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University of Western Sydney

University of Western Sydney
Motto Bringing knowledge to life
Established 1989
Type Public
Endowment A$650 m (2013)[1]
Chancellor Dr Peter Shergold AC
Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 42,000
Undergraduates 34,223
Postgraduates 5,813
Location Sydney, NSW, Australia
Campus Urban, 1713.5 (ha)
24.1 - Bankstown
26.7 - Blacktown
154.8 - Campbelltown
1,280 - Hawkesbury
24.4 - Parramatta
203.5 - Penrith
Colours Blue, White & Black
Nickname Template:If empty
Affiliations AACSB, ACU, AHURI,

The University of Western Sydney (UWS) is an Australian multi-campus university in the Greater Western region of Sydney. It is currently ranked in the top 400 in the world in the 2014 QS World University Rankings and the 27th top university in Australia.[2][3]

The university in its current form was founded in 1989 as an amalgamation between two trade schools–the Nepean College of Advanced Education and the Hawkesbury Agricultural College campus–which was founded in 1891.

UWS has campuses in Greater Western Sydney, Parramatta, Richmond, Blacktown, Penrith (comprising Werrington South, Werrington North, and Kingswood), Bankstown, and Campbelltown. UWS is a provider of undergraduate, postgraduate and higher research degrees. In recent years UWS has opened a medical school.


Foundation and early years

The University consists of an amalgamation of campuses, each with their own unique and individual history. In 1891, the Hawkesbury campus was established as an agricultural college by the NSW Agricultural Society. At Parramatta, UWS owns and has renovated the Female Orphan School building, the foundation stone of which was laid by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1813.[4]

In 1987 the New South Wales Labor government decided to name the planned new university in Sydney's western suburbs Chifley University, after the former Australian Prime Minister, Ben Chifley. When, in 1989, a new Liberal government renamed it the University of Western Sydney, controversy broke out. According to a debate[5] on the topic, held in 1997 after the Labor Party had regained government, the decision to name the university, the University of Western Sydney, reflected a desire to attach the term Western Sydney to institutions of lasting significance, and that idea ultimately received the support of Bob Carr, later the Premier of New South Wales.[citation needed]

In 1989, teachers' colleges and Colleges of Advanced Education in Sydney's western suburbs were given university status under the University of Western Sydney Act of 1988. The 1990s saw the federation of three education providers: UWS Nepean, UWS Hawkesbury and UWS Macarthur. 1989 was the year the Hawke federal labour government introduced HECS, the Higher Education Contribution Scheme. The University has a legislative basis in NSW state legislation with the passing of the University of Western Sydney Act (NSW) 1997, which also empowers the university to make by-laws affecting the operation of the university. In 2000, in order to reduce administrative expenses and duplication of courses offered by the inner Sydney universities and to eliminate competition between UWS member institutions, UWS became one multi-campus university.

Recent history

Federal Government funding of Australia's universities as a percentage of Australia's GDP was in decline during the years of the Howard government.[6] Federal funding policy was very influential at UWS.[7] In 2000, after internal restructuring and cost-cutting, UWS Hawkesbury, UWS Macarthur and UWS Nepean ceased to exist as autonomous components of the now defunct University of Western Sydney federation and became the new multi-campus University of Western Sydney.[8]

In the 2000s, UWS consolidated its schools of fine art, social science, humanities and psychology. In this decade the university introduced its first nanotechnology and biotechnology undergraduate degrees.

In 2002 UWS designed and installed standardised IT infrastructure across its campuses.[9]

In 2003, UWS sponsored a Samuel Beckett symposium as part of the Sydney Festival.[10]

In 2003 there was a highly publicised squabble over UWS between the New South Wales state government and the Australian federal government.[11]

In 2004, Michael Le Grand won the inaugural UWS Sculpture Award.[12]

Also in 2004, UWS joined with Metro Screen and SLICE TV to successfully bid for Sydney's first permanent Community Television licence. Television Sydney, broadcasting as TVS, launched in February 2006 from a broadcast operations centre located on the Werrington South Campus.

In 2006 the UWS news site reported: "Demand to study at the University of Western Sydney is on the rise, with UWS receiving the third-biggest jump in first preferences among NSW and ACT universities for 2007".[13]

In 2007, UWS had its first intake for the Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery.[14] In the same year UWS was part of a consortium with Griffith University and the University of Melbourne to win funding for a National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies.[15]

In 2008, UWS announced its current water and energy saving strategies,[16] its Indigenous Advisory Board[17] and endorsed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology to the Stolen Generations.

In 2011 and 2012, Professor Roy Tasker [18] and James Arvanitakis,[19] respectively, were announced as the Prime Minister’s Australian University Teacher of the Year


The University of Western Sydney is made up of six campuses and one precinct, with each campus hosting their own unique array of courses, of which different units can be completed across multiple campuses.


Bankstown Campus Library
The UWS Bankstown Campus is a relatively new campus, located at Milperra, about Script error: No such module "convert". from the Bankstown CBD. Specialising in the social sciences, most of the students on campus are psychology, sociology, arts and linguistic students. The campus also hosts the Bachelor of Policing degree and much of The MARCS Institute. The campus also includes a modern cafeteria/eatery area.

UWS's most well-known interpreting and translation course is taught at Bankstown campus. UWS trains and produces many NAATI accredited interpreters and translators.

The oldest building on campus was opened in 1989. The building contains a plaque indicating that it was opened by the then treasurer and former Prime Minister Paul Keating.[citation needed]


The UWS Campbelltown Campus is located in the semi-rural Macarthur region in South Western Sydney. Together with the Bankstown campus, the Campbelltown campus was originally part of the Macarthur Institute of Higher Education, founded in 1984. The campus offers degrees (among many others) in medicine, health, sciences, nursing, law and business. Research centres are also located in the campus.

In 2007 the UWS School of Medicine was established and began offering the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree for the first time in the university's history. It is hoped that many of the School's graduates will practice in the Western Sydney region, in order to redress the shortage of healthcare professionals in the area.

The on-campus student accommodation (called 'Gunydji') was upgraded in 2010 with a maximum occupancy of 205. It is a complex of self-contained units that accommodate five tenants each.[20]

The campus is home to the UWS Rotary Observatory, designed by Dr. Ragbir Bhathal, consisting of two observing domes of 4.5m and 2.9m diameter respectively,[21] opened on 15 July 2000. The observatory is principally utilised for Optical S.E.T.I. research but also hosts community astronomy nights, in collaboration with Macarthur Astronomical Society. In 2013 the observatory was relocated to make way for a new residential housing estate to the South of the campus. It was reopened in a new location on 2 October 2014.[22] The campus also provides the venue for the Macarthur Astronomy Forum.


The Hawkesbury campus, also known as the Richmond campus, is located on a 1,300 hectare site in the Hawkesbury Valley in north-western Sydney, next to the town of Richmond. Courses are offered in environmental health, forensic science, nursing, medical science, natural science (environmental, agricultural, horticultural), secondary school science teaching. Hawkesbury campus facilities include research labs, farmland, aquacultural (not operational) and equine facilities, residential halls and cottages, a conference centre, religious centres, a campus social hub called Stable Square, featuring cafeterias, a bar, a music room and a large collection of Hawkesbury Agricultural College memorabilia.

The Hawkesbury campus houses the Hawkesbury Forest Experiment. The experiment consists of twelve giant chambers with individual, living trees in controlled environments which will help predict what will happen to the Australian bush over the next century.[23]

This campus is also home to the forensic science degree and holds a crime scene house, various forensic lab equipment. The Centre for Plant and Food Science is also located at this campus.[24]

Hawkesbury Earthcare Centre, an organic farming organisation with a seedbank is located at Hawkesbury Campus. The centre is affiliated with Henry Doubleday Research and the Alternative Technology Association.[25]

The Hawkesbury campus is next to Richmond TAFE. The nearest railway station is East Richmond


This campus was originally the Hawkesbury Agricultural College, established by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture in 1891. It later became a College of Advanced Education until 1989, then UWS Hawkesbury (as a member institution of UWS with campuses and Richmond and Quaker's Hill) until 2000. The School of Agriculture operated a commercial dairy until it closed in 2004.[26]

Parramatta and Westmead precinct

Former Female Orphan School, now the site of the Whitlam Institute.

The UWS Parramatta Campus was established in 1813 as a female orphan school.[27][28] The campus has long served the populace of Western Sydney and is located in a neighbouring and close suburb to Parramatta, called Rydalmere.

A historical site with contemporary features, the Rydalmere campus was established as a campus of UWS in 1998 and has proved one of the more coveted campuses for students as it is geographically located in the centre of the Greater Sydney region and out of the eight campuses of UWS, it is the nearest campus to the Sydney CBD (making it close to more amenities and employment areas).

Parramatta campus courses include occupation fields like Science, Business and Law/justice just to name a few. It also hosts their Science courses in modern buildings near to the Rydalmere campus at a site formerly used by quarantine authorities, CSIRO, Amdel Sugar, and the Biological and Chemical Research Institute laboratories.[29]

Before the Parramatta campus was developed, classes were held at the Westmead Precinct; that is now part of the Parramatta campus. The oldest building on the site was the home of the historic St Vincent's Orphanage. A school focused on IELTS proficiency, called UWS College, is currently located at the Westmead Precinct. The Westmead area is one of Sydney's premier medical districts and includes Westmead Hospital and The Children's Hospital at Westmead; both teaching hospitals, although not formally affiliated with UWS.

The University has announced the establishment of a new campus in the Parramatta CBD as an extension of its existing Parramatta Campus in 2014. The Parramatta City Campus will be located at 100 George Street. This will see some of its postgraduate courses relocate there, particularly in business (Sydney Graduate School of Management), the social sciences and humanities.


The UWS Penrith Campuses are made up of three areas in two Sydney suburbs; Kingswood, Werrington South and Werrington North.

File:UWS Penrith aerial.jpg
Aerial photograph of the Kingswood campus site

Kingswood has most of the campus's student services and facilities, computer rooms, classrooms and lecture theatres. It also has tennis courts, a gym, a bar (the Swamp Bar) and student accommodation. The Allen Library, which has a focus on engineering and science texts, is located at Kingswood.

Werrington South has fewer classrooms and lecture theatres. It contains Ward Library in building BA which has a focus on arts, teaching and the humanities. It is also the home of the Office of the University Librarian, Copyright Officer, Library Systems/Photocopy Services, Information Resources and related staff. Werrington South also contains the faculty of communications, design and media. This is the campus for the Bachelor of Communications degree.

Werrington North used to be a teaching campus but is now administration only, and houses the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor's offices. It also has the Nepean Observatory built by Dr Graeme White (no longer with UWS) and members of the UWS Centre for Astronomy.

Focus areas are split between Werrington South and Kingswood, with most engineering, computing, music, fine arts and humanities subjects having classes in Kingswood and communication arts and drama subjects having classes at Werrington South.

The University of Western Sydney also hosts the broadcast centre of Sydney's community television station TVS on Werrington South located in Building BD.

University of Western Sydney hosts the radio broadcast centre of ABC Local Radio, ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM, Triple J, ABC NewsRadio, ABC Dig Music, ABC Jazz, & ABC Country from the Ultimo radio studios.

Governance and academics


UWS's academic activity is organized into "schools". Currently, UWS has nine schools:

Research institutes and centres

In 2013 UWS was successful in obtaining over $5.8 million in grants from the prestigious Australian Research Council for 18 Discovery Projects, placing it 11th out of 40 universities in Australia.[30]

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment was officially opened in 2012, funded by a $40 million grant from the Australian Government Education Investment Fund. It houses some of the largest and most complex facilities in the world for researching the effects of climate change.[31]

The winner of the 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Alexis Wright, is a UWS Postdoctoral Research Fellow.[32]

The University of Western Sydney has 11 Research Institutes and Centres:

Rankings and reputation

The 2014 QS World University Rankings place UWS at 651 in the world and 28th in Australia.[2] In 2014 and 2015, the university was listed in the top 100 universities under-50 years old in the world, ranking 87th in 2014 and 56th in 2015.[33]

The Times-QS World University Ranking [34]
Category/Year 2014 2013 2012<th>

2011 </th><th> 2010 </th><th> 2009 </th>

Overall 305-400 651-700 601+ 601+ 501-600 551-600
Arts & Humanities TBA 284 N/A 508 351-400 N/A
Natural Sciences TBA N/A N/A 802 N/A N/A
Engineering & IT TBA N/A N/A 698 N/A N/A
Social Sciences TBA 386 N/A 570 N/A N/A
Life Sciences TBA N/A N/A 447 N/A N/A

Performance at several detailed indicators shows 2-3 star performances out of 5 in some areas under the universities "Key Indicators." Better outcomes were achieved for non-Key Indicators within the 2009 Good Universities Guide.[35]

Student life

Student representation

Prior to 2009 the University of Western Sydney had two student organisations, each with their own focus and areas of responsibility. These organisations voluntarily shut down operations in 2009. These organisations were responsible for the bulk of extracurricular activities and services provided by the University.

Each organisation previously sourced their funds from Compulsory Student Unionism fees. With the passage of Voluntary Student Unionism legislation, UWS agreed to fund the organisations, but at a substantially reduced level. UWSSA also asked students to pay a voluntary $60 fee.

UWSSA and PAUWS were independent of the University while UWSConnect is wholly owned by UWS.

  • UWSSA Inc. — UWS Students' Association. Its motto was "Bringing life to knowledge" - a twist on the University's motto. It aimed to improve student life at the University by providing welfare and support services, and ran campaigns on issues affecting the student population.
  • PAUWS Inc. — The Postgraduate Association of UWS was a student's association for the postgraduate student population at the University.

UWSConnect Ltd. — UWSConnect is a not-for-profit[36] company owned by the University which aims to improve university life by providing bars, cafés, sporting events, recreational activities, etc. It is responsible for organising commercial ties with the University and its students, such as advertising space within the University, vending machines and student discounts and special offers. UWSConnect has been criticised for high prices and poor quality food and events. This perception has dramatically improved since 2008, as the organisation consolidates itself at UWS.


The University of Western Sydney has on-campus accommodation in the form of the UWS Village.


Connect Fitness. — Connect Fitness is a not for profit organisation located on the grounds of the University of Western Sydney with four gyms now in operation over the Kingswood, Hawkesbury, Bankstown & Campbelltown campuses.


Published since 2013, Cruwsible is an editorially independent student newspaper of the University of Western Sydney. It is available online and has a print circulation of 6,000.

UWS College

In 2009 UWS opened UWSCollege at the old Blacktown campus of the University after protest about the divesting of property and resources from the site.

The UWSCollege Nirimba campus is built on the site of HMAS Nirimba, a former naval aviation base, and is also known as the Nirimba Education Precinct, in Quakers Hill, about a 10-minute drive from Blacktown. The nearest railway station is Quakers Hill. The campus has many historical buildings and 2 crossed air runways.

Nirimba Campus has student accommodation, air-conditioned lecture theatres and rooms built in the 1990s. The campus has views of nearby Schofields Aerodrome. Campus numbers have dwindled since the university reduced the range of courses available. It is primarily a single-discipline campus, offering business courses which are also taught at other UWS campuses. Nirimba campus is not far from Norwest Business Park.

Located in the Nirimba Education Precinct in Quakers Hill, the campus is the home of the UWS owned [37] UWSCollege. UWS shares the precinct with TAFE NSW-Western Sydney Institute, Nirimba College, Catholic College, Nirimba Campus and Wyndham College. Together they propose to "work through a collaborative partnership focusing on innovation, enterprise and dedication in achieving the best possible outcomes for students." [38]

In recent times there has been much controversy over the status of this campus, at one point UWS was depicted in the media as abandoning the campus and the local area it served.[39] There was even a Council run protest at the closure called Save UWS Nirimba, where politicians and the University were petitioned to save the campus from closure, later it was decided rather than divesting they would set up UWSCollege.

UWS has recently announced for its Blacktown campus a brand new Medical facility called the Blacktown-Mount Druitt Clinical school [40] which would be based at Blacktown Hospital, making it the second clinical school associated with the School of Medicine.[41]

UWSCollege is a "pathways to university" institute and caters to those who wish to go to the University.

The library located in C21 was originally a dual purpose library, though run and staffed by UWS it was also used as the TAFE library. Now a 'triple purpose' library is also caters to the students of the UWSCollege. Both WSI TAFE and UWSCollege provide funding to UWS for this privilege, however as with all UWS libraries, purchasing, collection maintenance and staffing is managed centrally.

UWS International

The University has made academic cooperation agreements with the following international Universities

Refer: 2007,[42] 2008 [43]

Notable people

The current and seventh Chancellor of the University since January 2011 is Peter Shergold, AC, a former senior public servant and academic.[44] The current Vice-Chancellor and President of the university since January 2014 is Professor Barney Glover.[45]


See also


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b "QS World University Rankings 2013". Top Universities. 2013-08-27. Retrieved 2014-11-30. 
  3. ^ "Rankings". Australian Universities. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Home | Whitlam Institute". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  5. ^ "University of Western Sydney Bill - 19/11/1997 - 2R - NSW Parliament". 1997-11-19. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  6. ^ "Services for international education marketing | Services for international education marketing". British Council. 2015-04-13. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ [3][dead link]
  9. ^ "Microsoft – Official Home Page". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  10. ^ "Historical Conferences sponsored by UWS | University of Western Sydney (UWS)". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  11. ^ "PM - UWS accuses Jackie Kelly of smear campaign". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ [5][dead link]
  14. ^ [6][dead link]
  15. ^ [7][dead link]
  16. ^ [8][dead link]
  17. ^ [9][dead link]
  18. ^ [10]
  19. ^ [11]
  20. ^ [12][dead link]
  21. ^ R. Bhathal. "Campbelltown Rotary Observatory" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  22. ^ "The Gates of Light officially switched on at Macarthur Heights on Thursday".\accessdate=2015-04-17. 
  23. ^ [13][dead link]
  24. ^ "Home - Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment - University of Western Sydney". 2014-09-02. Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  25. ^ [14][dead link]
  26. ^ "News Australia - Uni closes dairy farm - Dairy Cattle News". Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  27. ^ Wright, Jessica (1 June 2012). "PM announces $7 million grant for Whitlam tribute". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "Gillard gives $7m for Whitlam project". Herald Sun. AAP. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  29. ^ "Biological and Chemical Research Institute (1970 - 1992)". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. 4 May 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  30. ^ "UWS Shines with best ever ARC results". UWS. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  31. ^ "Climate right for new research institute at UWS". UWS. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  32. ^ "literature - in2oz creative australia - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade". Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  33. ^ "THE 100 Under 50 universities 2015". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2015-05-20. 
  34. ^ [15][dead link]
  35. ^ "University Ratings in NSW". Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  36. ^ UWS Connect website stating UWS connect is a not for profit organisation
  37. ^ "About Uwscollege". Retrieved 2010-03-29. [dead link]
  38. ^ "Nirimba Precinct - Education and training colleges in Western Sydney". Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  39. ^ McDougall, Bruce (2007-06-20). "UWS shuts Blacktown campus". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  40. ^ "UWS Latest News | University of Western Sydney (UWS)". Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  41. ^ The first school being the Macarthur Clinical School at Campbelltown Hospital which opened in March 2007.
  42. ^ [16][dead link]
  43. ^ "Annual Report 2008 - Volume 1" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-17. 
  44. ^ "Peter Shergold appointed UWS Chancellor". University of Western Sydney (Press release). Australian School of Business. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  45. ^ "Vice-Chancellor and President". USW Executive. University of Western Sydney. 23 December 2014. 

External links

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