18 June 2021: The University of Canberra today launched its brand-new Sport Strategy, outlining ambitions to become Australia’s leading university for women in sport, sport integrity and a top three sports science university nationally.
The University is already well-established as a sporting hub for Australia through its partnerships with peak sporting bodies, professional sport teams, community sport partnerships and its elite athlete program.
With this Australian first strategy in place, the University is ideally placed to harness the power of sport for social justice, equality, inclusion, integrity and wellbeing.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Paddy Nixon said the University would bolster the community, establish partnerships and align its academic and research offerings across all faculties.
“Sport is core to the University of Canberra’s mission, it connects our education and research to our civic commitment, and I believe that we have the motivation and ambition combined with the skills and knowledge to deliver this strategy as our game plan for the future,” he said.
“Sport already connects UC through our academic, research and existing sport infrastructure and this strategy will both enhance what currently exists and embrace our plans for the future.”
With a focus on tackling inclusion and diversity in sport, the University’s strategy is built on a principle of integrity.
“We plan to take the lead in women’s sport, sport integrity and justice, and to foster community participation in sport by using the knowledge we gain through our research to enhance and develop sport in young, upcoming athletes,” Professor Nixon said.
There are five strategic pillars that make up the Sport Strategy: education, research, infrastructure, partnerships, and community.
The University offers 15 sport-related courses – nine undergraduate courses, six postgraduate courses and nine majors. The University is committed to providing students with innovative Work Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences in sporting organisations and community wellbeing programs, and opportunities to participate in collaborative, cross-faculty programs that give them an employment seeking edge.
The University has been and will continue to undertake world class research in sport and exercise. Between 2017 and 2020, 381 publications were produced, $6 million in sport-related research was secured, and 50 PhD students undertook research in the field across the five faculties.
The University is set to leverage the development of UC Sports Hub 2, outlined in the recently launched UC Campus Master Plan, to attract sporting partnerships and events, support leading education and research partnerships, and create commercial revenue opportunities.
“This development of infrastructure is essential for establishing UC as the sporting hub of the ACT,” said Professor Nixon. “It will be a place where professional, amateur, community sport, research, innovation and academic excellence come together for national benefit and global impact.”
The University has developed strong partnerships with high performance and community sporting organisations, ACT and Federal Government agencies that deliver invaluable education, research, branding and profile, and community engagement benefits. These partnerships will be maintained and expanded as the strategy is implemented over the coming years.
Sport plays an important role in connecting the University with the community as well as the broader ACT and regional New South Wales areas. Sport contributes to the University’s civic mission to engage with communities, to support diversity and inclusion, and delivers tangible benefits for student wellbeing and satisfaction.
Through the strategy, the University will increase the number of on-campus options for students and staff to engage in formal social sporting competitions and informal sporting and physical activities, ensuring ease of access to sporting facilities for community sporting groups and sports clubs, and engaging sporting alumni in teaching, research and mentoring for elite athlete students.
With sport integrity underpinning the Sport Strategy, a Sport Integrity Research Unit will be established, functioning within the University’s Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE). The unit will be led by Dr Catherine Ordway, an internationally renowned expert in sport integrity and sports law.
The University intends to engage, encourage and motivate students by building community and establishing a sense of belonging through participation in sport.
“As much as we focus on inclusion in sport, we recognise sport as a pathway for inclusion in education – sport makes universities more accessible to the broader community,” said Professor Nixon.
“It connects people with place, and through our focus on sport we will establish a connection to UC for our future students.
“First in family students, and those that stem from regional areas, in particular, should find it easier to integrate socially and academically at university through a mutual interest in sport.”
More information on the Sport Strategy can be found here.