Australian Catholic University

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Australian Catholic University
ACU logo 2014.jpg
Type Public
Established 1 January 1991 (1991-01-01)
Chancellor John Fahey, AC
Vice-Chancellor Greg Craven
Students 32 000
Location Australia
Campus Urban, suburban, rural
Affiliations Universities Australia, ACCU, IFCU, ICUSTA, OUA

Australian Catholic University (ACU) is a publicly-funded university with seven campuses around Australia. It is one of the few Australian universities with a presence in Europe, having opened the Rome Centre in Italy in 2015.

ACU has grown rapidly, with the number of undergraduate students increasing more than 60% between 2010 and 2015.[1] The university now has more than 32,000 students from 160 countries, and more than 2,200 staff. It has matched this growth with the expansion[2] and upgrade of it campuses.[3] Several new buildings and developments have won interior design[4] or architecture[5] awards, and received a 6-Star Green Star energy rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.[6]

ACU is made up of four faculties, which offer bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. It is open to students and staff of all beliefs and backgrounds, and outlines in its mission statement a commitment to "the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of the human person and the common good."[7]

ACU was founded from Catholic tertiary institutions that had been training teachers and nurses since the mid-19th century. It is now globally connected, with a relationship to more than 190 universities and educational institutions around the world as well as being part of a global network of Catholic universities.[8]

ACU has an increasing involvement in research[9] and has seven new research institutes aligned with the university's four priority research areas: theology and philosophy; health; education; and the common good and social justice.


Australian Catholic University (ACU) was opened on 1 January 1991 following the amalgamation of four Catholic tertiary institutions in eastern Australia:

  • Catholic College of Education Sydney, New South Wales
  • Institute of Catholic Education, Victoria
  • McAuley College, Queensland
  • Signadou College of Education, Australian Capital Territory

These institutions had their origins in the mid-1800s, when religious orders and institutes became involved in preparing teachers for Catholic schools and, later, nurses for Catholic hospitals. Through a series of amalgamations, relocations, transfers of responsibilities and diocesan initiatives, more than 20 historical entities have contributed to the creation of the university.


The vice-chancellor and president, Greg Craven, is the chief executive officer of ACU and is responsible for representing the university both nationally and internationally and for providing strategic leadership and management.

Deputy vice-chancellors have delegated responsibility for assigned areas of policy. These areas are academic; administration and resources; research and students, learning and teaching.

Associate vice-chancellors are based in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. They act as the vice-chancellor's representative in their local region, as do the campus deans in Ballarat and Canberra.

The vice-chancellor is also assisted by the faculty executive deans, the academic registrar and directors with national portfolios.

Each faculty is headed by an executive dean and supported by a number of associate deans and heads of schools.


ACU campus in Rome, Italy

ACU has seven campuses across Australia, Adelaide, Ballarat, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney (North Sydney and Strathfield). In 2015, the university opened the Rome Centre, a collaboration with the Catholic University of America, located in Rome, Italy.[10]

ACU campus in Melbourne, Victoria


ACU has a wide range of institutes and centres, as well as four faculties.

  • Education and Arts – areas include education, arts and humanities, global studies and international development studies, media communications, social science, youth work, and creative arts, visual arts and design.
  • Health Sciences – areas include counselling, environmental science, exercise physiology, exercise science, mental health, midwifery, nursing, occupational therapy, paramedicine, physiotherapy, public health, psychology, social work and speech pathology.
  • Law and Business – areas include accounting and finance, business administration, commerce, human resource management, information technology, law, management, marketing and occupational health, safety and environmental management.
  • Theology and Philosophy.


ACU campus in North Sydney, New South Wales

In 2014 ACU launched a research intensification program. In the initial stage of the five-year strategy, the university established seven new research institutes, aligned with four priority research areas: theology and philosophy; health; education; and the common good and social justice.[11]

In 2015, ACU was named the most improved institution in the country by the Australian Research Council in its national assessment of research quality, the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). In the results, ACU increased its "excellence index" ranking from 35th to 21st. The university also achieved several scores of five, the highest score possible, in the ERA.[12]

Student Life[edit]

Each ACU campus has a student representative council and there is a national student body called the Australian Catholic University National Students' Association (ACUNSA), which advocates on behalf of students both individually and collectively.

The university hosts an annual national sporting event – the ACU Games – and students also compete in Australia's largest annual multisport event, the Australian University Games.

ACU has its own national community radio station, ACU Wired, a joint venture between staff and students which broadcasts to all six ACU campuses.

Campus Life manages a range of clubs and societies as well as organising events, competitions and national programs. The Office of Student Success manages a range of support services on every campus including academic, disability, counseling, and Indigenous support.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Australian
  2. ^ Sydney Morning Herald
  3. ^ Catholic Leader
  4. ^ "University Chapel speaks of lightness and air". Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  5. ^ "Conrad Gargett awarded for Excellence in Architecture". CGR Achitects. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  6. ^ "Daniel Mannix Building". Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  7. ^ "Mission and Profile", ACU website
  8. ^ "IFCU | Membership". Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
  9. ^ "Australian Catholic University pumps up research", The Australian newspaper
  10. ^ "Rome Centre", ACU website
  11. ^ "ACU Research Institutes", ACU website
  12. ^ Australian Research Council website

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°22′41″S 153°05′20″E / 27.378°S 153.089°E / -27.378; 153.089 (Australian Catholic University (Brisbane Campus))