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Australian Catholic University
Latin: Universitas Catholica Australiana
Former name
    • Mount Saint Mary College
    • Catholic Teachers’ College
    • Catholic College of Education[1]
Truth in love
TypePublic Roman Catholic research university
  • 1908 (earliest college)[2]
  • 1991 (university status)[3]
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic[4]
Academic affiliation
BudgetA$561.97 million (2022)[5]
ChancellorMartin Daubney[6]
Vice-ChancellorZlatko Skrbis[7]
ProvostJulie Cogin[8]
Academic staff
1,150 (FTE, 2022)[5]
Administrative staff
1,228 (FTE, 2022)[5]
Total staff
2,147 regular (2022)[9]
1,140 casual (2022)[9]
Students32,958 (2022)[5]
Undergraduates25,930 (2022)[5]
Postgraduates5,888 coursework (2022)
278 research (2022)[5]
Other students
862 (2022)[5]
CampusUrban and regional with multiple sites[11]
ColoursPurple, red and white[12]
Sporting affiliations
MascotVaries by campus
Australian Catholic University Signadou Campus in the Canberra suburb of Watson

Australian Catholic University (ACU) is a public university in Australia. It has seven Australian campuses and also maintains a campus in Rome.[13]


Australian Catholic University was opened on 1 January 1991 following the amalgamation of four Catholic tertiary institutions in eastern Australia:[14]

These institutions had their origins in the mid-1800s, when religious orders and institutes became involved in preparing teachers for Catholic schools and, later, nurses for Catholic hospitals. Through a series of amalgamations, relocations, transfers of responsibilities and diocesan initiatives, more than 20 historical entities have contributed to the creation of the university.[15]


ACU's vice-chancellor and president, Zlatko Skrbis, is responsible for representing the university both nationally and internationally and for providing strategic leadership and management. He holds a PhD in Sociology.[16]

Deputy vice-chancellors have delegated responsibility for assigned areas of policy. These areas are academic, administration and resources, and research.

Each faculty is headed by an executive dean and supported by a number of associate deans and heads of schools.


ACU campus in Rome, Italy
ACU campus in Strathfield, New South Wales

ACU has seven campuses across Australia: Ballarat, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney (Blacktown, North Sydney, Strathfield) with a Leadership Centre in Adelaide and another in Townsville. In 2015, the university opened the Rome Centre, a collaboration with the Catholic University of America, located in Rome, Italy.[17]

The Mount St Mary Campus in Strathfield is heritage listed.[18]

Saint Teresa of Kolkata building at ACU's Melbourne campus, Victoria
ACU campus in North Sydney, New South Wales

Student life

Each ACU campus has a student representative council and there is a national student body called the Australian Catholic University National Students' Association (ACUNSA), which advocates on behalf of students both individually and collectively.

The university hosts an annual national sporting event – the ACU Games – and students also compete in Australia's largest annual multisport event, the Australian University Games.

HDR students have objected to a change plan introduced in September 2023 that would eliminate positions occupied by their supervisors leaving them without supervisors with the relevant expertise for their projects.[19]

Notable alumni

Recent media attention

In March 2023, controversy broke out on campus when librarians were ordered to remove the rainbow flags that had been displayed across campuses. Staff and students wrote an open letter to Zlatko Skrbis claiming that his acts were "a direct affront to ACU's mission to act in truth and love in the pursuit of knowledge, the dignity of the human person, and the common good".[20]

In July 2023, ACU launched an internal investigation into its contracts with Asset Group Solutions. AGS had provided security and cleaning services to ACU but its founder had been charged with corruption. Stephen Weller (Chief Operating Officer and Deputy-Vice Chancellor) had been warned in 2018 about AGS's conduct but did not act on those warnings.[21] ACU responded by denying knowledge of AGS’s criminal activities and has launched an internal investigation.[22]

In September 2023, ACU announced plans to cut 113 full-time jobs, most of which were at the Melbourne campus. This was part of spending cuts intended to reduce a forecast $30 million deficit and respond to shrinking enrollments. The cuts were announced as a $250 million campus building, which was constructed to accommodate student and staff growth, neared completion.[23] This has produced an international response in which many academics denounced the university. Timothy Williamson, a professor of philosophy at Oxford and Yale, told reporters that ACU's meteoric rise to the pinnacle of research in philosophy was "unprecedented" but that cuts would give ACU the reputation "as a Mickey Mouse university ... damaging the good international standing of the Australian university system as a whole"-[24]

See also


  1. ^ "ACU's history".
  2. ^ "ACU's history".
  3. ^ "ACU's history".
  4. ^ "Australian Catholic University (ACU)".
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Annual Report 2022" (PDF). acu.edu.au. Australian Catholic University. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  6. ^ "Martin Daubney and Virginia Bourke appointed Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor". Australian Catholic University. 19 July 2021. Archived from the original on 19 July 2021. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Vice-Chancellor and President". acu.edu.au. Australian Catholic University. Archived from the original on 26 July 2021. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)".
  9. ^ a b "Australian Catholic University Limited Annual Information Statement 2022". acnc.gov.au. Australian Charities Not-for-profits Commission. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  10. ^ "Our locations – ACU campuses".
  11. ^ "Our locations – ACU campuses".
  12. ^ "ACU Brand Guidelines January 2020.pdf" (PDF). Staff - Australian Catholic University. January 2020.
  13. ^ "Australian Catholic University". Archived from the original on 21 August 2022. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  14. ^ Kurian, George Thomas; Lamport, Mark A. (7 May 2015). Encyclopedia of Christian Education. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-8108-8493-9.
  15. ^ "ACU's history". www.acu.edu.au.
  16. ^ Skrbis, Zlatko; Woodward, Ian (17 May 2013). Cosmopolitanism: Uses of the Idea. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781849200639.
  17. ^ "Rome Centre" Archived 21 August 2022 at the Wayback Machine, ACU website
  18. ^ "Mount St Mary Campus of the Australian Catholic University". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01965. Retrieved 8 February 2019. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  19. ^ Groch, Sherryn (23 September 2023). "An Australian uni headhunted them from Oxford, Cambridge and Yale. Now they face redundancy". The Age. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  20. ^ Harris, Lucy Carroll, Christopher (15 March 2023). "University orders staff to remove public display of rainbow flags". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 October 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "'I was told to shut up': Australian Catholic University accused of ignoring concerns about security contractor". ABC News. 12 July 2023. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  22. ^ "ACU response to ABC story". www.acu.edu.au. Retrieved 11 October 2023.
  23. ^ Carey, Adam (15 February 2023). "Australian Catholic Uni cuts 110 jobs, 40 in Melbourne, as enrolments shrink, costs rise". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  24. ^ Groch, Sherryn (23 September 2023). "An Australian uni headhunted them from Oxford, Cambridge and Yale. Now they face redundancy". The Age. Retrieved 11 October 2023.

27°22′41″S 153°05′20″E / 27.378°S 153.089°E / -27.378; 153.089 (Australian Catholic University (Brisbane Campus))