Year in Review

As the year comes to an end and we move towards the festive season, I wanted to thank all of our alumni, staff, industry partners, students and our wider community for your engagement with UOW over the past year. Without the passion and support we receive from you all, our efforts would be lacking, and our impact would be considerably less.

I had the pleasure last week of seeing hundreds of students from EIS graduate in our December graduation ceremonies. This adds to the total number of graduations held over 2018, ever-growing our total alumni for EIS and UOW alumni as a whole.

In late October, I was fortunate to be on hand to welcome the new cohort of students at our offshore partner institution Zhengzhou University in China. We have also been delighted to announce the new acquisition by UOW Global Enterprises of the university colleges of Malaysian private education provider KDU. This acquisition builds on the University’s successful 10-year track record of providing world-class tertiary education to students in Malaysia by enabling UOW to become a direct provider in this vibrant market.

This reinforces the global presence of UOW, with campuses here in Australia (Wollongong, Liverpool, Loftus, Batemans Bay, Bega, Innovation Campus (Fairy Meadow), Shoalhaven, Southern Highlands, and Sydney Business School in the Sydney CBD), and our international locations of Dubai, Hong Kong and Malaysia. EIS staff also teach at or work with partner institutions in China, Singapore and Malaysia. We are delighted to announce that from 2019 we will be offering all Computer Science majors in Singapore, including Cyber Security, at our partner program with the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).

UOW Dubai celebrated its 25th year anniversary on the 31st October, marking a strong and long presence in Dubai. Our engineering programs in Dubai are growing and I’m delighted that they recently flew through their Engineers Australia accreditation. This was pleasing and built on the successful Engineers Australia accreditation visit to Wollongong in August.

Further indication of our engagement in the Middle East, Wollongong students and staff have been in force in Dubai throughout November, competing in the Solar Decathlon. I am delighted that they team can now celebrate the thousands of hours of hard work and forward thinking that produced a sustainable and comfortable home, landing them an overall second place (with first place for innovation and interior design). UOW, in conjunction with TAFE Illawarra, competed in this event with the Desert Rose House. The competition assesses a house, designed and built by the UOW and TAFE students on ten sustainability-related criteria. The house was built in Wollongong, dismantled and shipped to Dubai in seven shipping containers. The team had two weeks to build the house before it was judged in competition against 17 other houses from around the world.

I was delighted to see our alumni participating in events across 2018 – Catherine Feldhausen of Microsoft acting as a Festival of STEM Ambassador, we had alumni Alex Badran of Spriggy, Kylie Cameron of IBM, and Dane Sharp of McDonald’s engage on a panel discussing disruptive technologies at The Mint in Sydney with academics Professor Katina Michael, Dr Shahriar Akter and Dr Thomas Birtchnell. Eamonn Bell of Accelo spoke at an Advantage Wollongong event during Vivid in Sydney on why Wollongong is the perfect home for his rapidly expanding, global technology business. We had numerous alumni assist us throughout the year as judges (such as Matt Bullock with the iAccelerate Pitch finals, and judges such as Ashley Brown from Rodin at our SCIT Trade Show), in mentoring programs with current students, and in providing workplace tours and insights to our students. We were delighted to recently host UOW alumnus Mark Cutifani (CEO of Anglo American) at the MCA in Sydney for an interactive session on leadership. Thank you to all of you who took time out of your schedules to participate and attend these events, which aim to service your interests and connect you to the UOW community.

Students in SCIT and SECTE showcased their projects at their Trade Expos in late October. I attended the SCIT Trade Show and was impressed at the quality of some of the work and the passion the students have for their project. I would encourage any of you who might benefit from engaging a student team on a problem your business is facing to contact us to pitch your problem to the students. December is an ideal time to propose a project for uptake early next year, and a significant number of solutions are taken up by businesses upon project completion. We are also delighted when our alumni can participate as judges for these events – please do contact us to lodge your interest.

We have been fortunate in seeing that success recognised this year in a number of ways, with a snapshot below of some of those outcomes:

Ranking recognition:

  • UOW has been named among the world’s top 250 universities in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. We are ranked as the 10th best university in Australia, with 1258 universities from 86 countries considered in the list. The annual rankings measure five key performance indicators that represent the breadth of a university’s core missions: teaching, research, citations, international outlook, and industry income.

    UOW received its strongest ranking in international outlook, demonstrating its growing impact as a global university, with campuses in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Malaysia, and collaborations with institutions around the world. The positive results come on the back of UOW’s success in the recent QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, both of which placed UOW inside the top 250.

    This is the first time UOW has been in the top 250 worldwide in the three most prestigious ranking systems.

  • Mineral & Mining Engineering ranked 24th in the world in the QS world rankings by subject
  • Rated 44th for Energy Science and Engineering by the World 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by subject
  • In its annual MBA rankings, CEO Magazine has ranked UOW’s Sydney Business School EMBA as the best in Australia and 30th best in the world
  • UOW received a Global Teaching Excellence Spotlight Award (one of five recipients) and was the only Australian University shortlisted in two consecutive years.

Awards & Honours (students, staff, alumni):

Impact and engagement with industry, the community, and internationally:

  • Engineers Australia accreditation of engineering programs (Bachelor & Masters). One of our offshore partners, Beijing Jiaotong University, sent 6 representatives to observe the accreditation panel and learn about the EA processes.
  • Launch of the $7.3M Rail Training Centre: Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Advanced Technologies in Rail Track Infrastructure (ITTC Rail)
  • Faculty honouring the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) in recognition of their support of UOW over the years
  • UOW hosted the IEEE TALE2018 conference in Wollongong with major tracks covering Engineering, Computing, IT and STEM Education; XR and Immersive Learning; Technology Enhanced Learning and Big Data.
  • Seeing some of the partnered research activities arising from SMART, such as the Digital Living Lab SharkEye personal shark alert system, and the Liverpool Smart Pedestrian Project


Outlook for 2019:

Of course, the hard work and positive outcomes do not stop here. We have plans to continue to grow our engagement with the community and industry in 2019. Understanding the jobs of the future helps us to offer and tailor degree programs to prepare students for those jobs. This is where our newly revamped industry advisory committees have a strong role to play and we’re interested in hearing from people who would like to engage on those committees.

We continue to encourage young women to see the potential in engaging in a career in STEM and will be running the STEM Camp for Girls again in early January.

Our research is strong and collaborative and we will continue to grow our research excellence and partnerships in 2019. We have newly established partnerships around the world and it is a great pleasure to work with others to make real differences in the world we live in and improve people’s lives.

We look forward to further engagement with our alumni community in 2019 and would welcome your thoughts on how you might best like to be connected to each other and the University. I deeply encourage you to consider how you might connect to our student base, be it through mentoring, work placements, guest lecturing, or research opportunities. We also want to shine a light on your success, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us with news on your life and career post-graduation.


Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy start to the new year.