Quality audit commends the University of Sydney's performance

7 February 2012

The University of Sydney has been commended for its strong research performance and its successful efforts to build multidisciplinary and international research collaborations through its highly strategic approach to internationalisation.

These are among a total of 18 separate commendations for the University of Sydney outlined in a report published today by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

Among the University's many commendations are those for the way in which the University has dealt with significant change since a previous audit in 2004.

"The process of change at the University of Sydney has been driven by the Vice-Chancellor in a manner that is inclusive and demonstrates a firm understanding of the issues associated with steering change in a large, complex and long-established university," the audit report says.

The report noted that the University has established a new economic model which should bring transparency to planning and budgeting processes, and that the University has embraced an open and consultative approach to internal self-review. The University was commended for establishing a comprehensive planning framework with effective processes for monitoring progress, in the form of the Vice-Chancellor's Workslate.

Further commendation was given for the way the University has implemented a number of issues which had been recommended in the previous 2004 audit by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA). These include measures to increase the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and by making Indigenous issues a central strategic importance, as indicated by the appointment of a Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services).

The two themes of the 2011 audit were 'Research and Research Training' and 'Internationalisation'.

"This report provides welcome recognition for a great deal of hard work by so many in bringing about significant changes in the University," said Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney.

"However there is no room for complacency as the TEQSA audit has made a number of constructive recommendations, all of which are outlined in our strategic plan which will help us achieve best practice across all parts of the University," he said. "As the audit report noted, 'It is perhaps not surprising that in such a diverse institution there are examples of best practice and outstanding achievement as well as areas in need of improvement'."

Among the many commendations, the TEQSA audit noted the University's strong overall research performance, the importance given to research integrity, and the strong commitment to fostering interdisciplinary research through the strategic establishment of the Sydney Research Networks Scheme and centres such as the Brain and Mind Research Institute, the United States Study Centre, the China Studies Centre, the new Centre for Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, and the Australian Institute for Nanoscience.

The audit of the University was carried out during 2011, during which the audit panel undertook a number of visits to the University and spoke with over 440 people including the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor, senior management, academic and general staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students, external stakeholders and offshore partners. The final report by TEQSA was based on documentation provided by the University as well as information gained through interviews, discussion and observation by the audit panel.

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