Major innovations continued to improve the student experience and deliver key outcomes in 2015.
In 2015, the University continued its commitment to providing world-class education to meet the diverse needs of its students.
I am pleased to report that three new, high-profile sections were established in 2015 that play a key role in the student education experience at UWA – UWA Sport Pty Ltd, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship and the Student Life division.
In July, UWA Sport Pty Ltd replaced the former Sport and Recreation Association. UWA Sport is aligned with the Student Life division, which works with other sections of the University to provide extracurricular services.
In October, the McCusker Centre for Citizenship was launched, the first of its kind in Australia, through the generous contribution from the McCusker Charitable Foundation. The centre will provide opportunities for students to develop their skills and work collaboratively with the community and not-for-profit organisations.
Major innovations continued to improve the student experience and deliver key outcomes in 2015. The UWA IT Transformation Program was launched with the aim of transforming the technology available to staff and students and preparing the University for technological challenges of the next century.
Students benefited from a range of IT initiatives that transformed timetabling, class allocation, and campus card services. The UWA colleges' central admission process and the online portal were simplified to help new students find suitable accommodation.
Pivotal to the University's future goals in education was the implementation of a new Learning Management System which facilitates innovative online teaching and learning for staff and students.
To support students and teachers, a program of workshops was initiated to create forward-thinking, student-centred learning material. Students can also access learning material and participate in online activities to support them in their fields of study through this program.
The 2015 Review of New Courses, the Review of Assessment, and inclusion of teaching quality in staff performance measures provided a basis to continue to improve teaching and learning at UWA. The University continued to attract highcalibre students, enrolling 74.1 per cent of the State’s top school leavers with an ATAR of 95 and above, and 62.8 per cent of the top school leavers with an ATAR of 90 and above.
Investment into campus infrastructure continued to deliver positive outcomes for students, staff, and our community. A significant refurbishment of the Reid Library will deliver 350 new student spaces and significant improvements to the facilities, technology and services available to students, teachers, staff and the public. The UWA Science Library was renamed the Barry J Marshall Library in honour of the University's Nobel Prize winning scientist.
2015 saw the first full year of operation of the Student Central building, a one-stop shop for students that provides them with all the services they need. The establishment of the Centre for Education Futures and Futures Observatory also supported student learning by providing information and support to staff as well as access to new technologies to develop innovative teaching.
The contribution of staff in the Student Learning Awards and the Central Program Awards was a great success with more than five teams recognised for their contribution to teaching and learning.
The long-term commitment to student equity was also recognised with the Aspire UWA Program winning the Equity and Opportunity category of the inaugural Australian Financial Review Higher Education awards. The Aspire program works with schools and communities in regional Western Australia to raise aspirations for tertiary education.
The many achievements and highlights of the portfolio are testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff and students and I look forward to continued positive outcomes and successes in 2016.