Autumn 2007

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Autumn 2007


Download Autumn 2007 edition (PDF 1.4MB) of Community Magazine or refer to the accessible text version below.Autumn 2007 edition cover

Focusing on a New Year

“Our first priority for 2007 is enhancing our research profile.”

The standing of the University of the Sunshine Coast in the tertiary education sector has been dramatically enhanced from a decade ago.

That is reflected in the increasing number of students attracted to the expanding range of teaching and research programs, and the high quality staff we continue to attract to conduct those programs.

Development opportunities appear with increasing regularity locally, while internationally our profile is enhanced through projects such as that of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on world regions and their universities in which we are involved.

So, the most significant challenge at present is to match the most potentially attractive development opportunities to the priorities in our Strategic Plan.

Our first priority for 2007 is enhancing our research profile.

A careful reassessment is being made of those regionally significant areas in which we want to invest and which have international significance.

A second priority is working on the OECD report to build even more cooperative partnerships to advance the regional agenda.

This work will involve the expansion of teaching areas, outreach programs of various kinds, and the involvement in regional projects such as the SunROC Knowledge Economy strategies.

International student numbers will continue to grow, and that is also a priority area for 2007, with most of those numbers being on campus.

A further priority is to increase the University’s emphasis on entrepreneurialism, especially linking the work of the Innovation Centre companies with work undertaken in the faculties of the University.

We particularly want to develop the entrepreneurial skill sets of staff and students to progress their business ideas.

These are some of the priorities that will circumscribe the exciting year ahead, which will continue seeing USC developing as one of Australia’s most impressive 21st century universities.

Professor Paul Thomas AM

USC Vice-Chancellor earns Australia Day honour

Establishing a university from scratch and overseeing its growth from 500 to 5,000 students in a decade has earned University of the Sunshine Coast Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Thomas an Australia Day honour.

Professor Thomas received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) award for his service to higher education.

The USC foundation Vice-Chancellor said he was delighted to receive the AM, but was quick to add the honour was not his alone.

“I think what this means, more than anything, is national recognition, not just of me, but of the University,“ he said.

“To get that recognition is an indication that the University is successful and is widely regarded as being successful.

“And no individual does this alone. It’s a team effort and I’ve had a terrific team around me.”

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News in brief

USC’s achievements commended

The University of the Sunshine Coast has been commended for its significant achievements since its inception in a report from the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA). AUQA, an independent body that is auditing all Australian universities, made special mention of USC’s commitment to the Sunshine Coast and its innovative programs that enhance students’ experiences of university. USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Thomas AM said the detailed audit was an extremely worthwhile process and that the findings were insightful.

See the full AUQA audit report at

Program encourages entrepreneurs

USC recently hosted Australia’s first Enterprisers program—a four-day residential school for 72 students aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship. The visionary program, developed by the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was held at USC’s Innovation Centre from 30 January to 2 February 2007. It involved students from across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and graduates from Microsoft Corporation, Australia. Program manager Andrew Mitchell said participants developed skills in identifying and seizing opportunities, being creative, building networks and building teams.

Excellent teaching rewarded

A Federal Government grant of A$500,000 has been awarded to the University of the Sunshine Coast in recognition of its excellence in learning and teaching for undergraduate students. USC was one of four Queensland universities to receive Learning and Teaching Performance Fund 2007 grants, which were announced by Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training Julie Bishop in December. USC gained recognition as having performed well in a highly competitive context.

University backs science in schools

three local high schools have teamed up with USC in a bid to provide better professional development for science teachers and inspire more young people to study science.

A consortium of staff from USC, Maroochydore State High School, Beerwah State High School and Chancellor State College will receive A$470,000 from the Queensland Department of Education, Training and the Arts over the next three years to develop a Sunshine Coast Science Centre of Innovation and Professional Practice. USC education lecturer Dr Juhani Tuovinen said the science centre would benefit all schools in the region, and possibly the entire state.

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Orientation 2007

Record crowd attends Orientation ceremony

The enthusiasm of USC’s newest intake of students was clearly evident at the University’s Official Welcome ceremony on Tuesday 13 February.

About 1,300 students braved heavy rain to attend the event, held during Orientation celebrations at the University campus, eclipsing last year’s attendance record of 800.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Thomas AM and Lynden Davis of the Gubbi Gubbi dance troupe welcomed the students to USC, while student ambassadors Tomas Passeggi and Jane-Louise Lampard provided insights into university life.

After the Official Welcome ceremony, the new students attended faculty events, enjoyed a free barbecue and took part in campus tours.

Almost 2,300 new students started classes at USC last month, bringing the University’s total student population to 5,129.

More than two-thirds of the new students are from the Sunshine Coast.

The University introduced several new degree programs this year, including the Bachelor of Nursing Science, which went straight to the top of USC’s most sought-after degree list.

The top 10 most sought-after undergraduate programs were:

  1. Bachelor of Nursing Science
  2. Bachelor of Science (Sport and Exercise Science)
  3. Graduate Diploma in Education
  4. Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Arts
  5. Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)/Bachelor of Human Services
  6. Bachelor of Business (Accounting)
  7. Bachelor of Journalism
  8. Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Science
  9. Bachelor of Arts (Computer-Based Art and Design)
  10. Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics

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Hannah wins Most Outstanding Journalism Student award

Graduating journalism student Hannah Klose won the award for the Most Outstanding Journalism Student from a regional campus at the 2006 Queensland Media Awards in Brisbane last October.

Hannah, 25, whose competition entry comprised television stories she completed while undertaking an internship with Seven Local News last year, said she was thrilled with the award that carried A$2,000 in prize money.

“I was pretty blown away that I’d won in that sort of company,” she said of the two other finalists for the award, including fellow USC journalism student Renae Henry.

Hannah, who is to graduate in May, said the guidance she received from USC Senior Lecturer in Journalism Dr Stephen Lamble and tutors Desley Bartlett and Seven Local News presenter Rosanna Natoli were major factors in her success, as were USC’s strong industry links.

“Honestly, without Stephen Lamble as my guru, I don’t think I would have been at the awards,” she said.
“He’s encouraged, challenged and pushed me into things that I wouldn’t have done myself.”

Renae Henry, whose Queensland Media Awards entry comprised five articles she wrote as an intern at the Sunshine Coast Daily, said she was delighted to have been a finalist and was looking forward to entering the media awards again in 2007 in her final year at USC.

Dr Lamble said it was a fantastic effort for both Hannah and Renae.

“To have two of the three finalists from our University was just fantastic,” he said.

“It was a shame that one of them had to miss out.”

BAD is good for art and design lecturer

Art and design lecturer Debra Livingston knows that sometimes it’s really good to be BAD.

Especially when BAD stands for the Brisbane Advertising and Design club, a professional association of about 700 members that recently named Ms Livingston as its 2006 BAD Person of the Year.

Ms Livingston has been the club committee secretary for the past two years and was the longest-serving committee member after first getting into the BAD books in 1999.

She is renowned for cheerfully attending every committee meeting in Brisbane during that time—despite the 200km round trip—and for extending BAD’s influence into regional areas such as the Sunshine Coast.

The award-winning designer with a passion for photography said she was thrilled to accept the award, particularly because she was the first academic in the club’s 36-year history to receive it.

“It’s actually recognition from the industry itself, which constitutes a large advertising and design industry in Brisbane,” she said.

“It certainly is an honour to be recognised by the industry as being ‘one of them’.”

BAD club co-president Shane Murray of George Patterson Y&R copywriters said there were many reasons why Ms Livingston won the award, but he summed them up by describing her as an “all-round absolute bloody legend”.

“There’s no-one more deserving of the award and, when we put it to the vote, she won hands down,” Mr Murray said.

“I would say it was because of her generosity in spirit and in time, and because she is ever smiling, ever positive and ever willing to help.

“Her passion for teaching, creativity and the environment has seen her win numerous awards and industry accolades and, of course, many appreciative students, colleagues and friends.”

Ms Livingston resigned from the BAD committee to concentrate on studying a Doctor of Creative Arts at USC, and Mr Murray said she would be sorely missed.

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USC helps launch Middle School Excellence Program

Links between the University of the Sunshine Coast and schools throughout Cooloola Shire have been strengthened with the launch of the Middle School Excellence Program in Gympie.

The program has started with a creative writing course offering talented students in Years 6 to 9 lessons from USC academics for eight weeks during Term 1. A mathematics course is planned for Term 2.

The program was developed by the Cooloola Learning and Innovation Initiative and is based at James Nash High School’s ICT Hub. It includes lectures, workshops, and print and visual texts to develop interest in creative writing.

USC academic Jill McGuire is providing weekly creative writing lessons, and USC Head of Creative Writing Dr Gary Crew is set to provide some guest lectures during the course.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the Middle School Excellence Program would give Cooloola Shire students a better idea of what university learning involved, and of how it would benefit them.

Construction of A$10million indoor sports stadium on track

Construction of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s A$10million indoor sports stadium is on schedule, with the stadium due to open in time for the USC Graduation Ceremony in May.

Work on the 3,705 square metre stadium, which will be used for University and community sporting events and USC ceremonies, began in November.

The air-conditioned stadium will be the size of three basketball courts and will be used for basketball, netball, futsal (indoor soccer), volleyball and badminton.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Thomas AM inspected the stadium recently and was pleased with its progress.

USC and the State Government have funded the project, with the Department of Education, Training and the Arts contributing A$2million and the Department of Sport and Recreation providing A$900,000. The aim is to help get more Queenslanders active through sport and recreation.

The University, as part of its Building Excellence fundraising campaign, is seeking public contributions for a planned five-storey Health and Sport Centre to be built alongside the indoor sports stadium.

Professor Thomas said this campaign was an opportunity for the community to be involved in a project that would have direct implications for the health of all residents in the region.

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USC Noosa Centre sets up at The J

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s presence in Noosa has expanded this year with the construction of a permanent home for USC’s first-year study centre at Noosa Junction.

USC’s Noosa Centre, which was temporarily based at Bicentennial Hall, Sunshine Beach last year, has relocated to the new youth and community centre, The J, on the corner of Noosa Drive and Grant Street, Noosa Junction.

The purpose-built centre has two tutorial rooms, a 24-hour computer lab linked to the USC campus at Sippy Downs, a library booking service and use of The J’s auditorium. It is staffed by full-time administrative assistant Julie Hobbins and a student counsellor.

Three first-year programs—the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business and a Graduate Diploma in Education—will be offered in 2007.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the first-year study centre was established last year to give Noosa residents an easier introduction to university life by allowing them to study close to home.

High-flying USC researcher studies effects of weightlessness

University of the Sunshine Coast exercise scientist Dr Chris Askew is still “coming back down to earth” after recently taking part in research aboard a parabolic flight campaign over Paris.

Dr Askew, a lecturer in exercise physiology, jumped at the chance to join a German Sport University research team investigating the effects of weightlessness on fine motor skills and central neural activity.

He was invited by German Sport University senior lecturer in exercise physiology, Dr Stefan Schneider, to be a subject and assistant for testing of the influence of weightlessness (zero-gravity) on brain activity, mood changes and blood hormonal responses during flight aboard a modified Airbus.

Dr Askew said the plane went through 31 consecutive stomach-churning parabolas, each time soaring skyward at 47 degrees for 20 seconds, free-floating for 22 seconds and then plummeting to earth at 47 degrees for 20 seconds.

There was a minute’s straight flying at 6,100 metres between each upwards arc to 8,500 metres, where weightlessness was achieved.

Dr Schneider’s research aboard the Airbus was funded by the German Space Agency and European Space Agency to the tune of about A$400,000.

He said he aimed to assess how the human brain reacts to weightlessness (at the top of the parabola), under normal gravity (straight flying) and under double gravity (during the rapid ascents and descents).
Dr Askew said he was thrilled to have taken part in the research.

“This was a unique opportunity,” he said. “There would be very few people in the world who get a chance to do this. It has given me a much greater appreciation of the effects of gravity on the body and the functioning of the body in weightlessness.”

Dr Schneider is currently visiting USC to work on another combined exercise physiology project with Dr Askew.

The German sports scientist and two of his students, Julia Diehl and Andreas Mierau, will help conduct experiments into the effects of high and low intensity exercise and how “positive stresses” can affect brain activity and people’s moods.

Dr Schneider said the research would assess differences in the psycho-physiological stress-relaxation thresholds of individuals during aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

“On the parabolic flight we have looked at negative stress, or distress, on the body,” he said.

“We now want to determine the effects of positive stress, like how a jog in the park can have a positive effect on brain activity and mood.”

The USC study will seek to determine the scientific reasons for these effects, using the same testing devices that were used on board the Airbus.

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Wreck holds exciting research opportunities for University

Some exciting scientific and tourism research opportunities lie in store for USC this year following the signing of an agreement in December regarding the former HMAS Brisbane.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Thomas AM and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director-General Terry Wall signed a two-part agreement that gave the University greater involvement with the wreck of the HMAS Brisbane and stewardship of Mooloolah River National Park.

“These are two of the most significant sites on the Sunshine Coast—one because it is a natural site, and the other because it is a man-made site,” he said.

Professor Thomas said the agreement would enable closer cooperation between the University and the EPA and the development of further joint projects.

Professor Thomas said USC, which works closely with the Queensland Museum in monitoring marine life colonisation of the wreck, would coordinate research into the HMAS Brisbane on behalf of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and assist with tourism and promotional efforts.

The University plans to become a hub for material related to the former warship, which was scuttled in 2005, and will provide expertise in delivering interpretive and educational material for QPWS and tourism agencies.

A team of marine researchers from USC and the Queensland Museum recently completed the first comprehensive assessment of marine life on the HMAS Brisbane.

This research by USC marine scientist Dr Thomas Schlacher and Queensland Museum scientists Dr Monika Schlacher-Hoenlinger, Simon Walker, Dr Jeff Johnson and Professor John Hooper found that colonisation of the wreck was proceeding rapidly.

USC Faculty of Business tourism researcher Gayle Mayes said she was keen to explore several proposals into developing the ship’s tourism potential.

Photograph by Ian Banks of Diving the Gold Coast. More of Ian’s photographs can be viewed at

Joint venture to develop climate change training

The University of the Sunshine Coast has signed an agreement that will see it jointly provide the first accredited climate change training for business and government professionals in Australia.

A strategic agreement to develop and provide the training was signed by USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill and representatives from Climate Risk Pty Ltd (Australia/UK) and CLIMsystems Ltd of New Zealand.

Climate Risk Pty Ltd and its sister company, Climate Risk Europe Ltd, have broad experience in climate risk assessment, corporate sustainability and emergent energy development.

CLIMsystems Ltd holds the exclusive distribution rights for software products in support of climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessment.

Under the agreement, the parties will deliver professional and technical programs to equip the public and private sectors in making informed decisions about managing the risks arising from climatic variability and change.

Professor Hill said the joint venture planned to develop a range of training programs, from two-day executive primers right up to Masters level qualifications.

“It’s an opportunity for us to be part of a consortium that’s working at the cutting edge of climate change research, teaching and risk management,” he said.

“It will lift the profile of the University and provide great opportunities for staff and students.”

The agreement was signed at the inaugural South East Queensland Climate Change Adaptation Demonstration Project workshop that USC hosted in December.

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Marine scientist’s report tabled at UN

Marine scientist Dr Thomas Schlacher was part of an international team of deep-sea biologists that reported to the United Nations General Assembly in New York recently on the impact of human activity on deep-sea ecosystems.

Dr Schlacher said the UN had commissioned the team, led by New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Malcolm Clark and the Zoological Society of London Senior Research Fellow Dr Alex Rogers, to assess how vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems were to human activities, particularly trawling.

The team’s extensive report, which took a year to compile, is likely to be used by the UN to assess developing international regulations on fishing near undersea mountains known as seamounts.

Dr Schlacher said the crux of the problem was that the extensive corals on the seamounts promoted fish, yet the corals were easily damaged by trawlers.

“In essence, one could equate the effects of trawling over the fragile corals on seamounts with the devastation caused by clear-felling of old-growth forests on land,” he said.

“Many seamounts targeted by bottom fishing lie outside areas of national jurisdiction—the high seas. Management of these activities has been complicated by the lack of knowledge of where the most vulnerable seamounts are located—this is where the new report steps in.”

Dr Schlacher said the research team developed a tool to predict in which areas of the deep ocean the spectacular seamounts were most likely to be found.

“This information is now being used to define areas that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of deep-sea fishing,” he said.

All Blacks thank USC for scientist’s help

Rugby union heavyweight New Zealand is taking nothing for granted in its build-up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France later this year.

And that includes thanking the University of the Sunshine Coast for allowing its sport scientist and senior lecturer Dr Mark Sayers to be part of the All Blacks management team.

In February Dr Sayers presented USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Thomas AM with a letter of appreciation from All Blacks manager Darren Shand and a signed All Blacks jersey.

The University’s much sought-after sports biomechanist has had a stellar career in rugby, including working for three different international teams as well as with the ACT Brumbies when they became the Super 12 Rugby champions.

Dr Sayers has been the All Blacks biomechanist since 2004 and he has just returned from Turkey where he presented three papers at the 6th World Congress on Science and Football.

The money Dr Sayers receives for his New Zealand Rugby Union work has been used to establish a USC research scholarship, which is aimed at furthering research on the biomechanics of rugby.

The current scholarship recipient is PhD student Keane Wheeler. Keane plays rugby union for the Sunshine Coast Stingrays team in the Queensland Premier Rugby competition.

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Chloe is a Chartered Accountants Achiever

Chloe Barnes has become the first USC student to gain a place in the Institute of Chartered Accountants Achiever program.

Chloe, 20, was one of only 19 accounting students selected from 102 Queensland applicants to take part in the program.

She gained work experience with national accounting firm William Buck in Brisbane during January.

Chloe said she believed the training and advice she received from USC staff, her determination to make a name for herself, and her previous work experience as a cafe assistant manager had given her an edge in being selected.

“I knew I was up against HD (high distinction) students from the University of Queensland and QUT, but I really wanted to get my name recognised at the Institute of Chartered Accountants,” she said.

“I knew if I got this, I’d stand out from my competitors when I apply for a job.

“This is the best thing that’s ever happened in my life, in terms of my career.”

Chloe thanked USC Head of School of Commerce Monte Wynder for his encouragement, and the University’s Careers and Graduate Employment Officer Clive May for providing advice about interviews.

Business program adds up for top students

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree has attracted some of the Coast’s top school-leavers.

Among those enrolled to study accounting this year are 2006 Caloundra State High School dux Lauren Dance and Mountain Creek State High School captain Alyssa Luppes (right).

Both students listed USC’s popular accounting program as their first preference on their QTAC application last year.

Lauren, who received an OP1, said studying close to home made much more sense than travelling to Brisbane.

“I’ve made the decision to stay on the Sunshine Coast because it’s a lot simpler,” she said.

“There’s no need to go to Brisbane when the same program is offered here.”

Alyssa Luppes, an International Baccalaureate graduate, only listed USC degree programs on her QTAC application. She said she regarded USC’s programs to be as good as, if not better than, those offered elsewhere.

“The program at USC is such a broad course and it offers a lot,” she said.

“So it will be good if I want to go to a large firm or go into my own business.”

Alyssa said USC’s Global Opportunities (GO) program, which enables students to spend a semester at an overseas university as part of their degree, was another drawcard.

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Golden Casket Foundation backs mental health nursing research

University of the Sunshine Coast health researchers have received a A$225,192 Golden Casket Foundation grant that could positively influence the quality of mental health nursing practice and the outcomes for patients across Queensland and beyond.

The world-first study by Professor Edward White and Associate Professor Julie Winstanley will involve mental health nursing staff at 24 centres in both metropolitan and regional areas of the state.

The study will build on previous work conducted by the research team over the past 15 years and will focus on an area of health that is considered a priority by both the state and federal governments.

The two USC health researchers and their team will assess whether clinical supervision—a structured staff support arrangement that involves small groups of nurses meeting regularly—will improve the nurses’ personal well-being, the quality of care they deliver and the outcomes for patients.

“One of the current concerns for health policy makers is the recruitment and retention of high quality mental health nurses, and we believe that clinical supervision may assist with these two matters,” Professor White said.

“Mental health nurses deal with challenging and sometimes harrowing clinical situations on a day-to-day basis and clinical supervision may contribute to their support while they deliver clinical services to patients in their care.”

Associate Professor Winstanley said the randomised controlled study would test for any difference between centres that introduce clinical supervision and those that do not.

“There is already evidence to suggest that the most popular model of clinical supervision promotes the well-being of nurses,” she said.

“This is the first study that we know of that tests the hypothesis that clinical supervision can also improve the quality of the care they provide and clinical outcomes for patients.”

Sport scientist guides Aussies at swimming championship

Australia’s success at the 2006 IPC World Swimming Championships in December was due in no small part to the work of USC sport scientist Dr Brendan Burkett.

Dr Burkett was the Sport Science Coordinator for Swimming Australia at the event held in Durban, South Africa.

The national team set three world records and five Australian records and came away from the championships with 24 medals.

Dr Burkett, the director of USC’s Centre for Healthy Activities, Sport and Exercise (CHASE), analysed races and helped assess the physiotherapy, medical and psychological needs of team members at the event for athletes with a disability.

Dr Burkett, who has represented Australia at four Paralympics and three World Swimming Championships, and has held several world records, said his background as an international swimmer gave him greater insight into what information was needed to improve performances.

He said USC was the only university in Australia to coordinate sport science for Swimming Australia, having done so at the 2002 World Championships, the 2004 Olympic Games, the recent European Games in Germany and the Pan American Games.

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USC helps develop national suicide prevention strategies

Adjunct Professor Peter Bycroft is leading a consortium that won a $600,000 contract from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing late last year to revise the country’s Living is for Everyone framework.

Professor Bycroft, who is the managing director of Corporate Diagnostics at Sunshine Beach, said his team would provide the government with a “definitive blueprint for suicide prevention”.

Professor Bycroft’s team includes United Synergies at Tewantin, USC health researcher Professor Edward White, Greengage Research and Communications—whose manager, Dr Amalia Matheson, is a part-time lecturer at USC—as well as academics from the University of Queensland and Flinders University in Adelaide.

Nursing director takes up adjunct role

Nursing research and teaching staff at the University of the Sunshine Coast are delighted to have secured the support of a man who clearly has his finger on the pulse of the region’s nursing industry.

Sunshine Coast Health Service District Director of Nursing Services Graham Wilkinson accepted an appointment as a USC Adjunct Associate Professor when he attended a Nursing Showcase event at the University in December.

Mr Wilkinson, who is in charge of 1,700 nurses in the district, said he aimed to bring about a greater sharing of resources between the industry and USC, and be involved in discussions about joint opportunities and future curriculum.

“I’ll be actively engaged in the advisory committee and expanding links formally between the Sunshine Coast Health Service District and Nursing Services and the facilities of the Faculty of Science, Health and Education, particularly in the area of nursing,” he said.

Scholarships and bursaries give students a boost

Growing community involvement in the University of the Sunshine Coast was celebrated when scholarships, bursaries and prizes worth more than A$25,000 were presented to 20 USC students in October.

USC Foundation Executive Officer Andrew Pentland said the presentation ceremony involved community donors meeting the student recipients.

Mr Pentland said USC now had about 80 community-funded scholarships, bursaries and prizes, worth about A$180,000. Many of these awards were presented at a similar ceremony in mid-2006.

He said the number of USC bursaries and scholarships had grown from five to 80 in the past six years, with the awards providing financial support for students as well as boosting their confidence by recognising their academic achievements.

Mr Pentland said scholarships provided a “win-win-win” situation, with students, donors and the University all benefiting.

“We are a young, growing university and people want to be part of our success story,” he said.

“If the University is successful, the students are successful and the whole region will benefit.”

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Building Excellence campaign gains momentum

The University of the Sunshine Coast’s A$5million Building Excellence campaign, which was launched to the public in late 2006, is gathering momentum.

With about one-third of the total already committed, the priorities of campus enhancement, scholarships and the new Health and Sport Centre are set to receive further support from the community.

Foundation Executive Officer Andrew Pentland said The Lee Graff Foundation of California had commissioned a sculpture for the USC Gallery courtyard.

“The sculpture by renowned artist Konstantin Dimopolous will be unveiled at a public ceremony in April,” Mr Pentland said.

“Other campus enhancement projects include the beautification of the area between the Chancellery and the Library.”

Mr Pentland said student scholarships had received a boost from ANZ Bank, with the announcement of a A$5,000 scholarship for business students over three years.

ANZ Bank regional CEO Vicki Clark said helping students in the local area was important, and that she looked forward to meeting the inaugural recipient later this year.

Mr Pentland said interest was growing in the Health and Sport Centre.

“This priority aims to provide a fitness centre, facilities for the CHASE (Centre for Healthy Activities, Sport and Exercise) clinic and areas for research and development in the fields of health and sport,” he said.

“The new multi-storey facility will sit adjacent to the new indoor sports stadium, which is due to be completed in May 2007.”

To learn more about the Health and Sport Centre, or about supporting the Building Excellence campaign, call Andrew Pentland +61 7 5459 4418, or email

Pathway to tertiary study pays off for Jane

Finding solutions to our current water crisis could be on the agenda for Jane Quinn of Mountain Creek as she begins her environmental science degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast this year.

Jane, 28, is keen to learn how she can help the environment—through improving water quality and reducing pollution—after she herself received a helping hand from USC’s new Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP).

After finishing school in Year 10 in 1993 and working in a variety of jobs, Jane wasn’t sure she had what it took to succeed in tertiary study.

But after gaining three high distinctions and a credit in her four TPP subjects last semester, Jane qualified for her first study preference through QTAC and gained the confidence she was seeking to tackle tertiary study.

TPP helps students develop the skills required to study and to get a taste of what university life is like without having to pay HECS fees.

“I think TPP gave me a lot more confidence to do a degree this year,” Jane said.

“I wasn’t 100 percent sure of what I wanted to do. I wasn’t even sure I could do it.

“I’d recommend TPP to anybody who is in the same situation as me. There’s no downside to it. It’s all positive, especially because it’s free.”

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USC increases equity bursaries

USC has boosted its equity bursaries from a total of A$20,000 to A$94,000 this year in a bid to help more students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said 47 University Equity Bursaries of A$2,000 each were available to students in 2007.

Professor Hill said the USC equity bursary scheme helped ease the financial pressure on students from low socio-economic backgrounds, and gave them more time to concentrate on studying.

Graduate promotes health in Cape York

The health of residents in the North Queensland township of Normanton is certainly looking up since USC public health graduate Michelle Costello of Noosa arrived there last year.

And much of the change that has occurred is because Michelle, 28, who works for North and West Queensland Primary Health Care (NWQPHC) as a health promotion officer, has enlisted the help of the townsfolk in deciding what they need most.

Among these needs are better drug and alcohol education, an improved diet, a supportive approach for reducing domestic violence, and the implementation of community ideas for improved health and well-being.

Strategies to bring these about have been implemented as part of a two-year healthy lifestyle program, Healthy Normanton, that Michelle helped develop.

Michelle said NWQPHC was funded by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing and had an outreach visitation health team, based in Mount Isa. This team works closely with Normanton’s doctor to provide clinical help in the town, but it wanted to undertake more education and prevention activities.

“The idea of my job is to link the team into what is happening in the community and develop activities based on what the community says they need,” Michelle said.

“Petrol sniffing and alcohol misuse by youth is a significant issue here, so we do a lot of talks with the kids and we show them real lamb brains so they can see what actually happens to your brain when you sniff petrol.

“We run community cooking groups aimed at whole families. The families tell us what they like to eat and we show them healthier ways to make the same meal.

“Diabetes is an issue the community is concerned about. Rates are so high in Normanton. The cooking group is a great way to help people living with diabetes to learn healthy recipes.”

Michelle also helped start a No Alcohol and Drugs Family Project in which people can display a sign on their fence to communicate that alcohol and drugs are not welcome in their home.

Daring approach leads to job success

In days gone by, if a University lecturer suggested you should take a flying leap, you’d be pretty sure of a poor mark in that particular subject.

But times have changed, and top tourism students at the University of the Sunshine Coast have been encouraged to jump out of planes (tandem skydiving) and over cliffs (abseiling) in order to appreciate the great tourism activities available on the Coast.

The high-flying approach to education seems to be working, with several Bachelor of Business (Tourism) students from USC’s Tourism Practicum course landing in jobs even before they complete their degree programs.

USC tourism lecturer Gayle Mayes said many of the 23 students enrolled in the course in 2006 had been offered work with their work placement organisations.

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Communication is the key for new Alumni Relations Officer

USC’s new Alumni Relations Officer Anita Edmonds (right) plans to use her passion for communication and building relationships to develop stronger links between the University and its graduates this year.

Anita has a degree in communications from Macquarie University and more than 14 years experience in communications, events management, marketing, media and research for companies including Tabcorp, Channel Nine and Celebrity Speakers.

Anita said her work background would come to the fore in organising alumni events, engaging alumni in University activities and in producing the alumni e-newsletter, Connected.

“My role is to further develop ways in which alumni can keep in touch and be involved with USC,” she said.

“It also involves providing networking opportunities, both professional and social, with the aim of building the foundations for an active, engaged alumni who continue to be proudly associated with their University.”

Anita can be contacted by telephone +61 7 5459 4564 or email

Cloning’ pays off for creative art student

Graduating art and design student Luke McClean’s decision to ‘clone’ himself 12 times in an assignment last year has certainly had multiple benefits for him.

Luke, 22, who now works for Think Creative in Brisbane, recently sold his work ‘Clone Me Once, Shame On Me?’ to Caboolture Shire Council.

The council purchased the 200cm x 50cm canvas print—which features Luke as 12 different characters—following an exhibition at the Caboolture Shire Community Arts Centre.

USC’s Innovation Centre also bought one of Luke’s prints last year.

Luke said he developed the print as an assignment on the theme Technology and the Human Condition and aimed to challenge the common perception that cloning was inherently wrong.

He said cloning was a controversial topic that was rarely discussed without negative bias and without reference to fictional concepts.

“My first reaction to cloning was like everyone else’s, that cloning is bad,” he said.

“But the more I looked into it, I saw that it wasn’t.

“Cloned humans would essentially be delayed identical twins and, just like identical twins, multiple clone babies would develop as individuals based on their upbringing and environment.

“They would also have the same rights as everyday human beings because, despite the method of their initial creation, that’s exactly what they would be.”

Luke said the 12 different images of himself in his print were used to illustrate that human clones would become distinct individuals.

He said although the work loosely resembled Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’, his work was not intended as a religious statement.

“I tried different things to show that the clones would be different, and having all 12 sitting on one side of a table worked best,” he said.

Luke, who majored in art and design and in japanese, said he was delighted to have scored a job at Think Creative after doing an internship there during his final year at USC.

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Gallery  exhibitions

March 2007

Sacred ground beating heart: works on paper by Judy Watson 1989–2003
Thursday 1 March–Saturday 31 March
This exhibition will present works by Judy Watson that focus on her highly personal vision of the land—her country—the physical and conceptual framework that underpins her practice.

April 2007

JADA—the 2006 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Awards
Thursday 5 April–Saturday 19 May
The JADA, Australia’s richest drawing prize, seeks to promote excellence in contemporary Australian drawing. Also planned for this event will be the official unveiling by Doug Hall AM, Director of the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, of the sculpture, Pulse, in the Gallery courtyard.

May 2007

Hands Hearts & Minds—Buderim Craft Cottage
Thursday 24 May–Saturday 9 June
The Buderim Craft Cottage is celebrating 40 years as an incorporated membership of more than 300 people who pursue excellence in craft. The exhibition at the USC Gallery will be curated by Diane Tate.

Gallery hours

During exhibitions, the Gallery is open:
Monday–Friday 10am–4pm, Saturday 1pm–4pm.
Admission is free.

Mailing list

To be included on our Gallery mailing list please contact Di Southwell +61 7 5430 1104

The 2006 Gallery Exhibition Program is proudly supported by Sajen legal.

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