University of Notre Dame Australia

University of Notre Dame Australia
Motto In principio erat Verbum "In the beginning was the word"
Established 1989
Type Private
Location Fremantle, WA, Australia
Campus Fremantle, WA
Broome, WA
Sydney, NSW
St Benedicts Church and University of Notre Dame, Sydney

The University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA) is a private Roman Catholic university established in 1989 in the Western Australian port city of Fremantle, 32°3′24″S 115°44′37″E / 32.05667°S 115.74361°E / -32.05667; 115.74361. While the University of Notre Dame Australia has "strong collegial links"[1] with the American University of Notre Dame located in Notre Dame, Indiana, they are separate institutions. A large number of students from the American Notre Dame participate in a study abroad program at the Fremantle campus.

The University has campuses in Fremantle, Western Australia, Broome, Western Australia and in two locations in Sydney, New South Wales.

The Fremantle and Broome campuses form Western Australia's smallest university, with just over 7000 students enrolled.[2] In percentage growth terms, however, it is one of Australia's fastest growing universities, with an increase in student load of more than 13% in 2008 compared with 2007.[3]

In 2006, Notre Dame Australia established its first campus in Sydney in the suburb of Chippendale close to the CBD. The rapidly expanding campus occupies part of the complex of St Benedict's Church, with which it retains close ties. There are over 6000 students enrolled in Arts, Business, Law and Nursing courses. In 2008 the first cohort of students commenced at the new buildings for the schools of nursing and medicine, Darlinghurst Campus. Students from the schools of nursing and medicine complete practical components of their education at most major Sydney and rural New South Wales hospitals.

From it's Darlinghurst location the Sydney School of Nursing offers both postgraduate and undergraduate studies.

In line with the Commonwealth Government's priorities for higher education, in 2009 Notre Dame signed an interim agreement for Mission based compacts with the Commonwealth, outlining its goals as well as its vision for a unique place in Australian higher education.[4]


Vice Chancellor

On 5 August 2008, Notre Dame appointed the third Vice Chancellor of the university's history, Professor Celia Hammond who will continue the work of the former Vice Chancellor Dr Peter Tannock. Professor Hammond is a qualified lawyer and was previously the Head of the University's Fremantle School of Law.

Professor Hammond's goal is to ensure Notre Dame's vision continues of promoting humanity and humility in their graduates. She stated in her inauguration speech that knowledge and learning must be within a framework of humanity in order to ensure that students have love and respect for the world; not just wisdom. She also stated:

"At Notre Dame we are not simply transmitters of information, creators of knowledge. Our mission will always be to teach and to educate in an environment that encourages people to seek understanding, to seek wisdom, to seek to serve, to seek to live in a way that fulfils everyone’s higher purpose."[5]


The University Crest is an open book (which is common in many universities). However, it is different from other university crests because the book is the Bible. The waves below the open Bible represents the Fremantle area (the origin of the university) and Australia; a nation surrounded by water.[6]


The university's governance consists of board of trustees, board of directors and governors. Most of these individuals are prominent business men and women or leaders in their respective fields in Western Australia, Australia and in the international arena. Most notable members include:

  • Prof. Celia Hammond: Vice Chancellor and Chairperson
  • Dr. Michael F. Quinlan: Chancellor
  • Rev Fr Edward A Malloy CSC: President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame, United States of America
  • Rev Fr William Beauchamp CSC: President, University of Portland, Oregon. United States of America
  • Rev Fr Mark Poorman CSC: Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame[7]


The University has nine national schools[8] divided into three campuses for the two states it is located in:

  • School of Arts and Sciences (Fremantle, Sydney and Broome)
  • School of Business (Fremantle and Sydney)
  • School of Education (Fremantle, Sydney and Broome)
  • School of Health Sciences (Fremantle)
  • School of Law (Fremantle and Sydney)
  • School of Medicine (Fremantle and Sydney)
  • School of Nursing (Fremantle, Sydney and Broome)
  • School of Philosophy and Theology (Fremantle, Sydney and Broome)
  • School of Physiotherapy (Fremantle)


The University's Objects are defined in Section 5 of its Act of Parliament:

In pursuing these objects, the University seeks to be an outstanding Australian undergraduate university, and one of the best Catholic universities in the world.

The Objects of the University are:[9]

  • the provision of university education, within a context of Catholic faith and values; and
  • the provision of an excellent standard of
    • teaching, scholarship and research;
    • training for the professions; and
    • pastoral care for its students.

Catholic Ethos

The University ensures that it maintains its Catholic ethos[10] by providing students and staff with various facilities. One of the most common is providing a daily service every day at 12:30PM in the University Chapel in Fremantle. Each Wednesday, a particular faculty or department will host the mass. The University has a developing choir which plays every Wednesday.

Quality Assurance

The University undergoes quality audits every five years by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), like all Australian higher education providers. The last audit was conducted in 2008 and it resulted in a number of commendations and recommendations. Commendations included:

  • AUQA commends Notre Dame on the multifaceted admissions process that places importance on the fit between the student and the institution.
  • AUQA commends Notre Dame on the strong commitment and dedication of its academic staff generally to be excellent teachers and to provide pastoral care and support to students

Notre Dame has one of Australia's highest graduate ratings for overall student satisfaction and teaching quality. This was also noted in the AUQA report.

In terms of recommendations, the panel raised concerns about Notre Dame's ability to establish a research culture consistent with the Commonwealth government's requirements for universities:

"Notre Dame managers and staff emphasise that during the years of establishing Notre Dame as a private university in Australia, most of the effort went into developing and enhancing teaching and learning and the pastoral care of students. This concentrated effort throughout the institution left little opportunity to develop a research culture throughout the University so that associated scholarly activities are currently not highly visible. AUQA has identified this as an issue of potential future concern in regard to the National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes."[11]

Although not specifically mentioned in the AUQA report, the University's financial position and its lack of resources to fund critical infrastructure such as libraries, IT and research support was of concern. In 2008, Notre Dame made an operating loss of $2.4m on revenues of $70m, and had loans and liabilities of more than $130m.[12]

It also faces a new challenge in the form of union intervention in its activities, with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) logging claims for staff entitlements for the first time in 2009. Notre Dame is the only university in Australia that does not offer ongoing employment or increased superannuation entitlements.[13]


The main library on the Fremantle campus of Notre Dame Australia is named St Teresa's. The campus also contains the more specialised Craven Law Library and Galvin Medical Library. Located on Sydney's Broadway campus is St. Benedict's Library and on campus at Darlinghurst is the Benedict XVI medical library.

The libraries were included in the 2008 AUQA audit mentioned above and resulted in an urgent affirmation:

  • [urgent] AUQA affirms that Notre Dame increase its efforts to improve library holdings and services in the two main Libraries (St Benedict's and St Teresa's) of Notre Dame in Sydney and Fremantle.[11]

Student Support

Although Notre Dame promotes itself as a University with small class sizes, Commonwealth statistics suggest that Notre Dame has a larger number of (full-time equivalent) students per (full-time equivalent) staff member. Overall, there are around 36 students per staff member, compared with the national average of 20.[14]

The student life office provides students and staff with a number of services including:

  • Counseling
  • Academic Workshops
  • Study Abroad
  • Pastoral Care
  • Sporting Events
  • Community Service

Law School

The Notre Dame law school has grown from strength to strength from its humble beginnings in the late 90s. The law school now takes part in the prestigious ALSA competitions and the AAT Mooting Competitions as well as the International Maritime Moot competition. For the past two years, the Law school has recorded great success; often finishing in the Top 5.

The law school is also known for its strength in ensuring all students complete a 'moot' unit (known as Advocacy). It is generally expected that law students require at least some moot experience prior to graduating. The law school excels in this area in providing a quality unit for all penultimate year students to moot in front of retired Chief Justice David Malcolm Q.C.

Notre Dame Law School Society also provides a number of competitions throughout the year which consists of:

  • Senior Mooting Competition
  • Junior Mooting Competition
  • Negotiations
  • Client Interview
  • AAT Moot

See also

Rural Clinical School of Western Australia


  1. ^ [1] University of Notre Dame Australia Website
  2. ^ "Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations". 2008-08-17. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  3. ^ "Commonwealth DEEWR 2008 full year statistics". Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  4. ^ [2] Notre Dame 2010 compact
  5. ^ [3] University of Notre Dame Australia Website - Vice Chancellor Speech
  6. ^ "More information here". Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  7. ^ [4] Notre Dame web site
  8. ^ [5] University Academic Structure 2010
  9. ^ "Objects of the University". Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  10. ^ [6] Notre Dame's statement on being a Catholic university
  11. ^ a b [7] Australian Universities Quality Agency 2008 Audit of Notre Dame
  12. ^ [8] Commonwealth DEEWR Finance Statistics 2008
  13. ^ [9] NTEU log of claims for Notre Dame
  14. ^ [10] Commonwealth DEEWR 2008 full year staff and student statistics

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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