Diversity and inclusion - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Diversity and inclusion

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion

USC is a community which recognises and embraces diversity among our staff, students and community partnerships. It provides an inclusive environment where each person feels they belong and are respected, connected and empowered to rise, and shine.

Six key diversity focus areas 

To achieve diversity and inclusion at USC, we need to prioritise where to focus our energy with targeted activities and commitment to building the capacity of our community.

While we have identified the below focus areas we acknowledge as individuals, we all have multifaceted identities as demonstrated by our agreed definition of diversity. These aspects are interconnected and come together in a unique way for each individual, shaping personal perspectives and life experiences.

Over time, these areas may change as our learning and work environments evolve, and we need to ensure we are responsive to the changing needs of our community, and these focuses do not restrict us.

Having a focused approach will allow us to accelerate a sense of belonging and greater inclusion for historically underrepresented individuals.

Life stages

At USC we value the multifaceted identities in our USC community. This includes our professional and educational identity with characteristics such as learning and working styles at all life stages.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education

At USC, we work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to increase Indigenous Australian participation rates in higher education.

Drumming circle
Cultural and linguistic diversity

We value the cultural and linguistic diversity of our community and have a range of initiatives to create a diverse and inclusive culture.

Students studying outside
Disability and inclusion

We are proud to promote resources and strategies available to students who experience disability or health issues to ensure equity and access to education and employment.

Rainbow flag
LGBTIQ+ and community

USC is focused on the inclusion of sexually and gender diverse identities, including but not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+)

Gender equality
Gender equity
USC is committed to creating a equitable, fair and inclusive environment for all genders, ensuring everyone has the best opportunity to achieve their education and career goals.

Diversity initiatives

EO Online
Complete this self-paced, interactive training to gain theoretical knowledge and a practical understanding of how to apply equal opportunity principles in work and study environments.
Respect. Now. Always.
Respect. Now. Always.
Ending sexual assault and harassment on campus.
Racism. It stops with me.
We are proud to be one of 400 organisations committed to the Racism. It stops with me campaign, which aims to stamp out racism.
Diversity notes
Previous recipients
Recognise USC staff, students, and graduates who have made an outstanding commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Increasing access to higher education for all – particularly students from low SES backgrounds, students with disabilities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students – is important to us. At USC, we have a range of strategies to increase participation rates for these equity groups, including school- and community-based aspiration building, academic preparation programs, on-campus experiences, diplomas, undergraduate programs and a Tertiary Preparation Pathway enabling program.

We also support students from equity groups with initiatives such as equity bursaries, and we offer a range of additional support services for students with disabilities. USC support services are designed to increase participation and retention and are accessible to all students.

As a university that believes everyone deserves access to education, USC is proud to sit above the national average for access and participation rates for students from low SES backgrounds, students who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and students with a disability.

National Equity Performance Data

USC is a proud member of the Queensland Widening Participation Consortium along with Queensland’s eight public universities and the Department of Education to undertake a range of widening participation activities.

At USC, we believe everyone has what it takes to rise, and shine. We offer dedicated outreach programs for primary and secondary students that focus on raising aspirations and planning pathways to the future.

We have a range of plans that outline our strategies to increase access, participation and success for people from low socioeconomic backgrounds – in accordance with the Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program (HEPPP). Our plans provide brief descriptions under the following topics:

  1. Equity outcomes: the achievements the university has planned for students from a low socio-economic status (SES) background.
  2. Strategies: the strategies the university will undertake to support attainment of the equity outcomes.
  3. Key activities: which will deliver an increase in the access, participation and success of people from a low SES background.
  4. Evaluation: how the university plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the equity strategies.
  5. Partnerships and collaboration: who the university will partner and collaborate with and how this will improve equity performance.

To view previous Access and Participation Plans, including the Plans drawn up by other institutions.

Diversity champions

Nina Ashfield
Nina Ashfield
"We're essentially creating the world's next leaders, so our students need to make their voices heard to the people in power who are making the decisions."
Dr Greg Nash
USC academic has been appointed the Queensland chair of White Ribbon Australia, an organisation that aims to end male violence against women and girls
Bridie Kean
Bridie Kean
"Diversity is such a broad term. To me, it means recognising and celebrating everyone's backgrounds and experiences and journeys because that's what makes the world a richer place."