1 University of Western Sydney
University of Western Sydney
Bringing knowledge to life
Mr John Phillips AO
Professor Janice Reid AM
1,192 (FTE academic, 2006)
Sydney, NSW, Australia
The University of Western Sydney, also known as UWS, is a university in Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
UWS has campuses in the Greater Western Sydney suburbs of Rydalmere, Westmead, Richmond, Quakers Hill,Werrington South, Werrington North, Kingswood, Milperra and Campbelltown. UWS is mainly a provider of undergraduate degrees. There are also students doing postgraduate coursework and research. Some UWS researchers have an international reputation. In recent years UWS has opened a medical school, and teams from the School of Law have won the 2003 National Final, Law Council of Australia, Family Law Mooting Competition and Winner 2008 Australasian Law Students Association Mooting Competition. If all UWS campuses were to be combined, it would total 4050 hectares.
In 2006, the University had 35,061 students and 1,192 (full-time equivalent) academic staff, making it the third largest university in Sydney by student enrollment.
1.1.1 1989 – 2000
The University consists of an amalgamation of campuses, each with their own unique and individual history. In 1891, the Hawkesbury campus was established as an agricultural college by the NSW Agricultural Society. At Parramatta, UWS owns and has renovated the Female Orphan School building, the foundation stone of which was laid by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1813.
In 1987 the New South Wales Labor government decided to name the planned new university in Sydney’s western suburbs Chifley University, after the former Australian Prime Minister, Ben Chifley. When, in 1989, a new Liberal government renamed it the University of Western Sydney, controversy broke out. According to a debate on the topic, held in 1997 after the Labor Party had regained government, the decision to rename Chifley University reflected a desire to attach the name of Chifley to institutions of lasting significance, and that idea ultimately received the support of Bob Carr, later the Premier of New South Wales.
In 1989, teachers’ colleges and Colleges of Advanced Education in Sydney’s western suburbs were given university status under the University of Western Sydney Act of 1988. The 1990s saw the federation of three education providers: UWS Nepean, UWS Hawkesbury and UWS Macarthur. 1989 was the year theHawke federal labour government introduced HECS, the Higher Education Contribution Scheme. The University has a legislative basis in NSW state legislation with the passing of the University of Western Sydney Act (NSW) 1997,
which also empowers the university to make by-laws affecting the operation of the university. In 2000, in order to reduce administrative expenses and duplication of courses offered by the inner Sydney universities and to eliminate competition between UWS member institutions, UWS became one multi-campus university.
1.1.2 2000 – Present
Federal Government funding of Australia’s universities as a percentage of Australia’s GDP was in decline during the years of the Howard government. Federal funding policy was very influential at UWS. In 2000, after internal restructuring and cost-cutting, UWS Hawkesbury, UWS Macarthur and UWS Nepean ceased to exist as autonomous components of the now defunct University of Western Sydney federation and became the new multi-campus University of Western Sydney. The subsequent demise of dozens of the university’s degrees (for example, Master of Arts in Critical psychology, Bachelor of Arts majoring in Postmodern Studies, the Bachelor of Systems Agriculture and the Bachelor of Aviation Studies) attracted little, if any public outcry individually.Degrees that were cancelled were “taught out”, meaning the students were able to complete their course at UWS while the university enrolled no new students in those courses. The temporary suspension of the fine arts degree received more vocal opposition. Many of Sydney’s locally well known artists have worked for or studied at UWS.
In the 2000s, UWS consolidated its schools of fine art, social science, humanities and psychology. In this decade the university introduced its firstnanotechnology and biotechnology undergraduate degrees.
In 2002 UWS designed and installed standardised IT infrastructure across its campuses.
In 2003, UWS sponsored a Samuel Beckett symposium as part of the Sydney Festival.
In 2003 there was a highly publicised squabble over UWS between the New South Wales state government and the Australian federal government.
In a letter to the university’s board Jackie Kelly, Federal Member for Lindsay, accused UWS of mismanagement. Liberal the Hon. Charlie Lynn echoed Kelly’s sentiments in NSW State Parliament:
“Over the past five years Professor Reid has changed UWS from a proud, locally focused, educationally advanced institution to a university that cannot now enrol students into correct courses. I contend that she has spent more time ensuring that the board of trustees and the university itself are more a left-wing branch of the Australian Labor Party than prestigious inclusive educational institutions. One only has to look at the political appointments to the board to understand this. It comprises left-wing luminaries such as the Hon. Kim Yeadon and the Hon. Jan Burnswoods, Labor Party member of Parliament Linda Burney, and Labor Councillor Meg Oates along with other Labor appointees. This is hardly representative of the political make-up of Western Sydney.”
In the NSW senate the Hon. Diane Beamer MP retaliated at Kelly’s letter during a motion that decried the funding shortfall for places in nursing school at UWS:
“Is Jackie Kelly aware of the massive restructure undertaken by UWS that has cut $10 million from its operating costs? There is no fat left on the bone. Mrs Kelly recently described her own electorate as “pram city” and said that the men’s greatest aspiration is to mow the lawn on the weekend. She has also abused UWS staff for daring to stand up for the institution. She accused UWS of constantly criticising the Federal Government about the lack of funding when all other universities expressed support for the proposed framework. I am sure that that claim is news to the University of Canberra, La Trobe University, Victoria University, the University of Tasmania and Adelaide University. All provided the Senate inquiry into higher education with submissions opposing the changes and saying that they would be worse off.”
UWS in a mission statement said:
“The Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan of the University of Western Sydney (pp16–19) presents the following as key strategic directions for 2004–2008 to place UWS in the right growth trajectory for 2025:
UWS will pursue a managed growth strategy. UWS will have a broad academic profile with a strong professional orientation. UWS will acquire a diversified revenue base and actively pursue financial self-reliance. UWS will actively pursue an international focus in its teaching and learning, research and community engagement. UWS will promote the distinctiveness of its campuses to maximise the visibility and standing of the University across its Region. UWS will be accessible to its student and staff communities in ways that meet their need.” 
Late in 2003, the university was considering parking fees and real estate rents for revenue streams.
Michael Le Grand won the inaugural UWS Sculpture Award in 2004.
In 2004 UWS joined with Metro Screen and SLICE TV to successfully bid for Sydney’s first permanent Community Television licence. Television Sydney, broadcasting as TVS, launched in February 2006 from a broadcast operations centre located on the Werrington South Campus.
In 2006 the UWS news site reported: “Demand to study at the University of Western Sydney is on the rise, with UWS receiving the third-biggest jump in first preferences among NSW and ACT universities for 2007”.
In 2007, UWS had
its first intake for the Bachelor of Medicine and the Bachelor of Surgery. In the same year UWS was part of a consortium with Griffith University and the University of Melbourne to win funding for a National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies.
In 2008, UWS announced its current water and energy saving strategies, its Indigenous Advisory Board  and endorsed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd‘s apology to the Stolen Generations.
The University of Western Sydney School of Law comprises part of the College of Business at the University of Western Sydney.
The University of Western Sydney School of Law comprises part of the College of Business at the University of Western Sydney. It is housed on the Parramatta and Campbeltown Campuses of the University. It is one of Sydney’s youngest Law Schools. The UWS School of Law was established on 1 January 2001 as a result of the amalgamation of the three former federated members of the University of Western Sydney – Hawkesbury, Macarthur and Nepean. The establishment of the school brought together the law programs of those organisations. The law school places special emphasis on commercial law including taxation law, banking, finance and investment law, contracts and corporations law, and delivers programs in specialist areas such as elder law and international law.
Teams from the School of Law have won the following law competitions:
Winner 2003 National Final, Law Council of Australia, Family Law Mooting Competition Winner 2003 Australasian Law Students Association Competition, Best Winner 2008 Australasian Law Students Association Mooting Competition
The University comprises seventeen schools, which are grouped into three colleges:
- College of Arts
- School of Communication Arts
- School of Education
- School of Humanities and Languages
- School of Psychology
- School of Social Sciences
- College of Business
- School of Accounting
- School of Economics and Finance
- School of Law
- School of Management
- School of Marketing
- Sydney Graduate School of Management
- College of Health and Science
- School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
- School of Computing and Mathematics
- School of Engineering
- School of Medicine
- School of Natural Sciences
- School of Nursing
The University of Western Sydney is made up of six campuses and one precinct, each campus hosting their own unique array of courses, the unit loading of which may be shared across campuses.
1.3.1 Bankstown campus
Bankstown Campus Library
The UWS Bankstown Campus is a relatively new campus, located at Milperra, about 5 Kilometres from theBankstown CBD. Specialising in the social sciences, most of the students on campus are psychology, sociology, nursing, arts and linguistic students. The campus also hosts the Bachelor of Policing degree. The campus also includes a modern cafeteria/eatery area, a full-size football oval and is home to the MARCS Sensory Laboratories.
UWS’s most well-known interpreting and translation course is taught at Bankstown campus. UWS trains and produces many NAATI accredited interpreters and translators.
The oldest building on campus was opened in 1989. The building contains a plaque indicating that it was opened by the then treasurer and former Prime Minister Paul Keating.
1.3.2 Blacktown Campus
Located in the Nirimba Education Precinct in Quakers Hill, Blacktown campus is also the home of the UWS owned  UWS College. UWS shares the precinct with TAFE NSW-Western Sydney Institute, Nirimba College, Terra Sancta College, Nirimba Campus and Wyndham College. Together they propose to “work through a collaborative partnership focusing on innovation, enterprise and dedication in achieving the best possible outcomes for students.” 
In recent times there has been much controversy over the status of this campus, at one point UWS was depicted in the media as abandoning the campus and the local area it served. There was even a Council run protest at the closure called Save UWS Nirimba, where politicians and the University were petitioned to save the campus from closure. Around the same time as this occurred UWS also announced the Blacktown-Mt Druitt Clinical school  which would be based at Blacktown Hospital, making it the second clinical school associated with School of Medicine.
The library located in C21 was originally a dual purpose library, though run and staffed by UWS it was also used as the TAFE library. Now a ‘triple purpose’ library is also caters to the students of the UWS College. Both WSI TAFE and UWS College provide funding to UWS for this privilege, however as with all UWS libraries, purchasing, collection maintenance and staffing is managed centrally.
1.3.3 Campbelltown campus
The UWS Campbelltown Campus is located in the Macarthur region in South Western Sydney. Together with the Bankstown campus, the Campbelltown campus was originally part of the Macarthur Institute of Higher Education, founded in 1984.
In 2007 the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree was offered for the first time. It is hoped that many of the School’s graduates will practice in the Western Sydney region, in order to redress the shortage of healthcare professionals in the area.
The on campus student accommodation is called Gunydji with a maximum occupancy of 125. It is a complex of self contained units that a
ccommodate five tenants each
1.3.4 Hawkesbury campus
The Hawkesbury campus, also known as the Richmond campus, is located on a 1300 hectare site in the Hawkesbury Valley in north-western Sydney, next to the town of Richmond. Courses are offered in environmental health, forensic science, nursing, medical science, natural science (environmental, agricultural, horticultural), secondary school science teaching. Hawkesbury campus facilities include research labs, farmland, aquacultural (not operational) and equine facilities, residential halls and cottages, a conference centre, religious centres, a campus social hub called Stable Square, featuring cafeterias, a bar, a music room and a large collection of Hawkesbury Agricultural College memorabilia.
The Hawkesbury campus houses the Hawkesbury Forest Experiment. The experiment consists of twelve giant chambers with individual, living trees in controlled environments which will help predict what will happen to the Australian bush over the next century.
This campus is also home to the forensic science degree and holds a crime scene house, various forensic lab equipment. The Centre for Plant and Food Science is also located at this campus.
Hawkesbury Earthcare Centre, an organic farming organisation with a seedbank is located at Hawkesbury Campus. The centre is affiliated with Henry Doubleday Research and the Alternative Technology Association.
The Hawkesbury campus is next to Richmond TAFE. The nearest railway station is East Richmond
This campus was originally the Hawkesbury Agricultural College, established by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture in 1891. It later became a College of Advanced Education until 1989, then UWS Hawkesbury (as a member institution of UWS with campuses and Richmond and Quaker’s Hill) until 2000. The School of Agriculture operated a commercial dairy until it closed in 2004.
1.3.5 Parramatta campus and Westmead precinct
The UWS Parramatta Campus was established in the 1800s as a female orphan school. The campus has long served the populace of Western Sydney and is located in Rydalmere, New South Wales.
A historical site with contemporary features, the Rydalmere campus was opened in 1998 and has proved one of the more coveted campuses for students as it is geographically located in the cntre of Greater Sydney and the closest campus to the Sydney CBD, closer to amenities and employment areas.
The campus is located in Rydalmere, near Rosehill the traditional foundation site of the greater portion of Australia’s colonial heritage. Courses include nursing, business and law. It also hosts science courses in modern buildings near to the main Rydalmere campus at a site formally used by quarantine authorities,CSIRO and Amdel Sugar (the Biological and Chemical Research Institute laboratories).
Before the Parramatta Campus was developed, classes were held at the Westmead Precinct.
The Westmead Precinct is part of the Parramatta Campus. The oldest building on the site was the home of the historic St Vincent’s Orphanage. The Westmead area is one of Sydney’s premier medical districts and includes Westmead Hospital and the The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. However, for the last few years the Westmead Precinct has been leased to private companies, including Sydney Western International College (of which UWS is a 51% majority holder) and the NSW Police.
1.3.6 Penrith campus
The UWS Penrith Campuses, is made up of three areas in 2 Sydney suburbs; Kingswood, Werrington South and Werrington North.
Kingswood has most of the campus’s student services and facilities, computer rooms, classrooms and lecture theatres. It also has tennis courts, a gym, a bar (the Swamp Bar) and student accommodation. The Allen Library, which has a focus on engineering and science texts, is located at Kingswood.
Werrington South has fewer classrooms and lecture theatres. It contains Ward Library in building BA which has a focus on arts, teaching and the humanities. It is also the home of the Office of the University Librarian, Copyright Officer, Library Systems/Photocopy Services, Information Resources and related staff. Werrington South also contains the faculty of communications, design and media. This is the campus for the Bachelor of Communications degree.
Werrington North used to be a teaching campus but is now administration only, and houses the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor’s offices. It also has the Nepean Observatory built by Dr Graeme White (no longer with UWS) and members of the UWS Centre for Astronomy.
Focus areas are split between Werrington South and Kingswood, with most engineering, computing, music, fine arts and humanities subjects having classes in Kingswood and communication arts and drama subjects having classes at Werrington South.
The University of Western Sydney also hosts the broadcast centre of Sydney’s community television station TVS on Werrington South located in Building BD.
University of Western Sydney hosts the radio broadcast centre of ABC Local Radio, ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM, Triple J, ABC NewsRadio, ABC Dig Music, ABC Jazz, & ABC Country from the Ultimo radio studios.
In 2001, UWS published the UWS Research Landscape.
UWS conducts research in areas such as plant science, education, social justice, nursing, food technology, real estate, urban studies, cultural research and sound and perception.
The winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Alexis Wright, is a UWS Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
1.5 Student organisations
From 2009, UWS students are organised through the The Hive Student Union. Prior to 2009 the University of Western Sydney had three student organisations, each with their own focus and areas of responsibility.
These organisations were responsible for the bulk of extracurricular activities and services provided by the University.
Each organisation previously sourced their funds from Compulsory Student Unionism fees. With the passage of Voluntary Student Unionism legislation, UWS agreed to fund the organisations, but at a substantially reduced level. UWSSA also asked students to pay a voluntary $60 fee.
UWSSA and PAUWS were independent of the University while UWSConnect is wholly owned by UWS. All are non-profit organisations.
- UWSSA Inc. — UWS Students’ Association. Its motto was “Bringing life to knowledge” – a twist on the University’s motto. It aimed to improve student life at the University by providing welfare and support services, and ran campaigns on issues affecting the student population.
- PAUWS Inc. — PAUWS was a student’s association for the postgraduate student population at the University.
The Hive Student Union’s 2009 Board of Directors are as follows:
- Jacob Carswell-Doherty (President)
- David Clarke (Vice President Academic)
- Aisha Chaabou (Vice President Activities)
- Elyse Dickson (Vice President Equity and Diversity)
- Louis Pham (General Secretary)
UWSConnect Ltd. — UWSConnect is a not-for-profit company owned by the University which aims to improve university life by providing bars, cafés, sporting events, recreational activities, etc. It is responsible for organising commercial ties with the University and its students, such as advertising space within the University, vending machines and student discounts and special offers.
1.6 UWS College
In 2009 UWS opened UWS College at the old Blacktown campus of the university after protest about the divesting of property and resources from the site.
The UWS Blacktown campus is built on the site of HMAS Nirimba, a former naval aviation base, and is also known as the Nirimba Campus. It is located in the Nirimba Education Precinct, in Quakers Hill, about a 10 minute drive from Blacktown. The nearest railway station is Quakers Hill. The campus has many historical buildings and 2 crossed air runways.
Nirimba Campus has student accommodation, air-conditioned lecture theatres and rooms built in the 1990s. The campus has views of nearby Schofields Aerodrome. Campus numbers have dwindled since the university reduced the range of courses available. It is primarily a single-discipline campus, offering business courses which are also taught at other UWS campuses. Blacktown campus is not far from Norwest Business Park.
The UWS Campus shares facilities with two schools, one public high school and one Catholic College. There is also Nirimba TAFE on site.
1.7 See also
- Television Sydney (TVS) – Sydney community TV station run from Penrith Campus (Werrington South)
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