USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra and Pro Vice-Chancellor of University of New South Wales, Ms Fione Docherty(centre), with staff from both universities during the courtesy visit at the Laucala Campus.
A delegation from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) paid a courtesy visit to The University of the South Pacific (USP) on 24 May 2016 to discuss possible areas of collaboration.
The six-member delegation was led by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, International of UNSW, Ms Fione Docherty.
According to Ms Docherty, one of the major aims of visiting USP was to strengthen ties with the Pacific’s regional University.
“This came as a challenge by our Vice-Chancellor, to deepen links with Australia’s nearest neighbours in the Pacific,” she said.
Ms Docherty added that one of the distinguishing features of UNSW is that the University is an international one.
“Since we have opened our doors, we have a large international community who are our students and staff. Thirty per cent of our students are largely from the regions of the Pacific and over the years, we have developed very rapidly as a university. Others consider us as one of the top 50 in the world,” she added.
With an ambition to create a very research intensive university, Ms Docherty is hopeful to work closely with USP in a number of research areas in future.
In welcoming the visitors, USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra, spoke about the University’s development role in the region, apart from its normal operations as a higher education provider.
Professor Chandra informed the delegation that the Pacific region has a number of agencies that have sectoral work, adding that, USP has been the leader of two of these sectors, namely, Human Resource and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Working Groups.
He also told the UNSW delegates that USP is different from other universities, in that, it is owned and governed by 12 countries and almost half of the students enrolled at the University are studying through flexible modes of learning.
The Vice-Chancellor further informed the team from UNSW that the USP Council, in a recent meeting, has agreed that Papua New Guinea can join the University as a member country.
“This shows that even a large country with seven universities of its own, feels that it should also join USP as a member country,” Professor Chandra said.
While talking about the University’s regional campuses, Professor Chandra said that apart from offering most of the courses through flexible deliveries, there are Schools that are based at Samoa (Alafua Campus) and Vanuatu (Emalus Campus).
Professor Chandra highlighted that plans are underway to establish a School of Public Health at USP’s Solomon Islands Campus, when a new Campus is built.
He further stated that talks are also in progress to have USP become a member of the Australian Research Council.
According to Professor Chandra, some of the possible collaboration interests include, partnering for multi-million dollar research projects, joint PhD supervisions by the two universities and UNSW’s assistance towards the public health school in Solomon Islands.
UNSW was established in 1949, and currently has over 55,000 students and 6,000 staff across its three campuses in Australia.
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