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The Hon Adrian Piccoli MP has been appointed an Honorary Professor of Practice by the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The honour, conferred by UNSW Arts & Social Sciences, will see Mr Piccoli working in association with the School of Education.

During Mr Piccoli’s six years as NSW Education Minister he led significant education reform in NSW and nationally. His advocacy for quality teaching, needs-based funding for schools and improving the performance of rural and remote students see him regarded as one of the best education ministers in Australia.

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs said that in his political life and ministerial roles, Mr Piccoli had shown great commitment to public education.

“Adrian Piccoli has been especially committed to the needs of regional NSW, with a strong focus on improving literacy and numeracy in rural and remote communities. His expertise fits perfectly with the focus of our UNSW 2025 Strategy on educational excellence and social engagement. His contribution will be of great value in our efforts to provide the highest quality education, accessible to all parts of society,” Professor Jacobs said.

“I am delighted that Adrian is joining our team at UNSW and I look forward immensely to his input.”

Mr Piccoli will contribute to the academic activities of UNSW Arts & Social Sciences, the School of Education and the University. The role will include contributions to teaching in public policy and education as well as assisting the University with initiatives such as the UNSW Matraville Education Partnership and UNSW's award-winning outreach program ASPIRE, which works with students across NSW to enable greater access to tertiary studies.

UNSW School of Education has been working closely with a number of schools in rural NSW to increase teacher appointments. Working in partnership with the Department of Education, the School is aiming to increase the number of Teacher Education students who complete their professional experience placements in rural areas, in the hope that they will want to work there once they complete their studies.

In another initiative, the University has been invited into a partnership by the Dharriwaa Elders Group in Walgett in northern NSW to work with them towards a range of good outcomes for their community.

Mr Piccoli has a long association with the Walgett community and has a strong commitment to improved outcomes in remote communities and will assist the University in this partnership.

“I am committed to improving the outcomes for students right across NSW and Australia so this is a great opportunity to continue making a contribution to education in conjunction with one of the finest universities in the country,” he said.

Dean of UNSW Arts & Social Sciences Professor Susan Dodds said the appointment would allow Arts & Social Sciences and the School of Education to draw on Mr Piccoli’s practical policy knowledge and longstanding commitment to rural and remote education in the University’s research and teaching.

“We have plans to continue to expand our work with policy makers, schools and communities, and his appointment will help to focus those developments. In addition, Mr Piccoli has agreed to offer some guest lectures to students in courses on politics and public policy, informed by his experience as an MP,” Professor Dodds said.