Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finding your global voice

For some reason a looming election has the ability to highlight issues that many of us might otherwise glaze over at any other time.

Like always this election will focus on typical issues like cost of living, taxes, infrastructure, education and health. Regardless of what side of the political fence you sit on, the fact that these are key issues really makes me think about just how lucky we are to call Australia home. In general there will always be policy and reforms that we disagree with but overall, I think most of us would agree, that compared to some parts of the world we have it pretty good here.

I believe that this election will capture the Nation’s attention more so than any other in recent history. Not because of continuing pressures on family budgets or for the recent turbulence in the political landscape but because for the first time in decades, this election will also focus on some big issues that have both local and global consequence.

Obviously there is the ongoing debate over asylum seekers, which is not only an immigration issue for Australia but also a global human rights issue. Also in line with human rights is Australia’s stance on marriage equality and of course ‘Closing the Gap’ in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

I have no doubt that these issues will continue to remain on our radar for years to come and be the subject of debate for our current and future politicians. What’s more, going forward new topics will continue to arise and challenge us and our leaders. That’s why it is so important to nurture our leaders of tomorrow.

One initiative that is doing just that is Global Voices which was established in 2011. Global Voices connects young Australians with the world while promoting understanding and participation in diplomacy. It delivers a platform for young Australians to really make a difference and engage with their peers from other nations, discussing and researching issues of both local and global significance. What an exciting opportunity to engage?

Recently two of our students, Sherry-Kaye Savage and Megan Star had the chance and privilege to join international delegations in New York City and Nairobi, respectively. Both agreed it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to contribute, engage and expand their knowledge. I know I would have jumped at the chance to be a part of something like this 30 years ago (at least I like to think I would have!).

What’s more CQUniversity’s partnership with the Global Voices initiative in Australia means successful applicants will also have their trips fully funded.

So if you’re interested in having a global voice and seeing the world, I encourage you to have a look at the opportunities available in future delegations. In fact applications are now open to be part of Global Voices overseas delegations to Washington DC and Warsaw in October and the UNFCC in November. For details on this and the Global Voices initiative go to www.globalvoices.org.au.

For more on Sherry-Kaye and Megan’s life changing journey’s click here

Sherry-Kaye with former NZ PM Helen Clark and other Global Voices delegates at the UN in New York City

Megan Star in Nairobi

Friday, July 26, 2013

Alumni set to give the world a taste of Oz Cabaret

Many of our past students go on to achieve wonderful things and Mackay entertainers Oz Cabaret are no exception.

The former Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music graduates have developed a unique cabaret act that brings together their love of performing and wine. So as well as getting to experience a stage show, their audience also get to participate in a wine tasting. How can you go wrong?

This clever blend has really gotten the group noticed and following successful performances around Australia they have been invited to perform at fringe festivals around Europe including Edinburgh and Amsterdam.
Even though I haven’t had the opportunity to see Oz Cabaret perform yet, I am looking forward to getting the chance to do so.

Congratulations on this remarkable achievement. I am sure the tour will be a smashing success!

If you want to know a bit more about Oz Cabaret and help them on their quest to perform at the World’s biggest performing arts festivals click here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

NAIDOC Week is important for all Australians

I hope everyone has had the chance to join in activities planned right across Australia in celebration of NAIDOC Week. I had the pleasure of attending a film evening here at CQUniversity Rockhampton on Tuesday night (hosted by our Office of Indigenous Engagement).

Even though NAIDOC Week is held to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, it is something that all Australians can observe and participate in. There are hundreds of events and activities planned right across the Country that aim to raise awareness of Indigenous issues and culture. So if you didn’t get a chance to join in this year make sure you do in 2014.

As much as NAIDOC Week provides us with a chance to reflect on our nation’s cultural and social history, it also allows us to look to the future. Importantly it reminds all Australians of the different ways that we can all do something to help close the gap and achieve equality.

…In saying that these are issues we should all be committed to everyday of the year. I’m really proud to be at the helm of a university that is committed to these issues and is working further towards improving participation in higher education and education quality for Indigenous Australians.

One of the things I most look forward to in my job is being able to work more closely with Bronwyn Fredericks and our Office of Indigenous Engagement to achieve more great results in this area and expand on what we have already achieved.  

CQUniversity's Professor Brownwyn Fredericks (Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Engagement and BMA Chair Indigenous Engagement) and the first Indigenous Chair of an Australian University Academic Board. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Increase in applications a positive sign for CQUniversity Australia

Based on figures published last week, CQUniversity is officially Australia’s second fastest growing university and Australia’s fastest growing regional university, with domestic applications up by 28%.

Since the introduction of the demand driven system (which many experts said would be the death of regional universities like CQUniversity), we have outperformed the domestic growth of almost every other institution.

I am confident that this trend is set to continue, especially as the demand for distance education increases. CQUniversity is committed to delivering flexible study options and providing support to distance students, because of this we will continue to invest in online teaching technologies as well as distance education study centres.

I also think we will see further increases due to investment in new programs and infrastructure, particularly in the areas of allied health and engineering.

Becoming Queensland’s first dual sector university will also see CQUniversity engage with more students and allow us to expand our current program offerings.

In addition, more and more students are deciding to remain in or relocate to regional areas to study. I firmly believe this is not just for financial reasons but also because students are realising that they can attain a quality education in regional Australia (especially Central Queensland).