Next UCC Meeting

15 and 16 May 2017
Hosted by the University of Sydney

Two UCC meetings are scheduled for 2017. These will be held as follows:

  • Meeting 1: 15 and 16 May 2017, hosted by the University of Sydney
  • Meeting 2: 12 and 13 October 2017, hosted by the University of Canberra

Further details regarding these meetings will be released closer to the time of the event.

Past Events

Australian Financial Review Higher Education Summit – Chancellors’ Roundtable

Four Chancellors participated in a Chancellors’ Roundtable panel as part of day two of the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Summit. This took place on Thursday 17th November at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. The panel consisted of:

  • Professor Adrienne Clarke AC, Chancellor of La Trobe University
  • Mr Simon McKeon AO, Chancellor of Monash University
  • Professor Peter Shergold AC, Chancellor of Western Sydney University
  • Mr Peter Varghese AO, Chancellor of the University of Queensland
  • Moderated by Tim Dodd, Education Editor of The Australian Financial Review.

The panel discussed the following issues:

  • How is the relationship between universities and the outside world changing?
  • What are the main governance challenges facing universities?
  • How do your institutions plan to survive and thrive in an increasingly disrupted and contested environment?

See below for excerpts of the panel’s discussion.

Universities do, and will, need to differentiate themselves. We can’t have all universities doing everything at a standard of excellence. You do tend to say at the Council level ‘What are we good at? What are we going to be the destination for in this particular region?’ You might therefore pick one field, say cyber security or agriculture, and then you’ve got to be the best. How do you measure the best? The best is measured in several ways. You measure it on your international research standing, and that really says you’re right up there with what’s happening in the best of the world. But then, ultimately, the market tells you. If you’re not delivering what people want, and you’re not seen to be the best for this particular destination, they won’t come. The networks of the students are quite profound. They know who’s good, they know who the good teachers are, and they know where to go to learn something. It doesn’t really matter now how the individual measurements go. The fundamental indicator is the market.

– Professor Adrienne Clarke AC

We all know that the only constant is change. As to how it plays out, is simply a matter of monitoring it day by day. What does it mean for us as Chancellors? It means we have to have the appropriate competency both at management and on the Council to have those intelligent discussions to keep the finger on the pulse. Most importantly, universities are great places to have this discussion, because somewhere in our empires there has got to be an entire section or unit, if it is best of breed, which will be able to assist this process.

– Mr Simon McKeon AO

In terms of the disruptive nature of technology, I don’t think we are as prepared as we should be. The technology of distance learning is there, the pedagogy is there. There is no reason at all that our students shouldn’t go and do their degree in Accountancy at Phoenix University. So what’s stopping it? First of all, the technology has run ahead of the business plan. At the moment the technology is there but no institution has really thought about the business model to deliver this. It will come, and then it will be a threat. The second protection is cultural, where at the moment if you went to an employer in Australia with a degree that you did in an Australian university and another student had a that they got degree online from Phoenix, there would still be a cultural protection that employers would see the degree you did here as being better. When prestigious overseas universities start to actually award degrees online, then that protection will be undermined. So I think that at the moment we are in a false lull, and I suspect there is going to be a new wave of technological disruption to come.

– Professor Peter Shergold AC

Universities are splendidly complex organisations, much more than a public service department. I’ve been struck by how much more bureaucratic universities are than the bureaucracy. The core role of the university Senate, in our case, hasn’t fundamentally changed. Understanding the complexity of a university in an environment that’s changing has made governance that much more complicated. Not only are we large business enterprises, but we also have a role to play in terms of a liberal education, the pursuit of knowledge, anchoring the university in a community, and that requires a very different set of governance skills for any institution.

– Mr Peter Varghese AO

2016 National Conference on University Governance

The 2016 National Conference on University Governance was held at Sydney’s Darling Harbour on 5th & 6th October. Presentation slides from the conference are available below:

Past UCC Meetings
  • University Chancellors Council meeting 2016/02 – 6 October 2016, Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour
  • 2016 National Conference on University Governance – 5 and 6 October 2016, Doltone House on Darling Island Wharf and Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour
  • University Chancellors Council meeting 2016/01 – 16 and 17 May 2016, Monash University
  • University Chancellors Council meeting 2015/02 – 13 October 2015, University of Newcastle
  • University Chancellors Council meeting 2015/01 – 19 May 2015, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga
  • University Chancellors Council meeting 2014/02 – 29 October 2014, University of Melbourne
  • 2014 National Conference on University Governance – 28 and 29 October 2014, Sofitel Melbourne
  • University Chancellors Council meeting 2014/01 – 5 and 6 May 2014, Swinburne University of Technology