PhillipsKPA has been appointed to complete the first stage of the feasibility study into a possible new national university in regional Australia (NURA), led by Southern Cross University and Charles Sturt University.

Southern Cross University and Charles Sturt University have received $2 million from the Federal Government to conduct the study, which will examine various models for bringing together national expertise in distance and digital delivery.

The feasibility study will be undertaken in three stages, beginning with a Needs Analysis. This first stage of the study will examine the role of regional universities in meeting local and national labour force needs and in conducting research.

It will also assess the future demand for distance education to meet national higher education participation goals and examine gaps in the current arrangement and resourcing of institutions in meeting these needs.

A report on the findings of this stage of the study will be published for comment and will determine the further progress of the study.

PhillipsKPA, which specialises in the provision of services to the education and training industry and associated sectors, has been appointed to conduct the Needs Analysis.

The appointment of Phillips KPA was made by the Project Governance Committee, which has been established to monitor and review the implementation of the study on behalf of the respective university councils. 

The Governance Committee is made up of: the Hon John Dowd AO QC, Chancellor, Southern Cross University; Mr Lawrie Willett, Chancellor, Charles Sturt University; Dr David Vincent Cody, Deputy Chancellor, Southern Cross University; Ms Kathryn Pitkin, Deputy Chancellor, Charles Sturt University; Professor Paul Clark, Vice-Chancellor, Southern Cross University; Professor Ian Goulter, Vice-Chancellor, Charles Sturt University.

A Project Steering Committee, to direct the implementation of the study, is constituted by the two Vice-Chancellors, Mr Mark Burdack, University Secretary, Charles Sturt University; and Mr Malcolm Marshall, Council Secretary, Southern Cross University.

The two University Council secretaries, Mr Mark Burdack (CSU) and Mr Malcolm Marshall (SCU), have been appointed joint project directors.

Expressions of interest will be called for a principal consultant to work with the co-directors of the project and for a consultant to design the extensive stakeholder consultation process.

“The views of staff, students and alumni along with our stakeholders and partners in business, the professions and the communities we serve are critical,” the co-directors said.

“This study is about identifying the best possible options for growing high-quality education and research, and increasing participation in rural and regional Australia. The input we receive from all our stakeholders will play a pivotal role in this process.”

Expressions of interest are also being sought from individuals or groups who have experience in areas including demographic analysis, higher education research, distance and e-learning and business and financial modelling. 

Members of the two University Councils met in Bathurst on Monday (April 27) and plans are in place for a joint University roadshow by the co-directors to provide an update on the feasibility study to staff and students across all campuses. This will begin in mid-May.

A website providing up-to-date information on the feasibility study, opportunity for feedback and expression of interest outlines, has been launched and is available at www.nura.edu.au