Uni Hub Spencer Gulf Call for Directors

The Upper Spencer Gulf is in the midst of transitioning from a traditional heavy industry and manufacturing base to a cleaner, more diverse and sustainable future that takes advantage of its proximity to some of the most significant mineral and renewable energy resources, natural biodiversity and landscapes in the world.

The region is now seeing rapid growth in sectors such as renewable energy, arid agriculture, mining services and processing, defence, intermodal transport and logistics; event, cultural and marine-based tourism, along with health, education and community services.

The region, particularly the catchment around Port Pirie and Port Augusta, has limited face-to-face support options for higher education, which will be critical to developing a strong, locally skilled workforce to underpin our future growth.

The Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group Inc. (trading as ‘Spencer Gulf Cities’) is a long-standing alliance of the regional cities of Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla. For several years, the Group has been working with local industry, education and government partners to develop a new model to deliver higher education and research opportunities, pathways and partnerships, tailored to the specific needs and situation of the region.

The Community Owned Tertiary Education Centre (COTEC) model is a university study centre concept that is rapidly gaining momentum across regional Australia.

The COTEC provides a higher education demand aggregation, brokering and coordinating service across multiple institutions. Facilities are owned and operated within the community, rather than by any single educational institution. Local COTEC staff work directly with students, university academics and administration to provide operational support such as student enrolment, logistics, pastoral care, tutorials and administration, along with partnership development.

With support from regional and partner organisations and the Australian Government’s Regional Jobs and Investment Package, the Upper Spencer Gulf COTEC – “Uni Hub Spencer Gulf” is currently being established, with a campus to open initially in Port Pirie in 2019 and Port Augusta from 2020.

Uni Hub Spencer Gulf aims to provide more options for people living in the region to enrol in tertiary education without having to leave their local community. It will also help to grow our own skilled workforce and strongly link locally delivered university courses and students with the needs of local industry; and develop a pool of professionals from within the region to ensure a competitive, vibrant and self-reliant economy and community.

The Uni Hub Spencer Gulf is an initiative of the Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla Councils, regional, industry and government agencies and higher education partners – Flinders University, University of Central Queensland, University of Adelaide, Academy Curio and TAFE SA.

A student support model is being implemented based on the approach that has worked well in other regions, with a strong emphasis on up-front marketing to rapidly stimulate demand for student services and achieve financial sustainability. The model has the following features:

  • Distance with assistance: Students studying with partner institutions will receive local support,
    industry mentoring and tutoring and online lectures delivered through state of the art videoconferencing.
  • Campus life: Creation of a welcoming meeting place for a community of learners to meet, share
    experiences and information and motivate each other to remain committed to and excel at their
  • Industry connection: Connecting student to local businesses and government agencies to build the
    workforce required for a changing regional economy and provide pathways from education to
  • Try before you buy: An innovative approach to giving students in the region a chance to sample
    higher education while still at school to overcome their fear of the unknown and encourage more
    ‘first in family’ students to enrol.
  • Career upgrade: Courses will be offered at a sub-degree, degree and post-graduate degree level,
    linked to pathways from VET and Foundation courses.
  • Demand stimulation: Fostering a greater aspiration for tertiary education and the resulting career
    options in the region

The COTEC initiative has now reached an important milestone, with establishment of a new entity to manage
the Uni Hub.

As a result, nominations are now sought for inaugural members to the board of “Uni Hub Spencer Gulf”.

Nominations are sought from individuals with skills and expertise in higher education, business management, strategy, governance, media and communications, industry and community engagement, legal, risk and financial management.

Assessment of board nominations will consider the various skills, geographic and demographic spread of members, taking into account the aims, objectives, risks and challenges of the University Study Centre, and aiming to build a mix of individuals that can work as a well-rounded team.

The board will need directors who possess a broad mix of skills and experience and who can collectively build strong community, partner and stakeholder support and generate confidence in the Uni Hub.

Board members will be collectively responsible for setting the organisations strategic direction, ensuring financial viability and overseeing the successful establishment and operation of the Uni Hub.

Board nominations will be assessed by a selection panel comprising representatives from Spencer Gulf Cities and the Uni Hub Spencer Gulf Project Team.

All nominations will remain confidential.

Board members will be appointed for an initial two year term commencing 1 November 2018. At the conclusion
of the term, directors will be eligible for re-appointment.

Board members will be remunerated at a rate to be set annually by the board at the AGM.

Please complete all sections of the attached nomination form.

Applicants are encouraged to also attach a current resume.

Completed nomination forms must be lodged electronically at ceo@upperspencergulf.com.au no later than
5pm, Monday 17th
September 2018

For further information please contact Anita Crisp, Executive Officer – Spencer Gulf Cities, Ph: 0427 609 404 or
email: ceo@upperspencergulf.com.au