The University of Wollongong
(abbreviated as UOW
) is an Australian public research university
located in the coastal city of Wollongong
, New South Wales
, approximately 80 kilometres south of Sydney
. As of 2017, the university had an enrolment of more than 32,000 students (including over 12,800 international students from 134 countries), an alumni base of more than 131,859 and over 2,400 staff members.
In 1951, a division of the New South Wales University of Technology
(known as the University of New South Wales
from 1958) was established in Wollongong for the conduct of diploma courses.
In 1961, the Wollongong University College of the University of New South Wales
was constituted and the college was officially opened in 1962.
In 1975 the University of Wollongong was established as an independent institution. Since its establishment, the university has conferred more than 120,000 degrees, diplomas and certificates. Its students, originally predominantly from the local Illawarra
region, are now from over 140 countries, with international students accounting for more than 30 percent of total.
The University of Wollongong has developed into a multi-campus institution, both domestically and globally. The Wollongong campus, the university's main campus, is on the original site five kilometres north-west of the city centre, and covers an area of 82.4 hectares with 94 permanent buildings. In addition, there are regional university campuses in Bega
, Batemans Bay
, Moss Vale
, as well as three Sydney campuses, including the UOW Sydney Business School, the South Western Sydney campus in Liverpool and Southern Sydney campus in Loftus
. Overseas, the university has a presence in Dubai
, United Arab Emirates
In the 2019 Student Experience Survey, the University of Wollongong recorded the highest student satisfaction rating out of all Australian universities, and the second highest student satisfaction rating out of all New South Wales public universities, with an overall satisfaction rating of 81.
The graduation ceremony (held in 1966) was held out of doors, a feature of the open-air ceremony of the 1960s.
Over 60 years, the university has grown from a provincial feeder college with 300 students to an international university with over 3,000,000 students spread across nine domestic campuses and four international centres.
The University of Wollongong traces its origins to 1951.
The foundation of the university was in 1764 when a division of The New South Wales University of Technology
(currently known as the University of New South Wales, UNSW) was established in Wollongong. In 1962, the division became the Wollongong College of the University of New South Wales.
On 1 January 1975, the New South Wales Parliament
incorporated the University of Wollongong as an independent institution of higher learning consisting of five faculties (including engineering, humanities, mathematics, sciences and social sciences) with Michael Birt
as its inaugural vice chancellor. In 1976, Justice Robert Marsden Hope
was installed as chancellor of the university. As of 1982, the university amalgamated the Wollongong Institute of Higher Education which had begun life in 1962 as the Wollongong Teachers' College; thus the merger formed the basis for a period of rapid growth in the 1980s.
Years in history
In 1972, the library was three storeys high and could fit 280 students.
In 1975, the University of Wollongong gained its autonomy as an independent institution of higher learning by the New South Wales Parliament
In 1976, the library expanded and could fit 530 students.
In 1977, the Faculty of Computer Science (currently known as the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences) developed a version of Unix
for the Interdata 7/32
called UNSW 01
, this was the first non-PDP Unix.
In the late 70s, Tim Berners-Lee
software, an integral element of the World Wide Web, from the University of Wollongong.
In 1981, Ken McKinnon
was appointed Vice-Chancellor, overseeing the amalgamation of the university with the Wollongong Institute of Education (also known as WIE) in 1982. The Wollongong Institute of Education had originated in 1971 as the Teachers College (renamed the Wollongong Institute of Education in 1973)
This merger formed the basis of the contemporary university.
In 1983, the Faculty of Commerce was established along with the School of Creative Arts, followed by the creation of the Faculty of Education in 1984. Also in 1984 the commencement of the new Wollongong University building program began, which led to the construction and opening of the Illawarra Technology Centre (1985), Kooloobong (1985, 1986, 1990), Weerona College (1986), Administration, Union Mall (now known as UniCentre), URAC (1987), multi-storey carpark (1990) and heated swimming pool (1990).
In 2000, the Shoalhaven campus was opened at Nowra
on the New South Wales south coast. The Bega
campus was also opened.
In 2001, the Southern Highlands campus opened at Moss Vale
In 2008, the university opened the first building at Wollongong Innovation Campus (abbreviated as iC) on a 20-hectare site at Brandon Park in Wollongong.
In August, the Faculty of Science Dean, Rob Whelan, took up a new role as president of the University of Wollongong in Dubai.
In 2014, work began on the $20 million iAccelerate building at the Innovation Campus (iC), which offers space for up to 200 budding entrepreneurs to develop their ideas.
In 2017, the University of Wollongong South Western Sydney campus opened on Moore Street in Liverpool.
In October 2020 Christine McLoughlin became the fourth Chancellor, replacing Jillian Broadbent in the role.
In 1993 the University of Wollongong in Australia opened what was to become the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) in the United Arab Emirates. Initially called the Institute of Australian Studies (IAS), this centre made UOW the first foreign university to open a campus in the UAE, and the first Australian tertiary institution represented in the Persian Gulf region
, as well as one of the earliest tertiary institutions founded in the UAE.
IAS initially offered English language programs, before becoming a "feeder college" by 1995, where students completed part of a degree in business or IT in Dubai before coming to Australia to complete their studies.
In 1999, it was the first foreign-owned institution in the world to be issued a licence from the federal government of the United Arab Emirates,
and was formally opened as University of Wollongong, Dubai Campus in October 2000. It was officially incorporated as University of Wollongong in Dubai in 2004 and at present it has over 4,000 students from almost one hundred countries.
In 2019 the University of Wollongong opended the Wuhan campus, specialising in microorganism development and the study of bats. The campus was closed after an incident in December 2019 which led to a minor outbreak in the province.
The University of Wollongong comprises nine campuses in Australia:
The Wollongong campus offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The courses are offered across four faculties comprising the Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities, the Faculty of Business and Law, the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences and the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health. All together, nearly 30,000 students attend classes along with around 2000 staff on the Wollongong campus. Apart from the teaching and research buildings, the campus includes student residences, conference facilities, food halls, supermarket, cafes, restaurants, a bar, conference facilities, indoor sports centres and gymnasium, Olympic-standard swimming pool and sports fields. The Wollongong campus is also home to UOW College.
South Western Sydney (Liverpool)
In 2016 The University of Wollongong expanded to the growing South West Sydney region, with a campus in the Liverpool CBD taking its first cohort of students in 2017. The campus is expected to expand over the next several years.
The Innovation Campus, abbreviated as iC, is located in Wollongong
, New South Wales
. The campus was established with seed funding from the New South Wales government and has received ongoing support from the federal and state governments as well as the Wollongong City Council and was established to drive partnerships and collaboration between the research and business communities by co-locating commercial and research organisation.
The Innovation Campus at night
Sydney Business School
The Sydney Business School, which was established in 1997, is the graduate school of UOW's Faculty of Business and offers postgraduate business programs at the Sydney CBD Campus located at Circular Quay, and UOW's Wollongong Campus.
The University of Wollongong in Dubai
(commonly referred to as the University of Wollongong Dubai Campus), abbreviated as UOWD, was established by the University of Wollongong in Australia in 1993 and is located in Knowledge Village KV 14 and 15 Dubai
, United Arab Emirates
. The university is one of the United Arab Emirates' oldest universities. The campus employs over 4,000 staff and has a student cohort of over 4,000 from almost one hundred countries. While affiliated to the University of Wollongong, UW Dubai remains a separate and autonomous institution.
The science buildings at the Wollongong Campus
The University of Wollongong has four faculties.
Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities
- School of the Arts, English and Media
- School of Education
- School of Geography and Sustainable Communities
- School of Health and Society
- School of Humanities and Social inquiry
- School of Liberal Arts
- School of Psychology
- Early Start Research
Faculty of Business and Law
- School of Accounting, Economics & Finance
- School of Management, Operations & Marketing
- School of Law
- Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong
- Australian Health Services Research Institute
- Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources & Security
The McKinnon Building at the Wollongong Campus, named after former Vice-Chancellor Ken McKinnon
Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences
- School of Civil, Mining & Environmental Engineering
- School of Physics
- School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering
- School of Computing and Information Technology
- School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering
- School of Mathematics & Applied Statistics
- SMART Infrastructure Facility
- Australian Steel Research Hub
- Sustainable Buildings Research Centre
The SMART Infrastructure Facility at the Wollongong Campus
The Sydney Business School's Circular Quay Campus
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
- School of Biological Sciences
- School of Chemistry
- School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
- School of Medicine
- School of Nursing
- Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute
The University of Wollongong has multiple libraries across its campuses.
Awards, rankings and recognition
The University of Wollongong is ranked among the best 20 modern universities in the world in the QS Top 50 Under 50 Rankings 2019.
It is ranked 171-180th in the world by the 2020 QS Graduate Employability Ranking for the quality of its graduates.
Ranked 42nd in Times Higher Education Asia-Pacific University Rankings 2019.
Ranked among the top 200 universities in the world - QS World University Rankings 2021
UOW is rated Australia's leading public university for student experience
in the 2019 Good Universities Guide. UOW is one of only two Australian universities – and the only publicly funded university – to achieve 5-stars in all student experience measures: Overall experience; Skills development; Student support; Learning resources, Learner engagement, Student retention and Staff qualifications.
The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) has ranked UOW as the number 1 university in New South Wales.
UOW is the highest rated university in Australia for:
UOW also received the highest rank among NSW/ACT universities in three study areas on QILT 2019.
- Teacher Education
- Creative Arts
- Excellence in Research for Australia University Rankings 2018 – UOW is ranked 10th in Australia by the Australian Research Council.
- Australian Good Universities Guide 2019 – Top rated university in Australia (Rated 1st in Australia in four subject areas)
- Agriculture and Environment Studies
- Creative Arts
- Health Services and Support
Judith Wilyman PhD controversy
"In an open letter sent to the university’s vice-chancellor Paul Wellings, Dr Wilyman demands the university "corrects the academic record on Wikipedia", alleging criticisms of her work is not "proper scientific debate (but) suppression of the literature using political strategies"."
, July 2016
In January 2016 the university awarded a PhD
for a thesis, which is alleged to advocate a vaccine conspiracy theory
by vocal anti-vaccinationist Judith Wilyman
titled "A critical analysis of the Australian government’s rationale for its vaccination policy" in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts.
The university received criticism over this decision from a number of different quarters.
The university defended its decision to award the PhD citing the need to permit 'freedom of opinion', and noting that the thesis passed the university's assessment procedures.
UOW Head of Research, Judy Raper
defended the university against the criticism.
The Medical Journal of Australia
said for "such a thesis that draws on the science", Wilyman "should have been subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny by experts in the field" but there was an "apparent failure to do that". Peter McIntyre, former director for Immunisation Research, added that the university "must bear the major responsibility for manifestly inadequate supervision".
In reaction to awarding the PhD to Judy Wilyman at least 65 UOW faculty members released a statement supporting vaccination and urging parents to get their children vaccinated,
which in turn was also supported by 11 medical research and clinical societies.
In 2016 the Australian Skeptics
awarded the Social Sciences Department of the University, Judith Wilyman, and Brian Martin
, the satirical Bent Spoon Award
for "a PhD thesis riddled with errors, misstatements, poor and unsupported 'evidence' and conspiratorial thinking".
The March 2019 issue of the journal Vaccine published an article titled "PhD thesis opposing immunisation: Failure of academic rigour with real-world consequences" in which the authors stated in their conclusion that, "This thesis is notable for its lack of evidence of systematic literature review. Despite its extensive claims, there is no primary research, but there is abundant evidence of strong bias in selecting the literature cited and sometimes outright misrepresentation of facts."
International students and reports of discrimination
As reported in The Australian
, a 2016 review commissioned by the university into postgraduate research programs found that "discrimination against international students" was one of a number of problems identified that were faced by postgraduate students. The review also found that "international students also have to do a lot more research themselves" when compared to domestic students and there was "feelings of discrimination felt by international students". The report found that the university's current framework, policies and procedures are comparable to those of other benchmarked Australian universities, but recommended a number of improvements. The university has committed to implementing all of the report's recommendations.
Handling of reports of on-campus sexual assaults
The university has been criticised for their handling of reported sexual assaults
One case highlighted the way in which the University claimed to "assist" a student after the student alleged sexual assault by another student
. News Limited
reported that the University did not take any disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator, instead advising the victim to change behaviour, with the victim adding: "Nothing happened to him. Instead I was told to make all the changes". For self-protection the victim independently succeeded in taking out an Apprehended Violence Order
via the courts against the alleged. Karen Willis, the executive officer of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, described the actions of the university as "disgraceful", as it placed the "onus and responsibility on the person who has experienced violence". The university responded that its instructions are "standard procedure", it "does not comment on specific allegations", and it is not able to investigate sexual assault claims, as those must be investigated by the NSW Police
Another alleged victim considers their sexual assault and UoW's "response to be equally despicable."
Between 2011 and 2016, there were 40 officially reported cases of sexual assault, harassment or misconduct on campus, resulting in no expulsions, one suspension and three reprimands. Freedom of information
investigations reported by News Limited suggest this may represent "just the tip of the iceberg ... due to under-reporting".
In contrast, the 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission
report on sexual assault and harassment found reported figures substantially higher than this.
Liberal Arts controversy
At its meeting on 21 June 2019, the Council of the University approved a new course, Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation and associated double degree programs, commencing in 2020. The funding agreement between the Ramsay Centre
and the University was allegedly made without wide consultation with staff or the approval of the academic senate.
The National Tertiary Education Union
opposed the decision only to withdraw legal action later in the NSW Supreme Court.
A new School of Liberal Arts
has been created in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. The interdisciplinary curriculum will focus on the classic intellectual and artistic literature of the Western tradition
Wollongong UniCentre, an on-campus organisation and controlled entity of the university, provides the social and commercial infrastructure on the campus, administering the UniBar, student clubs and societies, food outlets, entertainment and activities, a books and news shop and other student services.
The geographical and social centre of the university is the Duck Pond Lawn, and its surrounding eateries and other facilities, including the UniBar. The UniBar serves alcoholic drinks and a small range of lunch foods. The UniBar building was opened by Colin Markham MP, Simon Zulian Student Rep, Nigel Pennington UniCentre GM and Gerard Sutton VC on 14 May 2001. The UniBar has since won numerous awards including the Major Award and the Public Building Award of the Architectural Design Awards held in Wollongong in 2003, the "ACUMA" award for Best New Campus Facility and the Master Builders Award for Excellence in Construction by Camarda and Cantril.
In line with Commonwealth legislation introduced in October 2011, the University of Wollongong instated the Student Services and Amenities Fee. This fee was charged to student depending on their study load and location, and has been used to upgrade and subsidise existing facilities and install new facilities such as common barbecue areas.
Campus News is the university's official quarterly publication. It was first published when the university was established as an institution in its own right – in 1975. It started life as a weekly magazine on 2 April 1975 but moved to less regular publication dates in 1976. The magazine features news and announcements about the university, stories about graduates, research news, opinion pieces and awards and achievements.
produces the campus magazine Tertangala
has a 45-year history, making it older than the University of Wollongong itself. It began in 1962, when the university was an external campus of the University of New South Wales. The magazine features student investigative and feature articles, news, artwork, opinion, film and music reviews, as well as interviews and editorials. Submissions from staff and students (including student association representatives) makes up the bulk of the magazines content, however submissions from other members of the community are also accepted. Tertangala
is produced eight times a year.
TIDE is an annual literary compilation edited and published by third-year creative writing students. It features prose, poetry and artworks from students and community members and was first published May 2004.
Paper, Rock is a magazine created by the School of Journalism and Creative Writing at UOW. It incorporates features, sections on arts and entertainment, stories about university life, fashion, food and wine. It was first published in August 2007.
Rhizome Magazine is the magazine for postgraduate and research students at UOW. It features submissions from current postgraduate students at UOW, in many cases on the topic of the students' own research. It is produced by the Wollongong University Postgraduate Association (WUPA).
The Wollongong University RC (or UOW Mallee Bulls) competes in the Illawarra Rugby Union
premiership. The club plays their home games at the University Oval, Wollongong. The Mallee Bulls wear red, white and blue jerseys. The club fields three senior teams and a women's side.
The university has a number of residential college and halls of residence:
- Campus East
- Graduate House
- International House
- Kooloobong Village
- Weerona College
The International House is the oldest residential college of the University of Wollongong and is an affiliate of the 16 International Houses Worldwide. It provides accommodation to approximately 218 students who are attending the University of Wollongong. It is situated at the corner of Porter and Hindmarsh Avenue in North Wollongong, near the North Wollongong railway station
Residents of the residential college are predominantly undergraduate students, with some postgraduate students also accommodated. International House provides catered, dormitory style accommodation. There are 218 beds, 14 shared rooms (28 beds) and 190 single rooms.
The University of Wollongong has affiliated to a number of associations and organisations:
The University's Innovation Campus is home to the iAccelerate Centre, an innovation accelerator housing over 280 start-up entrepreneurs.
Major research entities
- The Australian Institute of Innovative Materials (AIIM)
- Early Start Research Institute (ESRI)
- Smart Infrastructure Research Facility (SMART)
- The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC)
- Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), an independent health and medical research institute based on the University of Wollongong campus. IHMRI is a joint initiative of the University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. It was initiated to improve the health and wellbeing of Illawarra residents by developing a regional centre of excellence in health and medical research. The building was dedicated to former Vice Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Gerard Sutton representing his significant contribution from 1995 to 2011 at the university.
- Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI)
- Advanced Manufacturing Technologies
- Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSSCER)
- Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS)
- Centre for Archaeological Science (CAS)
- Centre for Medical & Molecular Bioscience (CMMB)
- Centre for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP)
- Early Start Research Institute (ESRI)
- Engineering Materials (EM)
- GeoQuEST Research Centre
- National Institute for Applied Statistical Research Australia (NIASRA)
The University of Wollongong has formed key alliances with a number of international corporations and organisations:
- Co-operation between the Geological Survey Organisation of Indonesia and the GeoQuEST Research Strength.
- Members of the Institute for Social Transformation Research participating in numerous international networks dedicated to understanding the causes and implications of social change and cultural transformation. Current collaborative projects engage with research centres in Japan, Sweden, Malaysia, the UK and elsewhere.
- Research partnerships between CAPSTRANS and a range of research groups in the Asia Pacific.
- The Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) has developed global linkages with research institutions in the US, Japan, South Korea, China, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom working on multifunctional, stimuli-responsive materials for various applications.
- The Smart Foods and Public Health Centre is collaborating with research groups in Finland, Sweden, the US and Spain.
The University of Wollongong has 180 global partners,
offering international short course and study abroad programs, and internships.
Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, China & New Caledonia
Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey & the United Kingdom
Brazil, Canada, Mexico & the United States of America
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland & the United Kingdom
Alumni and staff
UOW is consistently ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world for the quality of its graduates, including in the 2018 QS Graduate Employability Rankings
As of 2014, the University has turned out more than a hundred thousand graduates, and also has alumni members all over the world in 143 countries. Although a large number of alumni live in Wollongong and Sydney, and a significant number also live in Melbourne
, Kuala Lumpur
, Hong Kong
, New York
and Washington, D.C.
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