The University of the Sunshine Coast has formed a twinning partnership with Papua New Guinea’s newest university to help build its teaching and learning capacity through a collaborative work and cultural exchange.
UniSC’s Centre for International Development, Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership (CIDSEL) is delivering the project to help strengthen the academic foundations of Western Pacific University (WPU), which took its first intake of students in 2021.
Funded by the Australian Government through the Australian High Commission of Papua New Guinea, the project is assisting several of WPU’s senior academics, executives and staff gain skills and knowledge in governance and professional teaching and learning.
UniSC General Manager of CIDSEL Tami Harriott, who co-leads the project, said the aim was to develop strong institutional links between the two universities through the twinning program. A series of training activities will also help to build capacity by leveraging local talent to solve local problems.
WPU leaders have been meeting virtually with their UniSC colleagues, allowing an exchange of information in governance and teaching, as well as the sharing of ideas, experience and expertise.
“By enhancing relations, exchanging information and learning from each other, UniSC can play a key role in helping WPU leaders develop skills and experience to become more effective as a young university,” Ms Harriott said.
“This is part of UniSC’s commitment through its Centre for International Development, Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership to engage globally, and make positive impact through developing human capacity, particularly with our Pacific neighbours.
“To make this happen, we work collaboratively with our partners to identify skills and knowledge gaps and to develop practical, innovative solutions to overcome the unique and complex challenges they may be facing.”
WPU President Dr Janet Rangou said the partnership was about navigating and negotiating how the two universities could benefit from one another.
“I hope that the seeds we are planting now in this partnership go a long way. We believe that UniSC is a university that will help us to grow to be a university of choice in the future,” Dr Rangou said.
A key focus area is to increase the contribution by women in the growth and development of the university, creating leadership pathways.
“We are committed to addressing issues of gender during the program, contributing to meaningful gender equality and also disability and social inclusion practice in the higher education system,” Ms Harriott said.