The University of Queensland has become the first university in the Southern Hemisphere to join the Age-Friendly University Global Network.
The international network of higher education institutions is dedicated to addressing the needs of older people and the challenges presented by the ageing population.
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said the announcement demonstrates the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“I am proud UQ is leading the way as the first university in Australia, and the first university in the Southern Hemisphere to be accepted to the global network of age friendly universities,’ Professor Terry said.
“One of our core values at UQ is to create a vibrant and inclusive environment where ideas flourish and people, regardless of background or age, are empowered and respected to achieve success.
“Our successful application validates how UQ integrates the needs of older people into our teaching, learning and research as well as our enhanced experience for older employees, students, alumni and guests.’
UQ’s commitment to ageing is reflected in the breadth of activities and interdisciplinary research including world-renowned ageing-related research, accessible and innovative coursework and UQ’s Healthy Ageing Initiative established to guide age friendly policies and practices.
UQ Healthy Living, a multidisciplinary service promoting healthy ageing and wellbeing in older adults resourced by students who are supervised by leading academic clinicians is another exemplar of UQ’s work to support the ageing population.
In becoming an age-friendly university , UQ officially endorsed 10 principles to provide guidance for evaluating the university’s age-friendly programs and policies and identified additional opportunities for serving people of all ages.
Leader of the initiative, Professor Nancy Pachana from UQ's School of Psychology , said it would address ageism, lifelong education, workforce issues, research and community outreach.
“The 10 principles provide the framework to ensure UQ’s work in health and well-being in later years will translate our knowledge into practice to benefit all members of our society,’ Professor Pachana said.
“I am passionate about this initiative as I believe universities play an important role in not only educating the next generation of researchers, practitioners and citizens, but they also serve the needs, goals and aspirations of our society.
“Older adults are a vital component of our community and understanding how to make life better for all of us as we grow older is timely and important.’