REPORTS that Charles Sturt University (CSU) has a low output of world-standard research are being denied by the institution amid a shake up of the sector.
Australia's higher education institutions have come under the spotlight with a new report suggesting that some may need to lift their game to hold onto their coveted 'university' status.
The recently released review by Peter Coaldrake, a former vice-chancellor, suggested 10 recommendations including systems to safeguard the sector and tougher standards to qualify as a university.
A key recommendation was that universities must conduct world-class research in at least three, or a third, of the fields it teaches in; with this to be upped to 50 per cent within a decade.
According to 2018 Australian Research Council (ARC) performance ratings, CSU was one of four universities with a low output of world-standard research.
CSU denied Australia Community Media's (ACM) request for an interview with vice chancellor Professor Andrew Vann was and instead issued a written statement.
If anyone ever tried to mess with CSU's status as a university, I'd fight them tooth and nail.Calare MP Andrew Gee
In this statement Prof Vann said the claims were incorrect.
"The report highlights the method for assessing standards is not simply to look at fields of research, but to map the fields of research to fields of education," he said in the written statement.
"Taking this approach, Charles Sturt is at world standard in seven fields of research, which map to five of the 10 fields of education in which we teach. Based on this, we believe the university is already compliant with the proposed 2030 thresholds."
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Prof Vann said an example of the university's success on the world stage, was CSU Professor of speech and language acquisition, Professor Sharynne McLeod, who was recently hailed as the world's most cited expert in her field.
In May this year the nation's universities regulator granted CSU only a four-year extension of its registration and set five strict conditions it must meet to ensure its future.
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency identified a number of shortcomings in the university's regulatory systems, including academic risk management, student performance reporting and academic misconduct.
Calare MP Andrew Gee was also unavailable for an interview, but provided the following written responses.
"I'm not at all worried about the findings because CSU is already at world standard in more than enough fields of research to make it compliant with the proposed standards," he said.
"Besides excellence in research, which is a box CSU already ticks, another vital function of universities is training our future workforce.
"If anyone ever tried to mess with CSU's status as a university, I'd fight them tooth and nail but CSU is going to meet the proposed standards in a canter so it's just not going to be an issue."
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