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As a public purpose institution, UTS is committed to driving social change within and beyond campus. Our social impact agenda focuses research, education and practice from across the university to benefit people and communities.

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  • About the UTS Social Impact Framework


    Verity Firth: Social justice at its heart is justice.

    Jenny Onyx: Fairness and equity…

    Shirley Alexander: Making sure that everyone in life has an equal opportunity…

    Simon Darcy: Being able to do anything that anyone else in the community can do, without the additional barriers…

    Bronwen Dalton: It is high time that universities really demonstrate to the Australian people that they care about society and are committed to making a real difference

    Larissa Behrendt: A large part of that is working with communities so that they're actively involved

    Verity Firth: Universities have a unique and fundamental role to play in the 21st century as a public purpose institution that generates new knowledge and has a footprint in its local and global community. We have a responsibility and a desire to act for positive social change.

    The social impact framework identifies six areas in which UTS must take action in order to achieve the broader goals of the framework, and if we do this we will see increased public good, increased social mobility and equity, and the creation of enabling environments for
    communities to thrive. And when you put all of them together, a healthy, sustainable and socially just society.

    And at the heart of the framework is our shared vision for UTS’s role in this space; that UTS is an agent for social change, transforming communities through research, education and practice.

    So the framework was developed collaboratively, with over 137 staff and students who got together to talk about what do they want to see their university be. 

    Jenny Onyx: The social impact working at UTS is critical.

    Simon Darcy: It's built on a foundation that goes back 20 years, but more importantly, recognition from outside organisations that we're bloody good at doing this stuff.

    Larissa Behrendt: We aim to work with communities to identify research issues that we can work on to support them, and they're actively involved on those research projects and in disseminating research outputs as well so they actually become the advocates for the issues we've researched.

    Joanne Gray: As we prepare professionals for the future, I think it's really important that we consider their role in being able to provide a better world for others and how they can also influence social change

    Jenny Onyx: And the reason why we punch above our weight is because we have strong networks and commitment within the university

    Verity Firth: We are hot houses of knowledge of research, of innovation, of new ideas – and it is in the social justice space where universities can really do their best work, and the framework is our roadmap for getting us there.


    Thanks to the following contributors, in order of appearance:

    Verity Firth, Executive Director, Social Justice, UTS

    Emeritus Professor Jenny Onyx, UTS Business School

    Professor Shirley Alexander, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Education and Students)

    Professor Simon Darcy, UTS Business School

    Dr Bronwen Dalton, UTS Business School

    Professor Larissa Behrendt, UTS Chair of Indigenous Research and Director, Research and Academic Programs, Jumbunna Institute

    Associate Professor Joanne Gray, Chair, Academic Board

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