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Vice Chancellor calls for national support for regional universities


Melinda Rogers
17 October 2018

Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Adam Shoemaker, will use a major tertiary education conference on the Gold Coast this week to advocate for the appointment of a Regional Education Commissioner.

The two-day Regional Universities Conference: Anchor Institutions Transforming their Regions, begins 18 October at Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus.

Representatives from more than 20 universities and organisations will converge to bring a national focus to the role that regional universities play in education, government, industry and society.

Professor Shoemaker said supporting regional universities was a national issue that affected every state and territory and all sides of politics.

“Regional campuses educate 20 per cent of all university students nationally, with 25 of 40 Australian universities having a campus in a regional location,” he said.

“We need a Regional Education Commissioner to advise government and industry, one that is not based in the ACT or a state capital, and one that is not a grant-holding body dispensing funds.”

Professor Shoemaker said he would also like to see a new regional deal introduced for bonded scholarships in regional areas, especially for professions in highest demand such as general practitioners, nurses, paramedics, Indigenous health workers, teachers and engineers.   

The conference will also discuss the lessons that Australian regional education can take from other nations; the role universities can play in policy formation; and the next generation of agriculture.