Action Plan on Cultural Renewal: End of first quarter progress report

Three months on from launching our Action Plan, we have prepared a progress ‘report card’ which provides detail on the work undertaken thus far and further work to do.

The details of the ‘report card’ can be read here.

Some of the highlights include:

  • A more robust Education and Training Strategy and Program that builds on our existing leadership and education program has been developed. The first phase was rolled out during Leadership Week (formerly N’Week) from 24 November – 1 December. New initiatives will be implemented during 2019.  Education on sexual misconduct is informed by leading practice principles that underpin violence and sexual violence prevention education and are evidence based, comprehensive, inclusive and empowering;
  • Planning for our new ‘Welcome Week’ is well underway and will ensure that new students are welcomed into our College. The events during Welcome Week and throughout the year will be underpinned by inclusivity, equality and a sense of belonging.  Special attention has been given to ensure any event or behaviour with the potential to harass or humiliate any student has been eliminated. St Mark’s has also engaged external consultants in this process to ensure the highest possible standard of programming is provided;
  • Greater controls are in place for College events through a process whereby the Master signs off approval for all activities listed in the calendar of events after the College Club Committee, Dean and Director of Learning agree on the elements of each activity. Events will only be signed off and allowed to proceed if they align with the College’s values. All Events on College grounds will be closely supervised by College staff;
  • Increased responsible consumption of alcohol awareness including our partnership with Red Frogs, closer links with the Liquor Licensing Commission and more active promotion of non-alcoholic drinks at all events. This is in addition to existing Responsible Service of Alcohol training provided to all student leaders and event organisers.

We will continue to consult extensively with students and key stakeholders, and to do our very best to ensure a secure future for St Mark’s and the College lifestyle, which we all know has many benefits for our students today, and into the future.

New Chair, new Action Plan

St Mark’s College’s new independent Chair, Ms Linda Matthews, has launched an Action Plan to support continued cultural renewal at the College.

Ms Matthews has recently been appointed as College Chair and will lead the Plan’s implementation.

Linda brings more than twenty-five years’ experience leading change in the not-for-profit sector. Her previous roles include South Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Director of Funding and Advocacy at the SA Intellectual Disability Services Council. Linda has also managed a number of not-for-profit organisations including The Parks Community Legal Service, the SA Domestic Violence Prevention Unit and the SA Rape and Sexual Assault Service. As Executive Director of Women NSW she led reforms for victims of family and domestic violence. She was also Queensland’s first Privacy Commissioner.  

Linda currently serves as a Board member of Catherine House and is President of Scosa.

The St Mark’s College Action Plan for Cultural Renewal is designed to retain the positive aspects of College life, making changes to ensure the College provides an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students.

The Action Plan is a series of practical actions informed by the findings of the Cultural Renewal at the University of Sydney Residential Colleges Report by Elizabeth Broderick, the work of Universities Australia through the AHRC Report Change the Course, the UNSW Report On Safe Ground, and the University of Adelaide: Review of Student Residential Colleges Report prepared by the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission. It has also been informed by the research undertaken by KPMG for the College Board.

Key actions include:

  • Ensuring greater controls are in place for College events to reduce harmful drinking and reduce the likelihood of unacceptable activities and behaviour;
  • Planning for a new Welcome Week to replace Orientation Week. Welcome Week focuses on building an inclusive and diverse student body. Unacceptable past traditions and activities will not be tolerated;
  • Strengthen existing training for all students and staff on the College’s Values, sexual assault and harassment, consent, bystander awareness, drug and alcohol harm minimisation, mental and sexual health by increasing its frequency throughout the year and introducing cultural sensitivity training;
  • Monitoring and reviewing progress to ensure the Action Plan achieves its targets and adapts to leading evidence-based practice and feedback.

More detail is contained in the College Statement of Cultural Renewal and the Action Plan for Cultural Renewal on a page.

Further information about student well-being at St Mark’s can be accessed here.

The College will consult and report regularly on progress to the St Mark’s community and our key stakeholders on the implementation of this Plan.

If you have any feedback on the Plan, please email chair@stmarkscollege.com.au.

A copy of the news release is available here.