CQUniversity First in Australia to be Inducted Into Ashoka U
14 March 2017 at 2:44 pm
Queensland-based CQUniversity has been inducted as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus – making it the first university in the Australia-Pacific region to be granted accreditation to the world-wide social innovation exchange.
Ashoka U is an initiative of Ashoka, one of the world’s largest networks of social entrepreneurs, and is made up of 36 other high-profile education institutions across the world with the aim of nurturing social innovation.
CQUniversity vice-chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said he was excited to accept the honor.
“For us it gives us confidence that for almost 10 years the university has been on the right track,” he told Pro Bono News.
“We set out to be the most engaged university in Australia, a university that was in complete partnership with its communities and we started a ‘giving-back’ process within the university and that has now morphed into social innovation.
“The energy and investment that CQUniversity is making in social innovation is a natural extension to the university’s values of inclusiveness and engagement, and our mission to create connections across our local, national and international footprint.”
Bowman said as part of the accreditation, 11 CQUniversity students were awarded scholarships to attend the Ashoka U Exchange.
“It will give these students the ability to visit those other universities that are in Ashoka U. And we have already been doing a lot in this space. With many of our students going to India… working with street kids. Through this work we have been able to put about 30 street kids through university in India [and] especially in Nepal,” he said.
“These [scholarship] students are based across our university’s footprint from all walks of life, but come together with the same vision and goal to become social entrepreneurs.
“Their goal now, along with ours as educators, is to take what we have learnt from [Ashoka U] and embed social innovation in all that we do.”
Bowman said educational institutions could make a substantial social impact by developing the social innovation mindset and skillset in a new generation, and by giving students the practical experiences and intellectual tools to change society for the better.
“And CQUniversity is doing just that,” he said.
“Social innovation is about empowering and educating our students, staff and communities to seek novel solutions to complex social problems. Every day, CQUniversity aims to make the vision of social innovation a reality by facilitating activities, transferring knowledge and nurturing ideas.”
He said CQUniversity was based in Rockhampton in Queensland but had 26 service delivery sites including 11 campuses across Australia.