Bold plan for regional Victoria

Bold plan for regional Victoria

16 Jun 2009

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, today launched a plan designed to benefit the economic, social and cultural fabric of regional communities.

Professor Johnson said the Regional Strategic Plan 2009 – 2012 is a major stride forward for regional higher education, following the Federal Government’s vote of confidence in the University with a $60 million Budget allocation to build the La Trobe Rural Health School in Bendigo.

‘The La Trobe Regional Strategic Plan underscores our commitment to the development of vibrant and sustainable communities in regional Victoria,’ Professor Johnson said.

‘The plan is a four-year pathway that will enrich and develop the economic, professional, social and cultural fabric of the communities surrounding our regional campuses in Bendigo, Albury-Wodonga, Mildura and Shepparton.’

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional), Professor Hal Swerissen, said he is thrilled to be guiding the University’s regional campuses in the development of plans that will give more regional Victorians the chance to participate in higher education.

‘We know that 18 – 20 year olds who live in regional locations are less likely to attend University than their metropolitan counterparts (18% compared to 25%). The new La Trobe Rural Health School alone will increase enrolments in health sciences by 70%.  An additional 781 equivalent full time students will see student numbers rise from 1108 last year to 1889.

‘The Regional Strategic Plan creates an excellent foundation for further growth in the numbers of students engaged in higher education at our regional campuses,’ said Professor Swerissen.

Professor Swerissen said that the plan will also help to meet workforce demands in northern Victoria.

‘The population of the Loddon region, for example, is projected to increase from 177,191 in 2006 to 277,188 in 2030.  Our aim is to increase the numbers of international and domestic students right across northern Victoria so that we are better able to meet the needs of the workforce and the plan provides a road map to meet that aim,’ he said.

The La Trobe University Regional Strategic Plan will be augmented by broad community consultations that will guide the way forward, and it is a starting point for ongoing dialogue as we jointly seek to increase participation in higher education and contribute to local knowledge.

‘We will consult with community stakeholders and regional advisory boards to identify regional needs and aspirations so that common goals are established. Through our research strengths, we will contribute to the knowledge and understanding of environmental, economic and social transformations occurring in regional Australia,’ said Professor Swerissen.

‘La Trobe University can make a substantial contribution to the development of vibrant and innovative regional communities. We will work in partnership with key stakeholders to strengthen the economic and cultural outlook across country Victoria.’

Some performance measures that will determine the success of La Trobe University’s Regional Strategic Plan 2009 – 2012 include:

1. Increase demand for higher education
•    Increase full time student numbers on regional campuses by 20% (to 5500)
•    Increase participation levels of identified student equity groups by 10%
•    Increase international student population on regional campuses by 50%.

2. Remove or lessen structural barriers to make it easier to study in regional Victoria
•    Offer different modes of study
•    Share planning with local partners (including local government).

3. Conduct high impact research relevant to regional communities
•    Increase higher degree by research students
•    Increase level and depth of research on and across each campus.   

4. Increase engagement with the community
•    Strengthen regional alumni
•    Build research partnerships with communities.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Zerin Knight
Phone: (03) 5444 7375 F
Mobile: 0428 463 161




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