THE CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman has hit out at "city supremacists" who believe metropolitan universities are superior to their regional cousins.
The professor said that regional universities often outperformed metro universities in terms of quality, student support and satisfaction, and graduate employability.
On Australian student enrolment, CQUniversity was the second-fastest growing university in the country. In an opinion piece published in The Australian yesterday, Prof Bowman questioned why regional universities were treated with derision - and often suspicion - when they established campuses in metropolitan areas.
"... it seems the geographic expansion of Australian universities beyond their place of birth is only worth celebrating when it is a metropolitan university venturing out to regional Australia," he wrote.
"In my experience a regional university that finds a growth niche in a capital city receives a regular kick in the pants with a side of derision, criticism and constant interrogation from the city supremacists."
Prof Bowman said that CQUniversity was "exporting opportunities" back to cities.
He cited an undergraduate course like ultrasound, which was developed in Mackay and was being delivered out of CQUniversity's Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne campuses.
No other university offered the course, despite soaring patient referrals and a shortage of ultrasound professionals in capital cities.
Prof Bowman said it was ironic that a regional institution was seen as a "big city gold-digger" when 60% of the nation's export wealth continued to come from the 30% of Australians who live outside a major city.
"... there is sometimes an attitude of paternalistic superiority from the cities that pervades the university sector and creates an unintended caste system where some institutions are more equal than others."
- CQUniversity has five campuses in regional Queensland - Bundaberg, Gladstone, Mackay, Noosa and Rockhampton - as well as campuses in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney
- It operates the specialised Appleton Institute research facility in Adelaide, South Australia
- It has distance education study centres in Adelaide, Brisbane, Emerald, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney
- It participates in a study service centre in Geraldton, Western Australia