of higher education provider categories from six to four and put in place more stringent research requirements for Australian universities to ensure their research meets global standards,” Tudge said. .

The Higher Education Quality and Standards Agency (Teqsa) said it had undertaken a “comprehensive and in-depth” assessment of the four institutions. Chief Commissioner Peter Coaldrake, who prescribed the new standards in a 2019 review, said they had been “applied fairly and consistently”.

It was a lucky third time for Avondale, who unsuccessfully applied for university status at the turn of the century. He tried again a decade later and was told to increase his research results.

Professor Coaldrake said Avondale’s success this time around recognizes its “significant research advancements” as well as its commitment to student outcomes and its communities. Vice-Chancellor Kevin Petrie expressed his gratitude “for the opportunity to bring more diversity to the sector”.

He said Avondale’s “world-leading” interdisciplinary research in health, education and spirituality has informed civic engagement and leadership in areas such as lifestyle medicine interventions and health. understanding of Australian history.

Avondale will need to continue to focus on research to maintain its newly acquired status. The standards require universities to conduct research at global standards or better in at least half of the broad areas of education in which they teach.

This benchmark must be reached within 10 years. In the meantime, Avondale must conduct world-class research in at least 30 percent of its teaching areas.

But the newly accredited university can expect more resources for its research efforts. Australian National University policy expert Andrew Norton said that Teqsa’s registration of a provider as a university does not confer any right to government research funding. But “in practice”, all universities have had access to research funding mechanisms.

Professor Coaldrake also congratulated NIDA, AFTRS and Moore on obtaining university college status. He said the category, which has been revamped since Avondale entered, offered new opportunities to develop forward-looking courses for institutions that demonstrate “high quality higher education”.

Other aspirants do not seem to have convinced Teqsa of their merit. Professor Coaldrake told a recent conference that the regulator is dealing with “a number” of applications for university college status.

Moore said he had put “a lot of effort” into her request. “Moore College is committed to serving our students with an excellent theological education that prepares them well for Christian ministry,” Principal Mark Thompson said. “Today’s announcement… is an encouragement to continue down this path and do it even better.

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