UNE Vice Chancellor visits CUC to announce partnership
UNE’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brigid Heywood, and Country Universities Centre (CUC) CEO, Duncan Taylor, visited the CUC North West in Moree last Friday to announce a formal partnership between UNE and the CUC.
The partnership is aimed at providing high-quality student and academic support for UNE students registered across the CUC network. In addition to the announcement, Professor Heywood was able to meet and connect with UNE students from Broken Hill to Cooma via video conference to hear about their positive experiences with the CUC and UNE.
Professor Heywood said that through the partnership, UNE is able to provide training and guidance for CUC staff in student and academic support, streamline access to UNE specialist staff and provide access to UNE resources for students.
“Our objective through this partnership is to increase knowledge creation, education and innovation in regional areas, expand placement opportunities for students studying for degrees with a strong component of regional connectivity and increase the number of Commonwealth Supported Places for students in regional Australia,” Professor Heywood said.
Mr Taylor said that UNE and the CUC are both similarly committed to ensuring that every Australian has access to a world-class education, no matter where they live.
“Young Australians living in regional areas are half as likely to have a university-level qualification as those living in the cities,” Mr Taylor said.
“Our mission at the CUC is to empower regional people by building highly connected learning communities and opportunities for a vibrant and prosperous future.
“Fifty-one per cent of UNE students registered with the CUC are the first in their family to study higher education. It’s exciting to see these individuals break through the glass ceiling.
“We are excited to be entering into this partnership with UNE, which will provide improved support for the significant cohort of UNE students who use our Centres. In Trimester 1, 2020, 160 UNE students registered with the CUC. These and hopefully many more students will benefit from this agreement.”
Mr Taylor thanked Professor Heywood and members of the UNE staff for all the hard work undertaken to ensure the formal partnership between the two organisations came to fruition.
“I’m very pleased Professor Heywood was able to gain a first firsthand impression of how our CUC model operates and heard from the mouths of our students how they are able to use our Centres and resourcing while they work towards achieving their higher education dreams through UNE,” Mr Taylor said.
“We also would like to acknowledge the support we’ve received from the NSW and Commonwealth governments. Without this support, our expansion would not have occurred.”
Parkes Federal MP, Mark Coulton, welcomed the new partnership and the education opportunities it would provide local students.
“CUCs are making a great difference in rural communities across New South Wales.
“Today’s announcement brings together two leaders in regional education and is a great step forward for the chances of many rural and remote students gaining a higher education.
“When I brought Minister Tehan to the Moree site last year, it was clear the community had really embraced their CUC,” Mr Coulton said.
“I can say the same of Narrabri and Broken Hill and as the network grows, more communities will have the opportunity to benefit.
“I’m confident this new collaboration will ensure these local relationships will only strengthen.”
CUC North West, with Centres in Narrabri and Moree, is currently one of six community-governed CUCs operating from eight regional NSW towns. In June 2020, the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, announced the CUC’s network will expand to include six more Centres across seven new locations. The new CUCs will be established in regional NSW, regional QLD and regional Victoria and will be funded through the Australian Government’s Regional University Centres program.