Community - 2010, Edition 2 | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Community - 2010, Edition 2

Community: Edition 2 2010

Vice-Chancellor’s comment

This edition of Community ushers in a new era for the University of the Sunshine Coast and a new role for me.

After five years as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I’m absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to lead this institution into what will be a very rewarding, and very challenging, next stage of development.

We have a fantastic platform to take us forward, courtesy of USC’s founding Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Thomas AM, and the way the University community and indeed the regional community has supported his vision for what could be achieved.

Based on Paul’s original “boggy canefield”, there is now a campus of significant scale.

We study and work in buildings that have received national and international architectural awards.

It’s a beautiful campus and very supportive of our USC community of learners.

Maintaining an orderly succession of new buildings, of similar quality and more significant scale, will be a major challenge in the next few years.

With around 8,000 students on campus in 2010 and the potential to double this number within five to 10 years, we need further major infrastructure developments — and very soon.

Professor Greg Hill
Vice-Chancellor and President Designate

Students show true community spirit

The community spirit of a team of Public Relations students from USC has been recognised by one of the Sunshine Coast’s key emergency services.

The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter was a beneficiary of Operation Rescue, a public event staged by eight students at Stockland Park on 30 May to honour the work of the region’s emergency service personnel.

Helicopter service spokesperson Penny Crebbin praised the students for doing an excellent job with the event, which attracted more than 600 visitors.

The students recently presented the helicopter service with $1,500 raised through donations and raffles during Operation Rescue.

Other teams of Public Relations students have featured in organising major events across the Coast recently as part of their assessment for the subject Public Relations Event Project.

These included promoting and fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis Queensland at the Ladies’ Oaks Day Races, helping Sunshine Coast Regional Council coordinate “GreenJune” activities, collating an electronic book about The Encouragement Foundation, and promoting the expansion of Noosa Longweekend Festival activities into Caloundra.

Careers Fair success

Almost 800 students attended USC’s third annual Careers Fair recently.

The fair gave USC students the opportunity to informally network with 26 employers and boost their employment skills and prospects.

Exhibitors included representatives of local and national companies and government departments who provided information about a diverse range of career options for graduates.

Organiser Julie Hobbins said the number of students attending the fair had doubled from last year, making it a valuable experience for all involved.

Companies seeking details about next year’s Careers Fair can contact USC’s Career Connection on +61 7 5456 5038 or via email at

Project helps ‘can hunger’

There’ll be food on the table this winter for many needy Sunshine Coast residents thanks to USC’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team.

The team of six students collected hundreds of cans of food by doorknocking around Landsborough, Beerwah and Sippy Downs in April and May for the “Let’s Can Hunger Challenge”, sponsored by Campbell’s Soup.

The students have presented the food to local emergency relief programs, including the Glass House Mountains Neighbourhood Centre and the University’s emergency food cupboard.

SIFE is a global, non-profit organisation that works to develop social responsibility in leaders of the future.

For details contact Selina Tomasich on +61 7 5459 4469.

University set to build Olympic pool

The University of the Sunshine Coast will soon have a 10-lane Olympic swimming pool at its Sippy Downs campus.

The $2.4 million facility will be funded through the State Government, the University, community donations and in-kind support during construction. It will be built adjacent USC’s Health and Sport Centre, sports stadium and athletics track.

Queensland’s Sports Minister Phil Reeves last year pledged $900,000 to the heated, 50-metre pool, which will be the first of its kind in the region — available for community use, but also designed for specialised research and testing of elite swimmers.

USC will cover the remaining construction costs of the facility, and has called for community support with a special fundraising campaign aimed at raising $300,000.

Details of this fundraising campaign are on page 10. Construction of the pool is expected to begin in August and will be completed by mid-2011.

Mr Reeves said the $900,000 grant for the pool was made under the Queensland Government’s Major Facilities Program, which provides financial assistance to organisations to develop and enhance sport and recreation infrastructure.

He said the pool would provide additional opportunities for Sunshine Coast residents to participate in sport and recreation.

“Not only will this pool be a great asset to the University, but it will also be made available to local schools, such as Chancellor State College, and the broader community,” he said.

USC’s Professor of Sport Science Brendan Burkett said the pool would give the University an opportunity to become a national leader in aquatic research.

“The pool will enhance our teaching and research and will be able to be used for everything from rehabilitation and teaching children how to swim, to fine tuning the techniques of Olympic swimmers,” he said.

“This is very exciting news for the University’s health and sport precinct, and it’s great to get such strong commitment and support from the State Government and from community donations through the Foundation.”

Students get their own clubhouse

Whether they’re jamming on instruments, learning dance and yoga, or just enjoying a cup of noodles while accessing wireless internet, USC students are finding the Uni Club the new place to be.

“The Uni Club is a venue for students to create their own zone for relaxing and socialising,” said USC Student Equity and Diversity Officer Marjorie Blowers.

Ms Blowers said the large hall with polished floors, big covered decks, kitchen facilities and amenities had been set up as the Uni Club in April.

It is now attracting students for activities ranging from meditation classes to busking barbecues, and is generally open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 3pm. The Uni Club is also the venue for monthly movie nights.

Information about events at the Uni Club is posted on the USC website.

Come along to USC Open Day

The University of the Sunshine Coast will hold its annual Open Day on Sunday 15 August from 10am to 3pm.

Open Day provides an ideal opportunity for prospective students to find out about the range of programs and courses offered in the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Business, and Science, Health and Education.

Visitors will be able to go on guided tours of the campus, attend seminars about job prospects in particular fields, meet USC’s staff and students, and get their first taste of student life.

The University’s Library, art gallery and the Co-op Bookshop will all be open for the event.

At USC, there are more than 100 different study programs ranging from Business and Information Technology to Communication and Design, Education, Health, Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Engineering.

Uniforms highlight nursing history

Nursing uniforms from the past 125 years were paraded at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s annual celebration of International Nurses Day on Saturday 8 May.

Nursing Science students modelled more than a dozen nursing uniforms — dating back to 1885, the Boer War, World War I and II, from the early 1900s, and throughout the 1960s and 1970s — that had been made by Senior Lecturer in Nursing Dr Leonie Williams.

The parade was part of USC’s “In My Day: Celebrating International Nurses Day” event that attracted past, present and future nurses, and other members of the community.

A highlight of the event was a keynote address by the Director of the United Kingdom’s Centre for the History of Nursing and Midwifery Dr Christine Hallett.

She discussed “Containing Trauma in a world of chaos: nursing work in the First World War”.

The nursing celebration also featured other activities, including tours of USC’s state-of-the-art teaching facilities and video interviews to record nurses’ memories and aspirations about nursing.

USC’s Professor in Nursing Dr Margaret McAllister said collecting and passing on stories about nursing was vital to the profession’s future.

“It’s about narrative pedagogy — the power of story-telling to engage nursing students,” she said.

“When a story is told well, you learn its lessons. And stories about nursing often consider professional values and what makes nursing a fulfilling career.

“If we tell our stories, we can gain a sense of how far the profession has come.”

Annual expo inspires budding scientists

From extracting the DNA of peas to solving a cattle duffing case, more than 260 students from across the Coast put science into practice at an expo at USC in June.

Year 5 and Year 9 students tested their skills over two days in USC’s science laboratories as part of the annual PICSE Science and Technology Expo.

PICSE — the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education — is a national partnership of universities, schools, industry and government.

Thousands attend major community events at USC

Crowds of more than 4,000 people attended two major community events hosted by the University of the Sunshine Coast in early June.

The 30th annual Sunshine Coast World Environment Day Festival on Sunday 6 June attracted an estimated 4,500 people who celebrated along the theme of “Many species, one planet, one future”.

This event was jointly organised by the Sunshine Coast Environment Council, SEQ Catchments, Sunshine Coast Regional Council and USC.

The following two days of June saw 4,000 students from across the region visit the University campus for the 15th annual Voices on the Coast festival, held jointly by Immanuel Lutheran College and USC.

The festival featured presentations by top authors, illustrators and performance artists.

University appoints new Vice-Chancellor

The University of the Sunshine Coast has appointed Professor Greg Hill as its new Vice-Chancellor and President.

A special meeting of the USC Council in late May approved the appointment of Professor Hill, who has been the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor since 2005.

Chancellor John Dobson said the selection panel received more than 20 high-quality applications for the position, with applications from as far away as Great Britain and the United States.

He said the panel was impressed by Professor Hill’s strong vision for the future of the University and his commitment to USC’s key goals like sustainability, research and the educational advancement of the region.

Chancellor Dobson said he and the USC Council expressed complete confidence in Professor Hill’s ability to lead USC to an exciting future in this great region.

Professor Hill, whose career has included placements at the University of Queensland and at Charles Darwin University, said his appointment was a “dream come true”.

"After working here for five years, I think I’ve become part of this institution and part of the region as well,” he said.

“The opportunity to move the University forward is pretty exciting stuff. The growth rate in student numbers and research has been quite extraordinary. We’re the fastest-growing campus in the country, but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels.”

Professor Hill said he plans to develop further research concentrations at USC, particularly in areas like health and education which support the largest teaching programs.

He will also encourage the community to become business partners with USC by co-investing in research, education and community development.

Fond farewell to founding Vice-Chancellor

The retirement of Professor Paul Thomas AM as USC’s founding Vice-Chancellor on 11 June was suitably marked as the end of an era for the University.

Community representatives and staff members gathered at two special send-off events in early June to thank Professor Thomas for his work in guiding USC through its establishment and rapid growth over the past 16 years.

A community send-off at USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium on 4 June was attended by the region’s civic, business, education and community leaders, a dozen of whom made short speeches about Professor Thomas’s achievements.

And hundreds of University staff gathered at the same venue on 9 June to say farewell to Professor Thomas and pay tribute to his energy, vision and leadership.

Professor Thomas said his final week at USC had been an emotional roller-coaster and he described it as a “real wrench” to let go of the University he has led since initial planning in 1994.

USC opened as a University College in 1996 with only 524 students, two buildings and a choice of only two degrees.

It gained full University status in 1999, and now has more than 7,000 students, 16 buildings and more than 100 undergraduate and postgraduate study programs.

Scientist gains climate change research funds

University of the Sunshine Coast plant scientist Associate Professor David Lee has secured a $300,000 Federal Government grant to assess how hardwood trees can be better used to combat climate change.

Dr Lee is an Associate Professor of Plant Genetics at USC and a Senior Principal Research Scientist with Agri-Science Queensland in the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.

He said he was delighted to have received the grant in May from the government’s Forest Industries Climate Change Research Fund for his Forestry Adaptation and Sequestration Alliance (FASA) project.

This large collaborative project—involving USC, CSIRO Plant Industries, and Agri-Science Queensland—establishes the group as the major tropical forestry research providers for Australia in addressing climate change.

The project will involve assessing the drought adaptation and carbon sequestration rates (the rates at which trees absorb carbon from the air) in tropical hardwood plantations.

“Tropical plantation forests have enormous potential to combat climate change by sequestering carbon,” Dr Lee said.

Academic wants safer festivities

A USC academic who is researching ways to limit crowd problems at public events, such as New Year’s Eve celebrations, says harm reduction is vital.

Counselling Lecturer Neil Mellor, pictured, recently presented a seminar at the University based on his PhD research and events studied over a dozen years across three states.

“Celebrations need to be considered in the context of reducing harm, not just law and order,” he said.

“For example if you ban drinking alcohol in one area, dangerous drinking may move into unsupervised areas. Ambulance statistics suggest this result.”

The social worker and counsellor has been developing collaborative strategies to address public health and social problems relating to alcohol and drug use, gambling and public celebrations since the 1980s.

Research team cracks seafood trade in China

Dodging flying fish scales while surveying traders preparing fresh seafood in the cold, wet markets of Shanghai was just part of the challenge for a student research team from the University of the Sunshine Coast.

“We became accustomed to the stink, even fish scales stuck in our hair, but we were offered chowder and a chat while one family finished gutting and cleaning six whopping fish brought in by a customer on a bike,” said Business student Emma Barton, 28.

“It opened my eyes to a mesmerising country and a dynamic industry I had never considered before. I now plan to work towards seeing our product further penetrate the Asian market.”

Emma, who is studying Marketing and Public Relations at USC, was one of 10 students conducting on-the-ground research into the Aussie seafood trade at Chinese markets and restaurants.

Led by USC International Business Lecturer Dr Joanne Freeman, the team will now report to industry on its two-week China trip examining export opportunities for Australian abalone, Southern rock lobster and Pacific oysters.

Dr Freeman said exporting, particularly by small to medium-sized businesses, was vital to Australia’s regional locations because of its potential to boost jobs, income, infrastructure and production facilities.

She said the University students found the international market research both challenging and rewarding.

“Some were pleasantly surprised to be treated as equals doing real work, not as students on a field trip,” she said. “It adds so much value to their business degrees.”

The China trip was partly funded by the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre.

South Africa beckons for GO students

Lions and giraffes will become familiar sights to two University of the Sunshine Coast students as the Sippy Downs campus establishes its first links with South Africa.

Buderim’s Jennifer Castell, 24, and Nambour’s Patrick Walsh, 29, will be the first USC students to travel to the country with funding from the University’s Global Opportunities (GO) Program.

Jennifer, an Honours student, will leave in July to spend six weeks at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, doing research and assisting leading environmental education expert Professor Rob O’Donoghue.

Patrick will spend a month from September with South Africa National Parks at Kruger, the country’s biggest park and one of its most popular tourist attractions.

The Design student will develop website pages, posters and brochures for a native plant nursery and promote the importance of projects aimed at regenerating environmentally degraded areas.

Accountant tallies up a dozen awards

Warana business accountant Donna Creevey’s commitment to excellence and capacity for calculations earned her two top Faculty of Business prizes at USC recently.

Ms Creevey, 40, of Buderim, received the $500 CPA Australia Prize for the Best Third Year Graduating Accounting Student and the $500 Professional Investment Services Prize for the Best Third Year Financial Planning Student in late March.

The latest prizes for Ms Creevey, who majored in Accounting and Financial Planning, takes her tally to 12 awards achieved during her Bachelor of Business studies at USC.

“It’s nice to have my academic achievements recognised, knowing my hard work has paid off,” said the Mackay-born mother of one who moved to the Coast from Bundaberg in 2001.

Ms Creevey is now a senior accountant with Save-on-Tax at Warana.

Three-wheeled treat for innovative students

Students at the University of the Sunshine Coast enjoyed an entertaining presentation by concept car enthusiast Brad Bonning in early May.

Mr Bonning, who spent more than 20 years developing his impressive three-wheeled Bonning Roadster, was a guest speaker for two lectures in the subject Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

He also displayed some of his inventions on the USC campus.

Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship lecturer Selina Tomasich said Mr Bonning’s story of following his passion to achieve success was inspirational.

Ms Tomasich said his visit would encourage students to be imaginative, inventive and constructive.

Cardno boss backs Engineering at USC

Turning 60 recently has prompted Sunshine Coast civil engineer Graham Tamblyn to consider how he can give back to an industry he has enjoyed being part of for decades.

Mr Tamblyn, the Deputy Chairman and Executive Director of the Cardno group of companies, decided to personally sponsor an annual scholarship at USC to help inspire engineering students majoring in environment and water engineering.

In late April, he relished the opportunity to present the $5,000 Graham Tamblyn Scholarship in Engineering to second-year Bachelor of Civil Engineering student Liam Owen of Golden Beach.

Mr Owen, 39, was one of four engineering students to receive awards at the inaugural Engineering Awards Ceremony held at USC’s Art Gallery on Tuesday 27 April.

The other recipients were Sunshine Beach State High School graduate Stephen Kime of Peregian Springs (who received the $5,000 Les and Mary Hall Family Scholarship in Engineering), Amy Turco of Alexandra Headland ($1,000 LEW Mosel Prize in Engineering), and Dominic Tyacke of Caloundra ($500 Mark and Susan Bradley Prize in Engineering).

Mr Tamblyn’s work as an engineer has seen him involved in major property development projects at Kawana Waters, Noosa Waters, Twin Waters and Pelican Waters. He also has been heavily involved in the Urban Development Institute of Australia and was the Sunshine Coast Branch president for six years up to 2002.

“I’ve just turned 60 and am starting to think about my retirement plans, so I wanted a way to continue making a contribution to the world of engineering,” he said.

“This scholarship is about giving back to the industry and putting greater focus on environmental and water engineering because these are important to help manage any impacts of climate change and the general management of the world.”

Champions step up for pool campaign

With the construction of USC’s long-advocated Olympic swimming pool now in sight, a few members of the community are working together to close the funding gap.

About $300,000 in private donations is needed for the budgeted $2.4 million project, and half of that amount has already been pledged.

An ad hoc committee that includes Rod Forrester, Ken Down, Peter and Cameron Hall, Trevor Harch and Matthew Evans has formed to spearhead the fundraising effort.

All have committed to the project with time and funds, including key in-kind construction support from Hall Contracting Pty Ltd and Evans Harch Pty Ltd.

Foundation Board Member Jocelyn Walker has also pledged her support.

USC Foundation Board member and General Manager of Hall Contracting, Cameron Hall, said he was pleased to be involved in the project. Hall Contracting has pledged excavation costs for the pool, at an estimated value of $50,000.

Annual appeal is an opportunity to pay tribute

USC’s annual appeal — sent out to alumni and friends of the University in May — provides an opportunity to make a gift in honour of USC’s founding Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Paul Thomas AM.

Funds will go directly to areas that donors choose to support, such as campus enhancement, scholarships and bursaries, research, art gallery exhibitions, or University initiatives.

Participating donors also will be added to a list of individuals and organisations who are giving in honour of a pioneer who gave so much of himself to USC.

Chancellor and University Foundation Chair John Dobson said making a gift to USC was a perfect way for alumni and friends to honour Professor Thomas’s service to the University.

Donation forms for the 2010 appeal can be downloaded from the USC website at, or contact the University Foundation on +61 7 5430 1104 for more details.

Malaysian alumni meeting

More than 65 alumni met in Kuala Lumpur for an alumni reception in March.

The graduates, mostly from USC’s MBA program, enjoyed the opportunity to network and build on the foundations for future alumni activities, established by local coordinator Jimmy Lee (MBA 2006).

The event was hosted by Professor Paul Thomas AM during his visit to Kuala Lumpur to receive the Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Upcoming alumni events

The 2010 Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony will be held at USC on Tuesday 14 September from 5.30–7.30pm.

This event is an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with USC and celebrate the achievements of its outstanding alumni. Invitations will be emailed in late August.

The Class of 2000 Reunion will be held at USC on 30 October for those alumni who graduated in 2000. Graduates from other years and guests are welcome.

Contact USC’s Alumni Relations Officer Anita Edmonds at or Tel: +61 7 5459 4564.

Graduate dives into coveted curator’s role

When Kate Willson researched the growth rates of moon jellyfish during her University of the Sunshine Coast degree, she became hooked on the Coast’s amazing marine ecosystem.

Now the former Nambour State High student has been promoted to Curator of Fishes at UnderWater World.

Ms Willson, 26, of Bli Bli, has worked at the premier Mooloolaba tourist attraction since studying a combined degree in Business and Science at USC.

“I’m excited by this challenge because I’m responsible for the daily operations and staff within the Curatorial — Fish and Shark department,” she said.

“We care for the sharks, stingrays, fish, turtles, crabs, snakes, lizards, insects — pretty much everything except the seals and otters.

“Our work includes looking after animal husbandry needs and feeding, maintaining displays and water quality, diving and meeting health requirements.”

Ms Willson, who majored in Tourism and Environmental Science at USC before graduating in 2004, said she met curatorial staff at UnderWater World during her research on the common moon jelly (Aurelia aurita) in the third year of her degree.

“I volunteered for a few weeks before gaining a casual, multi-skilled position and I conducted further research there as part of my tourism studies,” she said.

“My University degree relates perfectly to my job: I work in a tourist attraction while looking after animals. It has allowed me to understand both sides of the business.

“The science taught me how ecosystems operate and how the environment is linked to the way we live.

"The business aspect helped me understand the tourism industry and how it relates to the environment.”

Chris works for mindshift on binge drinking

A USC graduate is using skills developed in his degree to shift Australia’s dysfunctional drinking culture.

Chris Raine, who graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations and Marketing), said he was delighted with the snowballing effect of his community blog, “Hello Sunday Morning”.

It has grown from an individual blog into a website ( where more than 75 people are undergoing the program that encourages a three-month minimum break from alcohol.

Through their networks, the message now reaches more than 9,000 Aussies.

Caloundra born-and-bred Mr Raine, a former marketing manager at a Coast tavern, discovered how to enjoy a fun, happy and full life without alcohol when he abstained for a year in 2009.

He now hopes the program will help others achieve their personal goals and create a healthier relationship with alcohol.

Coast kangaroos seek perfect match

Sending dominant male and female kangaroos on “blind dates” to other populations across the Sunshine Coast may help increase genetic diversity among the marsupials.

Preliminary research by a USC science student has suggested that some resident kangaroo populations are a hop, skip and a jump away from isolation and inbreeding.

It’s believed to be the first Australian study of the faecal microsatellite DNA of kangaroos, which is a type of DNA used in forensic science.

USC Honours student Amberlee Marker, pictured, found what appeared to be a five-fold decrease in genetic diversity among the Eastern Greys on the Sippy Downs campus.

“If further research shows this is also happening in neighbouring populations, I recommend moving some of the dominant kangaroos of both genders between groups for breeding,” Amberlee said.

“They need to be ‘dating’ outside their family group to be sustainable long term. However the side effects, such as social acceptance of the new animal, are unknown.

“Another option is to create more wildlife corridors to encourage natural migration but this would be costly, difficult to implement and time-consuming.”

Amberlee said she was not surprised by the results of her research, which compared the DNA of local roos with previous studies and wild populations in Brisbane and Charleville.

Her research has attracted plenty of media attention and Amberlee will soon star in an episode of Channel 10’s Totally Wild program.

Gallery exhibitions

Reeds Talking, Mountains Walking: Lin Martin, and A Focus on the Invisible: Mervyn Jefferson
22 July–21 August

Reeds Talking, Mountains Walking traces a journey of spiritual discovery presented as eight chapters of 10 photograph-essays exploring nature, beauty and connection in these times of impending ecological calamity.

Lin combines a scientific background with an artist’s eye and writer’s ability to present her thoughts, stories and intimate knowledge of the landscape.

Mervyn Jefferson’s A Focus on the Invisible exhibition presents a series of paintings inspired by the effects of the weather on man-made and organic surfaces.

His work is beautiful and surprising as he presents a different way of looking at the actions of nature.

Creative Generation: Excellence Awards in Visual Art and Design—regional exhibition 2010
26 August–16 September

The Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Visual Art and Design recognises and promotes excellence in senior visual arts education throughout Queensland’s state and non-state schools.

This program has been conducted annually since 1990 and has helped raise community awareness about the degree of sophistication in concepts, diversity of technical competence, and the high standard of arts education in Queensland’s secondary schools.

This exhibition presents the art work of senior high school art students from the Sunshine Coast region.

The exhibition is presented in association with the Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training.

12 Degrees of Latitude—Regional Gallery & University Art Collections
23 September–6 November

This is a touring exhibition from Museums and Gallery Services Queensland, which will be held in association with the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery.

It is the first major exhibition of works curated solely from Queensland’s regional gallery and university art collections.

The exhibition explores, at a State level, the cultural, social, geopolitical and other factors involved in the emergence and growth of Queensland’s regional and public gallery collections.