The Board of Universities Australia commissioned the review in December 2020 to ensure that ‘Universities Australia’s broad positioning is fit for purpose in an increasingly complex operating environment’. It was carried out by PhillipsKPA.
Professor Terry said the report was prepared after extensive consultation, including 90 separate interviews with Vice-Chancellors and a range of stakeholders including Chancellors.
“The review is an important first step in the process. UA members will now have an opportunity to engage in formal consultations on the details.”
The University Chancellors’ Committee (UCC) has also been briefed on the recommendations.
The review’s recommendations include:
- Exploring a range of mechanisms for enhanced consultation and engagement with Chancellors.
- Considering the appointment of independent UA Board members and a non-executive independent Chair.
- Enhancing the Chief Executive role.
- Strengthening UA’s forward-looking policy development.
- Extending UA advocacy strategy to include matters of broader national significance where universities can make an important contribution.
Professor Terry said: “The review provides a robust and very useful framework for Universities Australia members to consider.”
“We look forward to commencing a full consultation process with members in order to carefully consider the recommendations and next steps.”
“The past 18 months have been an extraordinary time for the university sector and its peak body. COVID-19 has had a profound effect on Australia’s universities, impacting revenues, teaching methods, and research activities.”
UCC Chair, Stephen Gerlach AM, said: “Chancellors have been pleased to participate in the UA review process and have had an initial briefing today by UA Chair Professor Debbie Terry in regard to that review. Chancellors appreciate the enhanced engagement between us and will discuss the review findings over coming weeks and look forward to further consulting with UA and Vice-Chancellors in that regard in due course.”
Professor Terry said: “Last year, Universities Australia was active in policy development, analysis and advocacy in at least 20 different areas. The work UA does to promote the interests of Australia’s higher education sector is invaluable.”
“The health check review has been an important exercise in ensuring that the voice of our highly regarded university sector is strong and effective in the decades to come.”