Release of Catharine Lumby Report: “a gold standard approach”

The College has this week received a Report from Professor Catharine Lumby on what we do and what we can do better to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct, and the College Board has announced its commitment to implementing all of the Report’s recommendations.

As reported in May 2022, St Mark’s commissioned Professor Lumby, from the University of Sydney, to undertake an independent expert review of what we do to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault from taking place within our College community, and how we respond when misconduct does occur.

Professor Lumby is one of the leading experts in this field, and has worked with Australian organisations including the National Rugby League, Google, Channel Ten, David Jones, Endemol Shine, and the Australian Defence Force.

Over the past five months Professor Lumby has undertaken extensive qualitative and quantitative research at St Mark’s, including focus group meetings with students, participation in a Student Leadership Retreat, administration of a comprehensive survey of students, multiple discussions with the Head of College, Professor Don Markwell, and consultations with senior staff. Professor Lumby has also reviewed relevant policies and other written materials. The Report received this week is the summary of the findings from that process.

The Report gives a very positive assessment of the College’s approach. Professor Lumby writes in the Executive Summary that

In terms of best practice, the College takes a gold standard approach to policy, practice, education, evaluation and to ensuring complaints are dealt with in a sensitive manner which respects due process. The commissioning of this Review further demonstrates the commitment of the College to ongoing evaluation and transparency.

Alongside this strong endorsement of the College’s approach, Professor Lumby provides a series of Recommendations which suggest changes that we can make to strengthen our practices further.

These Recommendations include ensuring that our policies are as straightforward and user-friendly as possible and continue to be reviewed on an annual basis; reviewing training and support provided to College staff; considering how best to communicate consequences of misconduct to the student community; and continuing to develop our training program for students in light of findings from the survey data.

The Chair of the Board, Ms Linda Mathews, warmly welcomed the Report and its Recommendations. She said that

Our foremost priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students, and Professor Lumby’s Report makes clear that our current approach is one which is proactive and informed. However we recognise that there is more that we can do, and we look forward to implementing in full the various Recommendations made in the Report.

The Report can be read in full at this link.

The most recent update on the College’s work on cultural renewal and upholding our values can be found here.

The College thanks all students who participated in the review by Professor Lumby.

Welcome Dr Don Markwell, Head of St Mark’s College

Welcome Head of St Mark's College, Dr Don Markwell

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr Don Markwell as the new Head of St Mark’s College, Adelaide.

An internationally recognised educational leader, Dr Markwell has a strong commitment to collegiate education, and we are delighted that he will lead St Mark’s College in the next stage of its growth. Dr Markwell was previously the Warden of St Paul’s College at the University of Sydney and, amongst other roles of educational and public policy leadership in Australia and Britain, has also served as the global head of the Rhodes Scholarships as Warden of Rhodes House, Oxford.

Having devoted over 30 years of his life to university education, Dr Markwell is passionate about the benefits to students of an all-round collegiate education.

Speaking at a reception for students, staff, and the College Board to welcome him as the new Head of St Mark’s College, Dr Markwell said that “the College exists, as a residential academic community, to be the best environment we can be in which to be a university student”.

“We aim to offer every student the best all-round educational experience we can – including academic, more broadly intellectual, sporting, cultural, social, spiritual, community service and other dimensions.

This includes being a community of fun and of friendships, which promotes the growth and the wellbeing of every student, and which is a community based on respect, inclusion, and safety for all.”

Dr Markwell said that he looked forward to getting to know all members of the College, and to working with the students, staff, Board, alumni and friends of St Mark’s College to advance the broadening and life-changing collegiate educational experience that St Mark’s College offers.

For further information about Dr Markwell’s background and experience please click here.

The staff and students of St Mark’s College are committed to upholding a respectful, inclusive and safe residential academic community.  For further information about the St Mark’s College Vision and Values click here.