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Five campuses and one lost VC

Friday, 20 May 2016

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The five-campus system proved problematic for Vice-Chancellor Lourens, who admits to occasionally arriving in the wrong suburb for meetings.

“When you have five or six appointments in a day, you sometimes get in the car and eventually realise you’re heading in the wrong direction,” he says.

“The Vice-Chancellor of UWA could walk across campus, but my situation was a bit more complex.”

Turning a minus into a plus, this minor tyranny of distance led ECU to embrace innovations that others would later follow, including becoming the first university in WA to invest in a fibre-optic link to allow videoconferencing between campuses and being the first to simulcast a lecture to Asia in 1993.

The university also became the first to put course materials and resources online.

The complexity of five campuses was eventually deemed inefficient, and Claremont closed in 2004 under Vice-Chancellor Professor Millicent Poole and Churchlands in 2008 under Vice-Chancellor Professor Kerry Cox. Since that time, the frequency of Vice- Chancellors getting lost has reportedly diminished.

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