The success of residential colleges in improving the collegiate experience for students is based on the implementation of academic, social and cultural programs.

To assist members develop and improve the collegiate life for their students, the UCA has provided the following information and examples. If you have specific queries and need assistance please contact us.

Employment and Career Advancement

The UCA provides members with notification of upcoming job opportunities for their information.

As a guide: attached is a position description prepared for the role of Heads of Colleges which outlines criteria, qualifications, duties and other relevant information.

Role of Heads of Colleges – Position Description

Heads and Deputies Mentoring Program

Adults learn best when their learning is self-motivated, experiential, problem centered and occupationally related. Well-planned mentoring experiences provide for professional, personal and career growth located within a supportive environment.  This brochure has been produced to provide our members with some information about the UCA Mentoring Program.  If you are interested in becoming a Mentor or Mentee, complete the Program Brochure (below).

UCA Heads & Deputies Mentor Program Brochure

Graduate Residences Network

Graduate Residences NetworkIn response to the increasing demand for postgraduate accommodation and growing recognition of  a range of particular needs of postgraduate students, Dr Ian Walker, UCA Executive Committee Member and Head of Toad Hall (ANU) established the UCA Graduate Residences Network.  The first meeting of the network was held at ANU in June 2019 when some 18 or so Heads and Deputies of postgraduate residences/residences with postgraduate students (pictured right) gathered to share ideas, issues and initiatives.

Much conversation centred around the particular academic and wellbeing needs of postgraduate students, many of whom are from overseas, as well as the special role that postgraduate students can play in mentoring and role modelling for undergraduate residents. With a growing focus on postgraduate residence across Australia and beyond, the Network will continue to share information and resources and to meet at least once each year, as well as to have some particular session associated with the annual UCA Forum.  Read Dr Walker’s full report here

Academic Programs


Australian residential colleges’ academic support and academic outcomes are synonymous with the success of the collegiate model. Most colleges run academic programs, offering small group tutorials that provide students with the opportunity to delve deeper into issues that interest them. These opportunities are designed to develop skills central to course outcomes, encourage academic enquiry and stimulate peer group learning. Ultimately, they develop skills in collaborative problem solving, critical thinking, and clear communication that will make students most competitive as graduates.

At leading universities in Australia, including the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, the University of Queensland and the University of Western Australia, the marks of students living in colleges have been benchmarked against those living off campus. Students living in colleges consistently achieve well above university pass rates.

For examples of academic programs, please follow the links below:

Janet Clarke Hall, Melbourne University: www.jch.unimelb.edu.au

Queen’s College, Melbourne University: www.queens.unimelb.edu.au/undergraduates/academia/tutorial-programme

St Andrews College, University of Sydney: www.standrewscollege.edu.au/?/About_The_College/About_The_College/Academic_Program/Tutorial_Program

Cultural and Social Development Programs

Innovative education programs are offered in Australian residential colleges to enhance the student learning experience, including community service programs, courses in cultural awareness and in leadership and team building.

Artists in residence, art workshops, music programs and theatre are part and parcel of the wide range of activities offered to our students. Individual colleges have also created specific centres of expertise which contribute to the intellectual life of the wider university community: from theological centres, to centres of women’s leadership, men’s studies and spirituality.

Programs run within colleges are focused on inclusiveness, broadening personal development, and serving the community. In turn, participation builds friendship networks that provide ongoing professional networks with a strong sense of community responsibility.


International Students Programs

Students preparing to enjoy a Japanese banquet at International House

Students preparing to enjoy a Japanese banquet at International House

Many international students residing in colleges find themselves facing additional challenges. Language, culture and isolation issues can have a negative impact on their studies and interaction with universities.

An International Student program will greatly assist these students to assimilate into universities and have a better overall collegiate experience.

International House, located in Brisbane, is one residential college which has implemented a cultural program. The IH Cultural Student Club allows national groups to express and share their culture through activities such as Debating, College Idol, Plays, Dance, Choral and Band Fests. The program culminates in a major multicultural festival known as the Soirée, an acclaimed tradition since 1967. Soirée is a chance to showcase and celebrate the rich and diverse cultures which make up IH to nine other local residential colleges and the general community. The festival allows all residential students to join together in a truly multicultural environment and experience a little taste of the world.

Indigenous Programs and Access


Residential colleges around Australia run dedicated Indigenous access programs that have a proven track record in improving the retention rates and educational outcomes of Indigenous students at university. This success is recognised by the ability of colleges around Australia to attract philanthropic and corporate sponsorship of residential scholarships for Indigenous students.

Shalom College, University of New South Wales: www.shalomcollege.unsw.edu.au/Shalom-Gamarada-Scholarship-Program/default.aspx
St Thomas More College, The University of Western Australia: www.stmc.uwa.edu.au/our-college/scholarships
St Catherine’s College, University of Western Australia: www.stcatherines.uwa.edu.au/special-programs-indigenous-access-about
Trinity College, The University of Melbourne: www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/about/flagship-programs/indigenous-programs.html

Building/Infrastructure Grants and Funding

Colleges seek to develop new collegiate places on Australian campuses through fundraising and commercial borrowing and grants.

For information on how to apply for funding, run fund raising programs or approach developers contact us.