Academic Plan 2016–2020 - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Academic Plan 2016–2020

Our University

The University of the Sunshine Coast Academic Plan is the blueprint for achievement of the broad strategic goals enunciated in the University of the Sunshine Coast Strategic Plan 2016-2020. It incorporates the objectives and strategies which will guide and give effect to our development over the next five years.

The Academic Plan is underpinned by USC’s commitment to delivering high quality teaching and research, and to supporting an environment and culture which enable students and staff to excel. The Academic Plan supports the following University aspirations:

  • Development of a distributed physical University presence with multiple study sites. This will include USC campuses offering full degree programs at Sippy Downs, Gympie, Fraser Coast, Moreton Bay and SouthBank; study nodes at an increasing number of locations; and managed campuses in Melbourne and Sydney.
  • Introduction of new discipline areas including: biomedical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, mechatronic engineering, computer science, food science, design technology, physiotherapy.
  • Launch of a USC Medical School within fifteen years.
  • Consolidation of existing high performing research areas, and identification of new research foci such as neuroscience, computer science, cyber security, materials science, food production and agribusiness.
  • Increasing focus on a supportive culture for high performance sport.

Our Strategic Goals

The University will be:

  • a comprehensive university of 20,000 students by 2020;
  • positioned in the global tertiary education community as a top-100 university under 50 years of age, and
  • a primary engine of capacity building in the broader Sunshine Coast region, from Brisbane to the Fraser Coast.

Our Values in Action


Academic study and achievement underpin tertiary education at USC, enabled by the provision of the highest quality tertiary education experience and environment to students and staff.


Research, particularly in areas of community challenges, is fundamental to the University’s impact.


Supporting sustainability across social, economic, cultural and environmental domains, is a core responsibility of the University.


The University is committed to working with and for its diverse communities.

Social Justice

The University is committed to advancing human rights within a free, tolerant and inclusive society and contributing to better outcomes for all Australians. The University respects and acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, land, culture and history and will work collaboratively to advance Indigenous outcomes.


The University has an overarching commitment to freedom of enquiry and expression, ethical behaviour and integrity

Objectives and strategies to deliver the Academic Plan

Year Group semester 1 2017
1. The University will increase student enrolments and improve student success

USC will be a comprehensive university of 20,000 students by 2020. To achieve significant and sustainable growth of our student body we will increase the numbers and sources of students we attract to USC and enhance their learning outcomes.

Objective 1.1

Provide distinctive high quality curricula and signature learning experiences that prepare all USC students to be active global citizens.

Objective 1.2

Maximise the proportion of higher education students in our catchment who choose to study at USC.

Objective 1.3

Expand and diversify international student enrolments.

Objective 1.4

Support increased participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in higher education.

Objective 1.5

Adopt a comprehensive approach to enhance student experience and student success.

Objective 1.6

Strengthen, support and enable Blended Learning in all programs.

Institution Achievement Measurement
  • Flagship program development
  • Participation in work integrated learning
  • Pathways into university study
  • International award level enrolments
  • Levels of engagement and implementation of empowerment initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  • Assessment of efficacy of strategies aligned with the Student Engagement Strategy
  • Implementation of next phase of the Blended Learning Strategy
2. The University will increase research productivity and impact

Research performance is critically important to USC’s reputation and standing both nationally and internationally. USC is committed to achieving a ranking in the Times Higher Education Top 100 Universities under 50 years of age. USC will strive to conduct research that makes a difference. To achieve this USC will further develop and expand research capacity and productivity and actively pursue cutting edge research.

Objective 2.1

Increase Higher Degree by Research enrolments and completions.

Objective 2.2

Expand the University’s research capacity to build national and international reputation.

Objective 2.3

Strategically advance USC’s reputation internationally by expanding the University’s engagement with high pro le international partners and strengthening research productivity.

Objective 2.4

Expand applied research in areas of strength through collaborations with industry.

Institution Achievement Measurement
  • Higher Degree by Research completions
  • Industry income
  • Excellence in Research for Australia outcomes
  • International partner engagement, including collaborative publications
USC Building
3. The University will expand campuses and study nodes

USC will embrace its role in driving capacity building in the broader Sunshine Coast region. We will open new campuses, study nodes and collaborative health facilities in the region from Brisbane to the Fraser Coast, and expand our digital capability to support greater access to offerings in the region.

Objective 3.1

Embed good governance and quality assurance models across campuses.

Objective 3.2

Ensure viability and sustainability of campuses and study nodes.

Objective 3.3

Establish USC Moreton Bay campus.

Institution Achievement Measurement
  • Academic governance frameworks across distributed campuses
  • Quality of student experience across campuses
  • Development of USC Moreton Bay program offerings
Teacher and Student
4. The University will improve institutional effectiveness

In developing a distinctive University in a competitive and changing landscape, we reflect on the effectiveness of our practices and make change where necessary. USC will be selective and strategic in choices, and align planning, evaluation and budgeting processes with its strategic aspirations in the most efficient way. Institutional effectiveness is at the
heart of this decision-making, reflection and growth process. Operational excellence will underpin USC’s achievement of the goals in our Strategic Plan.

Objective 4.1

Assure teaching and research quality and invest in high quality teaching and research.

Objective 4.2

Invest in staff excellence Strategies.

Institution Achievement Measurement
  • Staff performance frameworks developed for teaching and research
  • Quality of teaching
  • Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) outcomes
Bike and three people
5. The University will strengthen leadership in sustainability for the region and beyond

USC will demonstrate leadership in its commitment to sustainability through its operations and academic offerings and through its contributions to enhancing sustainability across the region and beyond. As well as embracing environmental sustainability, the University will contribute to ensuring the region’s social and economic sustainability.

Objective 5.1

Demonstrate leadership in sustainability through excellence in research and teaching.

Objective 5.2

Foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for social and economic sustainability.

Institution Achievement Measurement
  • Regionally focussed collaborative research
  • Entrepreneurship activities
Mentor helping students
6. The University will strengthen engagement with its communities

USC will pursue its strategic plan Vision by contributing the highest quality of teaching, learning and research and by engaging with local, national and international communities in the most inclusive and beneficial manner. It will work with its many stakeholders to build productive partnerships, to undertake outreach activities and to strategically advance USC nationally and internationally — all to support USC’s work in the broader Sunshine Coast region.

Objective 6.1

Engage in genuine and meaningful ways with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Objective 6.2

Develop productive partnerships with our diverse community stakeholder groups.

Institution Achievement Measurement
  • Widening participation initiatives
  • Professional and Continuing Education initiatives
  • Staff performance framework developed for engagement