UniSA was founded in January 1991 through the amalgamation of the South Australian Institute of Technology and the Magill, Salisbury and Underdale campuses of the South Australian College of Advanced Education. (See Genealogy.)
Under the University's Act, its mission was "to preserve, extend and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, scholarship and consultancy, and to provide educational programs that will enhance the diverse cultural life of the wider community."
A faculty structure was adopted in 1992, and in 1993 UniSA established the Australian Technology Network (ATN) with the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Curtin University of Technology in Perth, RMIT University in Melbourne and the University of Technology, Sydney.
In 1994, the first two research institutes the Ian Wark Research Institute and the Institute for Telecommunications Research were established, followed in 1996 by the Flexible Learning Centre, which played a major role in facilitating strategic directions for improving teaching and learning.
In 1997, UniSA became one of the first universities to identify seven Graduate Qualities, which remain central to our teaching and learning framework, and adopted a Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal Reconciliation.
A Statement of Strategic Intent was formalised in 1998 to clearly define the University's character and objectives, and the current divisional structure replaced the faculty structure.
Central to the University's evolution as a modern and diverse institution was Blueprint 2005, a $140 million project that saw the closure of the Underdale campus, the construction of major buildings at City West, City East and Mawson Lakes campuses, and the extension of others. Phase one was completed in early 2005 and phase two which included the construction of the Hawke Building at City West was completed in October 2007.
In 2008 a new Vision, Mission and Values statement was released as part of a new strategic direction, "New Horizons."