Monday, April 22, 2013

Two good news stories in one afternoon

As a national university it is important to celebrate the achievements of our staff and students across all of our campuses, research centres and study centres and today we have been treated with two good news stories in the space of an hour.

To begin with two of our international students at CQUniversity Brisbane, have been named by Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk as 2013 Brisbane International Student Ambassadors. Azadeh Faaliyat from Iran and Edward Kasamba from Uganda will be among 33 new international student ambassadors.

As part of their new roles, Azadeh and Edward will act as advocates for international students living in Brisbane and will also help to promote Brisbane as an international study destination. As part of their role they will also have the opportunity to further explore Brisbane and experience some of the attractions including a Broncos game, Moreton Island and touring the upcoming Ekka. Well done Azadeh and Edward! I am sure you will be great ambassadors for not just Brisbane but CQUniversity as well!

Finally, I am also excited to announce that Ron Bishop (Senior Lecturer, Aviation) and Matthew Rockloff (Associate Professor, Psychology) have been named in the UniJobs Lecturer of the Year Top Ten list. This is a fantastic result for Ron and Matt, with the national honour based on votes received from students and colleagues. A well-deserved honour for both Ron and Matt as I know they go above and beyond in their teaching duties and community involvement.

Ron Bishop and Matthew Rockloff 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Setting a goal for health and wellbeing

Since the beginning of the year, I set myself a goal to get fit and healthy and have been fortunate enough to have shed 15kg so far.

I have never felt better and am so glad that I made the choice to make some basic lifestyle changes. I have lots more energy, am happier and in general just feel extremely well. I am amazed at how making just a few changes has enabled me to enjoy every aspect of my life so much more.

Whilst I made this decision for myself and my family, I have largely been inspired by the great work some of our researchers are doing here at CQUniversity, in the fields of health and physical activity. Learning about their work has really helped in this journey and made what seemed to be complex, very simple. Making changes certainly isn’t easy and sometimes just finding the time to develop new habits is near impossible, having access to useful information helps immensely though.

If you are interested in health and wellness I’d recommend having a look at our Institute for Health and Social Science Research (IHSSR) webpage and in particular the projects the Centre for Physical Activity Studies is involved in – especially 10,000 Steps.

Meanwhile, I’m still learning about new ways to optimise my health and am enjoying getting out and about to exercise in our local area. Climbing some of the local mountains has been a highlight so far.

After climbing Mt Jim Crow early one morning. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Go Regional

Moving to the city has become a rite of passage for many school leavers from regional areas. Heading off to the big smoke can be a very exciting time for a young person, fresh out of high school.

For many years city universities have lured students because of their great facilities, activities and program offerings. There has also been a long held assumption that there are more career opportunities available in metro areas upon completion of study.

Recently, however, regional universities have begun to notice a shift in this trend, with many new school leavers from regional areas choosing to remain at home to attend their local university. 

In fact in the past few weeks I have heard about a number of new students who have not only decided to stay local to study but have migrated from capital cities to attend university at one of our regional campuses.

I firmly believe that in the years to come we will continue to see this trend grow as the cost of living in cities rises. Essentially, cost pressures mean students who also have to work to support their studies will find it increasingly difficult to find a balance between the two.

Along with being able to save money and focus more on study, students who stay local or migrate from cities will also benefit from smaller class sizes and better interaction with academic staff.

Here at CQUniversity we are also working to expand our program offerings, which will help us to attract new students, especially to in demand programs such as physiotherapy, paramedic science and medical imaging.

A strong focus has also been put on the delivery of programs via distance education. In fact CQUniversity offers one of the most diverse ranges of programs, delivered by distance education and is establishing study centres around the country to further support our students.

In terms of career opportunities, right now and in the years to come, our graduates will be able to benefit from a number of job opportunities that are becoming available in regional centres, as a result of the resources boom and the diversification of industries including tourism and agriculture. More people moving to regional areas will also mean more opportunities in service areas such as health.

Congratulations to those students who have made the decision to go with a regional university to obtain their university qualification. Life in a regional area is different to life in the city but is certainly just as good. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

One University

Today we announced an important new phase in CQUniversity’s Strong to Great journey – something I’m dubbing the ‘one university’ project.

For a number of years now, CQUniversity has operated in two separate streams – CQUniversity Australia and C Management Services Pty Ltd (CMS). This model has proven successful in past years, however since becoming Vice-Chancellor in 2009, I have thought long and hard about just how much stronger CQUniversity might be as a unified institution.

Today, we have put forward a plan to mainstream the operations of CMS into CQUniversity over the course of several months. I feel the time is now right to embark on a new path that will combine ‘the best of both worlds’ to create a truly unified institution for students, staff and the communities we serve.

This project will not be embarked upon lightly. It will be the subject of further consultation with staff and stakeholders, as per all CQUniversity change management processes. We remain absolutely committed to continuing our campus presence in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and equally committed to continuing to build our standing as a university-of-choice for international students – functions which CMS has performed admirably to date. But we will do all of this as ‘one university’ – CQUniversity.

I see this project as a great win for our metropolitan campus students. Under the ‘one university’ model, a student at the Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne campus (whether they are domestic, international or studying by distance) will have the same access to resources, support and industry engagement opportunities as a student at any one of our regional campuses, and an enhanced range of study options to choose from. They will be able to tap into the vast network of CQUniversity campuses around Australia, allowing them to attend ‘virtual’ lectures with our expert staff around the country, connect with their peers across geographic boundaries, and even enjoy an ‘exchange’ term at one of our regional locations if they so choose.

I also see the revised model being great for our academic staff, who will soon report into a single, unified faculty, with the same access to resources, technology and peer support. They will thrive in an environment which allows them to innovate, collaborate and reach a wider range of students than ever before. It will also allow the University to introduce more programs into Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, particularly those that are unique to CQUniversity and are in high demand in the capital cities.

I acknowledge the incredible contribution that CMS and its staff have made to the University over many years. Given the overlap between our two organisations, a significant number of positions within CMS will not be carried forward to the new structure and this has been discussed with staff. However, we will retain as many student-critical positions as possible, to ensure the focus remains on a continued great experience for our metro students.

I’m personally really looking forward to putting the days of ‘us and them’ well and truly behind us, and embracing the positive benefits that a unified CQUniversity will deliver to students, staff and communities alike.

 A move that will allow us to better support our regional and metro students