Formal tick of approval for merged Adelaide University

The merger of the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia has been formally recognised by the national higher education regulator.

May 28, 2024, updated May 28, 2024
Photo: Liam Jenkins/InDaily.

Photo: Liam Jenkins/InDaily.

Adelaide University has been formally registered as an ‘Australian higher education provider’ by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) – the national higher education regulator.

The news was welcomed as a “major milestone in the new university’s formation” by the state government, with TEQSA registration granted for the maximum period of seven years.

TEQSA registration means the institution can receive Commonwealth funding and enrol Commonwealth-supported students.

The amalgamated Adelaide University – a combination of the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia – is set to open from January 1, 2026.

Legislation to establish Adelaide University passed state parliament in November last year after the government secured the support of two Upper House crossbenchers.

The state government – which is backing the merger through $464.5 million of funding – said the transition plans were “now well underway”.

Today, Premier Peter Malinauskas said the new institution would deliver “unprecedented value to students, staff and our community”.

“The South Australian government is committed to supporting the universities to get this right from the outset,” he said.

“Achieving TEQSA registration is a significant achievement, reflecting the collective effort of many individuals who are passionate as I am about future-proofing South Australia’s higher education system.

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“Adelaide University has demonstrated an early commitment to meeting the high standards expected of a new higher education provider – a trend we’re looking to continue as we work with both universities towards an operational commencement date of 1 January 2026.”

In a joint statement, Adelaide University co-Vice Chancellors Professor David Lloyd and Professor Peter Høj said the accreditation was “an important step forward in the formal regulatory process and provides absolute confidence in our stated ambition as we prepare to launch the nation’s new for-purpose university”.

“It has been a thorough process and we thank the regulator for their collaborative and professional approach in working with our teams.

“Adelaide University has a compelling reason to exist – to enable education excellence, equitable access, and excellent research to become a driving force for good with impact that transcends borders – and we look forward to taking the new institution to the world.”

The merger has prompted claims that senior teaching staff were dealing with “horrifically unsustainable” levels of work as part of the transition.

Dr Matthew Sorell, a senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide’s School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, wrote an email to more than 200 university engineering staff on January 26 outlining two “clear concerns” about the planned merger with the University of South Australia to form Adelaide University.

Sorell raised concerns about whether the timeline for opening Adelaide University in January 2026 was feasible.

He also said the curriculum design process would hurt the universities’ research output.

The State Government and universities say the new Adelaide University will add $500 million to the state’s economy per year, educate more than 70,000 students and create an additional 1200 jobs.

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