Higher Education in the 21st Century – Diversity of Missions: Abstract by Helen Garnett

 

Charles Darwin University – a University with Unique Features within Australia’s Public University Sector

Professor Helen Garnett, Vice-Chancellor, Charles Darwin University

In 1988 the microeconomic reforms promoted by the then Australian Government were towards a ‘unified national system’ of higher education where similarities were emphasised. This concept prevailed through the 1990s, and led to the formation of some groupings, both formal and informal, within the broader university sector, these being based on age and origins.

More recently the Australian government has been promoting diversity within the higher education sector. While many surveys, processes and reporting requirements still tend to reinforce sameness, increasing diversity is evident. Many of the regional and outer metropolitan universities are placing a stronger focus on developing the capacity and capability of their region; other universities are increasing their delivery by distance learning, while at the same time retaining their on-campus delivery. Almost all are emphasising specific areas for research specialisation and focus.

Charles Darwin University provides a particular case study in this changing world.