This paper comments upon the growth and maturity of the Charles Darwin University (NT Australia). An edited version has been published in the Suns Newspaper (4 August 2016)
CHARLES DARWIN UNIVERSITY HAS GROWN UP
Educationally, we often tend to discount what is available within the Territory. That is especially the case with university education.
Many Territorians view our university with some suspicion. They believe degrees earned locally are of less value than those attained at older interstate universities. I believe that view to be both out-dated and misinformed. Our university has grown up.
NT tertiary education commenced in the 1980s in two large rooms in Mataram Street, Winnellie. In time and over the years, the Darwin Community College (DCC) morphed into the Northern Territory University (NTU) with campuses at Larrakeyah (the old hospital and nurses quarters subsequently bulldozed) and Dripstone. In 2003, the NTU became the Charles Darwin University (CDU) headquartering at Casuarina. Faculties have developed and course offerings extended. In its early days, students often had to complete degree courses at southern universities, with only initial units being available at home. Full degree courses in Science, Engineering, Education and Medicine are now available.
The university provides for students in regional centres. Centres have been established in Alice Springs, Nhulunbuy, Katherine, Palmerston and at Darwin’s Waterfront. Interstate offices are located in Melbourne and Sydney. “Charles Darwin University … showcases teaching and research unique to its region. … Its membership of the Innovative Research Universities … enhances the outcomes of higher education.” (Good Universities Guide 2017, p.303) External students are excellently provided for through online study opportunities. A large percentage of its 11,500 higher degree students are enrolled from interstate and overseas. Nearly 1,000 are from overseas. The university supports Indigenous Students through the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ANIKE) at the Casuarina Campus and its outreach program at the Batchelor Institute of Tertiary Education
The Universities Guide reports that 82% of graduates from CDU gain employment straight after graduation. Graduate starting salaries in the order of $60,000 plus dollars are common.
The CDU has had (and still has) its challenges. But it also has a lot to celebrate and it’s successes should not be overlooked. Tertiary education is in its 27th year of local delivery. This year it achieved the enviable status of being ranked among the top 300 universities in the world. This places OUR university in the top 2% of universities worldwide. This places the CDU in the group of Australia’s top 10 universities in Australia, offering both vocational and higher education courses.
Our university has earned both respect and appreciation. Those choosing to study through CDU should not to be disappointed.
Note: I have been a student at our university. I am also a casual lecturer, tutor and marker.