Strategic Plan for Sport

Melbourne University Sport (MU Sport) is a department of the University, reporting to the Provost, Chancellery and the MU Sport Board.

Sport has a special significance for the University through the performance of sporting clubs, teams and high profile athletes that enhance the organisation’s reputation. We provide high-level policy, business and financial advice on the development and management of sport and recreation at the University.

Melbourne University Sport provides professional management of the fitness, sports and recreation facilities, programmes and activities of the University and works closely with all stakeholders and external strategic partners in delivering sport and physical recreation opportunities for the University community in accordance with strategic and operational plans.

MU Sport is responsible for:

Sport Capital Improvement Plan

The Sport Capital Improvement Plan for the development of on-campus and off-campus facilities and manages all University sporting facilities, in particular, the University Recreation Reserve, the Ski Lodge at Mt Buller and the Boat House on the Yarra River.

Fitness and Recreation services

Provision of fitness and recreation services and programmes including fitness assessments, personal training, group fitness, physiotherapy and sports massage, support for instructional and recreational club activity, short courses and trips and tours.

Sporting opportunities

Provision of sporting opportunities including supporting teams and individual students to compete in regional, national and international student competitions including the Varsity Challenge and Uni Nationals, the strategic development and operations of the competitive sporting clubs, professional management and promotion of lunchtime and college sport competitions and support for elite-level student-athletes with the High-Performance Sport Program and the provision of sporting scholarships.

Marketing and Branding of Sport

Ensuring the marketing and branding of sport to support student recruitment activity and support the engagement of the alumni with University sport programmes and advancement activity.

University representation

Representing the University on matters pertaining to sport and physical recreation to local, state and federal government, UniSport Australia, sporting bodies and related professional organisations.

Strategic Plan

The journey to develop a new Strategic Plan for Sport commenced several years ago with the Board and staff of MU Sport determined to ensure that all stakeholders had the opportunity to contribute to the vision for the future. Workshops were conducted with MU Sport Board, management and staff, and presentations to Club Forums and a range of opportunities were provided for students and stakeholders to contribute directly to the review.

The development of the plan was delayed while a major review of club governance was undertaken by the University in response to several major incidents involving clubs and club members. This resulted in a review of the management of the risks associated with sporting activity to ensure the safety of participants and the good conduct of student-athletes, teams, clubs and officials, which has had a significant impact on the governance and management of sporting clubs and programs at the University.

In 2017, a discussion paper was distributed for feedback outlining strategies for sport to support the provision of an outstanding student experience aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan, Growing Esteem, and to build on the fantastic foundation that sport has established at the University.

The discussion paper captured the significant progress made under the previous strategic plan, structured around the pillars of participation and performance which had provided the framework to guide planning and for measuring success.

The paper proposed including leadership as a pillar, demonstrated in programs such as Raise the Bar, to replace the performance pillar. However, in response to the feedback from clubs and the Board, the performance pillar was retained. A workshop was conducted with representatives of the various stakeholders in late 2017 to confirm the final Vision and Pillars for endorsement by the Board and presentation to the University.

View the Strategic Plan for Sport extended version by selecting the button below.

Strategic Updates

Sporting Club Performance Strategy

Melbourne University Sport (MU Sport) is excited to release the Sporting Club Performance Strategy with the aim to ‘ensure that the sporting clubs are the first choice of our student-athletes’ (as per the Strategic Plan for Sport). The strategy has been developed in consultation with the clubs and the Club Advisory Group and was recently endorsed by the MU Sport Advisory Board.

The document outlines a framework that draws from many of the successful initiatives of our clubs (see case studies), and best practice from across the University sport sector, that have increased the number of students competing for clubs, including in the top tier teams, without compromising successful performance.

MU Sport Responds to Strategy 2030

Following the conclusion of the Growing Esteem strategic phase, the University has begun development of the next organisational-wide strategy – Strategy 2030. In early September, the discussion paper was distributed internally which proposed a new strategic framework focused on the key themes: Students and Education, Basic Research and its Translation, Global Leadership, Place and People, Diversity and Inclusion.

MU Sport has engaged in the consultation process and provided Strategy, Planning and Performance feedback on how our organisation currently engages with the key themes raised in the paper. This includes through our work to enhance the co-curricular student experience through sport and offer the largest single co-curricular activity at the University, with over 18,000 students utilising our programs and facilities annually.

We have also recently made great strides in engaging many of the most vulnerable and isolated students through a range of initiatives such as the Water Safety program, Strong Women program, the Indigenous Sport program and the Pride and Diversity program. As part of this, we are embedding inclusive practices across the organisation with the introduction of our Indigenous Engagement Framework and LBGTQIA+ Inclusion policy.

We will periodically update Sport stakeholders on the University’s strategy development process. It is anticipated that the final strategy paper will be released in December of this year.

University Develops Estates Plan for Future Facility Development

The University has developed an Estates Plan that will guide the decision making on-campus development and building projects into the future. MU Sport has been engaged in the consultation process to address the urgent requirement for new and upgraded facilities and securing longer-term access to local community facilities.

Pleasingly the Estates Plan contains a comprehensive overview of sporting facilities and future opportunities at the university largely drawn from the Strategic Plan for Sport and the earlier Sport Capital Improvement Plan. The Estates Plan has not been released broadly but the Guiding our Estate has listed MU Sport as one of eleven themes which then informed the development of eight Campus Experience Standards that include sport, recreation and leisure options that support health and wellbeing. The Estates Plan Implementation Team is currently undertaking benchmarking of comparable university-based sports facilities and were recently taken on a tour of the University sport facilities, including external facilities at Princes and Royal Park and the State Netball and Hockey Centre, by MU Sport staff.

At this stage we are unsure if the Estate Plan will ultimately impact positively on future sport development but are heartened that the process has provided an opportunity to state the case for sport. We will provide regularly updates on relevant issues from the Estates Planning Group and consult with all stakeholders on the development of a new Sport Capital Plan and to ensure that there are a range of shovel ready projects for future consideration.