History of higher education delivery, research and service to bring good to community
July 1, 2021
It has finally happened (yet much sooner than expected). With a 124-year history that places it
as one of the oldest, Avondale is the first higher education provider in Australia to become a
university under new national standards.
It is the only addition to the “Australian University” category following a transition today to
standards introduced by the federal government in February.
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) congratulated Avondale for
achieving the requirements under the revised Higher Education Standards Framework. “Our
decision recognises Avondale’s commitment to student outcomes, its significant research
progress and Avondale’s contributions to the communities it serves,” says Chief Commissioner
Professor Peter Coaldrake.
The announcement is evidence of God’s leading, says Vice-Chancellor and President Professor
Kevin Petrie. “I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to bring further diversity to the
sector, which will benefit students.” And, he adds, “I’m determined to use our new position to
transform more lives through Christ-centred higher education. God will continue to bless as we
continue to be faithful to His calling.”
Recognising the Avondale story “‘spans the century,’” Kevin acknowledges, with appreciation,
the contribution “of those who came before and of those who continue to mentor and
collaborate with us.”
Avondale’s journey to become a university has spanned about 30 years. “It has all been worth
it,” says Chancellor Pr Glenn Townend, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the
South Pacific. “Avondale as a university will continue to provide graduates and research that
blesses the church and the world around us. We thank God.”
Iurii Ponosov, the undergraduate representative on Avondale’s governing council, describes the
announcement as “a proud moment.” “We all look forward to graduating from Australia’s first
Adventist university.” The experience for students like Iurii will become an even better one
because university status “strengthens our ability to provide high-quality, research-informed
learning experiences,” says Provost Professor Kerri-Lee Krause. Avondale is a leader in
delivering strong student outcomes, with national surveys showing levels of satisfaction and
rates of employment that rank Avondale among the best higher education providers in Australia.
World-standard interdisciplinary research in historic Adventist fields of significance—health and
wellbeing, Christian education, biblical studies and Christian spirituality—“supports the mission
of the church and shows we’re here to serve our world for good,” says Kevin. This informs civic
engagement and leadership in areas such as pioneering lifestyle medicine interventions and
challenging Anzac mythology to better understand our nation’s history.
Avondale’s registration as an Australian university marks the culmination of years of sustained
quality development. It began in the mid-1970s with accreditation for degree programs and
includes two previous applications (1994 and 2006) for university status. By 2012, Avondale
had achieved a ratio of research publications per staff member equivalent to the mean across
selected Australian universities. It also expanded its program of higher degrees by research. A
relationship with mentoring partner Charles Sturt University followed as did the granting of self- accrediting authority. Only two years ago, in 2019, the national regulator approved a change of
category application lodged by Avondale, from “Higher Education Provider” to “Australian
University College.” This was the first time a higher education provider had qualified for a
change of category under TEQSA.
Established in 1897, Avondale is a member of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist system of
universities and colleges and has graduated more than 12,000 students who serve largely in
Excellence in Christian Higher Education since 1897
Australian University since 2021
A member of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist system of universities and colleges
582 Freemans Drive (PO Box 19), Cooranbong NSW 2265, Australia
Phone: +61 2 4980 2222
Avondale University College Limited trading as Avondale University College
ACN: 108 186 401 | ABN: 53 108 186 401 | CRICOS: 02731D | RTO 91191 | TEQSA: PRV12015
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