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Agency awards top marks for ACU standards

The Australian Catholic University (ACU National) has been praised by external auditors for keeping its Catholic character and for setting high standards in indigenous education and community service.

The Catholic Weekly reports that The Australian Universities Quality Agency audit panel says in its report that ACU National "gave substance" to its mission statement that it "brings a distinctive spiritual dimension to the common tasks of higher education".

"While an explicitly religious interpretation of its values is available for those so disposed, the mission has been developed in such a way that any student at ACU National is exposed to the concepts and values of social justice," the auditors said.

They praised the local community service provided by students - many of them nursing, education and other humanities students - as part of their course work.

And the steady increase in indigenous enrolments at the university in recent years is against the national trend - testimony to the high priority it places on indigenous education, they said.

The panel interviewed 150 people from the university's six campuses last September - undergraduates and postgraduates, staff and senior management, members of the university senate and representatives from professional bodies and the university's communities in the different states.

ACU vice-chancellor Prof Peter Sheehan (pictured) said he is "delighted with the findings".

"We have worked hard to give substance to our mission and to engage with both the Catholic community and the broader Australian community," he told The Catholic Weekly.

Catholic Weekly

Australian Catholic University

16 Jan 2003