The University of Newcastle will this year direct $5.5 million to expanding services and amenities for students across all campuses and online.
Funded by the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF), the investment will be in initiatives that look after the health and welfare of students, provide advice and support, and deliver recreational activities.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Parfitt, said the University was committed to delivering an outstanding student experience.
“An expanded orientation program for all campuses will help new students find their way around and settle into University life,” he said.
“Funding will also be allocated to long-term upgrades of social and recreational amenities, in particular at Callaghan and Ourimbah. For example the University, in partnership with NUsport, plans to develop ‘fitness trails’ that take advantage of Callaghan’s bushland location and the natural setting of the Ourimbah Valley.”
The University is making a significant commitment to welfare, health, advocacy and employment services for students and through the SSAF funding will:
• Connect students with services that help them with accommodation, financial matters, legal concerns and employment;
• Set up a professional advocacy office with qualified staff to support students’ interests or needs;
• Extend the careers service to improve access to personal careers counselling, both face-to-face and online; and
• Expand informal and social learning spaces where students can relax and access wireless internet.
Professor Parfitt said the University was also focusing on online services.
“The University’s focus on increasing health and welfare support services such as counselling and crisis support, through the ‘Healthy University’ initiative, will incorporate online initiatives to support students with mental health conditions.”
Extensive student consultation and feedback was central to deciding how the SSAF funding would be allocated in 2013 and the SSAF Student Consultative Group will continue to be a direct voice for students to provide feedback on how the SSAF should be spent.
Details of the SSAF funded projects will be available in mid February.