New dawn for residential colleges at UNE

Published 29 June 2012

The University of New England is embarking on a major redevelopment of its residential colleges as it strives to become the country’s pre-eminent collegiate university.

In a major step in this process, the UNE Council has appointed UniLodge as the preferred tenderer for the first stage of the redevelopment.

The Chancellor, Richard Torbay, said that UNE’s Strategic Plan 2011-2015 was to grow volume and margin in distance education and to reinvest the surpluses on-campus, particularly in UNE’s college system. “And that is exactly what we are doing,” he said.

“This unique partnership with UniLodge, in which we will maintain our contribution to the colleges’ operating costs, allows us to retain the UNE culture and lifestyle and avoid privatisation,” Mr Torbay said.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, said that UNE’s colleges were a national treasure, and that the University wanted to ensure that their rich culture and history were retained in any redevelopment.

“Last year we began our college redevelopment project by appointing Deans and Academic Masters to two of our colleges,” Professor Barber said. “These appointments have strengthened the academic culture of both colleges, and we will continue to enhance the academic life and pastoral care at all of our colleges.

“With that work well under way, we are now turning our attention to modernising our ageing college infrastructure to ensure that our aspiration to be the nation’s best is reflected in our residential offerings to students. This redevelopment will give UNE a competitive edge over other collegiate universities.”

“An important aspect of this partnership is that all physical assets will revert to UNE,” Professor Barber said.

UNE’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Peter Enlund, said that the first stage of what UNE hoped would be the total redevelopment of its college system was likely to focus on Robb College.

“We will now work with UniLodge to develop a more detailed proposal that can be taken to college staff and residents for their input in the coming months,” Mr Enlund said. “Our colleges have a proud history dating back more than 50 years, and we need to ensure that tradition lives on by breathing new life into the colleges’ infrastructure.

“I look forward to working with Robb College in the months ahead to ensure that we honour and maintain the College’s rich culture and history.”

Clicking on the image of UNE’s Earle Page College displayed here reveals a photograph of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber (left), and the Chancellor, Richard Torbay, taken at Duval College.