The University of New England Student Association (UNESA) is the democratically elected student body and responsible for representing and advocating on behalf of students to the University of New England (UNE).
UNESA’s vision is to ‘represent UNE students without fear or favour and to encourage participation in a fair and just tertiary experience through shared higher thinking’.
UNESA also operates two student enterprises:
- TuneFM ~ Australia’s oldest university broadcaster
- Nucleus ~ UNE’s student newspaper, first published in 1947
UNE is Australia’s oldest regional university and offers more than 200 courses at undergraduate, postgraduate coursework and higher degree research levels.
UNE has more than 20,000 current students, of whom many study via its virtual campus from right across Australia and right around the world.
Governance & Leadership Development
UNESA re-formed in 2013 following a period of many years in which UNE did not formally have an independent student body.
UNESA’s governance requirements are challenging due to the highly nuanced nature of representing a diverse and largely remote student population, as well as the highly dynamic tertiary education policy and political environment in Australia at this time.
The Board of Directors recognised that developing governance and leadership skills were going to be essential for UNESA’s strength and success. Over time this emphasis on capacity building has broadened to also include the office-bearers with the many clubs, groups and societies.
Building this capacity is especially key in a university context, given the relatively higher turnover of Directors and office-bearers as students move on after completing their studies.
Starfish has successfully completed the delivery of three Board Governance & Leadership Workshops and Retreats (2013, 2014 and 2015).
Starfish also recently completed a series of four workshops for student organisations with the purpose of build leadership and management capacity for office-bearers to in turn enrich the student experience and amenity at UNE through more dynamic, resilient, and enjoyable clubs, groups and societies. The workshops covered four key areas:
- Governance Essentials
- Efficient, effective & enjoyable: the well-run club
- Financial & money matters
- Growing Engagement
Starfish’s role has been to research, design and facilitate the delivery of a wide range of governance and leadership training and develop workshops and forums.