Annual Report 2015 (text-only version) | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Annual Report 2015 (text-only version)

Annual Report 2015 (text-only version)

Matters relating to the electronic presentation of the annual report

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The electronic versions of the annual report, including the financial statements, available on this site are provided by the University of the Sunshine Coast for information purposes only.

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The official copy of the annual report, as tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, can be accessed from the Queensland Parliament's tabled papers database.

Report of the Council of the University of the Sunshine Coast

For the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015

March 2016
The Honourable Kate Jones MP Minister for Education, Minister for Tourism and Major Events
PO Box 15033 CITY EAST QLD 4002

I am pleased to present the Annual Report 2015 and financial statements for the University of the Sunshine Coast. I certify that this Annual Report complies with:

  • the prescribed requirements of the Financial Accountability Act 2009 and the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009, and
  • the detailed requirements set out in the Annual Report requirements for Queensland Government agencies.

A checklist outlining the annual reporting requirements can be accessed at Annual Report.

John M Dobson OAM
Chancellor University of the Sunshine Coast

Acknowledgment of country

The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges the Gubbi Gubbi people as the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which the campus stands, and recognises the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal people in this land.

The University has a Reconciliation Action Plan to guide its relationships, opportunities and progress reporting with regard to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Communication objectives

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s 2015 annual report provides a record of the University’s performance in 2015, its plans for the future, and audited financial statements. All achievements for 2015 are documented against the goals and corresponding key performance indicators of the University’s Strategic Plan (2011–2015).

Potential readers of the annual report include federal, state and local government representatives and officers, the University community (including staff and students), business and media, potential benefactors, international visitors and members of the public.

To provide your feedback or request copies of this annual report, please contact the Office of Marketing and Communications, University of the Sunshine Coast, by telephoning +61 7 5459 4558 or by emailing

The report is also available online at

The University of the Sunshine Coast is committed to providing accessible services to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. If you have difficulty understanding the annual report, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications on +61 7 5459 4558 to arrange an interpreter to effectively communicate the report to you.

University of the Sunshine Coast 90 Sippy Downs Drive SIPPY DOWNS QLD 4556 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 7 5430 1234
Fax: +61 7 5430 1111

© (University of the Sunshine Coast) 2016
ISSN 1837-7521
Published by the University of the Sunshine Coast March 2016.
Information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing. For the most up-to-date information about the University, visit | All amounts are in Australian dollars. | University of the Sunshine Coast is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. CRICOS Provider Number: 01595D.


On opening in 1996, the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) became the first greenfield university to be established in Australia since 1975. The University serves the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and Brisbane regions and impacts strongly on the economic and cultural development of these regions.

In its first 19 years to date, as a new public university for the Sunshine Coast region, USC has demonstrated its viability in terms of student demand, enrolment growth, teaching and research
outcomes, campus development, financial position, regional contribution and reputation.

In its next 20 years, USC will be characterised by naturally reinforcing themes. Proposed Australian Government fee reform, as well as targets for higher education participation and low-SES students, will impact on the University's profile and teaching.

Learning and teaching at USC will build on its existing reputation and provide an exemplar of access and success in the Australian higher education sector. Opportunity will be provided over a broader region, and students and the wider community will have educational, cultural and economic possibilities well beyond current offerings.

Research outcomes and outputs will increase in both quantity and quality. Existing areas of research concentration will be strengthened through collaboration with the best researchers in these fields in Australia and internationally.

Strategic partnerships will be expanded with related government agencies, industry and business. In addition, there will be substantially more applied research conducted with, and for the
benefit of, the wider community.

Rapid growth of the University and the region it serves presents a major challenge for USC’s institutional capacity and capability.

Professional development of staff at all levels will be a priority, the University s systems will undergo major reinvestments, and core infrastructure will be expanded. Above all, development of strategic partnerships at regional, national and international levels will advance USC’s footprint, profile and performance.


The University of the Sunshine Coast is regionally relevant and recognised, nationally and internationally, for excellence in teaching, research and engagement.


In pursuing its vision and conducting daily operations, the University is committed to:

  • creating and disseminating knowledge through innovative and effective teaching and research
  • fostering freedom of inquiry and expression
  • the process of lifelong learning
  • engaging in and responding to the region s intellectual, cultural and economic challenges
  • adopting consultative processes and ethical behaviours in all activities
  • engendering respect throughout the University community
  • fairness, openness, honesty, trust and effective communication
  • developing the University and supporting the region as a sustainability exemplar
  • advancing human rights within a tolerant and inclusive community, in which respect for Indigenous peoples is fundamental.
  • Student enrolments increased by 8.2% in 2015, with an increase of 3.9% in conferred undergraduate degrees and 16.0% in conferred higher degrees by research. Student enrolments were well above the growth targets set in the strategic plan for 2015.
  • International student enrolments grew in 2015 to 1,111, the largest number of international student enrolments in USC’s history. International students this year represented 12.5% of USC’s total EFTSL.
  • Graduate satisfaction reached its highest level with USC again achieving 5-star ratings in the areas of teaching quality, overall satisfaction and generic skills as reported by the Good Universities Guide. This was the tenth year in a row that teaching quality has achieved this rating.
  • The University welcomed 1,743 to its alumni cohort in 2015. USC alumni now totals 15,725.
  • USC’s $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub (ELH) was officially opened housing state-of-the-art visualisation, 3D and virtual reality facilities. With the inclusion of an immersive 3D environment that is the first of its kind to be used for education, this complex is the most advanced learning and teaching facility for visualisation in Australia.
  • USC’s commitment to staying on the cusp of innovation was rewarded with 14 research fields now rated at or above world-standard by the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia assessment. The University has become a national leader with Environmental Science and Management, Nursing and Zoology rated at “well above world standard” and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Ecology, Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences, Fisheries Science and Clinical Sciences achieving a rating of “above world standard.
  • Between 2014 and 2015 research income has increased 68% to $14,680,066. The 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) outcomes for USC included three well above world standard for USC disciplines and Dr Bridie Scott-Parker became the first USC staff member to receive a Queensland Young Tall Poppy award.
  • The University is poised to begin a new phase of growth with the successful tender to develop the exciting new Moreton Bay Region University Precinct at Petrie, north of Brisbane. The 200-hectare site will feature a full-service campus in equal status to that of the Sippy Downs campus and is expected to receive the first cohort of students in 2020. The Moreton Bay Campus student population is forecast to reach 10,000 by 2030.
  • Agreement was reached to transition the University of Southern Queensland’s Fraser Coast Campus to USC in time for the commencement of the first semester in 2016. Eight study programs will be delivered from USC Fraser Coast.
  • USC SouthBank celebrated the completion of degrees by the first graduates to complete their studies entirely at this campus. Four complete degrees are now available at USC SouthBank and students from 21 countries now make up the student population.
  • The first cohort of students at USC Gympie celebrated the completion of degrees with 24 students set to graduate in April 2016. The program offering at this campus will be expanded in 2016 to include first year courses in Science and Engineering.
  • USC’s Innovation Centre was named by incubation analysts UBI Index as one of the top ten University Business Incubators for the Asia and Oceanic region. Established on the USC campus at Sippy Downs in 2002, the Innovation Centre has supported the start-up and growth of more than 130 businesses, creating more than 450 jobs and helping to raise more than $32 million for client companies.

Vice-Chancellor and President’s review

As the University of the Sunshine Coast prepares to celebrate our first twenty years we are well placed to embark on the next chapter that will see us grow and mature as a university. This past year has seen us build the foundation upon which we will deliver our strategic goals in line with our 2020 vision.

Our student population is growing faster than any other public university in Queensland with enrolments well above the growth targets set for 2015. Our international student population also continues to grow and now makes up 12.5 percent of our total student load. With the release of the first round of offers for the coming year I am delighted to see another surge in interest in studying at USC with a record number of students invited to begin degrees at the University in 2016.

Graduate satisfaction continues to set us apart as the only public university in Queensland to achieve a five star rating for teaching quality ten years in a row in the Good Universities Guide. Our commitment to the highest quality teaching has always been, and will remain, our top priority and our students consistently tell us that this has a direct impact on their overall satisfaction and the skills they gain from study. This year has seen the completion of degrees by the first cohort of students at USC Gympie and the first students to complete their degrees entirely at USC SouthBank. The USC
footprint will soon stretch from Brisbane’s South Bank to the Fraser Coast and our successful tender to develop the Moreton Bay University precinct will add another full service campus expected to receive the first cohort of students by 2020.

Throughout 2015 USC has made significant gains in research with record income including success in a number of highly competitive grant schemes. Our ERA ratings success was the icing on the cake with 14 of our 24 assessable fields rated at or above world standard. In 2016 we’ll keep building on this success as we work towards our strategic aspiration to join the world’s top 100 universities under 50. The next piece of research development at the University will be all about health and our partnership with the Sunshine Coast’s new $1.8 billion public university hospital, the biggest in Australia, will be a watershed for teaching and research.

The coming year marks an important milestone for the University with the celebration of our 20th Anniversary. At the same time that we look back on all that we have achieved, with our 20/20 vision and strategic plan for 2016–2020, we hold in our hands a clear roadmap for the next five years and I’m excited to share this new world of opportunity with you all. As we begin 2016 I look forward to welcoming new students, reconnecting with our alumni and joining with the USC team as we bring to fruition a vision for the next 20 years that will see USC rise higher and shine even brighter.

Professor Greg Hill
Vice-Chancellor and President

Forward planning 2016 

  • Strengthen capacity and capability at Sippy Downs to support a significantly increased student cohort.
  • Advance the expansion of USC’s footprint by: ensuring a smooth commencement of USC Fraser Coast; foundation planning for USC Moreton Bay; and development of the partnership with the Australian Technical and Management College.
  • Position USC through implementation of the three strategic goals of being a comprehensive university of 20,000 students by 2020, achieving a world ranking and leadership in regional capacity-building.
  • Advance the processes of work productivity enhancement, including securing and communicating academic and professional outcomes for USC.
  • Advance USC’s national profile and performance in health education, research and engagement through the Sunshine Coast Health Institute, Thompson Institute, and the USC health research institute.
  • Develop USC’s capability in simulation, visualisation and serious games and their applications in high quality learning and teaching, research and innovation in industry and the professions.

Basis of authority 

The institution was established under the Sunshine Coast University College Act 1994 and took its first students in 1996. Full university powers were granted under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998.

Functions and powers

The University’s functions are to:

  • provide education at university standard;
  • provide facilities for, and encourage, study and research;
  • encourage the advancement and development of knowledge, and its application to government, industry, commerce and the community;
  • provide courses of study or instruction, at levels of achievement the Council considers appropriate, to meet the needs of the community;
  • confer higher education awards;
  • disseminate knowledge and promote scholarship;
  • provide facilities and resources for the wellbeing of the University’s staff, students and other persons undertaking courses at the University;
  • exploit commercially, for the University’s benefit, a facility or resource of the University, including, for example, study, research or knowledge, or the practical application of study, research or knowledge, belonging to the University, whether alone or with someone else; and 
  • perform other functions given to the University under the Act or another Act.

The University’s powers are: 

Under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 the University has all the powers of an individual. It may, for example:

1. Enter into contracts;

a. acquire, hold, dispose of, and deal with property;

b. appoint agents and attorneys;

c. engage consultants;

d. fix charges, and other terms, for services and other facilities it supplies; and 

e. do anything else necessary or convenient to be done for its functions.

2. Without limiting subsection (1), the University has the powers given to it under its Act or another Act.

3. The University may exercise its powers inside and outside Queensland.

4. Without limiting subsection (3), the University may exercise its powers outside Australia.

Strategic framework

The Strategic Plan is the University’s highest-level planning document, along with the Campus Master Plan.

The role of the strategic plan is to articulate the broad goals and aims of the University over five years. Specific strategies complementing the Strategic Plan are set out in four top level plans, which apply University-wide and drive resource allocations through the budget process. Supporting strategies guide the University’s involvement in international activities and regional engagement.
Operational Plans for individual cost centres support initiatives outlined in both the strategic and top level plans. All plans are reviewed and updated during the budget and planning process in September each year.

Annual review of operations

As a review of its operations each year, USC measures its progress according to the goals and key performance indicators of four areas outlined in the University’s Strategic Plan (2011–2015):

1. Enable access to the USC experience

2. Deliver high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes

3. Build research productivity and output significantly

4. Develop USC for a sustainable future.

During the course of 2015 the University consulted with its key stakeholders to develop a new strategic plan for the next five year period. Approved by the University Council, the USC Strategic Plan 2016–2020 will be implemented from 2016.




Growth in students continued, with an estimated 12,500 students enrolled during 2015 (8,680 EFTSL). Student enrolments were well above the Strategic Plan growth targets set for 2015 of 12,000 students and 8,000 EFTSL.

International student enrolments grew in 2015 to 1,111 students at Census 1. This was the largest number of international student enrolments in USC’s history. Total international student load during 2015 was estimated at 1,088 EFTSL with international student load accounting for 12.5% of total EFTSL.

Focus remained on the participation of groups underrepresented in higher education, with latest data showing that 18.1% of USC undergraduate students are from low socio-economic backgrounds compared to 16% of all undergraduate students nationally, and 2.2% of USC students are Indigenous compared to 1.5% nationally.

Students continued to experience high levels of satisfaction with their higher education experience. USC was the only Queensland public university to again achieve a five star rating in the 2016 Good Universities Guide for Overall Satisfaction. Overall Satisfaction has remained at five stars for four years since 2013. The national Student Experience Survey results also reflect high levels of student satisfaction. Latest data available has overall satisfaction with the ‘quality of the entire educational experience’ for USC students at 88% compared to the national average of 81%.

The Regional Universities Network (RUN), of which USC is an active member, released submissions during 2015 that highlighted the significant and diverse ways the University is helping to shape the greater Sunshine Coast region.

Enable access to the USC experience

Key strategies:

  • Recruit and support a diverse student population.
  • Provide a high quality student experience.
  • Develop a vibrant and healthy University community and identity.
  • Engage with the regional community through educational, cultural, creative, economic and recreational activities.
  • Extend learning opportunities throughout the region.

2015 saw growth in… 


An intake of 3,742 new students at Census 1 2015, increased the University’s student population to 10,447 (including 1,111 international students). This translated to an overall increase of 8.2 percent in student enrolment numbers. The mid-year intake of 1,832 new students increased slightly compared to Semester 2, 2014.


At Census 1 2015, there were 1,111 international enrolments, an increase of 5.1 percent compared to Census 1 2014. International students accounted for 10.6 percent of all USC enrolments, from 64 countries.


The Bachelor of Nursing Science continues to be the most popular program at USC for new students with 260 students enrolled at Census 1 2015. The top 10 undergraduate programs, based on all enrolments at Census 1 2015 were:

  1. Bachelor of Nursing Science
  2. Bachelor of Primary Education
  3. Bachelor of Paramedic Science
  4. Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science
  5. Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)
  6. Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
  7. Bachelor of Business
  8. Bachelor of Social Work
  9. Bachelor of Arts
  10. Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Hons)

Achievement highlights

Achievement highlights for 2015 in relation to the key strategies of this strategic priority include the following:

Regional and Urban planning students travelled to China to study modern architecture and planning in densely populated cities. With support from the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan and in partnership with City University Hong Kong, USC students visited Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen and worked on a collaborative cultural heritage project in Guangzhou.

USC’s Open Day, Imaginarium, attracted almost 10,000 attendees for a day of free activities at the Sippy Downs Campus. Imaginarium invites prospective students and the local community to experience the university’s educational facilities and offers family activities and entertainment.

USC SouthBank students from Pakistan, India and Nepal celebrated completion of degrees with the majority completing the Master of Professional Accounting.

USC Gympie celebrated the completion of degrees by the first cohort of students from this location. The program offering at USC Gympie now includes completion of the first year of some Science and Engineering programs. USC’s Innovation Centre was listed in the UBI Index’s top 10 University Business Incubators for the Asia and Oceania region for work in assisting the start-up and growth of new businesses across the region.

More than $824,000 in scholarships was awarded to 72 students including school-leavers from 41 different high schools. Scholarships ranged in value from $3,500 to $32,000.

Environmental Science students volunteered at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre as part of their studies. USC Environmental Science, Ecology and Animal Ecology students also assisted with research and conservation projects in South Africa, the Amazon Rainforest, the Andes, coastal Ecuador, Cambodia and Laos.

USC’s Moving Feast community food garden hosted a series of workshops as part of a research project into improving the capacity of community gardens on the Sunshine Coast. The garden has been incorporated across a range of degrees from Nutrition and Dietetics to Social Science, Science, Engineering, Urban Planning, Health Promotion, Communication and Marketing.



KPI 1.1: 12,000 students by 2015

Measure Performance
Actual full year student enrolments 2.2% increase in 2015


In September 2011, stretch targets were set for all fee types from 2012 to position the University for its target of 8,000 EFTSL by 2015. The September 2015 reforecast estimates total load for 2015 at 8,680 EFTSL which is 8.7% above the final 2014 value of 7,989 EFTSL and is 8.5% above the target of 8,000 EFTSL. The September 2015 forecast of commonwealth supported load overall is 7,279 EFTSL which is 164 EFTSL (+2.3%) above that forecast in April 2015. Revised estimates for 2015 fee paying international load has slightly increased by almost 12 EFTSL (+1.1%) to 1,060 EFTSL which is the highest in USC’s history. However, this is below the target set in September 2014 by 123 EFTSL (-10.4%). Fee paying domestic load for 2015 at 314 EFTSL is slightly above that estimated in September (+19 EFTSL) and continues to account for a small portion of overall load at 3.6%.

September 2015 Reforecast

  Actual Actual Actual Actual Actual Estimates1
Fee type 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
CSP EFTSL2 4,994.4 5,433.5 5,723.6 6,263.5 6,700.8 7,278.6
International EFTSL3 777.0 714.4 610.2 746.5 989.0 1,060.1
Fee Paying Domestic EFTSL4 231.9 209.2 230.7 252.6 272.4 314.0
Inbound Exchange EFTSL 30.9 41.1 39.4 33.4 27.0 27.6
Grand Total EFTSL 6,034.3 6,398.2 6,603.9 7,296.0 7,989.2 8,680.3
% increase 13.2% 6.0% 3.2% 10.5% 9.5% 2.2%

KPI 1.2: SES Participation

Measure Target Performance
Participation rate of students from low socio-economic backgrounds 20% participation rate of students from low socio-economic backgrounds by 2015 Achieve Compact agreement targets – 2011: 18.1%, 2012: 18.5%, 2013: 19.1%, 2014: 19.7% 2015 data not available from Australian Government until mid-2016


Based on the Interim Indicator, USC’s participation rate for domestic undergraduate students from low socio-economic backgrounds decreased from 19.1% in 2011 to 18.8% in 2012. This rate (18.8%) is above USC’s compact agreement target of 18.5% for 2012 and also above the 2012 National rate of 14.8%. Data for the Interim Indicator was published for 2011 and 2012 only (full year). Data from 2013 onwards (full year) was published based on the SA1 measure. Based on the SA1 measure, USC’s 2014 participation rate was 18.1%, which was above the national rate of 16.0% and ranked USC 15th nationally (14th in 2013) for domestic undergraduate students.

Participation rates (%) for domestic undergraduate low SES students

  2011 2011 2012 2012 20135 20135 20145 20145
Participation rates6 USC National USC National USC National USC National
Low SES (Interim indicator)7 19.1% 14.6% 18.8% 14.8% n/a n/a n/a n/a
Low SES (CD measure)8 19.0% 15.7% 18.8% 16.1% 19.4% 16.5% n/a n/a
Low SES (SA1 measure)9 18.0% 15.2% 17.6% 15.6% 18.1% 15.9% 18.1% 16.0%

1. Figures based on forecast data. Full year data available in April following the final Australian Government submission on 31 March of each year.

2. CSP—Commonwealth Supported: includes TEP, TPP, Undergraduate and Postgraduate EFTSL.

3. Includes International on campus and online award and non-award enrolments.

4. Includes Postgraduate, HDR, Headstart and Visiting domestic fee paying EFTSL and RTS.

5. Data for the Interim Indicator is not available for 2013 and 2014. These periods will be reported based on the new Low SES Statistical Area (SA1) measure.

6. Domestic students with permanent home residence in Australia only.

7. The interim measure of the Low SES Participation rate is based on the number of domestic undergraduate students with home addresses within the Low SES Census Collection Districts (CDs).

8. Based on the number of domestic undergraduate students with home addresses within the Low SES Census Collection Districts (CD).

9. Based on the number of domestic undergraduate students with home addresses within the Low SES Statistical Area (SA1).




The strategic focus on the quality of teaching was maintained. USC was the only Queensland public university to again achieve a five star rating in the 2016 Good Universities Guide for Teaching Quality.

Teaching Quality has remained at five stars for ten years since 2007. USC also achieved results well above the national average for the percentage of students satisfied with the quality of teaching as measured through the 2014 Student Experience Survey ‘quality of teaching’ item (USC 87%, National 81%) and the 2014 Course Experience Questionnaire component of the Australian Graduate Survey ‘good teaching scale’ (USC 78%, National 67%).

Improved graduate outcomes were reflected in USC’s Good Universities Guide rating for ‘Getting a full-time job’ which increased from two stars to four stars in the most recent edition. Positive graduate outcomes are monitored throughout the year using a composite Graduate Outcomes measure. USC continued its progress towards the national average for this measure in the most recent assessment with the rate improving to 74% with the differential to the national average decreasing from 9% to 4% between 2013 and 2014.

OLT citations for teaching excellence were awarded by The Australian Government to: Patrea Andersen, Associate Professor of Nursing; Professor David Hollinsworth, Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Studies (Adj); Dr Retha De Villiers Scheepers, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship; Dr Susan Simon, Senior Lecturer in Education; and Dr Nicholas Stevens Lecturer in Regional and Urban Planning.

Deliver high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes

Key strategies:

  • Embed academic excellence in all teaching and learning activities.
  • Support diverse learning and teaching styles to maximise student participation and success.
  • Offer innovative programs, in particular via partnerships.
  • Produce graduates with knowledge, skills and attributes to succeed in a world characterised by rapid change.

Achievement highlights 

Achievement highlights for 2015 in relation to the key strategies of this strategic priority include the following:

The official opening of USC’s $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub (ELH), housing world-class facilities for immersive learning, combining visualisation techniques with 3D and virtual reality technologies. The complex includes a 3D environment called CAVE2TM that enables visualisation of large data sets, manipulation of computer-generated objects and immersion in virtual environments. This facility is a partnership initiative of USC and the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund and reinforces USC’s commitment to engaging students with cutting-edge technologies that provide deeper understanding of core and threshold discipline concepts.

USC leading a learning and teaching project that will define the ways in which education is delivered to Australian students of the future. A national collaboration with seven other regional universities, the project will uncover the best ways of delivering state-of-the-art education. The project is being supported by an Australian Government grant valued at $284,000. Data presented by the Good Universities Guide ranked USC fifth highest of all Australian universities for the percentage of Accounting graduates finding work within four months of course completion. The Australian Financial Review reported USC in the nation’s ‘Best Five’ universities for Accounting graduate employment prospects.

Four high-achieving students, embarking on their first year at USC, received inaugural Thompson Excellence Scholarships, valued at $32,000 each. This prestigious scholarship scheme is funded through a generous $5 million gift to the University from Roy and Nola Thompson last year. This donation was matched dollar-for-dollar by USC to establish a revenue generating, multi-storey carpark in an innovative funding program that will provide support to USC students over many years into the future through an ongoing scholarship scheme.

More than $824,000 in scholarships was awarded to 66 new undergraduates and eight postgraduate students. The recipients included school-leavers from 41 different high schools, receiving scholarships ranging in value from $3,500 to $32,000.

USC achieved a five-star ranking for teaching quality for ten consecutive years in the annual independent Good Universities Guide. With ratings based on data from the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, Graduate Careers Australia’s annual Australian Graduate Survey and other sources, this impressive, consistent result highlights USC’s status as a national leader in educational excellence. USC was ranked in the top 20 percent of Australian universities for three key categories of ‘The Educational Experience’ and achieved a four star rating for ‘getting a
full-time job’.

The official opening of a purpose-built moot court facility that provides students with practical, hands-on learning experiences in a real-world representative environment.

Complete with a bar table, judges’ bench and witness box, the moot court design is based on a regional magistrates court and will be used for teaching and student assessment activities as well as mooting competitions and other events.

Six University of the Sunshine Coast students and three academics travelled to Tonga for 11 days of cross-disciplinary research into the country’s well-established swim-with-whales tourism industry. The program was supported by funding from an Australian Government New Colombo Plan mobility grant and USC students presented the experience to the New Columbo national forum in Canberra.
A partnership agreement was finalised with the Australian Technical and Management College (ATMC) for the delivery of USC business and IT degree programs to international students from a specialist campus located in Melbourne’s CBD. All courses delivered through USC Melbourne will be coordinated by USC academic staff, with teaching to be conducted by staff engaged by ATMC, using the USC curriculum. Successful students will graduate with a degree from USC.


Deliver high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes

KPI 2.1: Student satisfaction

Measure Target Performance
Annual national comparative assessment in the CEQ Overall Satisfaction Index Achieve national ranking in the top quartile for the CEQ Overall Satisfaction Index each year 2015 national data not available until March 2016


The Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) captures a measure of graduate satisfaction through responses to the Overall Satisfaction Index (OSI). The OSI is a mandatory single item scale included in the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) component of the AGS by all institutions. It seeks response to the statement “Overall, I was satisfied with the quality of this program”. The University reports on the performance for this scale as the percentage of all respondents that ‘agree’ with the survey item (i.e. Agree or Strongly Agree). The table below shows the USC undergraduate overall satisfaction compared to the national aggregated level of undergraduate overall satisfaction. The University has performed strongly in the Overall Satisfaction Index from 2010 to 2014, ranking in the top quartile and being above the national average in each of these years. USC’s percentage agreement for Overall Satisfaction was 87% for 2014. USC ranked 3rd in 2014, compared to 5th in 2013, despite the national and USC percentage agreements remaining unchanged.

CEQ Overall Satisfaction Index (Percentage Agreement)1,2 relative to the National value3

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
University of the Sunshine Coast 86% 88% 86% 87% 87%
National 81% 82% 83% 83% 83%
Target Achieved Achieved Achieved Achieved Achieved

KPI 2.2: Graduate Outcomes

Measure Target Performance
Annual national comparative assessment of graduate employment and graduates undertaking further study Achievement of the national average for bachelor degree graduates in employment or further study by 2015 2015 national data not available until March 2016


The Graduate Outcomes measure represents a combination of the number of graduates in their preferred mode of employment (in full-time work or in part-time work and not seeking full-time work) plus the number of graduates in further full-time study as reported through responses to the Australian Graduate Survey (AGS). This composite measure indicates a positive graduate outcome. The proportion of USC respondents in their preferred mode of employment or further full-time study over the period 2010 to 2014 has been lower than the comparable national figures. In 2014, USC ranked 30th from 37 institutions. USC ranked last in 2012 and 2013 and second last in the two preceding years. The USC results of the 2014 AGS (74%) show an increase compared to 2013 (71%), while the national results showed a decline. The differential between USC and the national figure decreased from 9% to 4% between 2013 and 2014. Notably, USC’s Good Universities Guide (GUG) performance ratings improved for ‘Getting a full-time job’ in 2016. The GUG ratings and rankings look at how each university rates and compares on Graduate Outcomes based on results aggregated from the 2013 and 2014 AGS. USC increased from 2 stars in the 2015 GUG to 4 stars in the 2016 Guide.

USC and National5 Graduate Outcome results6 , 2010-2014

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
USC 74% 77% 74% 71% 74%
National 83% 83% 83% 80% 79%
Differential 9% 6% 9% 9% 4%

1. Percentage Agreement (%) represents the proportion of Agree or Strongly Agree responses (5-point Likert-type scale).

2. Undergraduate level includes Bachelor Pass, Bachelor Honours, Bachelor Graduate Entry, Associate Degree, Associate Diploma and Advanced Diploma.

3. The national value and institution ranking is based on Table A institutions only. Table A Providers comprise all Australian public universities. A list of Table A Providers is available in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 – Sect 16.15.

4. Data reflects outcomes of students who completed their qualification in the year prior to the Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) year.

5. National value includes results for Table A Higher Education Providers only. Table A Providers comprise all Australian public universities. A list of Table A Providers is available in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 – Sect 16.15.

6. Results are reported for domestic undergraduates. Undergraduate level includes Bachelor Pass, Bachelor Honours, Bachelor Graduate Entry, Associate Degree, Associate Diploma and Advanced Diploma.


Build research productivity and output significantly



Research at USC is continuing to advance at a rapid pace. On a range of research performance indicators USC is exceeding most of its Key Performance Indicators. Between 2014 and 2015 income has increased 68% to $14,680,066. HERDC weighted publication points (349.06) have been collected to date and higher degree enrolments are 213.9 (EFTSL).

With the recruitment of key staff into research focus areas over the reporting period, continued and sustained growth in USC’s research quality and capacity is expected.

The 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) outcomes for USC included three well above world standard, six above world standard and five at world standard ratings for USC disciplines. The increase in productivity is due to the careful and strategic development of research at the University, so as to position for a ranking of the institution by 2020.

Build research productivity and output significantly 

Key strategies:

  • Strengthen research capability.
  • Develop research groups in disciplinary and cross-disciplinary areas.
  • Focus research on regionally relevant and strategic areas.
  • Leverage research outputs to enable productive partnerships.

Achievement highlights

Achievement highlights for 2015 in relation to the key strategies of this strategic priority include the following:

Dr Bridie Scott-Parker became the first USC staff member to receive a Queensland Young Tall Poppy award. She was also the joint winner of the 2015 Queensland Young Tall Poppy of the Year. Dr Anna Potter was awarded an ARC DECRA Award valued at $373,536 over 2016­ 2018 for her project titled “International Transformations in Children’s Television 2013­ 18”. Anna’s project was one of 200 selected for ARC support, noting that the success rate in the 2016 ARC DECRA scheme was 16.4%.

Dr Tomer Ventura was awarded his first ARC Discovery Project (DP) grant valued at $148,000 over 2016-2017 for his project titled “Redefining the molecular mechanism underlying crustacean metamorphosis”.

Professor Abigail Elizur was appointed to the ARC College of Experts (serving on the Biological Sciences and Biotechnology Panel) to assess and allocate funding to ARC projects within the Biological and Biotechnology fields.

Professor Helen Wallace was awarded two major ACIAR grants, valued at nearly $6 million over four years, to work on agroforestry systems in the Pacific along with the development of the canarium industry in PNG. Professor Paul Southgate was awarded a major ACIAR grant, valued at $2,264,620 over four years, to develop a pearling industry in the Western Pacific. Professor Southgate and his team will make a significant contribution to research capacity in the newly formed Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research at USC that is co-directed by Professors Patrick Nunn, Steven Underhill and Paul Southgate.

Dr Terry Lucke was awarded an Australian Research Contract from Parklakes, valued at $332,520, to work on the performance monitoring of floating wetland treatment systems at Parklakes 2. This work will contribute strongly to USC’s performance in the Commonwealth Government’s foreshadowed Research Engagement Assessment Exercise that will recognise and reward research of significance to industry, government and the community.

Professor Michael Kimlin was awarded a US Department of Defence grant, valued at $390,769 for his project titled “Is vitamin D status at the time of melanoma diagnosis associated with stage of tumour?” This is a prestigious international competitive grant that is held in very high esteem by the ARC ERA assessment exercise, and bodes well for future ERA outcomes at USC.

The annual University Research Week conference at USC, themed ‘integrate innovate inspire’ attracted more than 280 academics, higher degree by research students and external guests with keynote speeches provided by Emeritus Professor Peter Andrews AO and Professor Aidan Byrne, CEO, Australian Research Council. A combined Faculty of Arts and Business and Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering Research Day was held with 34 presenters communicating their research. Three Public Seminars were held including – Nursing and Midwifery Research@USC, presented by Professors Marianne Wallis and Jeanine Young; Surfboard artisans – creating a sustainable industry on the Sunshine Coast, presented by Mr Tom Wegener, current PhD student at USC; and, The Sunshine Coast in 2030: Designing the cities of the future through trans-disciplinary research and practice, presented by Professors Paul Salmon and Tim Smith, Associate Professors Christian Jones and Mathew Summers and Dr Nicholas Stevens. A Research Expo, Art in Research and the Annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) and A Minute to Win It were also held during the week. Three new USC Research Centres and two Research Clusters were established in 2015. These include the Centre for Animal Health Innovation, Tropical Forests and People Research Centre and Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems; Nursing and Midwifery Cluster for Research Excellence (NURTURE) and Arts Research in Creative Humanities (ARCH) cluster. USC’s existing and new Research Clusters and Research Centres will be critical to the University’s mission of continuing to build research capacity and academic excellence at the University.

Three outstanding new USC Research Fellows have also been appointed this year, each of whom will transfer prestigious ARC and NHMRC Fellowship and grants to the University.


KPI 3.1: Research grants income

Measure Target Performance
Total HERDC reportable income (all categories) $6,000,000 by 2015 (reporting on 2015 data) $14,680,066


The 2015 target has already been exceeded and the target for 2014 was exceeded by over $3 million. The significant increase in grant income is due in part to the introduction of the new USC Research Fellow scheme, which resulted in large, funded projects being transferred to USC in 2012 and 2013, and the ARC and NHMRC application development program that the Office of Research has implemented, which has resulted in higher quality applications for funding and an increased success rate. USC’s 2013 national ranking per FTE is 30 for total Category 1 income and 32 overall, while USC’s 2013 Regional University Network (RUN) ranking per FTE is 3 for total Category 1 income and 3 overall.

Total HERDC Reportable Research Income ($) by category and per full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching and research (T&R) staff by year

Grant Income ($) 2011 2012 2013 2014 YTD 20151
Competitive Grants 315,695 2,267,254 2,565,892 4,479,719 9,119,450
Public Sector Funding 1,174,789 1,918,173 2,268,537 1,865,806 2,609,941
Industry/Other Funding 894,891 1,760,530 1,564,660 1,615,168 2,691,729
CRC2 608,253 1,086,493 620,538 775,855 258,944
Total ($) 2,993,628 7,032,451 7,019,627 8,736,547 14,680,066
TARGET 3,600,000 4,200,000 4,800,000 5,300,000 6,000,000
Per FTE ($) 14,255 29,799 27,061 29,180 45,309

1. Data is unaudited and subject to change. 2015 data will be audited in June 2016.

2. Income received from the Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (Seafood CRC) in which the University of the Sunshine Coast was defined within the Commonwealth Agreement as a Participant.

KPI 3.2: Weighted publications

Measure Target Performance
Total HERDC reportable publications (all categories) weighted 250 points by 2015 (reporting on 2015 data) 349.06


The 2015 publications are on track to exceed the target. The total publication points for 2012 was just short of the target although broadly on track. The 2013 figures exceed the target by more than 40 points. The 2014 figures exceeded the target by more than 90 points. USC’s 2013 national ranking per FTE is 38 for total publications, while USC’s 2013 Regional University Network (RUN) ranking per FTE is 6 for total publications.

Research publications (weighted) by category, by year

Publications (weighted) 2011 2012 2013 2014 20153
Books 10.83 10.00 13.21 13.33 19.17
Chapters 8.51 6.94 10.23 21.40 21.29
Journal Articles 120.39 159.13 188.30 256.21 270.67
Conference Publications 25.02 23.19 38.36 32.95 37.93
Total 164.75 199.26 250.10 323.89 349.06
TARGET 190.00 200.00 210.00 230.00 250.00

3. Data is unaudited and subject to change. 2015 data will be audited in June 2016.

KPI 3.3 Higher degree by research

Measure Target Performance
Part A: HDR student enrolments by EFTSL 155 EFTSL by 2015 (Based on 2015 data) 213.9
Part B: HDR students aligned with existing and emerging areas of research strength 60% of HDR student load in selected areas of research strength by 2015 (Based on 2015 data) 40.7%

Comment (Part A)

The estimated total 2015 load at 213.9 indicates that target load has been exceeded (+38%). An ongoing focus on Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students, in particular in relation to targeted recruitment of HDR supervisors, USC Fellows and other funded grants is anticipated to see continued increases in enrolments in the future. USC’s 2013 National and Regional University Network Ranking of HDR weighted load per FTE is 26 and 3 respectively.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) enrolments by EFTSL

2011 2012 2013 2014 20154
Arts and Business n/a 62.0 77.3 88.8 93.6
USC Law School n/a n/a n/a 0.5 1.0
Science, Health, Education and Engineering n/a 77.5 92.5 112.5 119.3
Arts and Social Sciences 32.8 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Business 16.3 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Science, Health and Education 66.8 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Total 115.8 139.5 169.8 201.8 213.9
TARGET 120.0 130.0 140.0 150.0 155.0

Comment (Part B)

Load in strength areas at 40.7% in 2015 is 19% below the target of 60%. Enrolment within the scholarships process is now better aligned to research concentrations, however enrolment outside of this process has been opportunistic. The enrolment process is being reviewed to improve alignment.

Proportion of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) EFTSL in selected areas of research strength

Areas of Research Strength 2012 2013 2014 20154
Genecology 31.0 23.3 29.3 25.5
Sustainability Research Centre 16.5 21.3 21.0 16.5
Health Science 20.8 40.8 49.8 45.0
Non-aligned 71.3 84.5 101.8 126.9
Total EFTSL 139.5 169.8 201.8 213.9
% of total in research areas of strength 48.9% 50.2% 49.6% 40.7%

4. Figures based on forecast data. Full year data available in April 2016.



Develop USC for a sustainable future

Key strategies: 

  • Develop and enable staff to manage change and contribute to the achievement of the strategic plan.
  • Invest in and continuously improve information management systems, business processes and workforce planning.
  • Advance the University through key strategic partnerships.
  • Maximise opportunities to develop well designed, technology rich, sustainable University sites.


USC has undertaken bold initiatives this year towards a long-term sustainable future. The most prominent of these was securing the role of Anchor Education Partner for the Moreton Bay Region University Precinct, to open in 2020 and grow to over 10,000 students in the first ten years. USC has this year also commenced acquiring the current USQ Fraser Coast campus, and has expanded its presence in Brisbane, South Bank. As a result, USC has reviewed and restructured many of its administrative functions over the course of 2015. Adopting a centre-led approach as the USC model of administration, new structures for Financial Services, Asset Management Services and Capital and Commercial are now in place. An external review of Information Technology Services has led to a new structure and reconsideration of planning and governance approaches. USC has had a focus on reducing the ratio of administrative-to-academic staff in the institution and has moved away from having one of the highest ratios in the sector. As USC expands its footprint in SE Queensland, and takes on greater responsibility for regional capacity building, emphasis on financial planning and deeper local partnerships has strengthened in 2015 and will continue to develop in 2016.

Senior staff appointments

  • Professor Shelley Dole, Head, School of Education
  • Professor David Young, Head, School of Science and Engineering
  • Lucas Litewka, Director, USC Clinical Trials Centre
  • Iona Beauly, Director, Asset Management Services 
  • Graham Young, Director, USC Northern Campuses.

Achievement highlights 

Achievement highlights for 2015 in relation to the key strategies of this strategic priority include the following: 

A partnership initiative of USC and the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund culminated in the opening of USC’s $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub (ELH). The complex combines visualisation and virtual reality technologies and includes a 3-D visual immersion environment called CAVE2TM. USC is the first university to use a CAVE2TM facility primarily for learning and teaching – just three other systems exist globally and all are used exclusively for research. With the addition of the ELH, USC has the most advanced learning and teaching facilities for visualisation in Australia.
USC is working in partnership with Moreton Bay Regional Council to establish a new university campus at Petrie, north of Brisbane. The 200-hectare site will feature a full-service campus that is expected to receive the first cohort of students in 2020. The Moreton Bay Campus student population is forecast to reach 10,000 by 2030. The transfer of the University of Southern Queensland’s campus at Hervey Bay to USC progressed with USC to move into this campus in time for the first semester of 2016. Eight study programs will be delivered at USC Fraser Coast from 2016. The final
form of the Asset Sale Agreement is pending Treasurer approval.

Completion of USC’s first multi-level carpark, which was funded by a $5 million gift from Roy and Nola Thompson in 2014, a donation that was matched dollar-for-dollar by USC.

USC expertise in sustainable tourism contributed to a new set of community-based tourism standards that have been endorsed by member organisations of the ASEAN Tourism Association to be adopted by countries across Southeast Asia. The standards will ensure quality tourism experiences and support sustainable flow-on benefits to surrounding communities.

Seventy-seven budding scientists from 14 schools across the Sunshine Coast region presented their research at USC’s Science Research Awards. USC academics from scientific fields judged the entries
and presented Junior Scientist and Senior Scientist awards at the event designed to nurture the minds of our next generation of students.

The Sippy Downs campus transitioned to a Total Water Refill Campus in a sustainability initiative that is expected to reduce the number of plastic water bottles going to landfill by 40,000 each year.

With a generous donation from philanthropists Roy and Nola Thompson, USC purchased a property on the Sunshine Coast and will set up a world-class facility that will focus on addressing mental health issues in the community, particularly depression and dementia. The Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute will become a hub for mental health research, teaching and clinical services.

USC will host an important national research network that will help Australians prepare for and adapt to climate change. USC’s Sustainability Research Centre will host one of four National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) networks that will specifically focus on the social, economic and institutional dimensions of climate change adaptation. USC will partner with the University of Adelaide, University of Canberra, Murdoch University, Swinburne University of Technology and Girringun Aboriginal Corporation to maintain research in adaptation and strengthen the capacity of communities to use this research.

USC’s Work Integrated Learning staff have been recognised by industry partners for the effort made to share their knowledge of work placement system software with other educational institutions. USC was an early adopter of the placement software which has grown from being used mainly in Health and Education to managing thousands of students’ work placements with industry partners such as science labs, law firms, hospitals and schools.


Develop USC for a sustainable future 


KPI 4.1: Employment costs as a percentage of total revenue (adjusted)

Employee benefits costs as a percentage of total revenue Less than 60% 61.1% (adjusted)


The YTD 31 December 2015 employment costs as a percentage of total revenue (adjusted) result is 61.1%.

Employment costs includes associated fringe benefits tax and provisions for leave entitlements (long services leave and recreation

leave) relevant to the general operations of the University (excludes employment costs associated with grants & agreements).

Total revenue (adjusted) reflects operating revenue relevant to the general operations of the University. It excludes revenue received in relation to capital grant funding, donations and research agreements.

It is noted that the 2015 August Forecast for employee benefits costs as a percentage of total revenue (adjusted) is 61.7%.

Employment costs as a percentage of revenue (adjusted) for USC

2011 2012 2013 2014 YTD 20152 2015 Target
USC 61.2% 60.6% 60.0% 61.2% 61.1% 61.7% < 60%

1. Forecast values as per 2015–2017 August Reforecast.

2. Actual values YTD 31 December 2015.


KPI 4.2: Operating Margin (adjusted)

Operating profit as a proportion of total revenue (adjusted) 4% annually 4%


The Operating Margin (Operating Profit as a proportion of total revenue (adjusted)) of 4.43% as at 31 December 2015 is below the August Reforecast of 5.39%. The variance primarily reflects the reclassification of sustainable growth initiatives to the income statement, whereas the August Reforecast accounted for these initiatives on the balance sheet.

Total revenue (adjusted) reflects operating revenue relevant to the general operations of the University. It excludes revenue received in relation to capital grant funding, donations and research agreements.

Operating margin (adjusted) for USC

  2011 2012 2013 2014 YTD 20152 2015 TARGET
USC 7% 7% 9%  6% 4% 5% 4% annually

1. Forecast values as per 2015–2017 August Reforecast.

2. Actual values YTD 31 December 2015.


KPI 4.3: Capital Improvements

Proportion of operating funds invested in capital related projects 8.5% annually 22.8%


As part of the planning framework the University identifies the strategic asset requirements of the University, details of which are published in the Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP). Each year a portion of the University’s operating funds are allocated to the SAMP along with any external funding and available cash reserves to complete the SAMP project listing.

University operating funds largely consist of revenues generated by student load, commercial activities and investment income.

It is noted that not all projects are completed within the year of allocation therefore the key performance indicator for the current and future years is based on the latest budget forecast (2015 August).

The above target KPIs over the 2015-2017 period is reflective of the University’s commitment to investing in Information Technology resources for learning, teaching and research. In addition, the commitments to continual building and infrastructure construction as a result of growth in student load and research capacity.

Capital projects expenditure as a portion of total operating funds

2011 2012 2013 2014 YTD 20152 2015 Target
USC total operating funds ($’000) 109,595  122,239  139,789 156,310 171,884 167,966 8.5% annually
Capital projects expenditure ($’000) 14,937 25,130 20,871 29,767   39,168 52,407  
Proportion (%) 13.6% 20.6% 14.9% 19.0% 22.8% 31.2  

1. Forecast values as per 2015–2017 August Reforecast.

2. Actual values YTD 31 December 2015.

University Council (governing body)

Under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998, the University is governed by an 18-member Council representing University and community interests.

Council has the power to manage and control University affairs, property and finances, and appoint University staff. Where allowed under the Act, Council may delegate its powers to an appropriately qualified member of Council or member of the University’s staff; or to an appropriately qualified committee that includes one or more members of Council.

The Council met six times in 2015. Additionally, an overnight Council Retreat was held in April and councillors participated in a number of other special activities throughout the year.

Council leadership 


Leads Council and presides at Council meetings.

John M Dobson OAM

Elected Chancellor in 2007 for an inaugural term from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2012. Re-elected in 2011 for a term from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2017. Member of the University Council since 1997. Parish Priest of Caloundra Parish between 1982 and 2012, Dean of the North Coast Deanery within the Catholic Church between 1992 and 2012. Contributions to the community include founding privately-funded residential care facilities for the aged and for people with intellectual disabilities, co-founding a retirement village and a comprehensive college (in partnership with the United Church) and developing support groups for prisoners and their families.

Deputy Chancellor

Acts as Chancellor in the absence of the Chancellor or when the office of Chancellor is vacant.

Bruce Cowley (from 27 April 2015)
BCom, LLB(Hons) Qld. FAICD

Elected Deputy Chancellor for a two year term, commencing on 27 April 2015 and Chair of the Planning and Resources Committee. Chairman of Minter Ellison, one of Australia’s largest law firms, he has practiced as a corporate lawyer for more than 30 years, specialising in directors’ duties and corporate governance. He has authored the Protecting Your Position series of publications on director liabilities. Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD), and a recent past member of the Queensland State Council of the AICD (continues to sit on the AICD’s Law Committee). Chair of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute and the Cerebral Palsy League, and President of the Queensland Private
Enterprise Centre.

David Jeffries (until 27 April 2015)
BCom Qld, FCA, FAICD, FFin

Re-elected as Deputy Chancellor in March 2014 for a two year term commencing 5 March 2014 (Resigned on 27 April 2015). Member of University Council since August 2006. Member of Foundation Board in 2008 and 2009. Member of Planning and Resources Committee (PRC) from August 2006 until December 2014 (Chair January 2010 until December 2014). Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Australian Institute of Company Directors and Financial Services Institute of Australasia. Business contributions include numerous positions as company director/adviser, and as senior executive in the financial services sector: Deputy Chief Executive of Bank of Queensland Limited, Chief Executive Officer of First Australian Building Society, State Chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Australian representative on the Financial and Management Accounting Committee of the International Federation of Accountants.

Council decisions in 2015

In 2015, Council:

  • Approved the new USC 2016-2020 Strategic Plan
  • Noted 2015 Corporate Performance Reports against the Key Performance Indicators in the University’s Strategic Plan (2011­2015)
  • Noted reports on 2015 performance against the University’s top level plans (2011-2015)
  • Appointed the new Deputy-Chancellor for a two-year term
  • Approved appointments to Council and its committees
  • Approved changes to the composition of PRC and ARMC
  • Approved changes to the Terms of Reference of the Academic Board
  • Noted that the Audit and Risk Management Committee was of the view that the University’s 2014 Annual Financial Statements were compliant with the Australian Accounting Standards and appropriate for sign-off 
  • Approved that the membership fee for the Student Guild be the sum of $10 for the calendar year 2016, for Ordinary Members
  • Noted the 2014 Student Guild and 2014 ICSC Audited Annual Financial Statements
  • Noted changes to the Executive structure
  • Received updates on the Administration Review
  • Received updates and endorsed/approved new campus ventures –

Moreton Bay and Fraser Coast

  • Endorsed USC forming a partnership with ATMC
  • Noted a report on USC’s economic impact on the region
  • Noted Section 6 of the new Higher Education Standards, which pertained to University Governance
  • Noted the Annual Reports on:

– Activities of the Foundation Board

– Programs accredited, reaccredited or discontinued

– Awards conferred

– Sustainability management

  • Received annual reports from the Faculty Executive Deans
  • Approved amendments to the Schedule of Delegations and Preamble
  • Noted quarterly reports on Capital, Commercial and Asset Management 
  • Noted the 2014 Institutional Performance Portfolio Report
  • Noted the 2014 Policy Review Schedule
  • Noted the Vice-Chancellor and President’s (VCP’s) 2015 Key Performance Indicators
  • Noted the 2015 TEQSA USC Risk Assessment
  • Received presentations on:
    • The public university system in California
    • USC’s student engagement strategy
  • Approved recommendations for Honorary Awards
  • Approved the December 2014 Financial Outcomes Report
  • Approved the April 2015–2017 Reforecast University

Triennial Budget

  • Approved the 2015 June Budget Outcomes Report
  • Approved the 2015 August Reforecast of the University’s Consolidated Budget
  • Adopted the 2016–2018 University Triennial Budget
  • Approved the selection of a co-sourced internal audit partner
  • Approved the establishment of a new Controlled Entity— USC Trust.

New policies

In 2015, Council approved the following new policy: 

  • Third Party Provider Program Arrangements – Governing Policy.

Amended policies

In 2015, Council approved changes to the following policies:

  • Program Accreditation and Course Approval – Governing Policy
  • Audit and Assurance Governing Policy and Audit Charter
  • Information Management Framework – Governing Policy
  • Delegations Framework – Governing Policy and associated Schedule of Delegations
  • Management of Contracts and Memorandums of Understanding – Governing Policy 
  • Honorary Awards – Governing Policy.

Rescinded policies

In 2015, Council resolved to rescind the following policies:

  • Records Management – Governing Policy
  • Information Privacy – Governing Policy
  • Right to Information – Governing Policy.

University leadership (principal officers)

Vice-Chancellor and President

University CEO, responsible to University Council for strategic development, organisational leadership and day-to-day operations of the University.

Professor Greg Hill
CertTeach Qld, BA(Hons) Qld, PhD Qld

Commenced as Vice-Chancellor and President, University of the Sunshine Coast in 2011 following a term of office as Vice-Chancellor and President Designate from June 2010 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor from 2005–2010. Lead Vice-Chancellor, Universities Australia Indigenous Higher Education; Member, Australian Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Higher Education Advisory Council; Member, Universities Australia; Foundation Member, Regional Universities Network; Board Member, Education Australia Limited; Board Member, IDP Education Pty Limited; Member, Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre Ltd; and Fellow, Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences. Charles Darwin University—Foundation Professor of Tropical Environmental Science 1995–2004; Dean 1997–2004. Program Leader, Tropical Savannas CRC; Director, Centre for Tropical Wetlands Management; Chair, Northern Territory Board of Studies; Member, Kakadu National Park Research Advisory Committee; Member, AVCC Indigenous Advisory Committee. University of Queensland 1979–1994 — Reader in Geographical Sciences; Director, ARC Key Centre in Land Information Studies. Research interests in remote sensing, wildlife ecology, resource management, environmental planning and education. National recognition for research, teaching innovation and technology transfer to developing countries.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Chair of Academic Board, overseeing the academic functions (learning and teaching) of the University, with responsibility for related support areas such as the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching, Information Services, Strategic Information and Analysis Unit, USC Gympie and USC Law.

Professor Birgit Lohmann
BSc (Hons) Adel., PhD Flin.
Appointed to the University in 2010, taking up the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor from February 2011. Chair of Academic Board and Promotions Committee, member of University Council, Executive, Honorary Awards Committee and Senior Staff Forum. Previously Head of the School of Science and Director of the Centre for
Quantum Dynamics at Griffith University and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Quality) at the University of Adelaide. Member of the Regional Universities Network Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Group, member of the Universities Australia Deputy Vice-Chancellor/Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Group, Deputy Chair, QTAC Board and Chair, QTAC Audit and Risk Committee; member, Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast committee. Research interests in atomic and molecular physics.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality)

Oversees, manages and provides advice on internationalisation, quality assurance and improvement, organisational and program reviews, and marketing and communications.

Professor Robert Elliot
BA(Hons) NSW, MA La Trobe, DipEd Melb., PhD Qld

Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) and Professor of Philosophy. A founding staff member of the University. Member of University Council, University Executive, and Learning and Teaching Committee, Deputy Chairperson of Academic Board and Chairperson of the Internationalisation Advisory Committee. Former foundation Dean of Arts and subsequently Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, from 1995–2005.

Chief Operating Officer
Responsible for overseeing a range of business functions to facilitate the ongoing financial and planning viability of the University. Secretary to the University Council and oversees the University’s planning, budgeting, infrastructure, human resources, marketing and communications, financial and information technology services and implements internal controls and risk management systems. The Chief Operating Officer provides advice to the Vice-Chancellor and President and the University Council on budget and financial risk management.

Dr Scott Snyder
PhD Adel

Appointed to the University in June 2014 as the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Corporate Services. In October 2015 the position was renamed Chief Operating Officer along with an adjustment to include Marketing and Communications in to the corporate portfolio. Attends meetings of University Council, Planning and Resources Committee and Audit and Risk Management Committee. Previously, from Charles Darwin University where he held the role of Chief Operating Officer, and has also held roles as Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Oversees, manages and advises on University research activity, aligning research effort with the University’s goals and advancing the research profile of the University.

Professor Roland De Marco
BSc, MSc RMIT, PhD La Trobe, MRACI

Appointed to the University in 2010, taking up the newly-created Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) role from January 2011. Member of Academic Board and Chairperson of the Research Committee. He is Member of the Board of the SmartWater Centre headquartered at Griffith University, and previously served as Chair (2011–2012) of the Queensland Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Network headquartered at The University of Queensland. He presently serves on the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) Materials, Structures and Dynamics Specialist Committee. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Elsevier journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, and is Handling Editor of the Elsevier journal Sensing and Biosensing Research. Previously
Professor of Chemistry, along with Chemistry Department Head 2001–2007, Dean of Research in Science and Engineering 2007–2009 and Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) 2010 at Curtin University. Recipient of the 2008 RACI Lloyd Smythe Medal for excellence in research in Analytical Chemistry.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement)
Oversees the University’s links with its primary stakeholders and its regional community in achieving the teaching and learning, and research priorities of the University.

Professor Mike Hefferan
BA Qld, GradDipMgmt C.Qld, MAppSci, PhD QldUT
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) and Professor of Property and Development. Appointed to the University in 2008. Member of Academic Board, Executive and Foundation Board, and Chair of Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast Pty Ltd. Past President of the Australian Property Institute (Queensland Division), immediate past Chair of the API’s National Education Board and immediate past board member of Regional Development Australia (Sunshine Coast) and the Sunshine Coast Business Council. Registered Urban and Rural Valuer, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Australian Property Institute and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)
Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee, with responsibility for USC’s strategies for student engagement and success and oversight of Services and Engagement, Student Wellbeing, Indigenous Services and the Academic Secretariat.

Professor Karen Nelson

Appointed to the University in 2014 as the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students). Member of the Academic Board, and Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee. Active researcher in the areas of student engagement, students experiences of higher education, student success and retention, and the first year in higher education. Adjunct Professor in the Information Systems School, Science and Engineering Faculty at Queensland University of Technology.

Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Business
Oversees the Faculty of Arts and Business, comprising the School of Business, School of Communication, School of Social Sciences, the Sustainability Research Centre, the Forest Industries Research Centre, the Tropical Forests and People Centre.

Professor Joanne Scott
BA(Hons) Qld, GradCertEd QldUT, GradCertCulturalHtge Deakin, PhD Qld

One of the longest-serving members of the University. Became the inaugural Head of the School of Social Sciences (2006-2010), and chaired USC’s Learning and Teaching Committee (2007–2010). She commenced her current role as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Business in January 2012. Member of Academic Board, Executive, Planning and Resources Committee, Senior Staff Forum, and Equity Advisory Committee. Research interests include Australian and oral history.

Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering
Oversees the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, comprising the School of Science and Engineering, School of Education, School of Health and Sport Sciences, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, GeneCology Research Centre, Centre for Animal Health Innovation and several research clusters.

Professor John Bartlett
BSc (Hons) Newcastle, PhD Newcastle

Appointed to the University in 2011, taking up the position of Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering in February 2012. Member of Academic Board, Executive, Senior Staff Forum and Equity Advisory Committee. Previously Head of the School of Natural Sciences and Dean-Elect of the School of Science at the University of Western Sydney and Acting Head, Institute of Materials Engineering and Science at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. Research interests include materials chemistry and nanotechnology.

University committees

Academic Board

The University’s Academic Board was established under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 as the University’s senior academic body.

In 2015 its members included:

  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor [Chairperson]
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality)
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement)
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)
  • Faculty Executive Deans
  • Faculty Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching)
  • Faculty Associate Deans (Research)
  • Chairpersons of Academic Board standing committees
  • Heads of Schools
  • Three elected academic staff members from each faculty
  • One undergraduate and one postgraduate student
  • External representative of TAFE
  • Director, Student Services and Engagement
  • Director, Student Wellbeing
  • Director, Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching
  • Director, Information Services.

The role of the Academic Board is to:

  • advise Council on teaching, scholarship and research matters concerning the University
  • formulate proposals for academic policies of the University
  • monitor the academic activities of the University’s faculties
  • promote and encourage scholarship and research at the University.

In 2015 the Academic Board met six times. The Board did not receive any remuneration in 2015.

The terms of reference of Academic Board in 2015 were as follows:

  1. To monitor academic integrity and academic standards, and assure the quality of teaching, research and research training
  2. To foster discourse and deliberation on issues related to higher education through informed and open discussion
  3. To approve and amend academic policy
  4. To foster excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, scholarship and research
  5. To advise Council and make recommendations where appropriate on the academic strategic directions and practices of the University
  6. To accredit the introduction of new programs and approve significant program amendments 
  7. To confer academic awards of the University, other than Honorary awards.

Academic Board decisions in 2015

Strategic and academic quality assurance developments in 2015 included:

  • Academic Board monitored programs to ensure compliance with the Australian Qualifications Framework.
  • Academic Board approved the report of the Inherent Academic Requirements Working Party and associated template for the development of inherent academic requirements and introduction
    into programs from 2016.
  • Academic Board received regular reports from the Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and Perspectives in Curriculum Working Party.
  • Academic Board recommended the Student Charter for the Vice-Chancellor and President’s approval.
  • Academic Board approved initial faculty responses to reviews of the following programs:
    • Nutrition and Dietetics Programs
    • Nursing and Midwifery Programs
    • Regional and Urban Planning Programs
    • Occupational Therapy Program
    • Psychology Programs
    • Science and Environmental Science Programs
  • Academic Board approved the initial faculty response to the 2014 Review of the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering.

Policy developments in 2015 included:

  • Approved the revision of the Monitoring Academic Progress and Exclusion - Academic Policy and endorsed the Procedures
  • Approved the revision of the Work Integrated Learning – Academic Policy and endorsed the new Workplace and Industry Placement – Procedures
  • Endorsed the Program Accreditation and Course Approval – Governing Policy for recommendation for approval by Council in March 2015 
  • Endorsed the following new procedures relating to the revised Program Accreditation and Course Approval – Governing Policy:

– Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation – Procedures

– Program Accreditation – Procedures

– Program Changes – Procedures

  • Subsequently Council approved the changes to procedures effective

1 May 2015 which:
– Transferred authority to approve the discontinuation of programs from the Academic Board to the Vice-Chancellor and President

– Transferred authority to approve new courses and study components from the Academic Board, under delegation of authority, to the Learning and Teaching Committee

– Transferred authority to approve the discontinuation of courses to the relevant Executive Dean or the Head of the USC Law School

  • Approved the revision of the Learning and Teaching Grants, Awards and Fellowships – Academic Policy and endorsed the new Learning and Teaching Awards and Fellowships – Procedures and Learning and Teaching Grants – Procedures
  • Approved the revision of the Internal Research Grant Schemes - Academic Policy and endorsed the Procedures
  • Endorsed amendments to the Administration of Central Examinations – Procedures
  • Endorsed amendments to the Program Review – Procedures
  • Consulted on the Copyright — Managerial Policy and new Copyright

– Procedures and Copyright Infringement / Takedown Notice – Procedures

  • Endorsed amendments to the Animal Ethics – Procedures. Academic Board accredited the following programs in 2015:
  • AR710 Master of Professional Practice (Creative Writing)
  • AR354 Bachelor of Serious Games
  • AR396 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Criminology and Justice
  • AR363 Bachelor of Social Work/Bachelor of Criminology and Justice
  • AR364 Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) / Bachelor of Criminology and Justice
  • ED312 Bachelor of Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Studies
  • ED315 Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Studies
  • SC367 Bachelor of Health Science
  • SC347 Bachelor of Sports Studies
  • SC110 Diploma in Sport and Fitness
  • SC423 Bachelor of Midwifery (Honours)
  • SC319 Bachelor of Environmental Management
  • BU740 Master of Business Administration (Extended)
  • BU745 Master of Business Administration/Master of

International Business.

In 2015, the Academic Board also approved the following:

  • Minor amendments to the Standing Orders for Academic Board and its Standing Committees
  • Minor changes to the composition and terms of reference of its standing committees
  • Amendments to the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee Core Composition and Terms of Reference
  • Revisions to the Animal Ethics Committee Terms of Reference
  • Changes to programs where the Academic Board was the approval authority
  • Conferral of individual student academic awards.

In 2015, the Academic Board received the following:

  • Annual Summary Report on Student Academic Misconduct for 2014
  • Annual Reports from Executive Deans and the Head of the USC Law School
  • Faculty Annual Reports of the External Academic Advisory Committees
  • 2014 Sustainability Research Centre Annual Report
  • 2013 and 2014 GeneCology Research Centre Annual Reports
  • May 2015 Corporate Performance Report of the 2011–2015

Strategic Plan

  • May 2015 Top Level Plan Performance Report of the 2011–2015
  • Top Level Plans
  • Higher Degrees by Research Performance Data End of Year Report 2014
  • Higher Degree by Research Candidate Survey Report 2014
  • Research Training Performance Data mid-year Report 2015
  • Report from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor on the transition of University of Southern Queensland Fraser Coast campus to the University of the Sunshine Coast.

In 2015 the Academic Board received information on sector-wide strategic matters:

  • Peer Review of Assessment networks in Australia
  • Queensland Review of Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance Processes
  • Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers report from the Teacher
  • Education Ministerial Advisory Group National Strategy on Work Integrated Learning in University Education
  • Draft National Strategy for International Education
  • Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) – Research Engagement for Australia: Measuring Research Engagement between Universities and end users 
  • Australian Government Draft National Strategy for International Education
  • Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Report titled “Research Engagement for Australia: Measuring Research Engagement between Universities and end users” 
  • Discipline Threshold Learning Outcomes for programs
  • Australian Government’s Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements for Higher Education issues paper
  • The new Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 which revokes and replaces the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2011 from 1 January 2017.
Ethics Committee

Audit and Risk Management Committee

The Audit and Risk Management Committee (ARMC) has five major areas of responsibility:

  1. Monitoring internal control and risk management
  2. Monitoring of internal audit activities
  3. Monitoring of external audit activities
  4. Oversight and appraisal of financial reporting
  5. Oversight of any fraud or ethics issues.

Membership of ARMC is approved by Council and consists of a minimum of four and a maximum of six persons, and includes, up to two members co-opted by the Chancellor and at least one other member of Council. At least one ARMC member must be a member of the professional accounting or audit bodies in Australia and have a professional accounting, management consultancy or audit background. Additionally, at least one member should possess expertise within the education sector. The initial term of office of members is a period not exceeding three years, and may be extended for further terms subject to the composition and skill requirements of the Committee.

The ARMC’s activities in 2015 were in accordance with its Terms of Reference and had due regard to Queensland Treasury’s Audit Committee Guidelines. Four regular meetings and one informal meeting of the ARMC were held in 2015. Additionally, a Planning Day was held in August. The Committee assessed reports or developed recommendations on Risk Management, the Delegations review, Procurement Analysis, Fraud Control, Work Health and Safety, Workforce Planning (Safety Officers), Internal and External Audit Matters, Insurance, Legislative Compliance, the University’s 2014 Annual Financial Statements and the composition/membership of ARMC. A key focus of the work of this Committee in 2015 has been contributing to the development of a Risk Appetite Statement for USC. ARMC also provided input to Management on the selection of a technology-based audit system and developed a recommendation to Council regarding the selection of a co-sourced internal audit partner.

Members also received a presentation on risks associated with the use of international student recruitment agencies and participated in the annual self-review of the ARMC’s performance.

The outcomes of the Committee’s discussions and advice to Council were provided to Council via the minutes of its meetings.

The Audit and Risk Management Committee did not receive any remuneration in 2015.

Planning and Resources Committee

The role of the Planning and Resources Committee (PRC) is to recommend the strategic directions of the University to Council, in the context of development of the University’s plans and their resourcing strategies. The Committee also provides advice to Council on issues arising from these plans. The key areas of concern to the Committee are planning and strategy, financial resources, asset management
(including information technology) and human resources.

Members of the PRC include the Deputy Chancellor (who currently chairs the Committee), the Vice-Chancellor and President, one Executive Dean, four external members with specific expertise in strategic financial management and planning and up to two members co-opted by the Chancellor.

The Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer attend meetings of the Committee and have participating, but not voting, rights. In 2015, members participated in a self-review of the Committee’s performance.

Five meetings of PRC were held in 2015 and discussion focused on:

  • Financial matters, including budget reports and funding
  • Membership of PRC
  • Planning matters, including development of the next Strategic Plan (and associated KPIs, Measures and Targets) and reports on outcomes for the key performance indicators in the University’s previous and current strategic and top level plans
  • Capital, Commercial and Asset Management
  • Information Technology Services
  • The University’s economic impact on the region
  • New campus ventures – Moreton Bay and Fraser Coast
  • USC Gympie and USC SouthBank
  • Possible governance models to support expansion of USC
  • The University’s controlled entities (Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast and USC Retail)
  • Membership of the ICSC Board
  • Queensland Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute
  • Skills Academic and Research Centre
  • ATMC Partnership
  • PRC’s role in managing Business Risks
  • Procurement
  • Project Management Framework
  • Sustainability Management
  • Progress of the Administration Review.

The Planning and Resources Committee did not receive any remuneration in 2015.

Honorary Awards Committee

The Chancellor chairs the five-member Honorary Awards Committee, which seeks, considers and recommends to Council nominations for honorary awards, in accordance with the University’s Honorary Awards—Governing Policy. In addition to the Chancellor, the Committee’s composition includes the Vice-Chancellor and President, the Deputy Vice- Chancellor and up to three University Council members. The Honorary Awards Committee met twice in 2015 to consider nominations for honorary awards.

The following honorary awards were presented in 2015:

Doctor of the University

  • Emeritus Professor Peter Andrews AO Senior Fellow of the University
  • David Kirk
  • William (Bill) Hauritz AM
  • Philip Procopis
  • Anthony Vincent
  • Dr Peter Welsh.

The Honorary Awards Committee did not receive any remuneration in 2015.

Monitoring quality

The University conducts internal audits within the relevant terms of reference and has due regard to Queensland Treasury’s Audit Committee Guidelines. The University monitors overall quality through a system of reports against performance indicators and planned targets, and scheduled regular reviews and internal audits of performance. The latter often include input from external sources.

The Council, committees and senior managers monitor quality, performance, standards and outcomes via performance reports and data, particularly in relation to the University’s finances, Strategic
Plan and thematic top-level plans such as those supporting access to the USC experience; delivery of high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes; building research productivity and output; and preparing USC for a sustainable future.

Improvement plans are developed in response to review and audit findings and regular reports on progress in achieving those plans are provided to senior University staff and such bodies as the University Executive, Academic Board, Council committees and the Quality and Standards Committee.

The University has not been subject to external review over the course of this reporting period.

During 2015, scheduled major internal organisational reviews of USC International, Marketing and Communications, and the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit were undertaken.

Formal reviews of the following programs were also undertaken in 2015:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Graduate Certificate in Business Administration
  • Graduate Diploma in Business Administration
  • Executive Master of Business Administration
  • Master of International Business
  • Associate Degree in Science
  • Bachelor of Environmental Science
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Computer-Based Design
  • Bachelor of Design and Communication
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Primary Education
  • Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Science
  • Master of Education.

There continued to be ongoing reporting and monitoring of progress in implementation of, and outcomes from, action plans arising from formal reviews held since 2013.

The quality and standards framework is published online at


During 2015 the University participated in a range of academic, industry and professional benchmarking activities as part of its quality assurance and continuous quality improvement processes. Cumulative inventories of benchmarking activities are maintained and updated annually. Benchmarking activities and findings are used for identifying and planning improvement actions and setting or adjusting
performance or improvement targets.

Controlled entities

Council approved a Policy for the Establishment and Operation of Controlled Entities in December 2006.

Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast

The University established the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast Pty Ltd (ICSC) on 26 October 2000, under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 Part 2(6) with a free standing Board. The company’s mission is to support the start-up and growth of knowledge-based businesses and to promote beneficial interaction between these businesses and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). The ICSC operates a 1500-square metre, purpose-built business incubator facility on the USC campus. The ICSC provides a successful business development programs, high-speed fibre/wireless connections, flexible office space, video studio, business mentoring, investment readiness, extensive networking and event opportunities and collaborative links to USC research and talent. The ICSC mission, members and general activities are fully detailed at


No dividends have been paid or declared during or since the 2015 financial year (2014: nil).

Review and results of operations:

The ICSC remains uniquely positioned to respond and cater to the demands of local entrepreneurs and enterprising students. With an improving economic climate, the ICSC had a relatively strong year attracting 18 new member companies. ICSC occupancy has averaged 98% in 2015 and the quality of member applications has been strong. In 2015, the ICSC was home to 38 resident companies and more than 170 entrepreneurs. Many of these companies excelled in their respective fields, winning a total of four industry awards throughout 2015.

The ICSC financial year saw a net loss of $21,496 (profit $44,485 in 2014) based on total revenue of $1,019,867 ($982,090 in 2014). In addition, the ICSC received strong in-kind support during the year from the following contributors:

  • ICSC Mentor Panel — providing approximately $74,000 of volunteered mentoring and advice;
  • Big Air Sponsorship — providing $26,000 in ICT technical services;
  • Poole Group — providing $6,300 of accounting and related services;
  • ICSC Professional Partners — prizes valued at $9,000 by Redchip Lawyers, RADBE, Poole Group; and
  • ICSC Board of Directors — approximately $8,850 of volunteered time (excluding USC staff members).

Since 2002, the ICSC has supported the start-up and growth of more than 140 businesses (principally in the digital, clean-tech, health and creative industry sectors) and has assisted clients in raising more than $32 million in early-stage capital. In turn, the ICSC’s clients have employed more than 580 new staff. A report commissioned by The AEC Group Pty Ltd in October 2015 analysed the economic impacts of the ICSC activities on the Sunshine Coast community.

AEC key findings indicate that the ICSC has contributed and estimated:

  • $103 million in output by the more than 140 businesses that are either past or current clients of the IC and operating within the Sunshine Coast economy in 2014–15.
  • a total of 720 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the Sunshine Coast economy (including direct and flow-on activity).
  • More than $60 million in wages and salaries for employees (direct and indirect) in the Sunshine Coast.

In November 2015 the ICSC was featured as a case study in the 2015 Australian Innovation System Report. The annual report looks at innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia.
The full financial transactions of the ICSC can be located in this report on pages 87–106.

ICSC Board Members (Directors):

  • Professor Mike Hefferan (Chairperson)
  • Mr Andrew Fern
  • Ms Julie-Anne Mee (Company Secretary)
  • Professor John Bartlett
  • Mr Tim Eldridge
  • Dr Kirsten Baulch.

The Board met six times in 2015. The ICSC Board did not receive any remuneration in 2014.


No director of the ICSC has received or become entitled to receive a benefit by reason of a contract made by the ICSC or a related corporation with a director or firm of which a director is associated.

Company Members:

  • Mr Mark Paddenburg (ICSC CEO)
  • Ms Janet O’Hara (ICSC Board Minute Secretary).

Statutory obligations and compliance

Information privacy

The University has policies and procedures in place to ensure the appropriate management of personal information, in compliance with the requirements of the Information Privacy Act 2009. A privacy statement is available on the University’s website and appropriate privacy statements are included on University forms. The University’s policy approach to information privacy is included in its Information
Management Framework Governing Policy. Procedures for information privacy are outlined in its Information and Records Management Procedures and a Guideline on Personal Information outlines the
processes for the collection, use and storage of personal information. One formal request under the Information Privacy Act was processed in 2015.

Right to Information

The University has policies and procedures in place to provide information proactively and to respond quickly to requests for information, in compliance with the Right to Information Act 2009.
The University’s policy approach to right to information is included in its Information Management Framework Governing Policy. Procedures for the management of right to information requests are included in the
Information and Records Management Procedures.

The Publication Scheme on the University’s website, outlining the classes of information available publicly, is updated regularly. The University’s Disclosure Log provides details of information released in response to formal RTI applications. Requests for information are managed through administrative release processes wherever possible.

Two formal requests under the Right to Information Act were processed in 2015.

Equity and work-life balance initiatives

Education and awareness of equal opportunity in the workplace continued throughout 2015 with training sessions conducted on ‘Preventing discrimination, harassment and bullying’, ‘Working with individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds’ and staff access to an online equal opportunity training package. Workshops, including ‘Building Resilience’, ‘Introduction to Mindfulness’, ‘Mental health and wellbeing awareness’ and ‘Emotional Intelligence’, were conducted to support staff in the development of skills that will create healthy work-life balance. The University allows for 26 weeks paid maternity leave to be paid on a 50 percent basis over the 52 week parental leave period. The University also provides flexible work arrangements and job sharing options for staff returning from parental leave. A privately owned and operated childcare facility is available on campus for staff and students.

The University of the Sunshine Coast supports the Queensland Carers Charter as detailed in the Carers (Recognition) Act 2008, through flexible work practices and remote access facilities for staff and students. The University ensures staff and students are provided with relevant information and support as required. At the time of a staff member’s commencement USC provides information with regard to carer’s leave and flexible working options to assist in their caring responsibilities. This information is available on the USC Portal for staff to access. The University’s Employee Assistance Program also includes provision of support to staff family members. Staff are provided with the opportunity to comment on any proposed changes to policy relating to carer’s leave or flexible working options. This includes conducting focus groups with affected staff members whose views are then taken into consideration in the formulation of those policies.

Due to the flexible working options available at USC, staff who identify as carers are supported to meet both their work and caring responsibilities. The University also has a Disability Action Plan to assist in providing equal access to quality education for the whole community; to improve the teaching and learning environment for students and staff; and to raise awareness of disability issues and responsibilities as a foundation for good practice in equitable service provision. There is a range of disability support services and facilities available to staff and students, with all activities guided by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Support is tailored to the personal needs of staff and students, delivered by a qualified Disability Services Officer.

Examples of support services include physical access, visual aids and better hearing.

Ethical standards

In compliance with the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994, the University’s Staff Code of Conduct—Governing Policy (the Code) defines acceptable conduct for staff of the University. The Code is shaped around four key ethical principles that are intended to guide ethical decision making and behaviour. The ethical principles are:

  • integrity and impartiality
  • promoting the public good
  • commitment to the system of government
  • accountability and transparency.

Sessions on the Code are conducted in the Middle Managers Forums and Supervisor Essentials program. The University maintains a Staff Code of Conduct webpage to provide further education for staff, providing a basis for discussion at work area meetings on the meaning of the Code.

Best practice for governance

The University complies with the Voluntary Code of Best Practice for the Governance of Australian Universities, as implemented by the industry body, Universities Australia.

In 2015 the University directly contributed to the Queensland Government objectives for the community to deliver quality frontline services. USC has continued to achieve better education and training outcomes for its graduates, has supported disadvantaged Queenslanders through a range of low SES educational support programs, and has contributed to strengthening our public health system by partnering with new public health providers in 2015.

Workforce planning, attraction and retention

As at 31 March 2015 *, the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staffing was 1064, inclusive of casual staff. This was a 5 percent increase on 31 March 2014, with the growth remaining consistent with the University’s Workforce Planning process. The 2014* staff retention rate decreased to 92 percent. The 2014* separation rate increased to eight percent.

The University maintains a number of key policies and procedures related to workforce development and management, including Workforce Planning and Staff Recognition and Reward.

Workplace health and safety

In 2014 *, USC average time lost to injury was 9 days per workers’ compensation incident, with a total of 19 claims accepted by WorkCover Queensland during the year. The enhancement of Health, Safety and Wellbeing strategies for the University continued during 2015, with initiatives including a Health Safety and Wellbeing eBook, mental health awareness workshops, stretch band program, body balance program, staff netball and bocce tournaments, USC Running Wild staff carnival, Mindfulness Workshops, a Wellbeing@USC staff photo competition and Step Challenge.

* Figures are the most up-to-date available at time of publishing.

Performance management framework

The University has a Performance Management Policy and Performance Planning and Review (PPR) Policy and Procedures, with both ongoing and fixed term staff participating in an annual Performance Planning and Review process.

Leadership and management development

In 2015, a comprehensive range of leadership and management development activities was offered. These included: Academic Leadership Fundamentals; Good Decisions training; Media interview training for academics; four Middle Managers Forums including ‘Creating a Positive Culture’ and ‘Managing the Tough Stuff’; Navigating Change; Positive Influence Skills; PPR Supervisor Training; Preventing Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying; Supervisor Essentials and Supervisory Essentials Plus. Executive and senior managers also participated in the annual Senior Staff Retreat and four Senior Staff Forums for which one of the specific and stated aims is professional development. Also, twenty one academic staff who had been identified as “emerging leaders” participated in “A conversations series”. There were six sessions at which the participants discussed principles of learning and teaching leadership with executive staff and external experts.

Enterprise agreement

The University’s current Enterprise Agreement has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2013 and the University has continued negotiations with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) for a new University of the Sunshine Coast Enterprise Agreement.

Student complaints and appeals

The University has a Student Complaints and Appeals Policy, which provides a framework to administer, manage and report on student complaints and appeals. In 2015, the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor received and investigated 25 formal complaints.

Corporate information systems and records management The University continues to invest significantly in its ICT applications and infrastructure as well as its enabling capacity to support growth, meet new opportunities and to contribute to organisational transformation.

Major new facilities: In cooperation with key stakeholders, major new facilities were completed at Sippy Downs and South Bank. The new Engineering Learning Hub building houses world-class visualisation facilities, including a CAVE2TM laboratory, a collaboration studio, an AV rich, 96-seat, PC2-rated wetlab and numerous other AV equipped teaching and meeting spaces. USC SouthBank, with reception, video­conferencing equipped meeting rooms and teaching space, and student access areas provides a valuable presence for USC in the SouthBank education precinct.

MyUSC and enabling technologies: SharePoint was implemented as the foundation technology to enable collaboration capabilities in terms of information management, enterprise search, team site and
workflows. MyUSC, the University’s new intranet, has been developed using SharePoint capabilities and was successfully released to the University community in April 2015.

ePortfolio implementation: The USC ePortfolio implementation was successful in winning a platinum award (Category: Best New Technology Implementation - widespread adoption) in the prestigious National LearnX Impact Awards which celebrate eLearning and are open to all individuals, teams and organisations from the corporate, education and public service sectors.

Library System Replacement: The Library, in collaboration with IT Services, migrated to a new integrated Library solution, replacing three existing and separate systems. The new system is Internet-based, requires no on-campus IT systems and its user-friendly interface allows students and staff to easily search all Library resources (print, digital and electronic) at the one time. The system also offers
efficiencies for Library staff through process automation, greater systems integration with other University systems and improved business intelligence and reporting Technical support for Occupational Therapy students: This initiative delivered a solution for students in clinical placements, providing an electronic records management system, MedicClinic, enabling ‘long-arm’ supervision of students on placement both locally and internationally as well as the use of therapy-related apps in clinics and community facilities to enhance student service provision and client outcomes.

Examination timetabling: The Databee Exam Manager system was implemented to enable the more holistic management of examinations including the exam information spreadsheets, timetables, alternate arrangement students, invigilators, attendance lists and exam papers. This automated the previous manual process.

IRM enhancement (marks and grades): Enhancements to the Interim Results Modules (IRM) were introduced and saw necessary changes to address updated assessment policy and the introduction of flexibility in
the verification and ratification workflow to cater for absences.

Risk assessment (WHS) implementation: With an initial focus on managing the risks associated with work integrated learning (WIL), this system supports the standardisation of risk assessment processes and recording of assessments. Subsequently the system’s Incident Management module has been leveraged to support Security services. Space and asset management: This project delivered improved management of information about the University’s facilities, providing staff and students with information about all University teaching spaces, offices and surrounding campus spaces. In addition, staff can access information about bookings of centrally timetabled spaces, staff locations, office occupancy and the location of emergency response staff (ie fire wardens). The system also supports the management of leases and the delivery of government reporting obligations. Corporate planning and risk management: This system was implemented to enable integration and seamless end-to-end corporate, action and initiative planning with budget request, forecast and monitoring.

eRecruitment: This year saw the introduction of electronic processes designed to automate the processing of new employees, welcoming new staff into the organisation.

Records management system feasibility: A business case was developed, assessing the University’s requirements and options for a holistic electronic records and document management system
(eDRMS). A comprehensive investment proposal and plan was delivered, recognising the significant organisational change effort required for a
successful implementation.

Research management: This year saw the introduction of an additional module supporting online process, including workflow, for the application, review and awarding of research grants.

Unified communications / Video conferencing: IT Services extended the provision of high definition video conferencing facilities across USC campuses with two new venues at SouthBank and two at Sippy Downs. Implementation of the new solution (Acano) has enabled the connection of multiple parties to participate in the one conference and the deployment of software to staff computers now allows participation from meeting room environments, desktop and mobile devices with communication and collaboration available between staff, students and external individuals or organisations.

The University continues to invest significantly in its ICT applications and infrastructure as well as its enabling capacity to support growth, meet new opportunities and to contribute to organisational transformation. Mac server and client upgrade: To facilitate greater support for Macintosh computers used for teaching or research, a system was implemented that enabled unattended imaging, application deployment and remote support of Macintosh computers.

Audio visual: Early 2015 saw the Innovation Centre Auditorium receive new projector and wireless network enhancements to cater for a flipped classroom approach for business courses with large cohorts of students. Eight other Sippy Downs venues, including a full replacement of Lecture Theatre 6 and projector upgrades to conference rooms and multiple teaching spaces in M and D Block, were completed mid-year. Personal computing: Major replacements were performed in FoSHEE’s wetlabs and in the Library Information Commons. Labs at the Sippy Downs campus, DG.43 and DG.44, were upgraded to higher specification
computers to cater for the growing technical demands of 3D modelling, animation and video editing. Server and storage: In 2015 the Storage Area Networks (SAN), that support corporate and research data, underwent a complete technology refresh. The newly implemented solution will have scaled increases in capacity to address USC demands for several years.

Network and communications: This year saw the introduction of wireless access for staff to services comparable to the wired network. The deployment of a new campus IP addressing structure is now 90 percent completed and has improved network segmentation and security.

Records management

The University takes a holistic approach to records management, with the staff of the Information Management Services unit providing professional advice on formal recordkeeping and broader information management issues. The University has a formal corporate recordkeeping system, and a number of other systems approved under ISO 16175.3 for in-place recordkeeping. Records management at the
University is governed by the Information Management Framework Governing Policy and the Information and Records Management Procedures.


Australian Bureau of Statistics Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research

Australian Graduate Survey

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience

Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering

Administrative, Professional and Technical (Staff)

Australian Research Council

Audit and Risk Management Committee

International Barcode of Life Database

Census Collection District

Course Experience Questionnaire

Commonwealth Grant Scheme

CRICOS Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students

Collaborative Research Networks

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Commonwealth Supported

Department of Education

Department of Industry

Equivalent Full-Time Student Load

Education Investment Fund

Entrepreneur in Residence

Executive Master of Business Administration

Excellence in Research for Australia

Faculty of Arts and Business

Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Full-time equivalent (Staff)

Higher Degree by Research (Student)

Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program

Higher Education Research Data Collection

Health Workforce Australia

International Association of Student Affairs and Services

Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast

Information and Communication Technology

Key Performance Indicator

National Health and Medical Research Council

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

National Tertiary Education Union

Office for Learning and Teaching (Australian Government)

Overall Satisfaction Index


Performance, Planning and Review (Staff)

Planning and Resources Committee

Queensland Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Strategic Asset Management Plan

Skills, Academic and Research Centre

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service

Socio-economic status

Tertiary Enabling Pathway

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

Tertiary Preparation Pathway


University of the Sunshine Coast

Workplace Health and Safety

Work Integrated Learning

Year to Date

The University of the Sunshine Coast began as the Sunshine Coast University College. Founded in 1994, the first students started at the Sippy Downs campus in 1996. In 1998 the new institution was granted full university status, and became the University of the Sunshine Coast on 1 January 1999.

The 100-hectare Sippy Downs campus lies around 90km north of Brisbane on land that was once a cane farm. In addition to the main site at Sippy Downs, the University has teaching sites offering award programs at Gympie and South Brisbane, as well as study nodes offering tertiary preparatory programs at Noosa, Caboolture and North Lakes. In 2015, USC had a total income of $216.4 million and employed 870 staff (full-time equivalent).

USC has a five-star rating for teaching quality, generic skills, and overall graduate satisfaction, which is recognised in the 2016 Good Universities Guide*.
At Census 1 2015, there were 10,447 students (including 1,137 postgraduates and 1,111 international students) enrolled in more than 146 academic programs in two faculties: Arts and Business; and Science, Health, Education and Engineering as well as the USC Law School.

In 2015, the University conferred 1,747 degrees, bringing alumni numbers to 15,725

* The rating of five stars for teaching quality, generic skills and overall graduate satisfaction were awarded to USC by the Good Universities’ Guide 2016 using information obtained from the Graduate Careers Australia s Course Experience Questionnaire.


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