La Trobe reports to community

La Trobe University will continue to consult widely across regional Victoria to ensure obstacles facing regional students wishing to access higher education continue to be removed.

Paul Johnson close up That’s the promise made by La Trobe’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, upon the release of the University’s first annual Regional Community Report which outlines progress towards goals set out in the Regional Strategic Plan 2009 - 2012.

The report shows that the University is exceeding expectations just twelve months into a four-year strategy.

‘We set out to improve our engagement with communities, substantially increase participation in higher education in regional Victoria, and boost our regional research capacity,’ Professor Johnson said.  

Key accomplishments over the past 12 months include securing funding for major infrastructure and research, a significant economic contribution to gross regional product and a 30% increase in student enrolments.  

‘We can see in the Regional Community Report that we are keeping our regional promises and ticking many of these boxes.’

‘We will continue to tick those boxes,’ he said.

The next step on the University’s agenda is to work towards removing the barriers that make it difficult for regional Victorians to go to university by developing stronger links with secondary schools and the TAFE sector.

This will be done through partnerships with local industry and government, alongside campus-specific Regional Advisory Boards to assist the university refine its approach to servicing the diverse needs of each regional campus.

‘It means we are able develop courses that are relevant to local industries, which meet local workforce demands and community aspirations,’ said Professor Johnson.

Professor Hal Swerissen, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional) says the University has a strong future in the regions, both in education and in stimulating local economies.

La Trobe’s regional teaching campuses now employ more than 1,300 staff and host over 5,500 students, contributing in excess of $280 million to the Gross Regional Product of the communities in which it operates.

 ‘Our aim is to increase enrolments at our regional campuses by 20% and our regional research capacity by 50% by 2012, so this contribution to the gross figure will increase considerably,’ said Professor Swerissen.

 ‘We will remain dedicated to the development of vibrant and sustainable communities in Regional Victoria,’ he said.

Professor Lin Crase, Executive Director Albury-Wodonga, said that Albury-Wodonga campus contributes $50.3 million per year to the Gross Regional Product and supports 515 jobs in the local economy.

“We also know that around 70% of La Trobe’s regional graduates continue to live and work in the regions, further contributing to the economic and cultural productivity and sustainability of regional communities,” he said.

“The community also supports us in our endeavours in variety of ways, including providing awards and prizes to our students and supporting fundraising for the Community Scholarship Program,” stated Professor Crase.

Professor Crase said the campus looks forward to further strengthening its engagement with the regional community, in terms of the delivery of relevant courses, research projects and cultural activities.

Regional Community Report highlights: Albury-Wodonga campus

•    Established several new courses in 2009 including the Bachelor of Business (Sustainable Resource Management) and an innovative multi-disciplinary subject, Climate, Sustainability and Society;
•    Strengthened research efforts in freshwater ecology, resource management and ageing in rural communities;
•    Albury-Wodonga students assist with wetlands research - a group of second year students from the Department of Environmental Management and Ecology recently participated in an Australian-first project to trial management treatments for acidified Murray River wetlands;
•    The Albury-Wodonga campus successfully hosted the second annual Wodonga Sustainability Fair in August 2009 and initiated the pilot Sustainable Victorian Communities Competition for secondary schools;
•    The unique Albury-Wodonga campus Bridging Program assisted another cohort of mature-age students, including students with refugee backgrounds, to return to study.
•    The inaugural Spring Reception successfully raised funds for the Community Scholarship program, generously supported by over 50 local and regional sponsors.

For a copy of the Regional Community Report, visit:

For a short video of Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional) Hal Swerissen discussing the University's ambitions for the regional communities it serves, visit:

To arrange an interview or for further information, please contact:
Name Reinhard Beissbarth
Company  La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga
Phone 02 6024 9874