UON: A proud history of ‘disruptive innovation’

The history of the University of Newcastle — as for all great universities — has been characterised by leaders who have been willing to challenge the status quo and transform fields of education and research.

Since its foundation, the staff, students and leaders of the University have introduced unique ways of thinking and operating that have led to remarkable outcomes.

In the late 1970s, Newcastle transformed the delivery of medical education in Australia through the introduction of problem-based learning, early clinical skills acquisition and community orientation to the curriculum. The evaluation of personal qualities to the student selection process was also added. This forward-thinking approach to training the next generation of medical practitioners shook the foundation of a long established pedagogy in medical training in Australia — and has produced outstanding results. The approach has now been adopted by many medical schools across Australia and the world.

The University of Newcastle Law School was also the first in Australia to introduce an integrated program where students could study the three components of professional legal training - theory, skills development and experiential learning - at the same time. The University of Newcastle Legal Centre is the centerpiece of the clinical legal program. Functioning as both a legal practice and a teaching facility, the Centre provides an intensive clinical placement site for Newcastle's law students to work with clients on legal problems in real time.