11 October 2017

The Board of Trustees met on 11 October 2017 in the Boardroom, Building EB, Parramatta South campus.  A summary of matters discussed in the open session is provided below.

The minutes of the previous Board meeting held on 9 August 2017 (PDF, 1344.41 KB)(opens in a new window) were confirmed. Due to the unavailability of the Chancellor, the meeting was chaired by Deputy Chancellor Ms Elizabeth Dibbs.

Main Items Considered by the Board

Chancellor's Report
Vice-Chancellor's Report
Report from the Academic Senate

Chancellor’s Report
In the absence of the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor spoke to the Chancellor’s report. He advised the Board about a number of issues, including plans for the University’s 2018 Town and Gown Dinner.

Vice-Chancellor’s Report
The Vice-Chancellor provided an update on the Federal Government’s higher education reform package, as well as on the Shared Services project. The Board noted the professionalism and engagement of University staff over this period.

The Vice-Chancellor informed members that he had signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Vice Chancellors from our partner universities to join the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) group. The signing ceremony coincided with the IRU Senior Leadership Forum at the JCU City Campus in Cairns.

The Vice-Chancellor updated the Board on the Liverpool Launch Event, which was held on 10 August at the Gemelle Risorante and Function Centre, Liverpool, with a speech by Lucy Turnbull AO, Chief Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission, as well as the opening of the $21 million Macarthur Clinical School at Campbelltown Hospital, a key training site for the University's School of Medicine.

The Board were also provided with an update on Western Sydney University’s 2018 early offers program.  The 2018 Early Offer initiative has been redesigned to make offers based on HSC subject performance and not ATARs. These offers will be released on Thursday 14 December 2017, the day before the release of the NSW ATAR, and on the day that HSC subject results are released. The change to making offers based on HSC subject performance removes the primacy of the ATAR as the best indicator of future university success, while continuing to support the relevance of the HSC. Furthermore, it is strongly supported by data that shows a high correlation between subject band outcomes and performance in Western Sydney University courses.

The Vice-Chancellor provided an update on how the University ranks amongst other Universities. The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) has ranked Western Sydney University amongst the top two percent of universities in the world. Nursing and midwifery has been awarded a score of 91.12, which secured the prestigious 'Top 10' ranking – the highest of any Australian institution. For agriculture, NTU Ranking has placed Western Sydney amongst the top 200 universities.

Report from the Academic Senate
The Chair of Senate spoke to his recent visit to the national conference of chairs of academic boards and senates, held in Newcastle this year. Last year’s conference included a Vice-Chancellors’ panel, which looked at governance relationships between academic boards and the executive management of the university. This year’s conference included a Chancellor’s Panel, which Professor Peter Shergold participated in, and which looked at governance and reporting between governing bodies and academic boards. This was picked up in later conference papers and hot topics, which included reporting, and academic boards’ input to identifying and managing academic risk. It was noted that the University’s senior leadership and academic governance is well regarded in sector terms. The Chair of Senate also briefly spoke to the positive aspects of the 21st Century Curriculum Renewal Project, and of the new student management system.

Ms Sophie Buck
Acting University Secretary