University of Newcastle alumna and long-standing academic, Dr Rosalie Bunn, has inspired thousands of Open Foundation students to pursue their educational goals and realise their potential – a path which Dr Bunn took herself.

After graduating from Morisset High School, Dr Bunn worked as a Clerk with the Commonwealth Department of Immigration before becoming a mother.

Reflecting on her journey as the University’s Ourimbah campus celebrates 30 years, Dr Bunn said it was a desire to reach her full academic potential which led her to enrol in Open Foundation at the University of Newcastle in 1985 – a reason which resonates with many of the students she has taught.

“I left the workforce to raise my family of four children but did not feel I had achieved what I was capable of and I loved the idea of further education,” Dr Bunn said.

Her return to study ignited a life-long passion for learning.

Dr Bunn has since completed a number of degrees including Master of Education, which she studied while concurrently teaching Social Enquiry as part of the Open Foundation program at Callaghan campus.

An advocate for access to education on the Central Coast, Dr Bunn began teaching at Ourimbah campus in 1998, when she pushed for a Callaghan-based subject to be offered on the Coast. At the time, more than 40 of her students were commuting from the Coast to Callaghan campus for the class.

Holding various teaching and advisory positions over her years, Dr Bunn said she saw the Open Foundation program at Ourimbah campus grow and develop, especially in relation to support for students.

“Ourimbah campus is such a beautiful place to work and study. My colleagues all care deeply about the students, and the students themselves are hardworking, committed and so resilient,” Dr Bunn said.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Dr Bunn said the Ourimbah campus and its offerings had transformed lives.

“When I think about all the single mothers who are doing PhDs or now studying Law, or those who became nurses or teachers, I know our campus and the Open Foundation program has lived up to its reputation for changing people's lives,” Dr Bunn said.

Last year, Dr Bunn furthered her education, completing a PhD researching how the unique Open Foundation enabling program had helped reshape the lives of local people, their families and the greater community, lifting aspiration and providing foundation skills to develop the professional work force of the Central Coast.

Dr Bunn said her research revealed it was very clear that students who came from a background where they hadn’t had the opportunity to gain a Higher School Certificate still had a great deal to offer our communities.

“More than 16 per cent of the former Open Foundation students I surveyed went on to do postgraduate study,” Dr Bunn said.

“I have taught so many inspiring students. They all have their own amazing stories. I remember teaching a mother and daughter who both became Family Law lawyers. The mother established her own law firm and her daughter worked there, too, before working independently.

“The Ourimbah campus, and Open Foundation program, is serving the Central Coast region in a very positive and productive way.”

Listen to Dr Bunn discuss the impact of enabling programs

Dr Rosalie Bunn

Dr Rosalie Bunn

The Ourimbah campus, and Open Foundation program, is serving the Central Coast region in a very positive and productive way

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.