First social enterprise university highlights social impact culture: VC column

13 May 2022

First published in CQ Today on Monday 13 May 2022

Professor Nick Klomp' Vice-Chancellor and President' CQUniversity Australia

At CQUniversity' we're proud to come first where it counts the most – for people' and for the planet.

Since 2020' we've ranked first in Australia for 'Social Equity' in the Good Universities Guide – meaning we deliver quality university education that's accessible and available to all who are determined to achieve.

We're also Australia's first Changemaker University – one of just 42 institutions globally recognised as leaders in social innovation education.

And recently I was proud to announce another very different 'first' – that CQUniversity is Australia's first social enterprise university' certified by Social Traders.

Social enterprises are business that operate for social and environmental good – and CQUniversity achieves this impact through our mission to be Australia's most inclusive' supportive and innovative university.

The Social Traders certification was granted after an expert-led' independent assessment process' and provided a great opportunity to reflect on the many ways all our staff' students and researchers achieve huge social impact.

CQUniversity was recognised for removing social' geographical and cultural barriers to careers and opportunities' through our life-changing education' training and non-traditional pathways.

Importantly' we work with First Nations Peoples to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture' to prioritise Reconciliation' to Indigenise the curriculum and elevate Indigenous ways of knowing' doing and being.

Our impact-led research for people and planet creates transformative change that's recognised globally' most recently in the Times Higher Education 2022 Impact Rankings.

It was rewarding to see CQUniversity ranked 83rd in the world for universities (out of more than 1'400 global institutions) for overall contributions to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals' especially for protecting and restoring life below water (SDG 14)' and for protecting and restoring life on land (SDG 15).

Social enterprise in Australia is a growing movement; many businesses and governments have social procurement in their KPIs' just as we do at CQUniversity.

Being a formally-recognised social enterprise encourages other community-minded organisations to turn to CQUniversity for consulting' fee-for-service education and training' and bespoke research solutions. These businesses win through collaboration with CQUniversity' and the community wins in clear social benefit from that investment.

Demonstrating our social impact' as we have through our social enterprise certification' is one of many ways we grow CQUniversity's appeal to young people who increasingly want to be associated with civic-minded organisations' and who want their studies and their careers to make a difference.

And no matter what they study' at CQUniversity social innovation knowledge and practice is embedded across our curriculum' to ensure every student can create social impact in their careers and their lives.

Because social impact is at the heart of our social enterprise university. Learn more at