Study Hubs network unites to deliver university to regional Australia
A conference hosted this week by the Geraldton Universities Centre (GUC) is supporting a network of Regional Study Hubs, led by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE), with support from the Australian Government Department of Education.
The event, held on 13–14 June, is bringing to Geraldton representatives from the Australia-wide Regional Study Hubs, supported by the Australian Government.
Based on successful models of the GUC and Country Universities Centre in New South Wales (NSW), the community-owned Regional Study Hubs partner with universities to support students in regional and remote communities across Australia to undertake tertiary education.
GUC Director Natalie Nelmes said that the GUC have been working with a number of regional communities across Australia to support them in establishing a Regional Study Hub, and the conference provides an opportunity for all new Regional Study Hubs to form a network.
“The GUC has been successfully delivering university courses on behalf of university partners in the Mid West of Western Australia for over 15 years,” Ms Nelmes said.
“The conference is an opportunity to share the practical aspects of running a study hub including student support, administrative processes, and academic programs and support from a regional perspective.”
GUC Chair Steve Douglas said the conference is also focusing on the governance structure of Regional Study Hubs and the importance of the community-based model that the GUC has adopted.
“University courses need to meet the needs of the local community, not only to build capacity within individuals, but to also meet the current and future workforce demands of that community,” Mr Douglas said.
Research shows regional and remote students are increasingly moving to metropolitan universities to study, NCSEHE Director Professor Sue Trinidad said. This can bring significant personal challenges for these students and the subsequent migration of skills from regional communities.
“It is encouraging to see a sustained commitment from the Australian Government in providing opportunities for regional and remote students to engage with higher education in their communities, keeping future skills and knowledge locally based in our regions,” Professor Trinidad said.
Conference participants are hearing from former GUC Director Meredith Wills who is a member of the Regional Education Expert Advisory Group. The Group’s role is to drive the development of a National Regional, Rural and Remote Education Strategy and advise Government on the ongoing education and training needs of regional and remote communities.
A number of presenters from Regional Study Hubs, the university sector, and the NCSEHE are facilitating workshops and a highlight will be hearing from current GUC students on their experience of study through a Regional Study Hub. Support for the network of Regional Study Hubs will continue with a conference on 14–15 November at the Country Universities Centre NSW, supported by the Australian Government and NSW Government.
Conference address by Hon Dan Tehan MP:
Presentation by Professor Sue Trinidad:
Presentation by Dr Cathy Stone: