1. Purpose

Section 1: Purpose


Principle 1 | Purpose: We will develop the capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.

Australia has become a world-leading provider of international education, which is Australia’s third-largest export sector and the country’s leading service export sector overall. It contributed AUS$32.2 billion (US$24.7 billion) dollars to the economy in 2017 (ICEF monitor). With this success comes an obligation for Australian universities to help address the needs of society, both locally and globally, to ensure social cohesion and equality, successful economies, and human advancement.

UNSW and the Business School have a deep understanding of their role as responsible citizens within the local, national and international community. They seek to make a significant contribution to the development and dissemination of knowledge – through teaching and research – that benefits stakeholders and society and, in so doing, address issues of fundamental importance to future economic prosperity and social well-being.

Within the 2017-2019 reporting period, a number of significant developments have occurred in the roll out of Strategy 2025. These include the ongoing embedding of graduate capabilities (see Section 1.1 below), release of an Indigenous Strategy in 2018 (Section 1.2), the implementation of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (Section 1.3) and the development of a wide-reaching Sustainability Plan (Section 1.4). Each of these strategic developments has been embraced by the Business School. These developments have had tangible and positive impacts on our students’ experience, as illustrated throughout our SIP report.

1.1 Graduate Capabilities

In line with Principle 1: Purpose, “UNSW aspires to develop globally focussed graduates who are rigorous scholars, capable of leadership and professional practice in an international community.”

The University has therefore articulated the following Graduate Capabilities for all UNSW students.

UNSW programs aspire to graduate:

  • Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems;
  • Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change;
  • Professionals capable of ethical, self- directed practice and independent lifelong learning;
  • Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.

The University continues to embed these capabilities across all programs through the Integrated Curriculum Framework (ICF), which is being applied to the design of programs and courses to ensure that there is coherence between the curriculum elements, they are appropriate, and the program learning outcomes and graduate capabilities are supported.

For its part, the Business School strives to prepare graduates “for careers in a future where they will need to be adaptable, creative, problem solvers who are comfortable with uncertainty and equipped with the professional and personal knowledge and skills necessary to address whatever opportunities and challenges they may encounter. At the same time, it is essential to equip them to achieve this success as global citizens and socially responsible managers.” (Strategy 2020)

To ensure the development of such graduates, the Business School designs educational experiences for our students with their needs, strengths, interests and career aspirations front and centre. Our programs are built around a framework of program learning outcomes (see Section 3.1); our courses focus on the latest developments and trends in global business; and, as future leaders need to challenge the status quo, our students are exposed to ideas beyond the traditional curriculum.

1.2 Indigenous Strategy

The UNSW Indigenous Strategy aims to provide an overarching framework to the already excellent work UNSW does on Indigenous education, teaching and research. Implementation of the strategy is being driven by the newly-appointed Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous (PVCI) Professor Megan Davis, and by senior Aboriginal academics and business practitioners such as Professor Mark Rose, who as Academic Director has been instrumental to the success of the Business School’s AGSM Indigenous Executive Education programs.

Truth and Reconciliation. Reconciliation is the overarching theme of the Indigenous Strategy and truth and justice are the well-established twin pillars of reconciliation. The strategy intends to provide the opportunity for UNSW staff and students, and the broader UNSW community, to participate when and where they can in this important national process. In doing this we do not want to avoid robust debates or challenging discussions, because universities play an important role in facilitating discussion and debate. The strategy is based on three pillars: Culture and Country, Give Back and Grow Our Own.

  • Culture and Country encompasses ‘indigenising’ course content through two-way learning. This can be supported by acknowledging the shared history of the Kensington campus, by increasing the physical presence of Aboriginal culture on campus and by significant gestures, such as flying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags daily alongside the Australian flag.
  • Give Back is about giving back to Indigenous communities and can be expressed in many ways. The term ‘orbiting’ has been used to describe the experience of young people who leave country to study, work and ‘orbit’ back to community when they can to contribute and give back. As well, non-Indigenous people can give back by learning the history of Aboriginal ownership and occupation of country. They can give back in a respectful way aligned with principles of self-determination.
  • Grow Our Own means facilitating access for Indigenous Australians to UNSW as a place of study and work. In contemporary Australia, government funding requires universities to set targets to increase Indigenous student and staff numbers. UNSW is successful in student enrolment because it is measured in its approach to recruitment and retention. Nura Gili, the Indigenous Programs Unit, has pioneered best practice nationally to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are recruited and graduate.

The Business School recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are, with cultural nuances and agility, navigating and mobilising significant social and economic change. We strive to foster an environment that adds real value and support to the growing trend of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people embracing the currencies of business knowledge and practice to strengthen, improve and determine their lives, the lives of their families and their communities.

Across the strengthening Indigenous business sector, locally, nationally and globally, there are both opportunities and challenges and we strive to equip our students with the tools to respond to these. We advocate for long-lasting change through respect, engagement and innovative thinking, practice and exchanges.

The Business School works in partnership with Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Unit and other key partners to offer a variety of programs and dedicated resources to support our commitment to the UNSW Indigenous Strategy. These are designed to ensure equitable access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, to create an environment that welcomes Indigenous students and supports them to succeed, and to contribute to an understanding of and respect for their many traditional and contemporary cultures.

The Business School celebrates the achievements during this reporting period of our Indigenous scholars and alumni, including:

  • Ashley Walker, who graduated with MBA Distinction Oxford Uni – the first Australian Indigenous student to achieve an MBA from top tier university
  • Adam Davids, first Indigenous professional Fulbright scholar
  • Ben Eiskiovich graduated with his CA and this was filmed in partnership with the Indigenous Accountants Australia (IAA) initiative.

For further examples of our Indigenous programs and initiatives see Sections 3.3.1 and 5.3.

1.3 Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy

UNSW recognises that equity, diversity and inclusion are integral to its future success, and is committed to achieving full and effective participation and inclusion in the UNSW community and equality of access for students and staff of all backgrounds.

Accordingly, the UNSW Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Board was established to identify and prioritise initiatives to improve equity and diversity across UNSW for staff and students and to review the progress of diversity goals against the plans and targets set by the University, its faculties and divisions. The Board is chaired by Professor Eileen Bawdry, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity Diversity and Inclusion, and has five key initiatives: Staff Equity Program, Student Equity Program, Disability Inclusion Action Plan (including best practice in building accessibility and residential communities), Indigenous Program (see above) and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Champions.

1.3.1 Business School’s EDI Committee

In 2018 the Business School established its own EDI Committee in order to achieve its vision to be a leading exemplar in EDI, “a vibrant and inclusive work and study environment that celebrates diversity and treats all people with dignity and respect”. The committee consists of 18 members who are each passionate about developing a more diverse and inclusive Business School. They sit on separate working groups which have been assigned to the five Business School EDI priorities:

  • Women Academics D/E levels
  • Students – Women in Information Systems and Actuarial Studies (see below)
  • Indigenous and Low SES
  • Flexible work
  • Professional Staff and Academics – Indigenous

Each working group has been tasked to explore, develop and support specific initiatives that will support the Business School to strive towards achieving specific EDI targets for each priority.

1.3.2 Staff Gender Equity

UNSW is working to achieve greater gender equality across all academic levels, and has set targets of 40% female representation at senior academic levels D and E and 50% at senior professional staff level 10+ by 2025. (UNSW Newsroom)

The Business School shares this aim and has seen an upward trend in the proportion of female academic staff at higher levels. In particular, females appointed at the highest level (E) increased by about 10% from 215 to 2017. This followed the Academic Women Project (initiated in 2014), which carried out a policy review and needs analysis to determine what actions should be taken in order to support the career development of female academic staff in the School. In addition, through talent mapping and succession planning, the School identified female academics capable of taking on leadership roles. For example, the last four years saw the appointment of four female Heads of School (in the Schools of Management, Information Systems, Banking & Finance, and Risk & Actuarial Studies) as well as two members of the senior leadership team (Senior Deputy Dean and Associate Dean Research).

The EDI Committee is now focusing on achieving 50% female academics at levels D and E by 2025 and 50% at senior professional staff level 10+ by 2025. In 2019, females constitute 25% of level D staff and 37% of level E. One of the initiatives being employed is the Academic Women’s Career Advancement Program (AWCAP), a mid-career development program launched in 2018 for women who expect to apply for promotion to Associate Professor or Professor in 2018 or 2019. In addition, parental leave planning for academic women is provided and for each staff member returning from maternity leave, the Business School is allocating $10,000 on top of the $10,000 made available via the UNSW Career Advancement Fund. UNSW also offers a 10-month Academic Women in Leadership Program (AWIL) for academic women at Levels B and above.

1.3.3 Diversity Schemes for Students

An inclusive global economy begins with inclusion and diversity in our student body. Diversity of the student body in Business School programs – including access for under-represented and disadvantaged groups – is fostered through a number of schemes and scholarships.

  • “Women in Information Systems and Actuarial Studies” is one of the five Business School EDI priorities. This initiative will see the development of two new, immersive Winter/Summer programs to help attract Year 10 and 11 high achieving female students to the Actuarial Studies and Information Systems programs. The three-day residential experiences will consist of hands-on workshops, group tasks, site visits and networking opportunities with current UNSW Students, UNSW Alumni and industry professionals. The Business School has drawn on key learnings from the success of the Engineering School in significantly increasing the female representation in their programs at the UG level.
  • Centre for Inclusive Economic Education Initiative (introduced by Prof. Gigi Foster) began in late 2018. The objective of this initiative is to promote equity in educational opportunities for marginalised and disadvantaged groups through increasing inclusion and engagement within the discipline of Economics across High Schools in Sydney and the greater Sydney region. Initiative includes the development of resources to train high school teachers on how to educate their students with the most up-to-date and relevant economics principles.
  • The Business School has 18 UG and 2 PG international admission pathways with recognised colleges, polytechnics and universities in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and India. These may also be referred to as twinning programs or articulation arrangements.
  • ACCESS is for domestic UG students whose final two years of senior secondary school study have been adversely affected by long-term educational disadvantage. This set of special admission programs addresses the needs of students in the 17–19 years age range who are just completing high school, and mature age students older than 21 years.
  • The ASPIRE outreach program works with school students from low socio-economic status backgrounds in schools across Sydney and regional New South Wales and helps them to access a university education.
  • Foundation Studies Year, provided by UNSW Global, is a dedicated admissions pathway into UNSW for international students and for domestic students (including Australian citizens and permanent residents) who do not achieve the required admissions ranking. Foundation Year students complete UNSW-approved pre-university studies in English, mathematics and other subjects relevant to their preferred UG field, and must obtain the required grade point average (GPA) and English score to receive an offer to study a degree at UNSW.
  • AGSM Women in Leadership Program is now in its 8th year and continues to have national impact. In 2017 and 2018, we had a total of 56 women participants, including women from 5 states.

1.3.4 Scholarships

UNSW and the Business School offer a wide range of scholarships that recognise academic potential, reward excellence, acknowledge community service and make education accessible for disadvantaged students. Scholarships include one-off financial payments, yearly stipends, study abroad scholarships and opportunities to network or intern.

An extensive scholarship review in 2018 has resulted in an expansion of scholarships offered by the Business School. Notable additions include:

  • Business School International Scholarship – to attract excellent prospective students from around the world.
  • 12 Indigenous UG and PG Business Scholarships – for Indigenous students who successfully complete the Pre-Program in Business.
  • Business School International Pathways Award – for top-performing pathway students.
  • Two new scholarships for Master of Finance students (1 domestic and 1 international), sponsored by AMP capital.
  • AGSM introduced LGBTI leadership award, which was awarded to three outstanding LGBTI scholars in its inaugural year, drawn from USA, India and Australia.
  • Emerging Female Leaders Scholarship to accompany AGSM Women in Leadership Scholarship. This resulted in awarding scholarships to six women.

The Business School is also committed to providing pre-existing equity scholarships and will explore new Low SES scholarships for Indigenous students in 2020.

1.4 UNSW Sustainability

A sustainable global economy has to accord with living successfully in the present without compromising our ability to do so in the future (UNSW Sustainability Report, 2017 Update). UNSW’s approach to sustainability is set out in the 2025 Strategy as ‘operational effectiveness and sustainability’ (Enabler D2) and aims for “a diverse revenue base to provide the resources needed for our ambitious plans and [to] maintain rigorous financial discipline to ensure our resources are invested in supporting our strategic themes”.

While the emphasis here is on ‘sustainable revenue streams’, UNSW is working towards a holistic approach to environmental sustainability encompassing climate action, buildings and campus, energy and water efficiency, waste and recycling, travel and transport, goods and services, investments, engagement and integration, leaning and teaching, research and advocacy.

In 2017, several sustainability initiatives were undertaken. The UNSW Grand Challenge on Climate Change (see Section 2.2) launched ambitious blueprints on energy, health and justice. A recycling program diverting a tonne of batteries away from landfill per year won a Green Gown award for excellence in sustainability. UNSW captured the lion’s share of a $29.2 million boost from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for Australian solar cell research. UNSW participated in the Science in Australia Gender Equity pilot addressing the under-representation of women in STEMM disciplines. Another highlight was UNSW joining the top 10% of applications in the UI GreenMetric Ranking of world universities (51st out of 619).

However, in 2017, there were still significant challenges. Like most organisations in NSW, the majority of UNSW’s energy requirements were met either directly or indirectly through the burning of fossil fuels. In January, 2018, UNSW reached an agreement with energy providers to have 100% of its energy supplied by photovoltaic solar energy, and in so doing, has achieved ‘its goal of carbon neutrality on energy use by 2020’ (see UNSW Newsroom).

Procurement is also an area in which UNSW has achieved progress towards sustainability. In 2017, Strategic Procurement worked with university staff and community to refresh and update UNSW procurement policy and procedures. The resulting policy and procedures include a core value around responsible procurement practices that consider environmental, social, sustainable and ethical sourcing and align with ISO 20400 (See Section 4.20 Responsible Procurement of the 2018 Procurement Procedure)

In 2018, responsibility for environmental sustainability was transferred to Estate Management, which was entrusted to develop a vision, plan and implementation strategies to drive the University’s objective to be environmentally sustainable. The result is an Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21 (yet to be released), setting out a holistic vision and roadmap towards best practice in environmental sustainability and encompassing climate action, buildings and campus, energy and water efficiency, waste and recycling, travel and transport, goods and services, investments, engagement and integration, leaning and teaching, research and advocacy.

The plan reflects extensive stakeholder consultation, illustrated in the responses below to a survey question regarding specific initiatives UNSW could take on sustainability.

Figure 1: UNSW Staff and Students’ Preferences for Sustainability Initiatives, Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21

Details of the Business School’s activities in environmental sustainability can be seen in Sections 2.2.1, 3.2.1 and 6.2.