Avondale College of Higher Education students at Preston Place

University college: what now and what next?

Monday, September 2, 2019
Answers to frequently asked questions

It has a 122-year history but perhaps no milestone since its founding has been bigger: Avondale is the first higher education provider in Australia to become a university college under standards administered by the national regulator.

The addition of Avondale College of Higher Education to the “Australian University College” category is also the first time a higher education provider has qualified for a change of category since the federal government established the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

So, what does registration as an Australian university college mean for Avondale and its students and staff members? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Your journey towards registration as an Australian university college began in the 1990s. Why the investment of so much time, effort and resources?
Because the title “Australian university college” carries national and international recognition in the higher education sector.

What will your registration as an Australian university college mean for students?
Our students are already earning the equivalent of a university degree. Now they can legitimately say they’re studying at a university college. We owe this to our students.

Will those studying arts, business and ministry and theology finally get Commonwealth-supported places so they can apply for HECS-HELP loans to pay for their study?
Private universities and private university colleges only qualify for Commonwealth-supported places in areas the government deems as priorities. Avondale already has Commonwealth-supported places in nursing and teaching.

What will your registration as an Australian university college mean for staff members, particularly those who are research active?
It will enhance their opportunities for accessing funding. Our staff members are already members of teams applying for grants from one of Australia’s two peak competitive funding bodies, the National Health and Medical Research Council.

What impact will registration as an Australian university college have on your relationship with mentoring partner Charles Sturt University?
Charles Sturt has agreed to mentor us through to registration as an Australian university.

What impact will your registration as an Australian university college have on your enrolment?
We’re already working on plans to enrol more students, particularly in our teaching degrees. Marketing ourselves as an Australian university college may be more attractive to students. We hope it is.

Shouldn’t the Seventh-day Adventist Church provide more funding for Avondale now you’re an Australian university college?
The South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church already provides considerable funding—about $5 million a year, primarily for research. Self-sufficiency is important to us and to the church. The framework and focus of our research supports the mission of the church by increasing our understanding of historic Adventist fields of significance—society and culture (including biblical study and Christian spirituality), Christian education and health.

What impact will your registration as an Australian university college have on your Seventh-day Adventist ethos?
Registration as an Australian university college will have no impact on our Seventh-day Adventist ethos. We’ve maintained this ethos since our founding in 1897. We’re proud to be an entity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—this featured prominently in our application—and we’re proud to offer higher education in a Christian context.

I’m graduating from Avondale this year. What Avondale name will appear on my testamur?
We’re planning to announce the name soon.

Avondale can apply to change its registration from Australian university college to Australian university in five years. Will you?
While we’re not obligated, our plans are already in place to apply for a change in registration to Australian university in five years.

TEQSA approves application for an Australian University College

Read the announcement from the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency about its approval of an application lodged by Avondale College Limited to change category from “Higher Education Provider” to “Australian University College.”

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Author

Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale College of Higher Education’s Public Relations Officer. He brings to the role a decade’s experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities. He is also co-convenor of Manifest, a movement exploring, encouraging and celebrating #faithfulcreativity in the Adventist Church.

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