The University of New England has repositioned itself at the forefront of distance education in Australia through a deal agreed between UNE and the international education services provider Pearson on Sunday.
The partnership entails world-standard delivery and marketing of UNE online courses throughout the nation and overseas. It is the first partnership of its kind in the tertiary sector outside the United States.
It will provide a guaranteed revenue stream for the University and is expected to increase external student numbers each year.
Through the partnership with the University, Pearson will make its online systems and marketing expertise available to enhance the way UNE delivers its distance education course material.
The UNE Council has also approved the first step towards a staged upgrade of the residential colleges on campus through further partnership agreements with the private sector.
Robb College will be the first to undergo extensive re-development with expressions of interest to be called for this week. All 190 rooms at the College will be upgraded.
The Chancellor, Dr Richard Torbay, said the two deals were integral to the University’s Strategic Plan, which received unanimous support at Sunday’s Council meeting. “We are back at the top of the game, and it’s an exciting development for the University based on two of its outstanding features – distance education and the residential college system,” he said. “Bringing the colleges up to date will attract greater numbers of internal students to Armidale.
“Through the partnership with Pearson we can grow UNE’s proven excellence in delivering distance education. We will have greater numbers of external students, and that will create more academic and other staff positions in the long term.”
The Chancellor emphasised that UNE would continue to control all course content and academic standards, and that there would be no job losses on the campus as a result of the agreement.
“In effect, it means that the University’s five-star rating for student satisfaction will now be matched by a platform for delivery in the very competitive national and international online environment,” he said. “The competition in the public and private tertiary sector is fierce and the uncertainty surrounding enrolments with next year’s deregulation of the market has created a lot of nervousness.”
The Chancellor said that Council was confident UNE could withstand the challenge by building on its existing strengths through world-class online course delivery and a rounded university education experience through the residential college system.
Pearson is the world’s leading education company. From pre-school to vocational, university and professional studies, its curriculum materials, multimedia learning tools and testing programs help to educate more than 100 million people worldwide.
THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows the Chancellor of UNE, Dr Richard Torbay (right), with the Chief Executive Officer of Pearson Australia, Mr David Barnett.