The University of Tasmania and the state it serves have a powerful connection; revitalising higher education can be the key to a return to prosperity.
At a time when regional campuses in Australia appear under threat, the news that the University of Tasmania will invest $300 million to revitalise higher education in Northern Tasmania has raised some eyebrows. Equally surprising, the project, which is ambitious in breadth and scope, attracted multipartisan support at federal and state levels, and across the Tasmanian community. It was a local issue through the recent election, when both major parties committed $150 million in funding, matching contributions from state, university and local councils.
Much of the public attention has focused on the prospect of new campuses in Launceston and Burnie, proud regional communities that have fallen on hard times. The problem the university is tackling, however, is much more than a need for bricks and mortar.
The project is part of a long-term vision for the university to harness its unique connection to the Tasmanian state and develop a central role in future prosperity on the island. The vision incorporates a distinctive educational program that responds to the needs of Tasmanians and is defined by the island’s demography, geography and economy.