Annual Report 2013 (text-only version)

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Annual Report 2013 (text-only version)


Annual Report 2013 (text-only version)

Matters relating to the electronic presentation of the annual report

As the financial statements are included in the official version of the annual report as scanned images, the statements are not reproduced in the text-only version of the report. If you require assistance with reading the financial statements, please contact Marketing and Communications.

The electronic versions of the annual report, including the financial statements, available on this site are provided by the University of the Sunshine Coast for information purposes only.

The electronic versions of the annual report on this site are not recognised as official or authorised versions and are provided solely on the basis that users will take responsibility for verifying accuracy, completeness and currency.

Although considerable resources are used to prepare and maintain the electronic versions, the University of the Sunshine Coast accepts no liability for any loss or damage that may be incurred by any person acting in reliance on the electronic versions.

The official copy of the annual report, as tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, can be accessed from the Queensland Parliament's tabled papers database.

Report of the Council of the University of the Sunshine Coast

For the period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013

25 February 2014

The Honourable John-Paul Langbroek MP
Minister for Education, Training and Employment
PO Box 15033

In accordance with the provisions of the Financial Accountability Act 2009 and the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009, and the detailed requirements set out in the Annual Report Requirements for Queensland Government Agencies (March 2013), I have the honour to present to you, on behalf of the Council of the University of the Sunshine Coast, the Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2013.

John M Dobson OAM


Acknowledgment of country

The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges the Gubbi Gubbi people as the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which the campus stands, and recognises the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal people in
this land.

The University has a Reconciliation Action Plan (2012–2014) to guide its relationships, opportunities and progress reporting with regard to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Communication objectives

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s 2013 annual report provides a record of the University’s performance in 2013, its plans for the future, and audited financial statements. All achievements for 2013 are documented against the goals and corresponding key performance indicators of the University’s Strategic Plan (2011–2015).

Potential readers of the annual report include federal, state and local government representatives and officers, the University community (including staff and students), business and media, potential benefactors, international visitors and members of the public.

Copies of the 2013 annual report are available from the Office of Marketing and Communications, University of the Sunshine Coast, by telephoning +61 7 5459 4558 or emailing

The report is also available online at

The University of the Sunshine Coast is committed to providing accessible services to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. If you have difficulty understanding the annual report, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications on +61 7 5459 4558 to arrange an interpreter to effectively communicate the report to you.

University of the Sunshine Coast
90 Sippy Downs Drive

Tel: +61 7 5430 1234
Fax: +61 7 5430 1111

© (University of the Sunshine Coast) 2014

ISSN 1837-7521

Published by University of the Sunshine Coast February 2014.

Information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing. For the most up-to-date information about the University, visit | All amounts are in Australian dollars. | University of the Sunshine Coast is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.
CRICOS Provider Number: 01595D.


On opening in 1996, the University of the Sunshine Coast became the first greenfield university to be established in Australia since 1975. The University serves the Sunshine Coast and impacts strongly on the economic and cultural development of the region.

In its first 15 years as a new public university for the Sunshine Coast region, USC has demonstrated its viability in terms of student demand, enrolment growth, teaching and research outcomes, campus development, financial position, regional contribution and reputation.

The early period of USC’s second 15 years will be characterised by naturally reinforcing themes. Deregulation of student enrolments, including a student-centred, demand-driven funding system from 2012 and targets for higher education participation and low-SES students, will impact on the University’s profile and teaching. Learning and teaching at USC will build on its existing reputation and become an exemplar of access and success in the Australian higher education sector. Opportunity will be provided over a broader region, and students and the wider community will have educational, cultural and economic possibilities well beyond current provision.

Research outcomes and outputs will increase in both quantity and quality. Existing areas of research concentration will be strengthened through collaboration with the best researchers in these fields in Australia and internationally.

Strategic partnerships will be expanded with related government agencies, industry and business. In addition, there will be substantially more applied research conducted with, and for the benefit of, the wider community.

Rapid growth of the University and the region it serves presents a major challenge for USC’s institutional capacity and capability. Professional development of staff at all levels will be a priority, the University’s systems will undergo major reinvestments, and core infrastructure will be expanded. Above all, development of strategic partnerships at regional, national and international levels will advance USC’s footprint, profile and performance.


The University of the Sunshine Coast is regionally relevant and recognised, nationally and internationally, for excellence in teaching, research and engagement.


In pursuing its vision and conducting daily operations, the University is committed to:

  • creating and disseminating knowledge through innovative and effective teaching and research
  • fostering freedom of inquiry and expression
  • the process of lifelong learning
  • engaging in and responding to the region’s intellectual, cultural and economic challenges
  • adopting consultative processes and ethical behaviours in all activities
  • engendering respect throughout the University community
  • fairness, openness, honesty, trust and effective communication
  • developing the University and supporting the region as a sustainability exemplar
  • advancing human rights within a tolerant and inclusive community, in which respect for Indigenous peoples is fundamental

Highlights 2013

  • On-campus student enrolments increased by more than 10 percent in 2013, with undergraduate enrolments increasing by 9.3 percent. Research higher degree students increased by more than 15 percent.
  • For the eighth consecutive year, USC received five stars for teaching quality in the 2014 Good Universities Guide. The University also earned five star ratings for its overall graduate satisfaction, and graduates’ satisfaction with the generic skills they gained while at university.
  • The Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching awarded five citations to USC staff: Graham Ashford, Dr Terry Lucke, Dr Sanjeev Kumar Srivastava, Dr Uwe Terton, and Dr Ross Watkins.
  • In 2013 the University expanded its footprint into Brisbane and Gympie. In Gympie, USC opened a $5.6 million teaching facility and delivered courses in business, commerce, nursing science, primary education, TPP and Headstart. USC and the Southbank Institute of Technology partnered in 2013 to offer students the opportunity to study three of USC’s degrees at South Bank in Brisbane.
  • In 2013 the $24 million Sippy Downs Learning Hub finished construction for teaching to begin in Semester 1, 2014. The facility includes lecture theatres and tutorial rooms, study areas, staff offices, a simulation suite and office space for student support and service delivery.
  • Construction began on USC’s $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub. The building will house state-of-the-art visualisation facilities to enable the production of 3D scenarios in civil and mechanical engineering, and will also include a stand-alone Engineering Structures Learning Laboratory, which will be used to demonstrate the physical properties of a range of materials and structures. Funding for the facility was secured through a $30 million grant from the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund Regional Priorities Round.
  • The University established the School of Law in the Faculty of Arts and Business, and the School of Science and Engineering and the School of Education in the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering.
  • The University welcomed more than 1,500 new graduates into its alumni cohort in 2013. USC alumni now number more than 12,000.
  • USC’s Bachelor of Laws programs, as well as its seven double degree Laws programs, received accreditation from the Legal Practitioners Admissions Board of Queensland in 2013, and are now approved academic qualifications for entry into the legal profession in Australia. The University’s first law students commence in 2014.
  • The International Student Barometer (ISB) for 2013 reported very strong student satisfaction in all four broad experience categories, being arrival, living, learning and support. USC had the highest rank of overall student satisfaction among all Australian institutions.
  • The Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast secured $325,000 in funding from the Queensland Government to continue support of emerging entrepreneurs and startups.
  • The research activities at USC continued to grow, with sustainability, aquaculture and forestry the core research foci. Biomedical science, accident research, computing and preventative health developed into emerging research strengths.
  • USC’s commitment to sustainability and was awarded in 2013 the Sunshine Coast Council’s Good Recycling Award 2013 (Institutions Category), and was a finalist in Queensland’s 2013 Premier’s Sustainability Awards. The University was also admitted as an observer organisation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Commissioners confirmed the re-registration of the University of the Sunshine Coast until 1 August 2020. The re-registration affirms that the University continues to meet the Threshold Standards as required under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Act 2011.

Key five-year figures







% change








Number of students1





















On-campus students














Postgraduate coursework







Higher degree by research














International (all students)







International (on campus)







Student load (EFTSL)2







Degrees conferred







Undergraduate degrees conferred







Postgraduate coursework degrees conferred







Higher degree by research degrees conferred







Total degrees conferred




























First in family to attend university5







Staff (full-time equivalent, excluding casuals)







Academic staff6







Non-academic staff7







Total number of staff8







Proportion of academic staff with higher degree qualifications







Operating revenue (parent entity)







Property, plant and equipment







Research income9 10







Research publications11







  1. Number of students is at Census 1, each year.
  2. Student load includes inbound exchange students. EFTSL = Equivalent Full Time Student Load and for 2013 is based on preliminary data as at Census 2, 2013.
  3. In previous Annual Reports this figure has been reported in accordance with other Commonwealth Government reporting requirements.
    The 2013 figure represents degrees conferred during the true calendar year.
  4. Disability and Indigenous percentages are as a proportion of domestic students only.
  5. First in family percentages are as a proportion of undergraduate students only.
  6. Academic (Vice-Chancellor; Deputy Vice-Chancellor; Teaching and Research (Level A-E) staff).
  7. Non-academic (Administrative, Professional and Technical (APT) Level 1–10 staff; APT staff above award).
  8. Data is based on figures supplied to the Australian Government’s Department of Education (DE) as at 31 March 2013.
  9. Figures include research income reported to the Australian Government’s Department of Industry (DI) through the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC),
    as well as research funding received from DI.
  10. HERDC figure for the year is not finalised and is unaudited.
  11. Weighted calculation reported to DI in the HERDC.

* Updated figures will be made available at

Vice-Chancellor and President’s review

2013 was a significant year of achievement for the University. Our growth continued, in terms of student numbers, program offerings and our physical footprint. Our standing in the sector also grew, with repeat success in teaching quality awards, research performance and sustainability initiatives.

USC’s $5.5 million facility in Gympie was officially opened in August, and the construction of the $24 million Sippy Downs Learning Hub is nearing completion. Planning for the $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub, featuring visualisation facilities and an Engineering Structures Learning Laboratory, was also finalised.

USC’s profile was strengthened in 2013 with another five Citations for Outstanding Achievement in Student Learning from the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) and five star ratings from the ‘Good Universities Guide’ for teaching quality, overall graduate satisfaction, and graduates’ satisfaction with the generic skills they gained while at university.

The University is achieving the goals set out in the Strategic Plan (2011–2015) and it has been particularly satisfying to witness the very strong performance in research. One of our four strategic priorities is to ‘build research productivity and output significantly’. We have set challenging targets and reaching them sees us well placed to succeed in the very competitive tertiary education environment.

It was also gratifying to see USC’s commitment to sustainability, another of our strategic priorities, recognised nationally and internationally in 2013. I am grateful to USC’s staff and students for helping to preserve the natural beauty of our campus and supporting the innovative recycling and waste management initiatives introduced during the year.

Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital has opened and partnership arrangements for student placements and research are in place. The State Government’s announcement clarifying the delivery of services to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital has ended a period of uncertainty. It will now be possible to fast-track planning for the activities that will be located in this new public hospital from the end of 2016.

2014 will bring many exciting developments for the University. We will welcome the highest number of students in our history, who will be supported by the most highly awarded teaching and support staff in the nation. We will deliver more than 100 undergraduate and postgraduate programs, including our new Bachelor of Laws and its seven double degree Laws programs. USC’s physical expansion also means that more students from the region will have access to the USC experience and benefit from our new and enhanced facilities, equipment and services.

I thank all staff for their outstanding efforts in 2013 and look forward to shared accomplishments in 2014.

Professor Greg Hill
Vice-Chancellor and President

Institutional forward planning 2014
  • Escalate partnerships and planning related to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
  • Manage construction of the $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub and associated staff relocations during the building process.
  • Ensure the next suite of new degree programs is ready for delivery in 2015.
  • Focus the University Council, Executive and Senior Staff on the future opportunities and challenges facing USC.
  • Further investment in research to consolidate existing areas of strength and foster emerging research contributions.
  • Engage more closely with Sunshine Coast Council to realise the potential of its new Economic Development Strategy.
  • Build the momentum established around the strategic theme of broadening the geographic footprint.

Financial review

The University’s financial position has continued to strengthen this year as a result of increased student load, reductions in operational expenditure and increased research and consultancy efforts.

Results for the year included an operating surplus of $20.4 million (2012: $25.4million), with an operating margin of 11.7% (2012: 15.8%).

Income and expenditure

Total income for the year was $174.7 million—an increase of $14.6 million (9.1 percent) on the previous year. The increase was driven primarily by continued growth in Commonwealth-funded student places, receipt of $11.6 million in capital funding and receipt of increased investment income. Funds derived from government sources totalled $141.4 million, or 80.9 percent of revenue (includes advance payments in relation to HECS-HELP and capital funding but excludes up-front student fees), an increase of $10.2 million (7.7 percent) on the previous year funding.

Expenses for the year totalled $154.2 million—an increase of $19.4 million (14.4 percent) expended in the previous year. This increase can be attributed to an increase in employee benefits due to the 4 percent Certified Agreement wage increase in March 2013, increase in provisioning for long service and annual leave due to an ageing of the workforce and increased partnership and scholarship payments from contracted research grants.

Expenditure on consultancies


2011 ($)

2012 ($)

2013 ($)

Professional /   Technical








Finance /   accounting




Information technology




Human resource management












Asset growth

At year’s end, the University’s net assets totalled $234.6 million—$19.3 million (8.9 percent) more than in the previous year. This reflected the accumulation of cash reserves for future years’ capital expenditure and associated strategic initiatives. In addition, the reduction of long term borrowings through regular premium payments and movements in leave provisions.

Budget vs Actual 2013 | Actual 2013 vs Actual 2012




original budget

August reforecast


Variance actual vs reforecast


Variance actual
2013 vs 2012

Statement of comprehensive income







Revenue and income from continuing operations







Expenses from continuing operations







Operating result after income tax for the period







Gain (loss) on revaluation of land and buildings, net of tax







Total comprehensive income attributed to members of the University of the Sunshine Coast







Statement of financial position







Current assets







Non-current assets







Total assets







Current liabilities







Non-current liabilities







Total liabilities







Net assets














Retained surplus







Total equity








Basis of authority

The institution was established under the Sunshine Coast University College Act 1994 and took its first students in 1996. Full university powers were granted under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998.

Functions and powers

The University’s functions are to:

  • provide education at university standard;
  • provide facilities for, and encourage, study and research;
  • encourage the advancement and development of knowledge, and its application to government, industry, commerce and the community;
  • provide courses of study or instruction, at levels of achievement the Council considers appropriate, to meet the needs of the community;
  • confer higher education awards;
  • disseminate knowledge and promote scholarship;
  • provide facilities and resources for the wellbeing of the University’s staff, students and other persons undertaking courses at the University;
  • exploit commercially, for the University’s benefit, a facility or resource of the University, including, for example, study, research or knowledge, or the practical application of study, research or knowledge, belonging to the University, whether alone or with someone else; and
  • perform other functions given to the University under the Act or another Act.

The University’s powers are:

Under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 the University has all the powers of an individual. It may, for example:

1. Enter into contracts;

a. acquire, hold, dispose of, and deal with property;

b. appoint agents and attorneys;

c. engage consultants;

d. fix charges, and other terms, for services and other facilities it supplies; and

e. do anything else necessary or convenient to be done for its functions.

2. Without limiting subsection (1), the University has the powers given to it under its Act or another Act.

3. The University may exercise its powers inside and outside Queensland.

4. Without limiting subsection (3), the University may exercise its powers outside Australia.

Strategic framework

The Strategic Plan is the University’s highest-level planning document, along with the Campus Master Plan. The role of the strategic plan is to articulate the broad goals and aims of the University over five years. Specific strategies complementing the Strategic Plan are set out in four top level plans, which apply University-wide and drive resource allocations through the budget process. Supporting strategies guide the University’s involvement in international activities and regional engagement.

Operational Plans for individual cost centres support initiatives outlined in both the strategic and top level plans. All plans are reviewed and updated during the budget and planning process in September each year.

Annual review of operations

As a review of its operations each year, the University of the Sunshine Coast measures its progress according to the goals and key performance indicators for four areas, as outlined by the Strategic Plan (2011–2015):

  1. Enable access to the USC experience
  2. Deliver high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes
  3. Build research productivity and output significantly
  4. Develop USC for a sustainable future

Baseline data has been reported for all performance measures, and assessment of performance has been made where the latest data is available.

The summary of key performance targets for the University is: 







12,000 students by 2015
(8,000 EFTSL)









12,000 students

8,000 EFTSL


Low SES participation








Student satisfaction

National ranking in top quartile [achieved]

National ranking in top quartile [achieved]

National ranking in top quartile

National ranking in top quartile

National ranking in top quartile

Graduate outcomes

Progress towards national average

[6% below]

Progress towards national average

[9% below]

Progress towards national average

Progress towards national average

Achieve national average

Research grants income









Weighted publications









HDR students (Load)









HDR students (% in selected areas of research strength)









Employment costs

Less than 60%


Less than 60%


Less than 60%


Less than 60%

Less than 60%

Operating margin









Capital improvements









Target: the target set as per the Strategic Plan

[actual]: the final, full-year figure

(forecast): the expected estimate, based on statistical/financial modelling

* Figure unaudited

STRATEGIC PRIORITY ONE - REVIEW - Enable access to the USC experience

Key strategies:
  • Recruit and support a diverse student population.
  • Provide a high quality student experience.
  • Develop a vibrant and healthy University community and identity.
  • Engage with the regional community through educational, cultural, creative, economic and recreational activities.
  • Extend learning opportunities throughout the region.
2013 saw growth in…

An intake of 3,626 new students pushed the University’s student population to 8,904 (including 746 international students) by Semester 1 census. The intake was a significant increase on Semester 1, 2012 and translated to an overall increase of 9.4 percent in student numbers. The mid-year intake of 1,160 students was strong compared to Semester 2, 2012.

With the student growth experienced this year, and the expected growth of intakes for 2014, it is expected the University will comfortably achieve its target of 12,000 students (8,000 EFTSL) by 2015.


The Bachelor of Nursing Science continued to be the most popular program at USC, with more than 220 new students enrolled at Semester 1 Census. Total enrolments (new and continuing) in the program accounted for 6.7 percent of the total student body. The Bachelor of Paramedic Science was also one of the University’s most popular programs, with more than 150 students commencing the program in Semester 1.

The top 10 undergraduate programs (based on all enrolments) in 2013 were:

  1. Bachelor of Nursing Science
  2. Bachelor of Primary Education
  3. Bachelor of Paramedic Science
  4. Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)
  5. Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
  6. Bachelor of Business
  7. Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science
  8. Bachelor of Arts
  9. Bachelor of Social Work
  10. Bachelor of Biomedical Science

The University’s continued priority throughout the year was planning how to manage future student growth through the provision of campus infrastructure and buildings.

There were major achievements in this area in 2013, with a number of projects commenced and completed, including new teaching sites in Gympie, South Brisbane and North Lakes.


Comprehensive market research commenced in late 2013, exploring perceptions of USC among existing and new target audiences. The qualitative and quantitative studies will conclude early in 2014.


Extending USC’s reach into non-traditional catchment regions was a priority in 2013. Attendance at recruitment events was strong—USC Open Day at the Sippy Downs campus attracted almost 5,500 visitors. For the first time a USC Gympie Open Day was held, which attracted a further 250 people.

The Sunshine Coast University Showcase, which involves all Queensland universities visiting high schools in the region, took in 26 schools and reached 3,000 Year 12 students. For the first time, in 2013 USC also participated in the Northern New South Wales University Showcase and visited 32 schools. USC also participated in the Toowoomba and Fraser Coast University Showcases.

2013 saw engagement with…

The annual Sunshine Coast Futures conference explored the theme ‘The Sunshine Coast region and its place in South-East Queensland’. Attended by more than 150 people, the keynote speaker was urban planning expert Professor Mario Polèse of Canada who discussed how geography and location are still significant considerations for business owners and policy-makers.

A local Sunshine Coast business, Huds and Toke, was the winner of the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast’s Business Pitch Competition for 2013. The pet treats wholesaler won the $20,000 prize, consisting of cash and in-kind business support, to assist its expansion to international markets.

USC’s School of Business was contracted to provide a tailored 11-day leadership development program for the management team of Sunshine Coast-based insurance company, YOUI.


Sunshine Coast World Environment Day Festival–the annual festival was organised and hosted by USC, the Sunshine Coast Environment Council and Sunshine Coast Council. Attended by thousands of people, the event fosters environmental awareness and an understanding of local, regional and global imperatives in sustainability.

Relay for Life−USC hosted a Relay for Life in May for the third consecutive year. The event raised $30,000 for the Cancer Council.

Living Smart Awards−USC sponsored the ‘Hall of Fame Award’ at the 2013 Living Smart Awards. Known as ‘The Glossies’, these awards are regarded as the Sunshine Coast’s premier accolade recognising and celebrating sustainability achievements of Sunshine Coast residents, businesses and community groups.

The Conversation−USC joined ‘The Conversation’, an independent source of news and commentary from the academic and research community delivered straight to the public. This partnership provides USC academics with a platform for disseminating USC research and other activities to a domestic and international audience.

Voices on the Coast Festival–the week-long festival provided 4,500 children with an opportunity to meet and learn from top international and Australian authors, illustrators and poets. The event is a long-term partnership between Immanuel Lutheran College and USC.

Noosa Long Weekend Festival–USC sponsored the well-known regional event that features 10-days of theatre, literature, dance, music, film, visual arts, cuisine and forums.

Community events−USC hosted a number of community events throughout 2013, ranging from plant identification workshops, to a mental healthcare forum, and a special presentation for teachers and parents on the neurological development of children.


Experience USC Day−USC welcomed more than 1,600 Year 9 and 10 students from 31 schools on the Sunshine Coast and surrounding areas. With a choice of 28 workshops, the day gave students an insight into industries, jobs and how they can achieve their goals.

Communications Day−almost 200 Year 10 students from six Sunshine Coast schools attended the USC Communications Day. Students learnt first-hand from 20 leading communications professionals about journalism, creative writing, innovative advertising and public relations in a social media environment.

Focus Your Future−USC’s inaugural Focus Your Future travelling roadshow visited seven schools and 940 students in regional areas between Gayndah and Kilcoy to assist Year 11 and 12 students to consider their career pathways.

Smart Steps Jobs to Go−more than 300 Year 5 students from 11 schools in and around Gympie participated in the Smart Steps Jobs to Go expo. This event encouraged students to continue their studies at a tertiary level. More than 150 primary school children also participated in a university-led Science Discovery Day in Gympie in October.

Digital Literacies project−Aboriginal children from Cherbourg State School visited USC in August as part of USC’s Digital Literacies project (funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program), which plays an important role in promoting educational attainment, especially literacy development, among the children.

Business Enterprise Day−almost 300 Year 10 business students came onto campus for USC’s Business Enterprise Day to participate in workshops with 28 successful Sunshine Coast business people and to hear real-world stories from two high-profile keynote speakers.

Sunshine Coast Engineering Challenge−USC hosted almost 450 students from 16 high schools across the region for this annual event. As part of the Australian Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), USC coordinated other maths, science and engineering-related expos, awards and challenges throughout the year. These events included schools from the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay-Burnett regions.

Future students

Recruitment efforts in 2013 included 389 school and campus visits with more than 150 schools. Recruitment activities also included participation in 15 regional career markets, four university roadshows and two on-campus school staff engagement events. Twenty-two information events saw student and staff ambassadors talking to an estimated 12,000 people about their study options at USC.

2013 saw support for...

Compensatory habitat−one of the world’s largest and most successful habitat translocation projects was officially handed over to the University in 2013. Almost 15 hectares of wet and dry heathland—home to several rare and threatened plants, frogs, lizards and birds—was moved from what is now the Brightwater estate at Bundilla to the USC campus during 2007–2008. The first planned burn of a section of this compensatory habitat site was undertaken in August by the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Sunshine Coast Council. The action was supervised by USC to assist with the regeneration of endangered plant species like Tiny wattle and the heath generally, as well as reducing wildfire risk by minimising fuel load.

Sustainable Sunshine Coast−the Sustainable Sunshine Coast website was jointly developed by the University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council and Sunshine Coast TAFE as a free service to the community. Sunshine Coast residents keen to take part in practical activities that will help themselves and the region become more sustainable can now participate via this online resource.

Ride to Work Day−held for the third time at USC, almost 100 people took part in the day to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase healthy activity.

Eco-visualisation research work−an interactive digital artwork, aimed at inspiring greater activity in caring for the environment, was launched at the Noosa Junction bus station. The artwork, called ‘People’s Garden’, was designed by students from the University in a joint project between USC’s Engage Research Cluster and Sunshine Coast Council.

Campus waste management−USC successfully introduced a comprehensive total waste management system in 2013 to help achieve best practice in this area and contribute to the goal of developing USC for a sustainable future. Refer also to page 25. In a further effort to reduce waste, USC also undertook a campus-wide survey to consider phasing out the sale of bottled water on campus. The 1,851 survey responses will be presented to the University’s Sustainability Management Committee early in 2014.


Indigenous Education Symposium−the seventh annual event focused on teaching strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and how to better understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Easter Institute−more than 40 teachers from Doomadgee State School, Rasmussen State School and Bwgcolman State School on Palm Island attended the USC hosted ‘Easter Institute for Teachers in Indigenous Schools’. The event was focused on building digital literacies and formed part of USC’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME)–this program continued at USC in 2013 with 37 students providing individual mentoring to 215 Indigenous high school students in Years 9-12 at schools from Morayfield to Gympie.


Adaptive software, with support from the Rotary Club of Buderim, was purchased to assist students with disabilities to record lecture notes.

More than 500 people attended the University’s Diversity Week celebrations, which had a particular focus on mental health and cultural equity.

The University also hosted Harmony Day in April, acknowledging the positive impacts of cultural diversity on the campus community.

USC hosted more than 1,000 people at the Sunshine Coast Pride Festival in February to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The University also continued its Ally Network, in support of sexual and gender diversity on campus and within the community.

USC remained an employer of choice for women—one of 12 Queensland organisations with the EOWA tick.

Art and culture

Theatre−USC’s first theatrical production, The Romeo and Juliet Project, directed by USC Drama lecturer Dr Jo Loth, was held on campus in May. The production ran three shows and was a huge success, with 360 staff, students, and community members in attendance. A production of a modern-day Hamlet is scheduled for 2014.

University Art Gallery−more than 11,500 vistors came throughout the year, including 50 school groups. Exhibitions featured works by contemporary Australian artists, USC students and travelling artistic showcases.

Music−USC established USC Singers to provide outstanding performances of great choral music to enrich the community. USC also hosted a performance by the Australian String Quartet in November, attended by more than 250 people.


International Paralympic swimming champion Blake Cochrane was USC’s 2013 Sportsperson of the Year. The Clinical Exercise Science student won gold at the Australian National Swimming Championships in Adelaide in the 100m breaststroke multiclass event. He then broke his own world record in August when he won the 100m breaststroke SB7 class at the IPC World Swimming Championships in Montreal. Cochrane was also one of three students to gain Full Blue awards at USC’s Sports Awards Ceremony. The other recipients were elite surf lifesaving competitor and dual Coolangatta Gold winner Ali Day and Under 21 Laser sailing world champion Mitchell Kennedy.

Two USC athletes excelled in competition at the 2013 World University Games in Russia. Bachelor of Business student and swimmer George O’Brien won a bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay. Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering student Charlie Copeland made five semi-finals and one final in canoe sprint team events.

A team of 75 USC athletes participated in the 2013 Australian University Games, winning five medals overall. Other sporting achievements included three players from USC’s women’s rugby 7s team gaining selection in a national universities squad and USC athletes winning three gold medals at the Northern University Games held in Brisbane.

Two former world champions, motorcyclist Chris Vermeulen and swimmer Clinton Stanley, were the 2013 inductees into the Sunshine Coast Sports Hall of Fame. Located at USC’s Health and Sport Centre, the hall of fame has recognised local high-achieving sports people since 1991.

2013 saw students benefit from...
Increased financial support:

Almost 1,000 undergraduate students at USC received financial support from scholarships, bursaries and prizes worth more than $1.75 million. This is an increase from the approximately 900 students who received support valued at around $1.59 million in 2012.

54 talented first-year students received scholarships ranging in value from $3,500 to $12,000 (totalling almost $400,000) at the Undergraduate Scholarships Presentation Ceremony in February. A further 25 students received awards totalling almost $20,000 in Semester 2. New awards introduced in 2013 included a USC Sports Scholarship, Unity Water Scholarship in Engineering and an Urban Development Institute Bursary (Regional and Urban Planning). Swimmer Tessa Wallace and kayaker Charlie Copeland were the joint winners of the Sports Scholarship valued at $6,000.

Approximately $1.6 million of the support was provided to students from low-socioeconomic or equity backgrounds:

  • $1.05 million of this support was provided in the form of Equity Scholarships and Bursaries funded through Commonwealth’s Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program.
  • $136,000 was provided for Study Support Bursaries to assist students in financial need to balance their studies and part-time work.
  • $67,750 was provided to support education students undertaking Rural and Remote fieldwork placements through the generosity of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.

Representatives of 46 local and national companies presented 70 academic prizes, scholarships and bursaries worth around
$57,000 at the annual Faculty of Arts and Business Awards and Prizes ceremony.

Extended practical learning opportunities:
  • Students participated in a range of industry placements with businesses and community organisations in areas such as nursing, communications and education.
  • The GO (Global Opportunities) Program, where USC students study overseas as part of their degree, saw more than 150 students take part in semester-long and short-term study trips.
Enhanced campus facilities and activities:
  • Enhancements to USCCentral were launched in April 2013, bringing a new and improved enrolment experience to students. This was complemented by an updated corporate website with improved search functionality for users and a design responsive to mobile devices.
  • USC strengthened its social media presence for students and the community across a number of channels. Facebook and Twitter now provide an additional communication channel for the promotion of student-oriented activities as well as campus-based community events.
  • Commencing students were given the opportunity to be matched with student mentors during Orientation in Semesters 1 and 2.
  • The University applied the Federal Government’s Student Services and Amenities Fee in 2013 to directly benefit students by improving student access to a range of campus services, such as sport and recreation activities, employment and career advice, financial advice, food services, counselling services, legal services, health services and housing services.
  • An increase in donations boosted the value of the University’s art collection to $3.1 million. The value of art donations since beginning the collection in 1998 now totals more than $1.8 million.
  • Enactus Australia strengthened their presence on campus, with students given the opportunity to participate in social enterprise projects aimed at establishing a sustainable world and inspiring current and future leaders.
Greater student representation and consultation:

The USC Student Guild increased its presence on campus in 2013. Funds from the Student Services and Amenities Fee provided assistance for all students, administered by the Guild. Activities included the launch of a student newsletter and the administration of the Food Pantry, an emergency food service that is accessed by hundreds of students each semester.

To support and retain new and continuing students, Student Administration conducted the ‘Ask Us Anything’ event, held early in Semesters 1 and 2. The event, part of USC’s Student Retention Action Plan 2011-2013, provided study information and advice, and promoted the support and services available to students in order to reduce the likelihood of students withdrawing from study.

In 2013 the Program Information and Enrolment Sessions (PIES) provided new students with a forum to meet and seek advice from current students, obtain information about study planning, meet faculty members and receive assistance with enrolling in classes.

More travel and transport options:
  • Three free express bus services continued in 2013. These included routes between Noosa, North Lakes (via Caboolture) and Gympie (via Coorory) all to the Sippy Downs campus.
  • 2013 saw the introduction of better TransLink bus arrival and departure times to align with university class times and services. Improvements were also made to bus connections between train stations and USC.
  • The U-Pass subsidised public transport initiative is being trialled until 2014. The partnership between USC, Sunshine Coast Council and Translink provided over 3,000 first-year students with $65 of bus travel in 2013.
  • The University introduced paid parking at its Sippy Downs campus in 2013 to help cater for the University’s rapid growth. Funds raised from the parking fees will be used to improve existing parking facilities on campus and subsidise construction and maintenance costs of new parking facilities. Refer also to page 23.
  • A new online carpooling program called ‘Jayride’ was introduced, which allows USC staff and students to list their trips to campus, and others to search for rides near them.
Forward planning for 2014
  • Support the design and delivery of high quality pedagogy, curriculum and assessment, using emerging technologies in blended delivery, simulation and visualisation based learning and work integrated learning.
  • Expand the access of students to USC through the continued development of productive partnerships with regional schools, the delivery of TPP in regional locations and the further growth of programs at Gympie and South Bank.
  • Enhance support for students through the move of Student Life and Learning to the new Sippy Downs Learning Hub; facilities will include a new Buranga Centre.
  • Develop new facilities, including the Resources Building, Engineering Learning Hub and Stage 2a of the Aquatic Centre, to enhance the Sippy Downs campus and provide access to high-quality specialist facilities.
  • Develop the 2015-2019 Strategic Asset Management Plan, with a particular focus on projected growth in student and staff numbers, new subject areas, and course delivery methods, continuing to ensure a sustainable estate which meets the future needs of the institution.
  • Review the effectiveness of the University website as a marketing and communications mechanism and student access and engagement opportunity.

STRATEGIC PRIORITY ONE - PERFORMANCE - Enable access to the USC experience

KPI 1.1:

12,000 students by 2015






Actual full year student enrolments

12,000 students by 2015 (8,000 EFTSL)

10.5% increase in 20131



In September 2011 stretch targets were set for all fee types from 2012 to position the University for its target of 8,000 EFTSL by 2015. The September 2013 reforecast has indicated an increase in load for 2013 to 7,300 EFTSL and a revised estimate for 2015 of 8,341 EFTSL, which confirms that the University should comfortably achieve its stretch target.

The current estimate for 2013 of 7,300 EFTSL indicates an increase of 74.7 EFTSL over the April 2013 reforecast. The higher than expected increase in international fee paying load (+96.4 EFTSL; consisting of increases across both UG and PG award and Study Abroad) has countered the decline in commonwealth supported load (-32.8 EFTSL). This decline is mainly due to the reforecast of load for the Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) program following a Semester 2 intake that was lower than expected. UG load increased by 57.3 EFTSL, which was due to an increase in load for the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering. Additionally, in 2013 award programs were offered for the first time in Gympie and South Bank.


September 2013 Reforecast






Fee Type




















International EFTSL3










Fee Paying Domestic EFTSL4










Inbound Exchange EFTSL










Grand Total EFTSL










% increase










KPI 1.2:

SES Participation






Participation rate of students from low
socio-economic backgrounds

20%   participation rate of students from low socio-economic backgrounds by 2015

Achieve Compact agreement targets –
2011: 18.1%, 2012: 18.5%, 2013: 19.1%,
2014: 19.7%

2013 data not available from Australian Government until mid-2014



In 2010 an interim indicator of students from low socio-economic backgrounds was developed. The interim indicator combines data based on the existing ABS SEIFA classification methodology refined to the Census Collection District,   as well as data on recipients of selected Centrelink benefits. The interim indicator was developed as a composite measure that includes area-based and individual components to better reflect the multi-dimensional nature of SES. The interim indicator is used for allocating funding for the participation component of the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP). The interim SES indicator is also used to measure universities’   performance against compact agreement targets for low SES domestic undergraduate enrolments.

Based on the interim indicator, USC’s participation rate for students from low socio-economic backgrounds decreased slightly from 19.1% in 2011 to 18.8% in 2012. This rate (18.8%) is above USC’s compact agreement target of 18.5% for 2012. Based on the Census Collection District (CD) measure of the interim indicator, USC’s participation rate for students from low socio-economic backgrounds decreased from 19.0% in 2011 to 18.1% in 2012. However, the 2012 participation rate is above the national rate of 15.2%.


Participation rates (%) for domestic undergraduate low SES students







Participation Rates %5








Low SES (Interim indicator)6








Low SES (CD measure)7








  1. 2013 figures based on forecast data.
  2. CSP—Commonwealth Supported:   includes TEP, TPP, Undergraduate and Postgraduate EFTSL.
  3. Includes International on campus and online award and non award enrolments.
  4. Includes Postgraduate, HDR,   Headstart and Visiting domestic fee paying EFTSL and RTS.
  5. Domestic students with permanent home residence in Australia only.
  6. The DI interim measure of the Low SES Participation rate is based on the number of domestic undergraduate students with home addresses within the Low SES Census Collection Districts (CD) and the number of students who are receiving selected Centrelink Student Income Support payments.
  7. Based on the number of domestic undergraduate students with home addresses within the Low SES Census Collection Districts (CD).

STRATEGIC PRIORITY TWO -  REVIEW - Deliver high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes

Key strategies:
  • Embed academic excellence in all teaching and learning activities.
  • Support diverse learning and teaching styles to maximise student participation and success.
  • Offer innovative programs, in particular via partnerships.
  • Produce graduates with knowledge, skills and attributes to succeed in a world characterised by rapid change.
Faculty of Arts and Business

School of Business

School of Communication

School of Social Sciences

  • Undergraduate students 3,279
  • Postgraduate students 279
  • Research students 95
  • Male:female students 36:64
  • Award programs 95
Achievements in 2013

Dr Uwe Terton and Dr Ross Watkins received OLT citations for designing and delivering exciting, engaging and inclusive curricula that build students’ competence and confidence and for empowering students of creative writing to attain their potential through empathetic mentoring and innovative curriculum initiatives, respectively.

The Faculty of Arts and Business introduced a major in drama in Semester 1, 2013. The 8-subject major will produce multi-skilled graduates with a focus on performance, theatre direction, event management and drama workshop facilitation.

Business PhD graduate David Fleischman and Bachelor of Business graduate Iori Forsyth received Chancellor’s Medals for their high academic achievement as well as outstanding contributions to University life and the wider community.

Property academics Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engagement Professor Mike Hefferan and Academic Fellow Pam Wardner, received the Award for Best Paper in Corporate Real Estate when they attended the annual conference of the European Real Estate Society in Vienna, Austria.

Coordinators of a USC course that helps first-year students develop their communication knowledge and skills won a national award for boosting the expertise of the course’s tutors. The Good Practice Award was given by Benchmarking Leadership and Advancement of Standards for Sessional Teaching (BLASST).

Creative Writing academic and award-winning author Dr Paul Williams launched his new book, Cokcraco.

18 new programs were approved for offer in 2014:

  • Bachelor of Creative Industries
  • Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Business
  • Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry)
  • Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Social Science
  • Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Creative Writing
  • Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Journalism
  • Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning (Honours)
  • Graduate Certificate in Community Mental Health
  • Graduate Diploma in Community Mental Health
  • Graduate Diploma in Couples and Family Therapy
  • Master of Professional Accounting
Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

School of Health and Sport Sciences

School of Nursing and Midwifery

School of Science, Education and Engineering

  • Undergraduate students 3,894
  • Postgraduate students 404
  • Research students 109
  • Male:female students 33:67
  • Award programs 59
Achievements in 2013

Graham Ashford, Dr Terry Lucke and Dr Sanjeev Kumar Srivastava received OLT citations in 2013. They were awarded for engaging students in complex economic and scientific concepts, for bringing engineering to life for students through personal passion, enthusiasm and engaging curricula, and for designing and delivering curricula and resources that promote comprehensive understanding of the spatial sciences, respectively.

A USC Nursing Science student, Sonya Wallace, was recognised by the Australian College of Nursing as one of five Emerging Nurse Leaders (ENLs) for 2014. Sonya was selected from applicants across the country for the ENL award, a three-year program of professional development to support leadership skills in early career nurses.

USC student Ashleigh Morris was one of 20 Australian undergraduate students to receive a 2013 Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award, which has enabled her to spend eight months in Indonesia to complete study towards her environmental science degree and gain practical experience through an internship.

An innovative Wound Solutions Clinic was officially opened in October. This clinic, a joint initiative of USC and not-for-profit service provider Blue Care, offers clients with chronic wounds specialised care provided by Blue Care Registered Nurses, dieticians, a podiatrist and USC health students. The project was made possible due to funding from Health Workforce Australia (HWA), as an Australian Government Initiative. The Wound Solutions Clinic also provides real-time student learning, clinical work for academics and new opportunities
for research.

USC officially opened two other new health clinics in 2013, the Collaborative Midwifery Clinic and the Occupational Therapy, Child and Youth Clinic. The clinics, which will boost midwifery and occupational therapy services across the Sunshine Coast region, have been established by USC and partner organisations with funding from HWA.

Four academics were appointed Visiting Fellows in Nursing and Midwifery at the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS). USC Professors Marianne Wallis and Jeanine Young, Associate Professor Margaret Barnes and Dr Amanda Henderson received the honorary positions. They will undertake research and collaborate on educational and clinical leadership projects involving nurses, midwives and other health professionals.

A memorandum of understanding was established with the Department of Transport of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. This agreement will enable research projects at the Sippy Downs campus to be extended to the Middle East and promote joint research, studies and continuing education in areas like transportation, road management, environment and natural resources.

A memorandum of understanding between USC and Unitywater was signed that will see Unitywater provide a range of measures to support USC students who are studying degrees that could lead to employment in the water industry. These include a new Unitywater Scholarship in Engineering, paid vacation work and an entry pathway into Unitywater’s Graduate Program. Civil Engineering student Stephen Kime, who is majoring in Environment and Water, won the inaugural $10,000 Unitywater Scholarship in Engineering.

USC installed an $80,000 ambulance simulator to help train its Paramedic Science students. The fully-fitted primary response ambulance simulator is the first of its kind to be installed at a university in Queensland.

USC sport and exercise psychologist Dr Lisa Martin was appointed the Lead Psychologist for the Australian Paralympic swim team.

Ten new programs were approved for offer in 2014:

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Nursing Science (Honours)
  • Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Graduate Certificate in Nursing
  • Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary)
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Engineering (Transport Technologies)
  • Master of Health Promotion
  • Master of Nursing (Clinical Leadership)
Students in other programs
  • Cross-institutional enrolments 17
  • International Inbound Exchange 43
  • Integrated Learning Engineering 41
  • Study Abroad 169
  • Tertiary Preparation Pathway 1,013 (full-year)
  • Visiting (Headstart/Non Award) 74

Figures as at Census 1.

Blended learning

USC continued its commitment to blended learning in 2013, through the integration of educational technologies with face-to-face teaching.

USC’s fourth annual Learning and Teaching Week demonstrated how staff can incorporate blended learning into their courses. The five-day event ‘Blended Learning: an agile response to a dynamic world’ explored the creation of rich learning networks across time, distance and culture. The keynote speaker, Professor George Siemens from Athabasca University in Canada, delivered a presentation on technology, change and higher education. Other topics included the analysis of assistive technology for students with disabilities, how blended learning enhances student preparedness, and blending theory and practice on the world stage.

National learning and teaching grant success

USC won competitive grant funding in 2013 from the Australian Government’s Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) for innovative projects investigating the quality of learning and teaching in Australian higher education. The successful projects were:

  • Enhancing the Training of Science and Mathematics Teachers: Evaluation, led by Don Maconachie in partnership with PhillipsKPA (Commissioned Project for $595,000).
  • Expert in my pocket: a mobile-enabled repository of learning resources for the development of clinical skills in student health professional, led by Associate Professor Bill Lord and Dr Florin Oprescu (project leaders) with Nigel Barr and Theresa Downe, in partnership with Deakin University (Innovation and Development Grant for $180,000).
  • Professional Learning Conversations for Academic Leadership, led by Kylie Readman (Extension Grant for $30,000).
  • Developing a Regional Community of Practice for Transformative Climate Change Education, led by Dr Dana Thomsen (Extension Grant for $30,000).
  • Action Learning: Enhancing understanding of interactions between domestic and international students—A regional universities perspective, led by Dr Leone Cameron and Oscar Imaz-Mairal (Extension Grant for $30,000).
Internal grant success

USC’s internal Learning and Teaching Grant Scheme provides opportunities for staff to explore, develop and advance innovations in learning and teaching. The five successful projects in 2013 were:

  • Utilising virtual microscopy with online blended learning to enhance first-year student engagement and learning, led by Dr Rebecca Donkin.
  • The impact of a flipped classroom approach in higher education on students’ engagement in self-directed learning, led by Dr Jane Taylor.
  • Evaluating nursing students’ empowerment to meet expected industry capabilities, led by Amanda Henderson.
  • Embrace the audience (ETA): exploring the fear of public speaking in first-year students and developing a strategy to alleviate anxiety, led by Dr Greg Nash.
  • The first-year message: What memorable messages are first-year education students receiving at the University of the Sunshine Coast? What is the impact of these messages on the student’s engagement and eLearning?, led by Dr Janet Wyvill.

USC’s internal Engagement Research Support Grants provides opportunities for staff to develop and improve the engagement activities of the University. The four successful projects in 2013 were:

  • A support network for Sunshine Coast mathematics teachers: The Mathematics Teachers Hub on the Sunshine Coast (The MATHS Network). Project team: Dr Peter Dunn, Dr Aaron Wiegand, Dr Robert McDougall, Dr Margaret Marshman and Peter Antrobus.
  • Exploring the collaborative advantage of a partnership model between the University of the Sunshine Coast and community junior sports clubs. Project team: Dr Mark Sayers, Tania Stevenson and Professor Mark Brown.
  • Stories of practice–Engaging with schools for professional learning. Project team: Associate Professor Deborah Heck, Associate Professor Michael Christie, Dr Sue Simon and Katrina Higgins.
  • Business and community priorities for newly established regional university facilities: A comparative analysis (Gympie and Port Macquarie). Project team: Dr Wayne Graham, Graham Young, Liesa Davies and Professor Mike Clements.
Advance awards for learning and teaching

The Advance Awards for Learning and Teaching recognise excellence across the breadth and depth of teaching, learning, and student support at USC. In 2013 almost 300 nominations were received from students and staff acknowledging the excellent work of their teachers, professional staff and colleagues. The 12 winners of Advance Awards were: 

Advancing Quality Teaching Award−for teaching staff and teaching teams who engage students in a quality learning experience by applying rich and engaging teaching approaches that substantially improve students’ learning experiences.

  • Phyllis Araneo, School of Science and Engineering
  • Gail Crimmins, Greg Nash and Anna Potter, School of Communications
  • Sam Edwards, School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • David Hollinsworth, School of Social Sciences
  • Colleen Kneale and Daniel Mellifont, School of Health and Sport Sciences
  • Janet Wyvill, School of Education

Advancing the Blended Learning Environment Award−for teaching staff, teaching teams and support staff who integrate educational technologies with face-to-face teaching in innovative and engaging ways to enhance the student learning experience.

  • Anita Hamilton, School of Health and Sport Science
  • John Hunt, School of Education

Advancing the Student Experience Award−for individual staff or teams who through means other than teaching engage with students to make an outstanding contribution to their experience at USC.

  • Academic Skills team, Student Life and Learning (Margot Reeh, Irene O’Leary, Johanna Einfalt, David Duncan, Brian Higgins, Faye Thompson, Donna Thompson, Gaby Ziegan, Daniel Meloncelli, Audrey Dickson, Peter Cahill)
Learning by doing

An integral part of the University’s approach to learning and teaching is work integrated learning–providing as much practical experience as possible to prepare students for success in their chosen career.

  • Six design students assisted in the redesign of the Letaba Elephant Hall in Kruger National Park, one of South Africa’s most popular and iconic museums dedicated to elephants.
  • The Sunshine Coast Multicultural Excellence Awards were developed by USC public relations students together with the Sunshine Coast Community Cooperative.
  • Two education students graduated from Space Camp in the United States. They were the recipients of a School of Science, Education and Engineering scholarship, an initiative aimed at enhancing the capacity of teachers to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers.
  • Seventeen public relations students worked with AGL Action Rescue Helicopter, Buddies Refugee Support Group and Bloomhill Cancer Help to hold fundraising and awareness events.
  • The University doubled the opportunity for its Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) students to travel overseas by offering optional study tours in both years of the intensive two-year degree. In 2013, 11 EMBA students participated in a study tour and gained first-hand insight into business opportunities and challenges in China, Vietnam and Hong Kong.
  • Design students participated in intensive workshops run by internationally renowned designer Dr Ken Cato.
  • A group of advertising students travelled to Sydney to contest the national final of the International Advertising Association’s Big Idea competition.
  • A team of public relations and communications students organised a free event at the Eumundi Markets to help create and encourage inclusive communities.
Academic support

Enrolments in the Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) remained consistent in 2013. More than 1,000 students enrolled at USC using the pathway. TPP classes were also taught at Caboolture, Gympie, Noosa and Nambour. A new TPP teaching site was established at North Lakes in late 2013, to commence in Semester 1, 2014.

The Tertiary Enabling Program (TEP) continued to deliver academic support to students needing to brush up on study skills in areas such as chemistry, mathematics, physics and biology. Around 360 (full-year) students enrolled in TEP in 2013, a similar sized cohort to 2012.


International student profile

  • International students 746
  • Undergraduate and postgraduate coursework 486
  • Higher degree by research 33
  • Study Abroad 169
  • Exchange 43
  • Other pathways 14

Figures as at Census 1.

There were 1,269 full-year international enrolments in 2013, an increase of more than 21 percent compared to 2012. Full-year student numbers from Germany and India grew substantially (increases of 55 and 67 students respectively, compared to 2012). In 2013 about 12 percent of USC’s enrolments were international students from more than 60 countries.

The top source countries in 2013 (full-year) were:

  1. Germany
  2. USA
  3. Norway
  4. India
  5. Sweden

The International Student Barometer (ISB), administered in April 2013, reported very strong student satisfaction in all four broad experience categories, being arrival, living, learning and support. USC had the highest rank of overall student satisfaction among all Australian institutions. USC’s total response figure in 2013 was 397, representing a response rate of 51 percent. The overall Australian ISB response rate was 24 percent.

GO Program

USC’s outbound mobility programs, which enable USC students to study overseas as part of their degree, saw 78 students take part in semester-long study and 80 participate in short-term study trips. The most popular countries for semester-long study were the USA, Germany and Japan. Key destinations for short term programs were Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

USC secured $180,000 in funding from the Australian Government’s AsiaBound Grants Program in 2013. This funding enables a mix of full semester and shorter term study programs for USC students in Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

The first annual Global Opportunities (GO) Photo Competition was held in 2013 and attracted almost 200 entries from 74 students. Tehlia Colless-White, Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Science student, won the Vice-Chancellor and President’s Choice Award for her photo of the Berlin Wall, taken while studying at the University of Applied Science Koblenz in Germany.


The University welcomed more than 1,500 new graduates into its alumni cohort in 2013, with two ceremonies in April and a third in October. USC alumni now number more than 12,000. Two high-achieving graduates received the 2013 Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards:

  • Dr Amal Johnston, MSc 2002, for his research in plant biotechnology
  • Jenny Morawska, MBA 2000, for her contributions to executive leadership and management

USC science graduate, Laura Bray, received the inaugural Prime Minister’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award to support her world-leading eye research in Germany.

Forward planning for 2014
  • Expand blended learning approaches through building institutional capacity, student and staff capability and investing in technologies and resources.
  • Support staff to engage with simulation and visualisation based learning in multiple sites to advance the University’s current capacity and enrich students’ learning experiences.
  • Review and enhance assessment approaches that engage students in learning, with a particular emphasis on first-year student engagement.
  • Create and sustain learning and teaching leadership opportunities for academic staff, including through formal programs, peer mentoring and communities of practice.
  • Increase the opportunity for fieldwork and work integrated learning activities in programs to enhance student engagement with the community and the research-teaching nexus.

STRATEGIC PRIORITY TWO - PERFORMANCE - Deliver high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes

KPI 2.1:

Student satisfaction






University Annual national comparative assessment in the CEQ Overall Satisfaction Index

Achieve national ranking in the top quartile for the CEQ Overall Satisfaction Index each year

2013 national data not available until March 2014



The Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) captures a measure of graduate satisfaction through responses to the Overall Satisfaction Index (OSI). The OSI is a mandatory single item scale included in the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ)   component of the AGS. It seeks response to the statement “Overall, I was satisfied with the quality of this program”. The University reports on the performance for this scale as the percentage of all respondents that ‘agree’   with the survey item (i.e. Agree or Strongly Agree).

The results in the table below detail the level of overall satisfaction reported by USC undergraduates in comparison to the national aggregated level of undergraduate overall satisfaction. The University has performed strongly in the Overall Satisfaction Index from 2009 to 2012, ranking in the top quartile since 2010 and being above the national average in each of these years. USC’s percentage agreement for Overall Satisfaction was 86% for 2012, a decline on the previous year’s value of 88%, whereas the national percentage agreement increased from 82% to 83% for the same period.

Data collected on the 2010 AGS indicated a sharp spike in graduate satisfaction. At the national level a similar increase was also evident. The introduction of labelling all response categories rather than only the end points of the five-point Likert scale is believed to have impacted positively on graduate responses to CEQ items. The AGS coordinating body, Graduate Careers Australia, advised that “the change to the instrument has seen a positive upward shift in CEQ responses and brings about with it the establishment of a new CEQ time series.”


CEQ Overall Satisfaction Index, annual ranking of Percentage Agreement8,9 relative to the National value10



AGS survey year11









University of the Sunshine Coast














Number of institutions







KPI 2.2:

Graduate Outcomes






Annual national comparative assessment of graduate employment and graduates undertaking further study

Achievement of the national average for bachelor degree graduates in employment or further study by 2015

2013 national data not available until March 2014



The graduate outcomes measure represents a combination of the number of graduates in their preferred mode of employment
(in full-time work or in part-time work and not seeking full-time work) plus the number of graduates in further full-time study as reported through responses to the Australian Graduate Survey. This composite measure indicates a ‘positive graduate outcome’.

The table below shows that the proportion of USC respondents in their preferred mode of employment or further full-time study over the period 2009 to 2012 has been lower than the comparable national figure. The results of the 2013 AGS show a further decline in the proportion of USC respondents reporting a ‘positive graduate outcome’, 71% compared to 74% in 2012. The AGS coordinating body,   Graduate Careers Australia, has also reported a national decrease in full-time employment. An assessment of performance in 2013 will be made when national data is released in March 2014.


USC and National10 Graduate Outcome results13, 2009-2013



AGS survey year11





























 8. Combination of percentage of responses that Agree or Strongly Agree with the single Overall Satisfaction Index item.

 9. Results are based on domestic and international undergraduate level students only.

10. The national value and institution ranking are based on Table A higher education providers only.

11. Data reflects outcomes of students who completed their qualification in the year prior to the Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) year, ie data for the 2013 AGS reflects
outcomes of students who completed their qualification in 2012. The AGS is administered to graduates approximately four months after completion of their qualification.

12. Results are based on domestic undergraduate level students only.

13. Values are rounded to whole numbers.

14. 2013 national data not available until March 2014.

STRATEGIC PRIORITY THREE - REVIEW - Build research productivity and output significantly

Key strategies:
  • Strengthen research capability.
  • Develop research groups in disciplinary and cross-disciplinary areas.
  • Focus research on regionally relevant and strategic areas.
  • Leverage research outputs to enable productive partnerships.

USC is experiencing an exciting phase of growth and development in its research capacity, resulting in an enhancement in reputation, regionally and nationally, and a significant augmentation to the quality and impact of its research. The research activities at USC are broad and varied, with sustainability, aquaculture and forestry the core research foci. Biomedical science, accident research, computing and preventative health are emerging research strengths.

In 2013 research grant income was almost $7 million (figure unaudited), which is significantly hgher than the 2013 KPI target of $4.8 million and demonstrates USC’s research strategy is delivering outcomes.

The total number of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) enrolments for 2013 was 169.8 EFTSL. This was an increase of more than 20 percent on 2012, and above the target of 140 EFTSL. The HDR student load for 2013 was 169.8, which is also an increase of more than 20 percent compared to 2012. As USC’s research activities strengthen, this number is expected to rise. Health science remains the strongest research specialisation in terms of HDR enrolments.

Research grants and fellowships

Dr Simon Lawson, a member of the Forest Industries Research Centre, was awarded an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) grant valued at $1.3 million to investigate the biological control of insect pests of eucalypt plantations in the Mekong Region. The project will extend work undertaken by Dr Lawson’s team earlier in the year, jointly funded by ACIAR, the University of the Sunshine Coast and Oji Laos Plantation Forest Company Ltd.

USC Research Fellow Dr Michael Stewart was awarded one of only five Innovation and Investment grants from the Grains Research and Development Corporation. The $149,000 research grant will support work on new pest control tools to stop snail and slug invasions in farms and gardens.

Professor Abigail Elizur, Co-Director of the GeneCology Research Centre, was awarded a $1.6 million ACIAR grant to develop technologies for giant grouper aquaculture in the Philippines, Vietnam and Australia. Professor Elizur will partner with the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Research Institute for Aquaculture No.1, and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center on the five-year project.

Professor Tim Smith and Professor Neil Powell are part of a research team that was awarded $939,012 by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry to conduct a project on ‘Climate change adaptation for natural resource management in East Coast Australia’. The research will be undertaken in collaboration with The University of Queensland, Griffith University, the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, and the Queensland Government’s Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts (Queensland Herbarium) on the project.

Professor Mark Brown, Director of the Forest Industries Research Centre, secured $480,000 for stage two of the Australian Forestry Operations Research Alliance (AFORA). The alliance includes the University of Tasmania and 17 government and industry partners who together will continue the research established by the CRC for Forestry. This work includes improving the understanding, management and control of forest operational costs for existing, evolving and new harvest systems; the planning and management of value recovery within harvest operations; and the application of optimisation to supply chain efficiency planning and management.

USC was part of a consortium that secured a significant ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grant. The grant will fund the purchase of a 300 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer and console, valued at $400,000. The equipment will enable USC students to graduate as regional leaders in NMR technology. USC researchers will also have access to an 800 MHz NMR instrument, located at Griffith University.

Professor Helen Wallace, Co-Director of the GeneCology Research Centre, and Collaborative Research Network (CRN) Research Fellow Dr Chengyuam Stephen Xu, are part of a consortium awarded an Australia-China Science and Research Fund Group Mission to complete a project titled ‘Boost carbon stock and timber production of subtropical planted forests in Australia and China—an application of biochar’. The USC researchers will partner with the East China Normal University and Griffith University.

The University forged an alliance with Ecobiotics Pty Ltd to support Dr Steven Ogbourne’s USC Research Fellowship appointment and his research into drug discovery of anti-tumour agents from plants and trees.

Associate Professor Shelley Walton, Leader of the Inflammation and Healing Research Cluster, is investigating the impact of an integrated neglected tropical disease program in Kongwa District, Tanzania. The research was funded by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

Dr Scott Cummins is playing a key role in developing a novel and innovative control technology to manage the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, the crown-of-thorns starfish. The Australian Government Reef Rescue program provided funding to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to investigate the potential for a pest control technology specifically targeted at crown-of-thorns starfish. The funding has led to a research consortium between AIMS, USC and the Marine Genomics laboratory at The University of Queensland.

USC was the winner of a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship Senior Specialist Award in 2013. USC will host Professor Hank Harlow, from the University of Wyoming, who will develop new research collaborations focused on Sun Bear physiology, population ecology and sustainability.

USC won two prestigious European Commission 7th Framework International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) grants. The first project involves world-leading European researchers at the Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaries and Ben-Gurion University collaborating with Professor Abigail Elizur at USC and Professor Peter Mather at Queensland University of Technology. The European researchers will undertake functional genomics research in crustacean aquaculture in the GeneCology Research Centre’s laboratories. The second project consists of world-leaders at the University Geneva, Abo Akademi University and Keele University working with Professor Roland De Marco and his research group to conduct novel electrochemical studies of novel chemical sensor membranes. The researchers will also visit the Australian Synchrotron and OPAL nuclear reactor to execute cutting-edge surface characterisation experiments on chemical sensors.

CRN scheme

In 2013 the four Collaborative Research Network teams expanded their joint research activities. USC continues to work with its CRN partners, Griffith University and the University of Tasmania, and benefit from collaborating with their experienced Research Leadership Fellows. As part of the program, USC Research Fellows gained strategic planning advice through dedicated one-on-one coaching provided by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Roland De Marco. The CRN Fellowship contracts will finish in 2015, with a final report due to Government in mid-2016.

USC Research Fellowship scheme

The USC Research Fellowship scheme is a strategic program designed to increase USC’s research capacity. In 2013 the University appointed the following Fellows:

  • Dr Celine Frere, an environmental biologist with a strong interest in social evolution, social selection and genomics.
  • Dr Shaun Sandow, whose research is focused on determining the ways that cells in arteries communicate with one another and how cells control the balance between the way that arteries constrict and dilate.
  • Dr Christine Jacobson, whose research interests include the mechanics of learning in natural resource management.
  • Associate Professor Stephen Trueman, an experienced researcher in plant propagation and reproductive biology, specialising in trees used for horticulture, forestry, pharmaceutics or revegetation.
  • Dr Bridie Scott-Parker, an emerging expert in the domain of young novice driver road safety.
Memberships of national research committees

In 2013, Professor John Lowe continued as a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Assigners Academy, and Professor Roland De Marco also continued as a member of the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) Materials, Structures and Dynamics Specialist Committee.

Professor of Nursing Jeanine Young served as Chair of the SIDS and Kids’ National Scientific Advisory Group.

Key research activities

Under the auspices of a prestigious 2012 Queensland Smithsonian Institute Fellowship, Dr Allison Shapcott is undertaking research to build a global reference database. Dr Shapcott has generated a unique, three-gene DNA barcode for most species that will be shared globally via the International Barcode of Life (BOLD) and GenBank databases. This important research has broken new ground by applying the barcodes to datasets of plants with known locations to assess biodiversity in Southern Queensland rainforests. The research will also assist in the protection of rare species and map Queensland’s biodiversity.

The Engage Research Cluster launched an interactive game called ‘Orbit’, which is designed to help combat child sexual abuse. Orbit features a range of activities that help build confidence, wellbeing and problem-solving skills in children, and is part of a package that includes lesson plans and support materials for teachers.

In 2013 USC and the German Sports University developed a jointly conferred PhD program. USC and the University of Tasmania also negotiated a collaborative PhD program. It is anticipated that USC will accept the first enrolments into these programs in 2014. These new collaborative programs build on USC’s existing joint PhD program with Leuphana University in Lüneberg, Germany.

Associate Professor Bill Carter’s research through the Sustainability Research Centre helped to shape the sustainable development of the Kien Giang Province, one of Vietnam’s fast-growing tourism regions. Carter’s research made recommendations on ways to transition fishing and farming livelihoods to include tourism, while protecting natural environments and community lifestyles.

Associate Professor in Biostatistics David Schoeman played a key role in a major international study that has shown marine life is moving much faster towards the earth’s poles than land-based life in response to climate change. This research has been featured as seminal scientific papers in Nature Climate Change and Nature.

Researchers from the Sustainability Research Centre completed the first comprehensive assessment of the sustainability of the Sunshine Coast region. The report was commissioned by the Sunshine Coast Council to provide expert insight into the success of the region’s sustainability efforts and to help guide future planning.

The installation of a new $250,000 Nikon confocal microscope led to an increase in the quality and diversity of postgraduate research projects at USC by providing the latest technology in image contrast, speed and sensitivity.

Four high-performing high school students took part in a six-week molecular engineering research project at USC. The students worked alongside some of the University’s top scientists to develop components of sensors, which could one day be used to detect pathogens and toxins.

Awards for outstanding research

Dr Scott Cummins and Dr Claudia Baldwin each received the 2013 Vice-Chancellor and President’s Award for Excellence in Research. Cummins won the award for his work on improving the aquaculture industry and Baldwin was awarded for her work in community planning.

USC researcher Dr Claudia Baldwin and PhD student Caroline Osborne, with Phil Smith of design firm Deicke Richards, won the 2013 Australasian Core Values Award for Participatory Research from the International Association of Public Participation (Australasian Division). The researchers were recognised for their research on the neighbourhood and accommodation preferences of seniors across Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

USCAR researcher Dr Bridie Scott-Parker was recognised by the Australian Academy of Science as a rising research star and became one of 10 ‘Science Stars of Tomorrow’.

Associate Professor Bill Carter from the Sustainability Research Centre received two Sahak Metrey Medals from the Cambodian Government. The first award was the highest order the Government can give to a foreigner and was awarded for outstanding assistance with sustainable tourism development. The second award was for outstanding achievement in advocating sustainable tourism in Cambodia’s coastal zone.

PhD student Krystina Lamb received a prestigious Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering award. Lamb also gained a fully funded placement to attend the Cheiron School at the SPring-8 (Super Photon Ring) in Japan, one of the world’s most renowned X-ray science sites.

Associate Professor Paul Salmon, Leader of the University of the Sunshine Coast Accident Research (USCAR) team, won a national award for his on-road study of cyclist behaviour and situation awareness. The project won the Peter Vulcan Award for Best Research Paper at the 2013 Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference.

University Research Week

The annual University research conference, themed ‘Communicate, Collaborate, Connect’, attracted more than 150 academics, higher degree by research students and external guests. Almost 75 presentations showcased USC research efforts with topics including aquaculture, vaccine development and young driver safety. Research Week also featured presentations from more than a dozen USC Research Fellows, appointed under the CRN program, via ARC funding, or through strategic investments by USC.

PhD student Motahareh Nobakht’s presentation about the potential healing properties of the resinous gum of eucalyptus trees won the Three Minute Thesis competition. Dr Bridie Scott-Parker’s presentation ‘Young drivers and their parents—whassup?’ and Professor Helen Wallace’s ‘Promiscuous Plants’ were the joint winners of the ‘A Minute to Win It—My Research in 60 Seconds’ award.

Forward planning for 2014
  • Strategic research appointments in the areas of forestry, mental health and geography.
  • New research capacity building appointments — Timms, Polkinghorne and Herbohn.
  • Appointment of a Director, Office of Research.
  • Involvement in Collaborative Research Centres.
  • Continuing to build collaborative partnerships with QDAFF, CSIRO and Capilano Honey.
  • Planning for a cutting-edge and differentiated Systems Biology Laboratory at USC linked to University of Queensland, University of Western Australia and National Coordinated Laboratories.
  • Extension of CRN linkages with the University of Tasmania and Griffith University via the procurement of partnered research funding from the CRC, ARC and Queensland Accelerate schemes.
  • Development of a formal research partnership with the prestigious Uppsala University in Sweden.

STRATEGIC PRIORITY THREE - PERFORMANCE - Build research productivity and output significantly

KPI 3.1:

Research grants income






Total HERDC reportable income (all categories)

$6,000,000 by 2015
(reporting on 2015 data)




Competitive grant income projected for 2011 was not achieved; however the target for 2012 was exceeded by nearly $3 million, and the target for 2013 was also exceeded by almost $2 million (figures unaudited). The significant increase in grant income is partly due to the introduction of the new USC Research Fellow scheme, which has resulted in large, funded projects being transferred to USC in 2012 and 2013. Increases in Categories 1 and 2 from 2012 to 2013 are also due to the Office of Research and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)   implementing application development programs, including an intention to submit review process, which has resulted in the submission of higher quality applications for funding and an increased success rate.


Total HERDC Reportable Research Income ($) by category and per full-time equivalent (FTE)  
teaching and research (T&R) staff by year


Grant Income ($)






YTD 201315


Competitive Grants








Public Sector Funding








Industry/Other Funding
















Total ($)
















Per FTE ($)







15. YTD 31 December 2013 figures. Subject to change. This is unaudited HERDC Income data. Data will be audited in June 2014.

16. Income received from the Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (Seafood CRC) in which the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) was defined within the Commonwealth Agreement as a Participant.

KPI 3.2:

Weighted publications






Total HERDC reportable publications
(all categories) weighted

250 points by 2015
(reporting on 2015 data)




Although the target was not reached in 2011 and a slight decrease in total weighted publications was reported for 2011, journal article points remain on track. There were a large number of publications provided for the 2011 collection (101 actual publications), which were not HERDC reportable as there was no USC by-line. This is generally an indication of publications produced by staff new to USC. The total publication points for 2012 were just short of the target, although broadly on track. The 2013 target has been exceeded. The increase in weighted publications can again partly be credited to the introduction of the new USC Research Fellow scheme.


Research publications (weighted) by category, by year


Publications (weighted)






YTD 201317


















Journal Articles








Conference Publications























17. Figures current as at 20 February 2014. Subject to change. Data will be audited in June 2014.

KPI 3.3:

Higher degree by research






Part A: HDR student enrolments by EFTSL

155 EFTSL by 2015 (Based on 2015 data)



Part B: HDR students aligned with existing and emerging areas of research strength

60% of HDR student load in selected areas of research strength by 2015 (Based on 2015 data)



Comment (Part A)

The 2013 target has been exceeded (+ 21.3%). An ongoing focus on Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students, in particular in relation to the Collaborative Research Network (CRN), USC Fellows, and other funded grants is anticipated to see continued increases in enrolments in the future.


Higher Degree by Research (HDR) enrolments by EFTSL by faculty













Arts and Business







Science, Health,   Education and Engineering







Arts and Social Sciences














Science, Health and Education





















Comment (Part B)

The shift towards enrolments in selected areas of research strength is ongoing. The load of 59% in strength areas in 2013 is ahead of the target of 55%. As the revised Research Centres — Academic Policy, and the University Research Fellowships Scheme — Academic Policy, are fully implemented, it is likely that future targets will also be achieved.


Proportion of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) EFTSL in selected areas of research strength








Areas of research strength














Sustainability Research Centre







Health Science





















% of total in research areas of strength






18. 2013 values are based on Census 1 and 2, 2013 data. Final values will be confirmed in March 2014.

*Updated figures will be made available at

STRATEGIC PRIORITY FOUR - REVIEW - Develop USC for a sustainable future

Key strategies:
  • Develop and enable staff to manage change and contribute to achievement of the strategic plan.
  • Invest in and continuously improve information management systems, business processes and workforce planning.
  • Advance the University through key strategic partnerships.
  • Maximise opportunities to develop well designed, technology rich, sustainable University sites.

The University started the year in a strong financial position, carrying an operating surplus of $8.85 million into 2013. A 9.04 percent increase in income was achieved to
just over $174 million, due mainly to international student fees, capital funding
from the Commonwealth, and diversified revenue streams.

While the increase in enrolments in 2013 equated to an increase in income, it also necessitated significant capital expenditure (or allocations of future expenditure) to accommodate pipeline growth.

Infrastructure and development

USC Gympie–the University opened its $5.5 million, state-of-the-art study centre in Gympie in July. USC Gympie is a two-storey, 1,740 square metre facility that has a 75-seat lecture theatre, tutorial rooms, a high-tech nursing simulation space and a skills development laboratory. The Centre was built with funding from the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund.

Sippy Downs Learning Hub–teaching will begin in Semester 1, 2014 in the Sippy Downs Learning Hub, following a successful construction phase during 2013. The three-level building will include lecture theatres and tutorial rooms, study areas, staff offices, a simulation suite and office space for student support and service delivery. The $24 million project was jointly funded by the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund, USC and Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE.

Engineering Learning Hub–this four-storey, 6,500 square metre facility will be linked to the University of Southern Queensland, with visualisation facilities established at both universities to enable collaboration in producing 3D scenarios in civil and mechanical engineering and in developing teaching materials. The facility will also include a standalone Engineering Structures Learning Laboratory which will be used to demonstrate the physical properties of a range of materials and structures. Funding for the facility was secured through a $30 million grant from the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund Regional Priorities Round. USC will contribute a further $7.2 million to the project. The Engineering Structures Learning Laboratory will be completed by May 2014, and the main building is scheduled for completion early in 2015.

Resources Building–a new building that will house several of the University’s administrative departments commenced construction in 2013, to be complete around mid-2014. The building will front directly onto the future Sippy Downs town centre.

Front entry landscaping–planning was finalised for the construction of a new wetlands area and lake, a series of pathways and boardwalks, and a new ceremonial quadrant at the Sippy Downs campus. The landscaping work will attract native fauna and provide areas for relaxation and contemplation, as well as research and small group teaching. The landscaping will be undertaken in 2014.

Skills, Academic and Research Centre–USC continued its involvement in the planning of the Skills, Academic and Research Centre (SARC), at the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital. The SARC is a partnership between the University, the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, and providers of tertiary education, skills training and research. The SARC will provide opportunities for training and collaborative research between academics, students and health staff and is expected to open in 2016.

Transport and parking

The University introduced a paid, annual parking permit model in 2013 in an effort to better manage growth-associated pressures on existing facilities and the campus environment. The University also increased awareness of alternative transport options including public transport, car-pooling, cycling or walking. In 2013 students, staff and visitors benefited from:

  • Improved and subsidised public transport services.
  • Free express shuttle services from North Lakes/Caboolture, Gympie/Cooroy and Noosa/Coolum.
  • Provision of the $55,000 Bike Hub, with secure bicycle parking and shower/change facilities.
  • Three bicycle repair stations.
  • A new 100 bay carpark close to the centre of campus, and a 450 bay carpark on Claymore Road to provide a free parking alternative.

Future projects will involve the improvement of existing parking facilities and planning for the construction of multi-level car parks.

Study locations

The University expanded its study locations in 2013 to give more students access to USC courses and programs. USC Gympie delivered courses in business, commerce, nursing science, primary education, TPP and Headstart. USC and the Southbank Institute of Technology partnered in 2013 to offer students the opportunity to study three of USC’s degrees at South Bank in Brisbane. TPP continued to be delivered at Caboolture and Noosa, with North Lakes a new site for 2014.

Organisational restructure

In 2013 the University responded to growth by implementing the following changes to its existing organisational structure:

  • The establishment of the School of Law in the Faculty of Arts and Business.
  • The establishment of the School of Science and Engineering and the School of Education in the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering.
  • The establishment of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students). As a member of the Executive, this role will provide a focus for student growth and retention activities and will be responsible for ensuring that the University provides excellent support to students. Student Administration, Student Life and Learning and the Academic Secretariat will report to this position, which sits within the portfolio of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
Staff development

Staff had access to a variety of professional development activities during the year, such as:

  • Cross-cultural awareness workshops
  • EO (equal opportunity) online training
  • Change management seminars
  • Information privacy sessions
  • Middle management forums
  • Critical incident exercise
  • Mental health first aid seminar
  • Academic development workshops in lecturing and teaching
  • Research workshops in partnerships, publications and grants
  • Media interview training for researchers and academics
  • Learning and Teaching Week
  • University Research Conference

The University also introduced an Employee Assistance Program in May 2013 to assist staff improve their health, wellbeing and quality of their working life. This program provided staff and their immediate family members with counselling and related services.

More than 200 staff attended an inspiring presentation about leadership delivered by Rachael Robertson, head of the 58th annual expedition to Antarctica.

Senior staff appointments
Faculty of Arts and Business
  • Professor Michael Clements, Head, School of Business.
  • Professor Douglas Mahar, Head, School of Social Sciences.
  • Professor Neil Rees and Professor Anne Rees, Co-Heads of School, School of Law.
Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering
  • Professor Brendan Burkett, Interim Head, School of Science and Engineering.
  • Professor Merv Hyde, Interim Head, School of Education.

•          Bernard Lillis, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Corporate Services).

Marketing and Communications

•          Karyn Brinkley, Director.

Financial Services

•          Elizabeth Cannon, Acting Chief Financial Officer.

Staff successes

Five USC staff members were recognised for their outstanding contributions to student learning with prestigious Citation Awards from the Commonwealth Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT). OLT Citations distinguish Australia’s most inspiring academic and professional staff whose teaching contributions have enriched student learning for a sustained period of time. The successful staff members were:

  • Graham Ashford—for teaching that transforms: engaging students in complex economic and scientific concepts through authentic assessment, simulation, and participatory learning and reflection.
  • Dr Terry Lucke—for bringing engineering to life for students through personal passion, enthusiasm and engaging curricula based on experiential learning.
  • Dr Sanjeev Kumar Srivastava—for designing and delivering curricula and resources that promote comprehensive understanding of the spatial sciences by multidisciplinary undergraduate students who become highly valued, workforce-ready graduates.
  • Dr Uwe Terton—for designing and delivering exciting, engaging and inclusive curricula that build students’ competence and confidence, enabling their success in the digital design industry.
  • Dr Ross Watkins—for empowering students of creative writing to attain their potential through empathetic mentoring and innovative curriculum.

Bruce Williams, International Programs and Paths Coordinator for USC International, was awarded the Vice-Chancellor and President’s Award for Excellence in Service in recognition of his dedication to the promotion of the USC Starfish Program.

Marnee Shay, Indigenous Services Officer (Student Support), was awarded a 2013 Indigenous Staff Scholarship by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. This scholarship is one of only five offered in Australia and will fund Shay’s Master’s studies.

USC won an award for excellence in Student Administration and Customer Service Management from the Association for Tertiary Education Management. The Director of Information Services, Sandra Jeffries, also received a ‘Highly Commended’ award for Leadership in Tertiary Education Management.

USC sessional academic Dr Robyn Redknap won the 2013 Queensland Manager of the Year award from the Retirement Living Council for her work at the Buderim-based retirement resort, IRT The Palms.

Dr Eva-Marie Seeto, USC’s Director of Student Life and Learning, was elected to represent the Oceania region on the board of the International Association of Student Affairs and Services (IASAS). IASAS has 1000 members in more than 67 countries and is a professional organisation for the development of higher education policy, best practice, and evaluation of student services.

Don Maconachie, USC’s Executive Projects Unit Director, and his co-authors released the “Executive leadership of learning and teaching in higher education” handbook which has distilled the key principles and best practices of academic leadership from across the nation.
The publication was funded by an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching grant of $219,000.

Regional Universities Network

As a member of Regional Universities Network (RUN), the University’s activities for the year included:

  • Engagement with government regarding the role and impact of regional universities.
  • The Regional Universities Network’s (RUN) policy statement launch—‘Smarter Regions, Smarter Australia’—which details ways in which government can unlock the full human potential of regional Australia.
  • Continued Executive and Senior staff attendances at RUN Group meetings, including the annual RUN Conference, which this year focused on the growing importance of regional universities to national prosperity.

RUN released submissions and papers during 2013 that highlight the significant and diverse ways that the University of the Sunshine Coast is helping to shape the greater Sunshine Coast region.

Sustainability recognition

USC was awarded the Sunshine Coast Council’s Good Recycling Award 2013 (Institutions Category) for its new waste management system. Introduced in July, the new system reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill by up to 75 percent and incorporates the recycling of paper, cans and bottles from offices and other rooms across the University. The system also reduces the amount of time spent on waste removal, and improves the University’s recycling efforts. In 2013 USC also became the first university in Australia to incorporate an onsite composting machine into a total site waste management process.

The University was formally recognised as a Queensland leader in sustainability after being named a finalist in the 2013 Premier’s Sustainability Awards. USC was one of three finalists from 42 nominees in the ‘Leadership in Sustainability’ category.

In 2013 the University was admitted as an observer organisation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The University is contributing to international efforts to advance the science of climate change, collaborating on measures to adapt to projected impacts and helping to form an international greenhouse gas abatement policy framework.

Forward planning for 2014
  • Renewal of the Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy.
  • Development of a Fiscal Strategy, integrated with the University’s Planning and Reporting Framework, to guide the University’s activities and ensure its future success.
  • Continue to enhance and embed project management methodologies into USC’s approach to major projects.
  • Continue to implement the Blended Learning Strategy including ePortfolio and development of a mini-MOOC.
  • Implement a Sharepoint production environment to cater for subsequent delivery of workplace systems.
  • Construction and commissioning of the Engineering Learning Hub, delivering immersive visualisation capabilities to realise transformational opportunities.
  • Plan, develop and launch a series of new health clinics in partnership with key healthcare providers.
  • Continue to scope, develop and implement a range of new programs to support the growth of the University.

STRATEGIC PRIORITY FOUR - PERFORMANCE - Develop USC for a sustainable future

KPI 4.1:

Employment costs as a percentage of total revenue (adjusted)






Employee benefits costs as a percentage of total revenue (adjusted)

Less than 60%




The YTD 31 December 2013 employment costs as a percentage of total revenue (adjusted)   result is 60.03%.

Employment costs includes associated fringe benefits tax and provisions for leave entitlements (long services leave and recreation leave) relevant to the general operations of the University (excludes employment costs associated with grants and agreements).

Total revenue (adjusted) reflects operating revenue relevant to the general operations of the University. It excludes revenue received in relation to capital grant funding, donations and research agreements. In previous years, ordinary revenue was used as a comparison to Queensland and Australian universities. DIISRTE doesn’t publish the information required for comparison to the adjusted revenue. As such no comparison to other universities is presented. It is noted that the 2013 August Forecast for employee benefits costs as a percentage of total revenue (adjusted) is 59.93%.


Employment costs as a percentage of revenue (adjusted) for USC












YTD 201320











< 60%

19. Forecast values as per 2013-2015 August Reforecast.

20. Actual values YTD 31 December 2013.

KPI 4.2:

Operating Margin (adjusted)






Operating profit as a proportion of total revenue (adjusted)

4% annually




The Operating Margin (Operating Profit as a proportion of total revenue (adjusted)) of 8.50% as at 31 December 2013 exceeds the August Reforecast of 5.62%. The variance reflects funds unexpended at 31 December 2013 relevant to revenues received in 2013 thereby requiring carry forward to 2014. This carry forward value is not reflected in adjusted revenue.

Total revenue (adjusted) reflects operating revenue relevant to the general operations of the University. It excludes revenue received in relation to capital grant funding, donations and research agreements.


Operating margin (adjusted) for USC











YTD 201322










4% annually

21. Forecast values as per 2013-2015 August Reforecast.

22. Actual values YTD 31 December 2013.

KPI 4.3:

Capital Improvements






Proportion of operating funds invested in capital related projects

8.5% annually




As part of the planning framework the University identifies the strategic asset requirements of the University, details of which are published in the Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP). Each year a portion of the University’s operating funds are allocated to the SAMP along with any external funding and available cash reserves to complete the SAMP project listing.

University operating funds largely consist of revenues generated by student load,   commercial activities and investment income.

It is noted that not all projects are completed within the year of allocation therefore the key performance indicator for the current and future years is based on the latest budget forecast (2013 August).

The above target KPIs over the 2013-2015 period is reflective of the University’s commitment to investing in Information Technology resources for learning, teaching and research. In addition, the commitments to continual building and infrastructure construction as a result of growth in student load and research capacity.


Capital projects expenditure as a portion of total operating funds











YTD 201324






USC total operating funds ($’000)








8.5% annually


Capital projects expenditure ($’000)









Proportion (%)








23. Forecast values as per 2013-2015 August Reforecast.

24. Actual values YTD 31 December 2013.


University leadership (principal officers)
Vice-Chancellor and President

University CEO, responsible to University Council for strategic development, organisational leadership and day-to-day operations of the University.

Professor Greg Hill

CertTeach Qld, BA(Hons) Qld, PhD Qld

Commenced as Vice-Chancellor and President, University of the Sunshine Coast in 2011 following a term of office as Vice-Chancellor and President Designate from June 2010. Previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of the Sunshine Coast 2005–2010. Lead Vice-Chancellor, Universities Australia Indigenous Higher Education; Foundation Member, Regional Universities Network; Board Member, Education Australia Limited; Board Member, IDP Education Pty Limited; Chair, Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education OLT Academic Secondment Program Reference Group; Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre Ltd; and Fellow, Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences. Charles Darwin University—Foundation Professor of Tropical Environmental Science 1995–2004; Dean 1997–2004. Program Leader, Tropical Savannas CRC; Director, Centre for Tropical Wetlands Management; Chair, Northern Territory Board of Studies; Member, Kakadu National Park Research Advisory Committee; Member, AVCC Indigenous Advisory Committee. University of Queensland 1979–1994—Reader in Geographical Sciences; Director, ARC Key Centre in Land Information Studies. Research interests in remote sensing, wildlife ecology, resource management, environmental planning and education. National recognition for research, teaching innovation and technology transfer to developing countries.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Chair of Academic Board, overseeing the academic functions (learning and teaching) of the University, with responsibility for related support areas such as the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching, Information Services, Student Administration, Strategic Information and Analysis Unit, and Student Life and Learning.

Professor Birgit Lohmann

BSc (Hons) Adel., PhD Flin.

Appointed to the University in 2010, taking up the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor from February 2011. Chair of Academic Board, Promotions Committee and Equity Advisory Committee, member of University Council, Executive, Honorary Awards Committee, Senior Staff Forum, Internationalisation Advisory Committee, and Co-Chair, Student Liaison Committee. Previously Head of the School of Science and Director of the Centre for Quantum Dynamics at Griffith University and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Quality) at the University of Adelaide. Current Chair of the Regional Universities Network Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Group, member of the Executive of the Universities Australia Deputy Vice-Chancellor/Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Group, member of the Office for Learning and Teaching Grants Standing Committee. Research interests in atomic and molecular physics.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Oversees, manages and advises the University’s research activity, aligning research effort with the University’s goals and advancing the research profile of the University.

Professor Roland De Marco

BSc, MSc RMIT, PhD La Trobe, MRACI

Appointed to the University in 2010, taking up the newly-created Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) role from January 2011. Member of Academic Board and Chairperson of the Research Management Committee and the Research Degrees Committee. Previously Professor of Chemistry, along with Chemistry Department Head 2001–2007, Dean of Research in Science and Engineering 2007–2009 and Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) 2010 at Curtin University. Recipient of the 2008 RACI Lloyd Smythe Medal for excellence in research in Analytical Chemistry.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality)

Oversees, manages and advises on internationalisation, quality improvement, and marketing and communication.

Professor Robert Elliot

BA(Hons) NSW, MA La Trobe, DipEd Melb., PhD Qld

Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) and Professor of Philosophy. A founding staff member of the University. Member of University Council and Chairperson of the Internationalisation Advisory Committee and Learning and Teaching Committee. A member of Academic Board and the Student Disciplinary and Student Grievance Appeals Committees. Former foundation Dean of Arts and subsequently Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, from 1995–2005.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services)

Oversees the University’s planning, budgeting, infrastructure, human resources, financial and information technology services and implements internal controls and risk management systems.

Bernard Lillis (from 15 July 2013)

BA (Hons), FCMA

Appointed to the University in July 2013. Attends meetings of University Council, Planning and Resources Committee and Audit and Risk Management Committee. Previously, Chief Operating Officer and Registrar at University of Southern Queensland. General management experience includes the integration of sustainable university resource planning and budget management with governance, risk and legal services, financial services, human resources, facilities management, ICT services, marketing and advancement, student and academic services, technology transfer, commercial services and student residential accommodation.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) and Chief Financial Officer

Oversees the University’s planning, budgeting, infrastructure, human resources, financial and information technology services and implements internal controls and risk management systems.

Peter Sullivan (until 12 July 2013)


Appointed to the University in December 2007. Attends meetings of University Council, Planning and Resources Committee, and Audit and Risk Management Committee. Previously Executive Director, Finance and Resource Planning, Queensland University of Technology. Experience in the higher education sector includes the integration of planning, budgeting, performance management and risk management frameworks in support of strategic planning and strategic financial management.

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement)

Oversees the University’s links with its primary stakeholders and its regional community in achieving the teaching and learning and research priorities of the University.

Professor Mike Hefferan

BA Qld, GradDipMgmt C.Qld, MAppSci, PhD QldUT

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) and Professor of Property and Development. Appointed to the University in 2008. Member of Academic Board, Executive and Foundation Board, and Chair of Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast Pty Ltd. Immediate past President of the Australian Property Institute (Queensland Division), Chair of the API’s National Education Board and board member of Regional Development Australia (Sunshine Coast) and the Sunshine Coast Business Council. Registered Urban and Rural Valuer, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Australian Property Institute and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Business

Oversees the Faculty of Arts and Business, comprising the School of Business, School of Communication, School of Law, School of Social Sciences, the Sustainability Research Centre and the Engage Research Cluster.

Professor Joanne Scott

BA(Hons) Qld, GradCertEd QldUT, GradCertCulturalHtge Deakin, PhD Qld

One of the longest-serving members of the University. Became the inaugural Head of the School of Social Sciences (2006-2010), and chaired USC’s Learning and Teaching Committee (2007–2010). She commenced her current role as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Business in January 2012. Member of Academic Board, Senior Executive, Planning and Resources Committee, Senior Staff Forum, and Equity Advisory Committee. Research interests include Australian and oral history.

Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Oversees the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, comprising the School of Science and Engineering, School of Education, School of Health and Sports Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery, GeneCology Research Centre and several research clusters.

Professor John Bartlett

BSc (Hons) Newcastle, PhD Newcastle

Appointed to the University in 2011, taking up the position of Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering in February 2012. Member of Academic Board, Executive, Innovation Centre and Industry Advisory Group, Senior Staff Forum and Equity Advisory Committee. Previously Head of the School of Natural Sciences and Dean-Elect of the School of Science at the University of Western Sydney and Acting Head, Institute of Materials Engineering and Science at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. Research interests include materials chemistry and nanotechnology.

University Council (governing body)

Under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998, the University is governed by an 18-member Council representing University and community interests.

Council has the power to manage and control University affairs, property and finances, and appoint University staff. Where allowed under the Act, Council may delegate its powers to an appropriately qualified member of Council or member of the University’s staff; or to an appropriately qualified committee that includes one or more members
of Council.

The Council met six times in 2013.

Council leadership

Leads Council and presides at Council meetings.

John M Dobson OAM

Elected Chancellor in 2007 for an inaugural term from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2012. Re-elected in 2011 for a term from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2017. Member of the University Council since 1997. Parish Priest of Caloundra Parish between 1982 and 2012, Dean of the North Coast Deanery within the Catholic Church between 1992 and 2012. Contributions to the community include founding privately-funded residential care facilities for the aged and for people with intellectual disabilities, co-founding a retirement village and a comprehensive college (in partnership with the United Church) and developing support groups for prisoners and their families.

Deputy Chancellor

Acts as Chancellor in the absence of the Chancellor or when the office of Chancellor is vacant.

David Jeffries

BCom Qld, FCA, FAICD, FFin

Elected Deputy Chancellor in February 2010 for an inaugural term from 15 February 2010 to 8 December 2013. Member of University Council since August 2006. Member of Foundation Board in 2008 and 2009. Elected Chair, Planning and Resources Committee in 2010, member of the committee since August 2006. Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Australian Institute of Company Directors and Financial Services Institute of Australasia. Business contributions include numerous positions as company director/adviser, and as senior executive in the financial services sector: Deputy Chief Executive of Bank of Queensland Limited, Chief Executive Officer of First Australian Building Society, State Chairman of The Institute of Chartered Accountants, Australian representative on the Financial and Management Accounting Committee of the International Federation of Accountants.

Council membership

The Council comprises three official members, six members appointed by the Governor in Council, five elected members and four additional members appointed by the Council. 2013 was the fourth and final year of the sixth University Council. The term of office of the majority of members is four years. The term of office for student members is two years.

The Council membership for 2013 was as follows: 


John M Dobson OAM

Deputy Chancellor

David Jeffries, BCom Qld, FCA, FAICD, FFin

Vice-Chancellor and President

Professor Greg Hill, CertTeach Qld, BA(Hons) Qld, PhD Qld

Chairperson of the Academic Board

Professor Birgit Lohmann, BSc (Hons) Adel., PhD Flin.

Six members appointed by the Governor in Council

Dr Suzanne Innes, BA(Hons), BEdSt Qld, GradCertTESOL UNE, MSchM EdD C.Qld


David Jeffries, BCom Qld, FCA, FAICD, FFin


Paul Lunn, BBus S.Qld, FCPA, CA Affil. (until 8 December 2013)


Julie-Anne Mee, BBus C.Qld, MAdmin Griff., FCPA


Debra Bennet (from 17 March 2013)


Jacquelyn Wright, BBus(Comp) NTU, Master of Computing Studies Deakin, GDipEd(Adult) S.Aust., GDipEd(Primary) NTU


Bruce Cowley, BCom, LLB(Hons) Qld (from 9 December 2013)

Two elected members of the University’s academic staff

Professor Robert Elliot, BA(Hons) NSW, MA La Trobe, DipEd Melb., PhD Qld


Dr Donna Weeks, BA(Hons) Griff., MIRAP Qld, GradCertArtsEntMgt Deakin, PhD Qld (until 8 December 2013)

One elected member of the University’s general staff

Bruce Williams, BA(Hons) Sunshine Coast (until 8 December 2013)


Jon Dickins, BA (Hons) Griff. (from 9 December 2013)

Two elected members of the student body

Manuel Barth (until 8 December 2013)


Lynette Maguire (until 8 December 2013)


Sonya Wallace (from 9 December 2013)


Chelsea Wallis (from 9 December 2013)

Four additional members

Bruce Cowley, Com, LLB(Hons) Qld (until 8 December 2013)


Robert Hubbard,   BA(Hons), FCA, MAICD


Natasha Read, BCom Griff., MBA Sunshine Coast, FAIM, GAICD


Scott Williams AM, NE, QDAH Qld, BEc, GradDipCompSc, GradDipFinMangt,
GradDipRurAcc NE, HonDLitt NE, FAICD


Emeritus Professor Gerard Sutton AO, BE(Hons), MEngSc UNSW, PhD CVA, HonDSc UOW (from 9 December 2013)

Council Secretary

Peter Sullivan, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) and Chief Financial Officer (until 12 July 2013)

Bernard Lillis, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) (from 15 July 2013)

Council decisions in 2013

In 2013, Council:

  • Approved appointments to Council in accordance with the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998
  • Approved appointments to committees of Council
  • Noted Corporate Performance Reports against the Key Performance Indicators in the University’s Strategic Plan (2011-2015)
  • Noted reports on 2013 performance against the University’s top level plans (2011-2015)
  • Noted that the Audit and Risk Management Committee was of the view that the University’s 2012 Annual Financial Statements were compliant with the Australian Accounting Standards and appropriate for sign-off
  • Approved changes to the Terms of Reference of the Chancellor’s Committee
  • Resolved that the Planning and Resources Committee cease participating in the two special joint meetings held with the ARMC in February each year to review the draft Annual Financial Statements and, instead, note a copy of the draft Statements at its February meeting and a copy of the signed Statements at its May meeting
  • Approved that the membership fee for the Student Guild be the sum of $10.00 for the calendar year 2014, for Ordinary Members
  • Approved USC’s participation in a joint proposal to the Minister for Education, Employment and Training that the governing legislation for Queensland universities be modified to provide that further sub-delegation of powers, delegated by Council, be permitted
  • Resolved that background checks be carried out for future nominees for Honorary Awards on an as-needed basis
  • Approved the April 2013-2015 Reforecast University Triennial Budget
  • Formally acknowledged the University’s contribution of land, valued at $700,000, to the Education Investment Fund Project
  • Approved the accreditation of the new programs Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry), effective from Semester 1, 2014
  • Approved the accreditation of the new program Master of Engineering (Transport Technologies), effective from Semester 1, 2014
  • Approved the re-appointment of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Birgit Lohmann, as Chairperson of the Academic Board for a three-year term
  • Approved the 2013 June Budget Outcomes Report
  • Endorsed the University joining the Land for Wildlife Scheme
  • Approved the 2013 August Reforecast of the University’s Consolidated Budget
  • Endorsed the splitting into two of the School of Science, Education and Engineering to create a School of Education and a School of Science and Engineering commencing from the 2014 academic year
  • Endorsed the creation of a School of Law, commencing from the 2014 academic year
  • Endorsed the creation of the new position Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) commencing from the 2014 academic year
  • Was informed of possible changes to the Queensland Universities’ Acts
  • Adopted the 2014-2016 University Triennial Budget
  • Approved the 2013 October Outcomes of the University Consolidated Budget
  • Approved the Strategic Asset Management Plan 2014-2018
  • Considered options for the construction of a multi-storey car park at Sippy Downs
  • Resolved to permit Optus to grant Vodafone a licence to share its telecommunications facility at the Sippy Downs campus
New policies

In 2013, Council:

  • Approved the Audit and Assurance Framework – Governing Policy and Internal Audit Charter
  • Approved the Enterprise Risk Management and Resilience – Governing Policy
  • Approved the Planning and Reporting Framework – Governing Policy
  • Approved the new Quality and Standards Framework, effective from 2 January 2014 
Amended policies

In 2013, Council:

  • Approved amendments to the Health, Safety and Wellbeing – Governing Policy
  • Approved the revised Compliance Framework – Governing Policy
  • Approved the revised Fraud and Corruption Control – Governing Policy
  • Approved the revised Governance Framework – Governing Policy (formerly titled the University Governance Framework – Governing Policy)
  • Approved the revised Policy Framework – Governing Policy (formerly titled the Policy and Related Procedures – Governing Policy)
  • Approved amendments to the Investment – Governing Policy
  • Approved the Research Misconduct – Governing Policy (formerly titled the Research Misconduct Statement – Governing Policy)
  • Approved the revised Student Complaints and Appeals – Governing Policy (formerly Student Grievances and Appeals – Governing Policy)
  • Authorised the issuing of Vacation Powers to the Chancellor, Chairperson, Planning and Resources Committee and the Vice-Chancellor and President, commencing from 4 December 2013 and concluding on 4 March 2014
Rescinded policies

In 2013, Council:

  • Approved rescission of the Risk Management Framework – Governing Policy
  • Approved rescission of the Quality – Governing Policy, effective from 2 January 2014
University committees
Academic Board

The University’s Academic Board was established under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 as the University’s senior academic body. In 2013 its members included:

  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor [Chairperson]
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality)
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement)
  • Faculty Executive Deans
  • Faculty Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching)
  • Faculty Associate Deans (Research)
  • Chairpersons of Academic Board committees
  • Heads of Schools
  • Three elected academic staff members from each faculty
  • One undergraduate and one postgraduate student
  • External representative for TAFE
  • Director, Student Administration
  • Director, Student Life and Learning
  • Director, Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching

The role of Academic Board is to:

  • advise Council on teaching, scholarship and research matters concerning the University
  • formulate proposals for academic policies of the University
  • monitor the academic activities of the University’s faculties
  • promote and encourage scholarship and research at the University

The terms of reference of Academic Board in 2013 were as follows:

  1. To advise Council on general education directions, policies and practices on teaching, research, ethics and scholarship, and facilitate development and innovation in these areas.
  2. To approve and amend academic policy, on delegated authority of Council.
  3. To recommend to Council on the University’s areas of study and research priorities.
  4. To contribute to the development, monitoring and reviewing of relevant goals and objectives in the University’s Strategic Plan and relevant top-level plans and to advise Council, accordingly.
  5. To monitor the academic activities of the University’s faculties.
  6. To approve schemes for internal research grants.
  7. To recommend to Council proposals that imply the entry by the University into a discipline not currently taught in the University and proposals relating to the offering of programs in existing disciplines but at a higher level.
  8. To determine the accreditation of new programs in disciplines currently taught in the University.
  9. To determine the outcomes of proposals to make major changes to existing programs and courses.
  10. To determine the outcomes of proposals to discontinue courses and programs.
  11. To confer awards on the delegated authority of Council (this authority may be delegated to the Chairperson Academic Board).
  12. To monitor the work of the University Animal Ethics Committee and the University Human Research Ethics Committee, via the Research Management Committee, and advise Council on ethics related matters as required.
  13. To determine the acceptance of scholarships, bursaries and prizes above the value of $15,000 per award.
  14. To establish committees to advise the Board on relevant aspects of the Board’s functions.

Academic Board decisions in 2013

Strategic and academic quality assurance developments in 2013 included:

  • Academic Board monitored programs to ensure compliance with the Australian Qualifications Framework
  • Academic Board approved initial faculty responses to reviews of the following programs:

–          Communications Programs
–          Arts Programs
–          Public Health Programs

  • The Academic Board underwent a process of external review
  • The Board established a Working Group which has reviewed the issue of program leadership
  • The Board reviewed the role of External Academic Advisory Committees
  • The Board reviewed developments regarding the University’s Blended Learning Strategy and Open Access for research publications

Policy developments in 2013 included:

  • Approved amendments to the Doctoral Degrees – Academic Policy
  • Approved amendments to the Research Master Degrees – Academic Policy
  • Approved the new Jointly Conferred Academic Awards – Academic Policy
  • Approved rescission of the Admissions—Academic Policy, Enrolments – Academic Policy, Graduation – Academic Policy and the Student Reservist – Academic Policy
  • Approved the newly combined Admissions, Enrolments and Graduation – Academic Policy
  • Approved amendments to the Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs – Academic Policy
  • Approved amendments to the Grades and Grade Point Average (GPA) – Academic Policy
  • Approved amendments to the Credit Transfer – Academic Policy
  • Approved rescission of the Recognition of Prior Learning for Program Credit – Academic Policy
  • Approved amendments to the Coursework Programs and Awards – Academic Policy
  • Approved rescission of the Undergraduate Programs and Awards – Academic Policy
  • Approved rescission of the Postgraduate Programs and Awards – Academic Policy
  • Approved amendments to the Program Review – Academic Policy
  • Approved the new Higher Degree by Research Accreditation – Academic Policy

Academic Board accredited the following programs in 2013:

  • AB310 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Business
  • AB311 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
  • AR338 Bachelor of Creative Industries
  • AR390 Bachelor of Laws
  • AR391 Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry)
  • AR392 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts
  • AR393 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Social Science
  • AR394 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Creative Writing
  • AR395 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Journalism
  • AR404 Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning (Honours)
  • AR520 Graduate Certificate in Community Mental Health
  • AR620 Graduate Diploma in Community Mental Health
  • AR630 Graduate Diploma in Couples and Family Therapy
  • BU772 Master of Professional Accounting
  • ED508 Graduate Certificate in Education
  • ED705 Master of Education
  • SA308 Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Science
  • SC410 Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours)
  • SC411 Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours)
  • SC420 Bachelor of Nursing Science (Honours)
  • SC546 Graduate Certificate in Nursing
  • SC713 Master of Health Promotion
  • SC742 Master of Nursing (Clinical Leadership)
  • SC751 Master of Engineering (Transport Technologies)

Academic Board reinstated the previously discontinued program:

  • ED603 Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary)

Academic Board approved the discontinuation of the following programs:

  • AR382 Bachelor of Regional and Urban Planning
  • AR511 Graduate Certificate in Digital Design (Print and Imaging)
  • AR512 Graduate Certificate in Digital Design (Electronic Media)
  • AR513 Graduate Certificate in Public Relations
  • AR543 Graduate Certificate in Journalism
  • AR605 Graduate Diploma in Arts
  • AR611 Graduate Diploma in Digital Design (Print and Electronic Media)
  • AR613 Graduate Diploma in Public Relations
  • AR643 Graduate Diploma in Journalism
  • AR709 Master of Counselling Practice
  • AR841 Master of Communication
  • BU354 Bachelor of Commerce
  • BU571 Graduate Certificate in Accounting
  • BU671 Graduate Diploma in Accounting
  • BU771 Master of Professional Accounting
  • ED301 Bachelor of Education
  • ED504 Graduate Certificate in Vocational Education and Training
  • ED703 Master of TESOL Education
  • ED704 Master of Education
  • SC383 Bachelor of Civil Engineering
  • SC384 Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical)
  • SC505 Graduate Certificate in Nursing (General Practice)
  • SC711 Master of Health Promotion
  • SC720 Master of Mental Health Nursing
  • SC540 Postgraduate Certificate in Nursing (Advanced Practice)
  • SC740 Master of Advanced Nursing Practice
  • SC741 Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (Emergency Care)

In 2013, the Academic Board also approved the following:

  • Annual Summary Report on Student Academic Misconduct for 2012
  • Minor changes to the composition and terms of reference of its standing committees
  • Changes to the terms of reference for External Academic Advisory Committees
  • USC Credit Matrix for International Baccalaureate Students
  • Requirement that all programs include just one core course
  • Introduction of 116 new courses
  • Discontinuation of 43 courses
  • Substantial changes to programs
  • Conferral of individual student awards
Audit and Risk Management Committee

The Audit and Risk Management Committee (ARMC) has five major areas of responsibility:

  1. Monitoring internal control and risk management
  2. Monitoring of internal audit activities
  3. Monitoring of external audit activities
  4. Oversight and appraisal of financial reporting
  5. Oversight of any fraud or ethics issues.

Membership consists of a minimum of four and a maximum of six persons, and includes the Chancellor ex officio, up to two members co-opted by the Chancellor and at least one other member of Council. At least one ARMC member must be a member of the professional accounting or audit bodies in Australia and have a professional accounting, management consultancy or audit background. At least one member should possess expertise within the education sector. Membership is approved by Council. The initial term of office of members is a period not exceeding three years, and may be extended for further terms subject to the composition and skill requirements of the Committee.

The ARMC’s activities in 2013 were in accordance with its terms of reference and had due regard to Queensland Treasury’s Audit Committee Guidelines. Four regular meetings and one special meeting of the ARMC were held in 2013. The Committee assessed reports on risk management, work health and safety, internal and external audit matters, insurance, the University’s compliance with relevant legislation and the University’s 2012 Annual Financial Statements. The ARMC also conducted its annual self-evaluation.

The outcomes of the Committee’s discussions and advice to Council were provided to Council via the minutes of its meetings.

The Audit and Risk Management Committee did not receive any remuneration in 2013.

Planning and Resources Committee

The role of the Planning and Resources Committee (PRC) is to recommend the strategic directions of the University to Council, in the context of development of the University’s plans and their resourcing strategies. The Committee also provides advice to Council on issues arising from these plans. The key areas of concern to the Committee are planning and strategy, financial resources, asset management (including information technology) and human resources.

Members of the PRC include the Chancellor, the Deputy Chancellor (who currently chairs the Committee), the Vice-Chancellor and President, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Business, three external members with specific expertise in strategic financial management and planning and up to two members co-opted by the Chancellor. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services), the Chief Financial Officer, and the Director, Facilities Management attend meetings of the Committee and have participating, but not voting, rights.

Five regular meetings and one special meeting of the PRC were held in 2013. Discussion focused on financial matters, budget reports, reports from the University’s controlled entity (Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast Pty Ltd), planning matters including reports on outcomes for the key performance indicators in the University’s previous and current strategic and top level plans, and funding and progress of capital projects.
The Committee also undertook a self-evaluation exercise in 2013.

The outcomes of the Committee’s discussions and advice to Council were provided to Council via the minutes of its meetings.

Recommendations to Council related to:

  • Reforecasts of the University Consolidated Budget
  • Appointments to the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast Pty Ltd
  • Board of Directors
  • Members of the Planning and Resources Committee
  • The Strategic Asset Management Plan (2014-2018)
  • The University’s Triennial Budget (2014-2016)
  • The 2013 Top Level Plan Performance Reports
  • The 2013 Corporate Performance Reports
  • The accreditation of new programs
  • Relevant policies
Honorary Awards Committee

The Chancellor chairs the five-member Honorary Awards Committee, which seeks, considers and recommends to Council nominations for honorary awards, in accordance with the University’s Honorary Awards – Governing Policy. In addition to the Chancellor, the Committee’s membership currently comprises the Vice-Chancellor and President, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and two University Council members. The Committee met formally on one occasion in 2013 to consider nominations for honorary awards.

The following honorary awards were presented in 2013:

  • One Honorary Doctorate of the University, to Mr John Mainwaring for his distinguished career in Architecture
  • Three Honorary Senior Fellowships of the University, to sustainability advocate Susie Chapman, Indigenous educator Denise Proud and Queensland tourism advocate Mike Wilkinson
Monitoring quality

The University conducts internal audits within the relevant terms of reference and has due regard to Queensland Treasury’s Audit Committee Guidelines. The University monitors overall quality through a system of reports against performance indicators and planned targets, and scheduled regular reviews and internal audits of performance. The latter often include input from external sources.

The Council, committees and senior managers monitor quality, performance, standards and outcomes via performance reports and data, particularly in relation to the University’s finances, Strategic Plan and thematic top-level plans such as those supporting access to the USC experience; delivery of high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes; building research productivity and output; and preparing USC for a sustainable future.

Improvement plans are developed in response to review and audit findings and regular reports on progress in achieving those plans are provided to senior University staff and such bodies as the University Executive, Academic Board and Council committees.

During 2013, scheduled major evaluative reviews of the University’s Office of Research, Information Services branch (Library, Records and Mail and Print Services) and Student Administration were held.

Formal reviews of the following programs were also undertaken in 2013:

  • Associate Degree in Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
  • Bachelor of Arts-Bachelor of Business (combined degree)
  • Bachelor of Arts-Bachelor of Science (combined degree)
  • Bachelor of Environmental Health Science
  • Bachelor of Health Promotion
  • Bachelor of International Studies
  • Bachelor of Justice and Legal Studies
  • Graduate Certificate in Future Studies
  • Graduate Certificate in Sustainability
  • Graduate Diploma in Health Promotion
  • Master of Health Promotion

There continued to be ongoing reporting and monitoring of progress in implementation of, and outcomes from, action plans arising from formal reviews held in 2012 or earlier.

In 2013, the University also provided the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TESQA) with additional requested evidence of compliance with the national Higher Education Standards and the Educational Services for Overseas Student Act in support of the University’s 2012 applications for re-registration as an Australian university and higher education educational provider for international students. TEQSA subsequently granted the University unconditional re-registration to 2020.

In 2013 there were two students matters that were investigated separately by the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland and the Office of the Queensland Ombudsman.

The quality system is published online at


During 2013 the University participated in a range of academic, industry and professional benchmarking activities as part of its quality assurance and continuous quality improvement processes. Cumulative inventories of benchmarking activities are maintained and updated annually. Benchmarking activities and findings are used for identifying and planning improvement actions and setting or adjusting performance or improvement targets.

Controlled entities

Council approved a Policy for the Establishment and Operation of Controlled Entities in December 2006. The Innovation Centre is the sole controlled entity with a free-standing board.

Innovation Centre

The University established the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast Pty Ltd (ICSC) on 26 October 2000, under the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 Part 2(6). The company commenced trading in January 2002. The company’s mission is to support the start-up and growth of knowledge-based businesses and to promote beneficial interaction between these businesses and the University of the Sunshine Coast.
The Chief Executive Officer (Mark Paddenburg) reports to the ICSC Board through the Chairman, the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement).

ICSC operates a 1,400 square metre Innovation Centre facility on the USC campus and employs 4.6 full time equivalent staff. The ICSC offers an award-winning Business Incubator and Accelerator, which provides serviced offices, high-speed fibre and wireless connections, mentoring support, links to USC research and talent, investment readiness and extensive networking opportunities for both start-up and high growth businesses.

ICSC was recognised in the top 25 University Business Incubator Index (UBI global index 2013). ICSC occupancy averaged 88 percent in 2013. Some of the new clients in 2013 included: NewNRG, PoweRak, Cloud DC, Italic, VAS-X, MaternIT, Innovate Media, Digica, Cavitus, Fishbowl, Integrated Monitoring Systems and the Sugar Research Institute.

In 2013 the Innovation Centre was home to 37 resident companies, 13 associate clients (virtual tenants), the Sustainability Research Centre, International Projects Group and a number of other USC business-related activities. The ICSC also welcomed two new corporate sponsors, Suncorp Bank and Big Air.

The ICSC hosted The Honourable Ian Walker, MP and Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, in September for a business milestone event. Mr Walker announced Queensland Government funding of $325,000 for the ICSC to continue supporting emerging entrepreneurs and start-ups.

To date, the ICSC has supported the start-up and growth of more than 110 businesses (principally in the digital, clean-tech and creative industry sectors), assisted clients raise more than $28 million in early stage capital and helped employ more than 450 people. The Innovation Centre’s extensive program of business development, mentoring and education events attracted almost 1,000 delegates in 2013, and more than 8,000 delegates since 2002.

The ICSC was involved in more than 50 events in 2013 and hosted a successful Dragon’s Den-style business pitch competition, with applicants doubling from 2012. The event was followed by an investment showcase for five ICSC companies which, when combined with significant ICSC mentoring, was a key part of securing over $400,000 in new angel investment.

The ICSC and USC’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR), Dr Dean Alle, commenced in January 2013. Dr Alle investigates potential student and staff commercial opportunities within USC and augments the services provided by USC’s Office of Research. The EIR also provides specialist commercialisation services and delivers the majority of mentoring services to ICSC clients. The mentoring is augmented by the CEO and 15 high calibre mentor panel members. These mentors are experts in their fields, and offer advice and support in all business areas including finance, marketing, commercialisation, IP, digital strategy, project management and human resources.

ICSC’s clients helped contribute to the Sunshine Coast winning the Queensland Google eTown Award. The Award recognises the strength of e-commerce on the Sunshine Coast and its tech-savvy ability.

The Innovation Centre also benefited from the Sunshine Coast being recognised as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2014 for embracing broadband technology to deliver economic opportunities (refer to page 25).

In 2013 the ICSC successfully trialled a new program in partnership with Sunshine Coast Council. The ‘Creative Industries Business Incubation Lab’ program provided two Sunshine Coast creative businesses with access to ICSC facilities and services for six months.

The Innovation Centre’s UniConnect program delivers valuable connections between ICSC businesses and USC. In 2013 the UniConnect and EIR program resulted in:

  • 33 students undertook work experience or internships
  • 23 students were involved in ICSC events
  • 18 students received one-one-one mentoring
  • 5 undergraduates were employed in new roles
  • 6 graduates were employed in new roles

 The ICSC’s Board of Directors consists of the following members:

  • Professor Mike Hefferan (Chairperson)
  • Professor John Bartlett
  • Andrew Fern
  • Julie-Anne Mee
  • Tim Eldridge
  • Dr Kirsten Baulch

ICSC’s Company Members include:

  • Mark Paddenburg (ICSC CEO)
  • Janet O’Hara (ICSC Minute Secretary)

The Innovation Centre maintains an online presence at

Statutory obligations and compliance

Best practice for governance

The University complies with the Voluntary Code of Best Practice for the Governance of Australian Universities, as implemented by the industry body, Universities Australia.

The University also takes into consideration the Queensland Government objectives for the community.

Information privacy

In compliance with Queensland’s Information Privacy Act 2009, the University has an Information Privacy Policy. A privacy statement is provided on the University’s website and appropriate privacy statements are included on all University forms. The Information Privacy Policy is available at

Right to Information

In compliance with Queensland’s Right to Information Act 2009, the University has a Right to Information Policy. In compliance with the legislation, the University has a Publication Scheme on its website, setting out the classes of information publicly available. The Publication Scheme is available at

No formal Right to Information requests were received in 2013.

Workforce planning, attraction and retention

As at 31 March 2013, the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staffing was 908, inclusive of casual staff. This was an 11 percent increase on 31 March 2012, with the growth remaining consistent with the University’s Workforce Planning process.

The 2012* staff retention increased to 92 percent. The 2012* separation rate decreased to eight percent.

The University maintains a number of key policies and procedures related to workforce development and management, including Workforce Planning and Staff Recognition and Reward.

Workplace health and safety

In 2012*, USC average time lost to injury was 13 days per workers’ compensation incident, with a total of 11 claims accepted by WorkCover Queensland during the year.

Health, safety and wellbeing continued as key staffing strategies for the University with the implementation of a Health, Safety and Wellbeing Management Plan and a formal Employee Assistance Program.

* Due to DI reporting deadlines, 2012 figures are the most recent available.

Equity and work-life balance initiatives

Education and awareness of equal opportunity in the workplace was maintained during 2013 with training sessions conducted by the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland and staff access to an online equal opportunity training package.

Workshops, including ‘Building Resilience and Capacity’, ‘Being Constructively Assertive’ and ‘Emotional Intelligence’, were conducted to support staff in the development of skills that will create healthy work-life balance and address workload perceptions.

The University allows for 26 weeks paid maternity leave to be paid on a 50 percent basis over the 52 week parental leave period. The University also provides flexible work arrangements and job sharing options for staff returning from parental leave. A privately owned and operated childcare facility is available on campus for staff and students.

The University of the Sunshine Coast supports the Queensland Carers Charter as detailed in the Carers (Recognition) Act 2008, through flexible work practices and remote access facilities for staff and students.

The University ensures staff and students are provided with relevant information and support as required. At the time of a staff member’s commencement USC provides information with regard to carer’s leave and flexible working options to assist in their caring responsibilities. This information is available on the USC Portal for staff to access. The University also established an Employee Assistance Program during 2013 which includes provision of support to staff family members.

Staff are provided with the opportunity to comment on any proposed changes to policy relating to carer’s leave or flexible working options. This includes conducting focus groups with affected staff members whose views are then taken into consideration in the formulation of those policies.

Due to the flexible working options available at USC, staff who identify as carers are able to meet both their work and caring responsibilities in an open and transparent way.

The University also has a Disability Action Plan to assist in providing equal access to quality education for the whole community; to improve the teaching and learning environment for students and staff; and to raise awareness of disability issues and responsibilities as a foundation for good practice in equitable service provision.

There is a range of disability support services and facilities available to staff and students, with all activities guided by the Disability Discrimination Act. Support is tailored to the personal needs of staff and students, delivered by a qualified Disability Services Officer. Examples of support services include physical access, better hearing, and parking.

Performance management framework

The University has a Performance Management Policy and Performance Planning and Review (PPR) Policy and Procedures, with both ongoing and fixed term staff participating in an annual Performance Planning and Review process.

Leadership and management development

In 2013 a number of staff development initiatives were facilitated to enhance the supervisory and leadership skills of University staff. These included topics such as the ‘The Conversation Series’, where individual sessions were conducted on challenging conversations, coaching conversations and change conversations, ‘Supervisor Essentials’, ‘Resilience and Capacity Development’, and ‘Leadership Essentials’. Additional development opportunities were also provided for executive and senior staff through both Executive and senior staff retreats.

Enterprise agreement

The University’s current Enterprise Agreement has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2013 and the University commenced negotiations with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) for a new University of the Sunshine Coast Enterprise Agreement in the latter half of 2013.

Student complaints and appeals

The University has a Student Complaints and Appeals Policy, which provides a framework to administer, manage and report on student complaints and appeals. In 2013, the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor received and investigated nine formal complaints.

Ethical standards

In compliance with the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994, the University’s Staff Code of Conduct – Governing Policy (the Code) defines acceptable conduct for staff of the University. The Code is shaped around four key ethical principles that are intended to guide ethical decision making and behaviour. The ethical principles are:

  • integrity and impartiality
  • promoting the public good
  • commitment to the system of government
  • accountability and transparency

Sessions on the Code were conducted at the Executive and senior staff retreats, during the Challenging Conversations and Coaching Conversations workshops and in the Supervisor Essentials program. The University maintains a Staff Code of Conduct webpage to provide further education for staff, providing a basis for discussion at work area meetings on the meaning of the Code.

Corporate information systems and records management

The continuing development of the University’s corporate information systems included the following activities in 2013:

  • AV replacements (capital replacement): 15 venues including Lecture Theatres 1 and 2 were upgraded as part of Semester 1, 2014 preparation activities. Lecture Theatre 5, the three Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering wet laboratories and six minor upgrades were undertaken as part of Semester 2 preparation activities. During the summer 2013/14, an additional 13 venues including Lecture Theatre 7, six computer labs, two Chancellery rooms and other tutorial rooms were upgraded. Each venue has realised significant improvements in functionality, ease of use and supportability by moving to the new Crestron control systems.
  • PC replacements (capital replacement): the 2013 PC replacement program saw the broadening of the computer fleet to include ultrabook laptops and the deployment of higher specification computers. The Macintosh laboratory replacement was completed as part of Semester 1, 2014 preparation activities.
  • Innovation Centre wireless: successful implementation of a wireless network solution has resulted in data and voice services being delivered into the Sustainability Research Centre.
  • Internet upgrades: the University entered into a Service Agreement with AARNet Pty Ltd for the provision of a 1Gb/s Internet Services, implemented in December.
  • ePortfolio feasibility: the trial of the PebblePad ePortfolio system on a representative sample of the University population proved the value of the solution to both staff and students and will be implemented throughout the University over the next two years.
  • eCommerce: this initiative has seen the successful delivery of online payments for donations, conferences and events, paid parking (eTicket), student copying and printing services, and mail and print services.
  • IT service management implementation: a functional and industry standards-based IT service management system was successfully implemented in September to deliver greater support for the University’s growing demands for IT customer service.
  • SIS consolidated project: this rolling multi-year program has delivered a number of significant enhancements to the student information system and introduced new functionality to support all facets of student administration and engagement.
  • Finance system archiving: this project resulted in the implementation of the TechnologyOne Financials Archiving module.
  • Student email migration to Office 365: the student email system was successfully migrated from live@edu to Office 365 in August, bringing it into line with the email system made available to University staff.
  • Library Implementation Phase 1: the procurement phase of this project was successfully completed with the preferred product (Discovery) selected in October 2013.
  • Mobility network security and support: the replacement of an ageing firewall in July has seen improvement in the reliability and security of all University systems.
  • Private research cloud: this project delivered a restructure to the network drive used by the University’s research staff and also resulted in the delivery of additional storage space to meet their computing and storage demands.
  • SharePoint proof of concept: the proof of concept for SharePoint was delivered in November and will be evaluated in 2014. This will assess SharePoint as a viable technology to support and enable the University’s collaboration and information management requirements.
  • Blackboard mobile and central: this project is continuing and will deliver a proof of concept for a USC mobile application, providing a strategic direction for future University mobile applications.
  • Novell replacement: the migration of University network drives occurred in June and the implementation of the new identity management system is well progressed for an early 2014 delivery.
  • Unified communications: the Microsoft Lync solution was successfully piloted as a replacement for the existing legacy telephone solution, as well as enabling instant messaging, presence, desktop sharing and desktop video conferencing. An implementation plan has been prepared with the priority focus being the introduction of Lync to the new Building E and its occupants.
  • Mobility portable device management: a solution has been procured for imminent implementation that will enable IT Services to support and maintain University-owned mobile devices (eg smart phones).
    This solution will support asset tracking, configuration of mobile devices and management of data in the event of loss.
  • Titanium schedule: the Titanium booking and case management solution was technically deployed for the Psychology program within the Faculty of Arts and Business. The program is assessing the solution for operational delivery in 2014.
  • Space management: 2013 saw significant progress towards the selection and procurement of an integrated space management solution.
  • HRP online timesheet: working closely with stakeholders and the solution vendor, the online timesheet system has been implemented and is ready for piloting early in 2014.

Under the Public Records Act 2002, the University archives full and accurate records of its activities. The University operates a decentralised corporate records management model, with faculties and cost centres responsible for the management of their records. A central Records Management Services unit provides University-wide support and advice. Records Liaison Officers have been appointed in each faculty/cost centre to manage their respective records.

Internal audits are conducted on a rolling schedule to ensure appropriate records management and staff training is undertaken on a regular basis.

Implementation of the University’s Information Management Strategy began in 2013. The Strategy is designed to provide a vision, priorities and plan for the best use of the University’s information assets. It aims to take a holistic, sustainable approach to the development of robust systems infrastructure, sound information governance, and
an organisational culture of information sharing.

  • ABS SEIFA: Australian Bureau of Statistics Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas
  • ACIAR: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
  • AGS: Australian Graduate Survey
  • AIME: Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience
  • AINSE: Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering
  • APT: Administrative, Professional and Technical (Staff)
  • ARC: Australian Research Council
  • ARMC: Audit and Risk Management Committee
  • BOLD: International Barcode of Life Database
  • CD: Census Collection District
  • CEQ: Course Experience Questionnaire
  • CGS: Commonwealth Grant Scheme
  • CRICOS: Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students
  • CRN: Collaborative Research Networks
  • CSIRO: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
  • CSP: Commonwealth Supported
  • DE: Department of Education (previously the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Education, Science and Training)
  • DI: Department of Industry (previously the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education and the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education)
  • EFTSL: Equivalent Full-Time Student Load
  • EIF: Education Investment Fund
  • EIR: Entrepreneur in Residence
  • EMBA: Executive Master of Business Administration
  • FTE: Full-time equivalent (Staff)
  • GO: Global Opportunities
  • HDR: Higher Degree by Research (Student)
  • HEPPP: Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program
  • HERDC: Higher Education Research Data Collection
  • HWA: Health Workforce Australia
  • IASAS: International Association of Student Affairs
    and Services
  • ICSC: Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast
  • ICT: Information and Communication Technology
  • KPI: Key Performance Indicator
  • NHMRC: National Health and Medical Research Council
  • NMR: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
  • NTEU: National Tertiary Education Union
  • OLT: Office of Learning and Teaching
    (Australian Government)
  • OSI: Overall Satisfaction Index
  • PG: Postgraduate
  • PPR: Performance, Planning and Review (Staff)
  • PRC: Planning and Resources Committee
  • QDAFF: Queensland Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • SAMP: Strategic Asset Management Plan
  • SARC: Skills, Academic and Research Centre
  • SCHHS: Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service
  • SES: Socio-economic status
  • TEP: Tertiary Enabling Pathway
  • TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • TEQSA: Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency
  • TPP: Tertiary Preparation Pathway
  • UG: Undergraduate
  • USC: University of the Sunshine Coast
  • WIL: Work Integrated Learning
  • YTD: Year to Date

The University of the Sunshine Coast began as the Sunshine Coast University College. Founded in 1994, the first students started at the Sippy Downs campus in 1996. In 1998 the new institution was granted full university status, and became the University of the Sunshine Coast on 1 January 1999.

The 100-hectare Sippy Downs campus lies around 90km north of Brisbane on land that was once a cane farm. In addition to the main site at Sippy Downs, the University has teaching sites offering award programs at Gympie and South Brisbane, as well as study support centres offering tertiary preparatory programs at Noosa, Caboolture and North Lakes. In 2013, USC had a total operating revenue of more than $174 million and employed 722 staff (full-time equivalent).

USC has a five-star rating for teaching quality, generic skills, and graduate satisfaction, which is recognised in the 2014 Good Universities Guide*. At Census 1 2013, more than 8,900 students (including about 880 postgraduates and 750 international students) were enrolled in more than 140 academic programs in two faculties: Arts and Business; and Science, Health, Education and Engineering. The University conferred around 1,500 degrees, bringing alumni numbers to more than 12,000.

*The rating of five stars for teaching quality, generic skills and graduate satisfaction were awarded to USC by the Good Universities’ Guide 2014 using information obtained from the Graduate Careers Australia’s Course Experience Questionnaire.



Tel: 07 5430 1234

Fax: 07 5430 1111


CRICOS Provider Number: 01595D

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