22 February 2017

The Board of Trustees met on 22 February 2017 in Conference Room 2, Level 9, 1PSQ. A summary of matters discussed in open session is provided below.

The minutes (PDF, 1522.54 KB) (opens in a new window) of the Board meeting held on 7 December 2016 were confirmed.

Main Items Considered by the Board

Australia Day Honours – Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik AO

The Board congratulated Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik AO on being recognised with the award of Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to tertiary education as an academic, author and administrator, particularly in the area of Indigenous studies and culture, and as a role model and mentor.  MaryAnn is a Ministerial appointee to the Board of Trustees and her brief bio can be found on the Board membership page here.

Western Sydney Wanderers

The Board resolved to support the University's media statement condemning the actions of the Western Sydney Wanderers' Red and Black Block (RBB) and the lack of response from the Wanderers' Board. The media release can be found here.

Parramatta Light Rail

The Board noted that on 17 February the NSW Government had released its preferred route for the Parramatta Light Rail. This 'Stage 1' phase of the project links Westmead, Parramatta CBD and Carlingford and directly links the University's Westmead, Parramatta (1PSQ) and Parramatta South (Rydalmere) campuses and provides a proximate connection to 100 George Street.

Chancellor's Report

The Chancellor highlighted aspects of his written report, particularly:

  • In his role as Convenor of the University Chancellors Council (UCC), that the UCC has contracted the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) to develop a tailored governance course for Australian university board and council members. The course will be available in the second half of this year.
  • In his role as Chair of the Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP), that following the release of the HESP report on improving transparency of higher education admissions processes, the panel is now conducting a review of completion and attrition rates. The report is expected by August this year.

The Chancellor also commended the excellent calibre of nominees for this year's Alumni awards.

Vice-Chancellor's Report

Competition for students has increased in a contracting market and, to date, the University's 2017 student load is unlikely to achieve target. However, unlike previous years, the University is much better placed to monitor and actively respond to emerging enrolment patterns through the new online systems and reporting dashboard. The Vice-Chancellor commended the systems that have improved the engagement and enrolment experience for students which, together with support from Schools, are helping to meet the challenges of the current position. A full report on load will be available to the Board following the 31 March census.

The Vice-Chancellor advised that the University looks forward to working with the new NSW Premier and Ministry on key issues for the University and Western Sydney.

Lastly, the Vice-Chancellor paid tribute to Emeritus Professor Natalie Bolzan, Professor Roger Bartrop and Associate Professor Cecily Hengstberger-Sims, who passed away recently.

Securing Success Strategic Plan

Following a mid-point review in late-2016 and the Board's approval of the inclusion of the University's gender equality priorities and strategies in Section 6 of the Securing Success: 2015-2020 strategic plan, and other minor amendments, the revised document is now available here (PDF, 3859.29 KB).

School Performance Report – School of Law

Professor Michael Adams, Dean of the School of Law, presented to the Board on the School's 21 year history, its strategic challenges and future developments planned for 2017-2018. The Board noted that, after 10 years in the position, Professor Adams will retire as the Dean, effective 30 June 2017. Following a period of leave, he will return to the School as Professor of Corporate Law and Governance in 2018. The Board wished Professor Adams well in the next phase of his career.

Introduction of Senior Staff

The Board were introduced to Ms Deborah Carr, recently appointed Executive Director, Advancement. In 2017 the Advancement and Alumni team will focus on strengthening gift giving activity and donor stewardship.

Changes to the University Act and By-law

The Board noted that changes to the Western Sydney University Act came into force on 6 January 2017 and resolved to make changes to the proposed new By-law and Rule to deal with casual vacancies in the office of Chancellor and appointment procedures for appointed Board members.

Revocation of Awards Rule

The Board approved minor changes to the Revocation of Awards Rule, University Seal Policy and Schedule F under the Delegations (Administrative) Policy.

Membership and Awards

The Board:

  • Approved the reappointment of Mr Kim Williams to the Foundation Council, for a term of office commencing on 1 January 2017 and ending on 31 December 2019
  • Noted the reappointments of the Hon John Faulkner and the appointments of Ms Amanda McKenzie and Dr Rebecca Huntly to the Board of the Whitlam Institute and, as a consequence, as Trustees of the Whitlam Institute Trust Fund, for the period commencing 6 February 2017 and ending 5 February 2019
  • Made determinations on an honorary award, an emeritus professor and community award nominations.
Compliance with the Voluntary Code of Best Practice

The Board noted a report that the University is compliant with the Voluntary Code of Best Practice for the Governance of Australian Universities.

Strategy Sessions

The Board held a special strategy session to consider the University's Investment and Divestment strategy and agreed to form a working party to consider a decision making framework for the Board. The strategy session also included presentations from Professor Lisa Jackson-Pulver, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement and Torres Strait Islander Leadership) on the University's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy and Professor Kevin Bell, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Digital Futures) on the University's Digital Futures Strategy.

Helen Fleming
University Secretary and General Counsel