Conference to highlight impact of regional universities

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Conference to highlight impact of regional universities

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Published on 16 August 2012

Some of Australia’s leaders in higher education and business are set to attend the second annual Regional Tertiary Education Conference to be hosted by the University of the Sunshine Coast later this month.

The conference on 30-31 August has been organised by Informa Australia in conjunction with USC, Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE, TAFE Queensland and the Business and Higher Education Round Table.

It will be held at USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium and will examine in detail the role that regional universities play as catalysts for regional development.

Among the conference presenters will be the vice-chancellors of all six foundation member universities of the Regional Universities Network that was formed in 2011.

USC’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Engagement and Professor of Property and Development Mike Hefferan said regional universities clearly punched above their weight in terms of assisting regional development.

“Regional universities, while also committed to world-class quality, are of a scale and closeness to their regions that they can well target their research agendas so that they address real regional issues,” he said.

“Also their partnerships with local councils, regional development associations, and regional and professional groups can be easier and more focused.

“In that way, a regional university can inject smart thinking and innovation and relevant teaching and learning directly into the communities of which they form part.”

Professor Hefferan’s own presentation will be on the planned Sunshine Coast Hospital and the opportunities that it presents at USC for teaching, research and additional training.

“It will be interesting for other universities to hear about the enormous scale of that project and how USC has found a place in a development that big through our genuine partnerships with the University of Queensland and TAFE,” he said.

“This conference is very much outward looking. It’s not just about courses and teaching and learning. It’s about the network of regional universities and how they can link with businesses and their regions.”

For registrations or more details, go to Informa's website.

Michelle Widdicombe

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