14 August 2013
University of Newcastle welcomes expansion of higher education in Gosford
The University of Newcastle has welcomed today's announcement by Minister for Higher Education Senator Kim Carr that foreshadows development of new pathways to support more students in Gosford to enter university.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Caroline McMillen, said that the University was delighted by Minister Carr's focus on higher education in Gosford, as this aligns with the University's current plans to expand its presence in Gosford to support greater uptake of higher education in the region.
"Minister Carr's announcement of new pathway opportunities is great news for the people of Gosford and the Central Coast. Expanding access to world-class higher education will benefit the whole region," the Vice-Chancellor said.
"The University of Newcastle has a long history of building educational capacity on the Central Coast. Through our campus at Ourimbah, we currently deliver sector-leading pathway programs to support students from all walks of life transitioning to higher education. Ourimbah also offers a wide range of degrees designed to meet the needs of the region," Professor McMillen said.
The University has already committed to complementing the Ourimbah campus by expanding its work in the Gosford CBD, in line with a landmark Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation in 2012.
"Over the next year we will begin delivering our enabling pathway programs in central Gosford, helping students to transition successfully into higher education. We will also be establishing a Research and Innovation Hub to enable local businesses to partner with University researchers. Eventually both services will be based in the upgraded Kibbleplex building, bringing the University of Newcastle into the heart of Gosford. Minister Carr's announcement today will allow us to go even further in meeting the needs of the Central Coast."
Professor McMillen said that Senator Carr's announcement was particularly important in the context of the need to expand higher education participation on the Central Coast. Less than 15% of 25-34 year-olds holds a Bachelors degree in the region, below state and national benchmarks, and well below the Bradley Review's target of 40% by 2025.
"The University leads Australia in the number of students enrolled in its enabling pathway programs and is the region's long term partner in building opportunity and participation. Supported by our pathway programs, enrolments at the Ourimbah campus have grown by 24% over the past five years. We are delighted that the Commonwealth shares our focus on expanding these pathways in Gosford."
"We are particularly committed to expanding opportunity among equity groups. The success of Newcastle's dedicated outreach activities and support programs has helped us achieve growth of 32% in enrolments at Ourimbah among students from disadvantaged backgrounds since 2008. We have also seen 33% growth in Indigenous student enrolments over that time. Both groups have been historically underrepresented in higher education, and the University of Newcastle is committed to closing that gap."
"The government's support for developing new pathways to university in Gosford will allow the University of Newcastle to bring world-class educational opportunities to even more people in the region. By harnessing our decades of engagement on the Central Coast and the University's existing commitment to expand in Gosford, Newcastle looks forward to partnering with the government in transforming the region."
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