University of Wollongong - Shoalhaven Campus - proudly Shoalhaven
The University of Wollongong’s Shoalhaven Campus offers students the muscle of a major university, combined with the warmth and friendliness of a small campus environment.
Former Campus head Associate Professor Robbie Collins came to the position 14 years ago, having received sound advice that she was moving to a “can-do” community in the Shoalhaven, one that would make things happen.
She hasn’t been disappointed and has witnessed massive growth in the community and on campus.
“There is a two-way flow of energy between what’s going on in the Shoalhaven region and what’s going on in the campus,” she said.
Robbie points to the community collaboration behind the new $2.5m MIND the GaP building as a perfect example of that synergy.
Jointly funded by the Federal Government, through Shoalhaven City Council, and the University, the project will bring together a range of community partners including Lifeline South Coast, Noah’s Shoalhaven and COORDINARE to develop mental health care initiatives aimed at young people.
“This is an example of a clever collaboration developing this campus with a community orientation because it’s so much a community development initiative,” Robbie said.
The local connection even extends to the building design, with Nowra architectural firm Edmiston Jones winning the tender.
Robbie said the University was very much involved in linking with the community, and along with the Economic Development Office of Shoalhaven City Council, is one of the founding members of the Shoalhaven Professional Business Association (spba). The spba aims to attract and retain professionals in the Shoalhaven and the campus is a key link in developing local professionals who suit the needs of the local business community.
“The Shoalhaven is a growing region and it’s one of the fastest growing areas in NSW. The University sees itself as one of the engines of regional development, committed to be part of that business development, community development and the regional development process,’’ Robbie said.
The campus opened in 2000 in response to the Federal Government’s desire to bring university life closer to the people, providing regional Australians with more equitable access to higher education. About 500 students of all ages and backgrounds attend the campus, mostly from within the Shoalhaven.
“Our medical students come from all over the place, but, by and large, our students in teaching, business, nursing, social work, arts and humanities come from the local area,” Robbie said.
Studies show that people who study regionally are far more likely to practice in regional areas, so the University of Wollongong Shoalhaven Campus is not just producing professionals for the Shoalhaven, but is training people who will support economic growth in other regional areas.
The campus heads main role is to foster the growth and development of the campus in parallel with the growth and development of the Shoalhaven. The campus has been developed around what the community needs in terms of graduate employment outcomes.
“The University is saying, let’s raise the flag for higher education in the local community and provide opportunities for people to study locally in their own community. When you’re close to home and have the muscle of a big university and the warmth and friendliness of a small campus environment with pretty fabulous access to technology, you’ve got a winning combination.”
The campus offers complete, on-site degrees across its courses, with many graduates finding employment in the Shoalhaven.
Robbie said the Shoalhaven is a “fabulous place to make things happen”.
“Business networking in the Shoalhaven is this amazing, positive force. If you get out and network with other businesses, you can change the world or ride a dream. If you can link in with what’s going on in the Shoalhaven, you are more than likely to meet the outcomes you desire.
“If you’re thinking of moving to the Shoalhaven, explore with us, come visit us, look about you, find networks and tap into them to grow your business, grow your dreams, grow whatever it is that you’re trying to develop, and do it in a place that is an absolutely awesome environment. The Shoalhaven is a winner.”
Contact: University of Wollongong - Shoalhaven Campus
Phone: (02) 4221 3555