27 February 2013

The Board of Trustees met on Wednesday 27 February 2013 in the Boardroom, Building AD, Werrington North campus. A summary of matters discussed in the open session of the Board meeting is provided below.

Confirmation of Minutes

The minutes of the 21 November 2012 (PDF, 160.36 KB) (opens in a new window) meeting of the Board of Trustees were confirmed and can be downloaded from this page.

Main Items Considered by the Board

Chancellor’s Report

The Chancellor commended the University’s preparation for the 2013 academic year, particularly its highly successful marketing campaign which included strong promotion of our teaching capacity, making early offers ahead of our competitors, together with the iPad initiative which created positive media coverage. The iPad initiative to support all first year students, particularly in recognition of the University’s plan to increase blended learning, brought the University predominantly positive media coverage, although the extent to which this influenced students significantly to accept their UWS place was hard to measure and would not have been the key determining factor.

Vice-Chancellor’s Report

The Vice-Chancellor noted the appointment of Sue Craig as the University Librarian and highlighted her appreciation of Robyn Benjamin who has been the University’s Associate Librarian for many years and lead the Library in the interim period throughout 2012.

The Vice-Chancellor spoke to a presentation about the 2013 Student Recruitment Outcomes, giving a background as at 2012 which included:

  • UWS Commonwealth student load grew by 34% from 2006 to 2012;
  • 2012 was the first year of the ‘uncapping’ of student places attracting the Commonwealth grant and there was little or no public indication of how other universities would react;
  • UWS commencing student numbers in 2012 decreased by 1.1% against a budgeted increase of 4.6%, a gap of 5.7% or -$13.1m.

The University’s strategy for 2013 included:

  • Increasing the number of early offers (4500) in mid-late December compared with 2012
  • Conducting an ‘Enrolment’ rather than an ‘Information’ day in early January, enrolling approximately 3500 students
  • On 16 January when main round offers were made, UWS provided iPads in the context of the Board’s approved blended and on-line learning strategy, which achieved wide-ranging and positive publicity, together with
  • Eleven billboards on the M4 and M5, social media campaign, newspaper and radio advertisements.

Without changing our enrolment criteria, this strategy resulted in:

  • UWS experiencing the largest increase in first preferences (59.5%) of the Sydney based universities since the end of September
  • Placing UWS 1393 first preferences in front of UNSW and only 164 current school leaver first preferences behind the University of Sydney
  • An unprecedented increase in current school leaver applicants (59.2%) and a large increase in non-current school leavers (59.9%)
  • Enrolments in 2013 remain 1200-1400 above 2012.

The Board commended the PVC Students, Mr Angelo Kourtis, and his Office, for the 2013 student recruitment strategies.

Board Membership

Ms Gabrielle Trainor attended her first meeting as an appointed member of the Board of Trustees. Mr Michael Pratt has also recently been appointed to the Board. The Chancellor commented that Ms Trainor and Mr Pratt will bring not only commercial and financial expertise to the Board’s deliberations, but also a deep understanding of the University’s mission.

The Chancellor noted that this was Emma Stein’s last meeting as a ministerial appointee to the Board of Trustees, a position she has held since January 2010. The Chancellor noted Emma’s extraordinary contribution to the University, which began formally in 2004 as a member of the Board’s Strategy and Resources Committee; then as Chair of the Board’s Strategy and Planning Committee and member of the Board Standing & Remuneration Nominations Committees. Her resignation from all of these roles is effective from today’s date. Board members warmly endorsed the Chancellor’s appreciation.

Ministerial appointments to the Board were also considered at the meeting.

Red Tape Taskforce

The Chair of Academic Senate advised that Senate also have an interest in this matter. The Board agreed to defer this item to the next meeting.

Academic Standards Presentation

The Chair of Academic Senate spoke to the presentation about Academic Standards at UWS, which he had co-prepared with the Interim DVC Education and the Executive Director of Strategy and Quality. The presentation included the background of the AUQA audit themes and commendations; UWS academic standards and assessment framework; and the University’s 2012-2014 Learning and Teaching Plan. Two areas of focus being Academic Literacies and Assessment Moderation & Benchmarking.

The Board discussed the University’s strategies to improve students’ academic literacy, noting that this had been addressed by the Interim DVC Education at a recent Academic Senate meeting.

UWS Review of Community and Regional Engagement – Review Panel Report

The Board noted this report and will review the management response in detail at its Strategy Day in June.

Proposed Restructure of University of Western Sydney Foundation

The Board resolved to establish a new internal Council reporting to the Board of Trustees – the membership of which will be considered by the Board. The existing separate entity of UWS Foundation will be wound up.

Compliance with Voluntary Code of Best Practice

The Board of Trustees noted the compliance report.

Membership Composition of the Board Standing Committee and the Remuneration and Nominations Committee

The Board affirmed that the membership of the Board Standing Committee and Remuneration and Nominations Committee is as per the By-law:

(a) the Chancellor

(b) the Deputy Chancellors

(c) the Vice-Chancellor

(d) one or more members of the Board who are external persons (within the meaning of section 12 (10) of the Act)

The Board also confirmed the appointment of the Pro Chancellor to the Board Standing Committee and Remuneration and Nominations Committee in the category of “one or more members of the Board who are external persons”.

2013 Board of Trustees Elections

The following elections are scheduled for 2013:

Election to be held February/March 2013

  • Graduate Member
    4 year term - 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2017

Election to be held March/May 2013

  • Postgraduate Member
    2 year term - 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2015

Elections to be held September/October 2013

  • 2 Year terms - 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2015
    Undergraduate Member
    General Staff Member
    Academic Staff Member

See the University’s Elections web page for more details as they become available.

2014 Board of Trustees Meeting Dates

The Board’s meeting dates for 2014 will be:

  • 26 February 2014
  • 9 April 2014
  • 4 June 2014
  • 5 June 2014 (strategy day)
  • 10 September 2014
  • 3 December 2014

Other Reports and Items Considered by the Board

  • Our Future Action Program – Status Report
  • Educational Partnerships Council
  • UWS Student Load Trends as at 12 February 2013
  • Reports from Committees and Advisory Council of the Board

Next Meeting

The Board’s next meeting will be held at 9.00am on Wednesday 10 April 2013 in the Boardroom, Building AD, Werrington North.

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