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

7. A research-intensive education that speaks to students and employers

In our knowledge-based society, the processes used to manage, synthesise and adapt knowledge are becoming just as important as knowledge itself.[62] Contemporary problems are context specific and require socially relevant solutions that are often achieved by teams of scholars working collaboratively across disciplines and leveraging each area’s expertise.

In ‘research-oriented teaching’, students learn about research processes as well as the knowledge produced and in ‘research-based teaching’, students learn as researchers and the curriculum is largely designed around inquiry-based activities.[63]

Feedback from the 2015 UQ Student Summit indicated an appetite for greater research opportunities within UQ’s curriculum. Though arguably difficult to achieve in practice across all programs for all students, a comprehensive range of research-based learning opportunities is the gold standard. The University of Leeds’ Curriculum Enhancement Project – a university-wide curriculum renewal project that started in 2012/13 – has taken steps in this direction by introducing a final year project for all undergraduate programs in 2014/2015. Additionally, the University of Leeds’ Student Union runs the Social Innovation Zone which offers students the opportunity to deliver research action projects on behalf of not-for-profit organisations.[64]

Students are largely unaware of the critical links between a research-based education and the development of graduate attributes that speak directly to employers. That said, the 2014 Australian Graduate Survey[65] reports UQ graduates having significantly higher levels of satisfaction than the national average in terms of their development of analytical and problem-solving skills and increased confidence in tackling unfamiliar problems.  This is a strength upon which UQ can build, translating the benefits of study at a research-intensive university into explicitly high-value student experiences and outcomes that align with their priorities and aspirations.

Challenge 4:

How can UQ strengthen the translation of our research excellence into consistent ‘high-value, high-impact’ research-based learning opportunities across all disciplines for all students?

Key strategy to consider

4.1 Extend students’ access to collaborative research experiences that provide quality interaction with UQ’s research and research partners


[62] Healey, M. (2005). Linking research and teaching: Exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning. In R. Barnett (Ed.), Reshaping the university: New Relationships between research, scholarship and teaching (pp. 67-78). Berkshire, UK: Open University Press.

[63] Griffiths, R. (2004). Knowledge production and the research-teaching nexus: The case of the built environment disciplines. Studies in Higher Education, 29(6), 709-726.

[64] Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies University of Leeds. (2015). Social enterprise zone. Retrieved from http://lec.leeds.ac.uk/opportunities/social-innovation-zone-siz/

[65] Graduate Careers Australia. (2015). Australian Graduate Survey. Retrieved from http://www.graduatecareers.com.au/research/surveys/australiangraduatesurvey/