Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Term 1 Begins

I’d like to give a very warm welcome to all of our new students in 2013! And of course welcome back to all of our continuing students.

I’m sure there is a real feeling of excitement for all those who have just started their university journey with us today, be it on campus or via distance education. I hope the first day was a good one.

The year ahead will be filled with many personal triumphs and possibly some hiccups. No matter what challenges you may face along the way, rest assured CQUniversity has a number of extremely skilled and qualified staff wanting to assist you in whatever way possible. Whether it be regarding referencing styles and academic writing, course and careers advice, accommodation and welfare services or student equity there is someone here ready to help. So if ever you are feeling overwhelmed or simply need a chat, please get in touch.  Accessing these services can certainly make university life much easier. Just go to the Current Students webpage for more info.

Congratulations on starting this journey! I am sure you will discover in the years ahead that investing in an education is one of the greatest things you will ever do. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Excited about iTunes U for distance education

I just finished reading a story in our UniNews broadcast that has really captured my imagination. Not just because the story is set on a tropical paradise, but because the student featured in the story provides a great insight into how technology is revolutionising the way she studies. It’s also particularly relevant for CQUniversity with our intense focus on delivering quality distance education programs.

The student featured in the story recently moved from New South Wales to a small South Pacific Island nation, Niue, which is 2400km from New Zealand. Since relocating she has enrolled in CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Laws program. Conveniently the program is the first law program in Australia, designed specifically with wireless access in mind.

The whole program is available on the iTunes U platform, a web-based application for iPhone and iPad devices. This innovative app is just one example of how digital technology is changing the face of tertiary study, by allowing educators to deliver course content to a global audience, creating ‘mobile classrooms’ not limited by size or geographic boundaries. I really believe that the use of this type of technology signals an exciting time for higher education.

Even if you aren’t a Law student you can still explore this technology for yourself now. Along with course content for our Bachelor of Laws, there is also a great range of other learning and information resources related to CQUniversity. To explore what’s available please follow this link https://itunes.apple.com/au/institution/cquniversity/id550366601 (to access the link you will need to download the free iTunes U App on your iPad or iPhone, alternatively if you are using a PC you will need to make sure iTunes is installed).

I am really excited that we are using this approach for the delivery of our law program to distance education students, as it promotes flexible learning and accessibility. In fact I can’t wait for this to be used across many more of our program offerings.  

Watch this space!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Join in O Week activities and familiarise yourself with uni life

It seems we are already going through this year at lightning pace. Next week signals the start of Term 1. That of course means this week is O Week!

Even though I know the weather isn’t the best at the moment (across most of Queensland), I do encourage as many students as possible – especially new students – to attend. There are lots of great activities organised across the whole CQUniversity campus network, all of which are designed to introduce you to uni life and study. It is also a really good way to meet fellow students and connect with teaching staff. Also don’t forget to follow CQUniversity @CQUni on Twitter and join the CQUniversity Student Facebook group for all the latest uni news and information.

Good luck in the year ahead! Thanks for choosing CQUniversity. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

All about Eve

In late January, the CQUniversity community welcomed Eve. Eve is the first calf born from a ‘handmade cloning’ process which is potentially the first viable cloning method for large-scale improvement of the beef industry.

CQUniversity’s Professor Gábor Vajta established this technology, which involves a simple dissecting microscope and micro blade to dissect and reconstruct the embryo to affect a 'somatic cell nuclear transfer’. The overall goal is to find the best way to commercialise cloning for the benefit of the cattle industry.

Professor Vajta has been working on the more viable handmade cloning technique in collaboration with local firm Australian Reproductive Technologies (based at Mt Chalmers near Rockhampton). Positive results were instant and a pregnancy was achieved on only the second attempt.

I know cloning is an issue that can sometimes divide opinion, but there are many compelling arguments in favour of the process for agricultural applications. Professor Vajta has written a very informative opinion piece which appeared in a recent issue of CQUniversity’s Be magazine – you can read it here.

Best of all Eve and her birth mother are both doing well. 

 Eve with her birth mother
Professor Vajta with Eve

Thursday, February 7, 2013

CQ a land of extremes

I am sure we would all agree that Central Queenslanders live in one of the best regions of Australia (if not the world). It seems however the only downside is our extreme and incredibly unpredictable weather. 

Only two years since we witnessed devastating flooding that covered most of the State and the unthinkable has happened – another flood and more devastation – this time having unprecedented impacts.

The Bundaberg and Burnett regions were the most severely affected with Gladstone, Rockhampton and the Fraser Coast also suffering. It is pretty unbelievable this has happened, not just because it seems like yesterday the people of CQ were cleaning up after the last deluge, but because up until just before the Australia Day long weekend we were enjoying some of the best weather our great state has to offer.

The catastrophic flooding in Bundaberg has really hit home hard for us here at CQUniversity, the news that some of our staff and students were affected has devastated the whole CQUniversity community. The thoughts of everyone at CQUniversity have been with our colleagues, students and friends in Bundaberg over the past week.

Some of the great CQUni staff volunteering at the fundraising BBQ

It is however times like these that I am also glad we are one of Australia’s most engaged universities – as soon as word came in about the situation,  our fabulous employees acted and came up with ways to help the community. Many staff in Bundaberg joined the mud army or helped friends and family, a collection was established for books and school supplies for one of the local school’s that was inundated by flood waters and our metro campuses held umbrella fundraising morning teas which raised almost $1500. This morning in Rockhampton we also held a free community fundraising breakfast. It was a great turnout with staff and students volunteering cook breakfast and collect donations, further to this I am pleased to announce that this event raised more than $2000.

I’d really like to thank everyone involved in these terrific engagement activities so far (especially those that had to get up at 4.30am this morning). Your efforts make CQUniversity great and epitomise true community spirit and engagement!

The umbrella fundraising morning tea at The CQUniversity Melbourne Campus

Finally, I'm aware of a number of staff and students who have been personally hard hit by the floods, and for some it will be a long road back to normality; to those people, please know that you continue to be in my thoughts, particularly as we undertake these fundraising and engagement efforts.