The Green Paper outlines the challenges we must address to ensure The University of Queensland (UQ) continues to be a destination for the world’s best and brightest students. It also includes proposed strategies that encompass all areas of the student experience from curriculum delivery to campus design and student support.

Peter Høj

Outstanding students, staff and alumni, cross-sectoral partners, imaginative teaching, and supporters in government, industry and philanthropy, have all combined to position The University of Queensland in the top echelons of the world’s universities.

UQ graduates become national and international leaders and contribute to solving some of society’s greatest challenges. They are sought-after employees, valued for their ability to think on their feet, work in cross-cultural settings, and identify opportunities for innovation often overlooked by others. This is in no small part a reflection of the tireless efforts by UQ staff to provide high-quality learning opportunities through student-focused, researchbased teaching. It also reflects the emphasis in the UQ Strategic Plan on student success and the development of ‘must-have’ graduate employees as the first of UQ’s six foundations for the future.

We have already taken a number of steps to welcome students to UQ, enhance online systems and services, develop employability strategies and produce world class online learning materials, and are looking at strategies to free up resources to be re-directed to the academic purpose. There are also many examples of effective, future-oriented practices in student learning across UQ from which we can learn. However, there is a clear view that the University should do more.

Drawing on the perspectives of students, staff and alumni, several data sources have informed this Student Strategy Green Paper, which intends to open a discussion across UQ and its stakeholders on UQ’s distinctive student experience. Following the synthesis of feedback on this Green Paper, a White Paper will be released in early 2016. The next steps will prioritise goals and assess resource implications. In turn, the student strategy will inform UQ’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, thereby setting an ambitious, five-year enhancement process that will include all UQ coursework students, staff, and stakeholders and enrich the career and life prospects of graduates. I hope you will engage actively with this process.

Peter Høj

12. ‘Sticky’ campuses with landscapes for learning

A ‘sticky campus’ can bring local communities together and engage students in curricular and extracurricular activities by offering convenient transport, services and a variety of cultural, vocational, recreational and social pursuits. Research suggests that universities that engage students in campus study groups, clubs, sports, cultural offerings (museums, theatre and dramatic arts), internships, part-time jobs and volunteering foster greater student success.[116] Spaces on campus where students feel comfortable and have access to shaded outdoor areas, natural light indoors, a decent cup of coffee, a comfortable place to rest and individual and group study areas, offer students attractive settings and social experiences that draw people together beyond the academic purpose.[117] The recently completed $42 million University of Adelaide Hub Central is an example of a student-centred design approach which is working to create a lively and relevant campus experience.[118]

As universities move from lectures to more interactive learning, consideration must be given to the nature of the spaces in which learning will take place and how pedagogy, online learning and the design of learning spaces influence one another.[119] [120] Because of the proliferation of online learning and mobile technology, the viability of the campus seems ambiguous to some. However, new technologies can make the campus even more important and relevant provided that they evolve in parallel. Technology has given students the opportunity to use their on-campus time more productively. Recent studies at UQ demonstrate that students do two-thirds of all their study on campus and 45% of their on-campus study is in informal (non-timetabled) spaces. The students expressed very strong views about the importance of the on-campus informal study areas for effective study.[121]

A traditional place-based university such as UQ can thrive in a technology-enabled world by turning commuter campuses into rich living ecosystems,[122] beginning with, but not limited to, providing residential accommodation for the student body, as well as commercial spaces, low cost food outlets and affordable transport options. Universities are also considering the creation of new spaces that will enhance community-business-industry collaboration and provide flexible spaces for project work associated with entrepreneurial and other collaborative ventures. Melbourne University’s ‘Growing Esteem 2015-2020’ strategic plan reflects this approach by building clusters of innovation and discovery in and around the campus with, for example, its Policy Precinct in Carlton that includes the Grattan Institute, the Conversation and the L.H. Martin Institute.[123] The University of Sheffield also seeks to build campus value by co-locating research and business partners on-site within proximity of students’ learning.[124]

UQ’s campuses, particularly St Lucia, are exceptional in the physical activity facilities available to students and these can be optimised in promoting UQ as a healthy, engaging and balanced learning environment. In the UK, the Healthy Universities Network (www.healthyuniversities.ac.uk) is active in promoting not only physical health, but a learning environment and organisational culture that enhances the health and wellbeing of staff and students. With the capacity to develop attractive precincts accompanied by a diverse range of convenient residential and commercial services, UQ’s campuses can bring local communities together and engage students in a holistic life experience beyond purely academic aspirations.

Challenge 9:

How can UQ develop accessible, vibrant and inviting campus environments for students, staff and the broader community that add genuine value to time on campus for all?

Key strategies to consider                                        

9.1 Develop open and engaging, multi-functional spaces and places across campus for formal and informal learning, relaxation and rest, and socialising

9.2 Transform all campuses into vibrant living and learning ecosystems – including St Lucia and Gatton based residential complexes and commercial services – that promote and sustain an energising student experience

9.3 Find sustainable, convenient and cost-effective transport options for UQ campuses


[116] Madden-Dent, T. (2012, January 17) Students get sticky: Sticky campus engagement -->. Retrieved from http://taramaddendent.com/2012/01/17/sticky-campus/

[117] Hassell (n.d.) Are campuses still relevant now that students can learn anywhere, anytime? Retrieved fromhttp://www.hassellstudio.com/en/cms-expertise/education-and-sciences/designer-insight-1035

[118] Hassell (n.d.) University of Adelaide Learning Hub. Retrieved from http://www.hassellstudio.com/en/cms-projects/detail/university-of-adelaide-learning-hub/

[119] Bates, A.W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age. BC Open Textbook. Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

[120] Andrews, T., & Tynan, B. (2011). Changing student learning preferences: What does this mean for the future of universities? In G. Williams, P. Statham, N. Brown, & B. Cleland (Eds.), Changing Demands, Changing Directions, 118-122. Proceedings ascilite Hobart, Australia: Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.

[121] The University of Queensland, (n.d.) Learning space development guide. Retrieved from http://itali.uq.edu.au/content/learning-space-development-guide

[122] Gallagher, S., & Garrett, G. (2013). Disruptive education: Technology-enabled universities. Sydney, Australia: The United States Studies Centre at The University of Sydney.

[123] The University of Melbourne. (n.d.) Growing esteem: The University of Melbourne’s strategic plan 2015-2020 -->. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/132867706

[124] The University of Sheffield. (2014). University of Sheffield innovation. Retrieved from http://www.innovation.group.shef.ac.uk/