Marking 25 years in south-west Sydney
In early November, UWS celebrated the 25th anniversary of education in south-western Sydney. Before becoming the University's Bankstown and Campbelltown campuses, Macarthur Institute of Higher Education (MIHE) provided higher education in these areas.
While it's been 25 years since the establishment of the University of Western Sydney, some of the staff and students from MIHE are still connected with our campuses.
The Milperra campus was established in 1975 as Milperra College of Advanced Education and became MIHE in 1982. In the days of MIHE, demand for education was so strong that some classes spilled out of the rooms and into tents. Education institutions in the Nepean and Hawkesbury regions merged to become UWS early in 1989, and MIHE joined later in the year.
At the anniversary celebration, held at the Margot Hardy Gallery, Bankstown campus, on Monday 3 November, Adjunct Professor Robert Lee welcomed Emeritus Professor David Barr and Angelo Kourtis (PVC students) who shared their experiences at MIHE. Associate Professor Jane Mears invited former students and staff from MIHE to join in an open-mic event to share their personal stories about how their education shaped their lives.
Professor Deirdre Russell-Bowie, one of the longest-standing academics on Bankstown campus, shared her memories on the day, and says the way students learn and, not surprisingly, the technology used by students and staff has changed since the days of MIHE. "One of the biggest changes I have seen in the 35 years since I started has been the move from non-electric typewriters that our secretaries used to innovative electric typewriters that used different fonts," she says. "In the late 1980s, we were introduced to cumbersome, slow desktop computers and now every staff and student has a smartphone, iPad or laptop to enhance their learning and productivity."
The Bankstown and Campbelltown campus landscapes have also significantly changed, with the demountable buildings inherited from Milperra Public School replaced by modern facilities. "The demountables were used as staff offices, the Aboriginal Rural Education Program classrooms, the printer, a lecture space and a gym, but were removed one by one and replaced with the buildings you see today," says Deirdre.
The Bankstown campus has grown and changed a lot in the past 25 years, and UWS is now ranked in the top 400 universities in the world.
"What we are today would not be possible if it weren't for the people, the passion and the vision of those from the Macarthur Institute of Higher Education," says Deirdre.