Community - 2014, Edition 2 | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Community - 2014, Edition 2


Vice-Chancellor’s comment

“The recent Federal Budget signals a 20 percent reduction in Commonwealth funding.”

University faces up to likely reduction in Commonwealth funding

As I write this, most of our 10,000 students are off campus for semester break, but the rapid development of our infrastructure and the wonderful learning environments that are being created for our community are going full steam ahead.

It’s an interesting time to reflect on what is available to current students versus the environment that future students will face when the Federal Government’s Budget legislation becomes operational in 2016.

Like most institutions, USC has been under financial pressure for quite a long time.

We lost our Regional Loading allocation in 2012 ($2 million) and the previous government’s efficiency dividend (accepted by the current government) has skimmed off an additional $2.5 million.

The recent Federal Budget signals a 20 percent reduction in Commonwealth funding, which for us equates to $12 million in 2016.

And behind the scenes, the reviews commissioned by governments of both persuasions have indicated that universities are underfunded by about 10 percent.

The Federal Government is saying that it can’t, or won’t, put more money into the university sector or maintain current levels of funding and has essentially said to universities: “You work out what it costs to run a quality institution and charge your students accordingly”.

USC will be maintaining its national status as a leader in teaching quality and satisfaction with the university experience, in addition to building its reputation in research and engagement.

Future students will inevitably pay more than our current students, but they will continue to receive a very special educational experience at USC.

The overwhelming advantages of having a university education will not change.

Professor Greg Hill
Vice-Chancellor and President

Around USC

01 Professor Karen Nelson has become USC’s inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor for Students. Professor Nelson is responsible for Student Administration, Student Life and Learning and the Academic Secretariat and chairs the Learning and Teaching Committee. She came to USC from the Queensland University of Technology, where she was Director of Student Success and Retention and Professor of Higher Education in the Learning and Teaching Unit. Her research focus has been on enabling student learning engagement, the first-year experience and institutional information and knowledge management practices.

02 Gardening guru Costa Georgiadis rolled up his sleeves for work when he attended the annual World Environment Day festival at USC on Sunday 8 June. The ABC TV Gardening Australia host officially opened the University’s large composting machine called OSCA (On-Site Composting Apparatus) as well as USC’s ‘Moving Feast’ community garden. Mr Georgiadis praised USC for its recycling and composting efforts and for starting a community garden.

03 Three USC graduates who received degrees in April are now producing the news each day for WIN Television. Jordan Koster, Phoebe Spinks and Hayley Wright are among the most recent graduates of USC’s Journalism program who have flooded into Queensland newsrooms this year. Others are now working at Seven News, The Courier-Mail, Sunshine Coast Daily, Central Queensland News, Noosa Today and the South Burnett Times.

04 USC’s Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering has launched its 2014 public lecture series, Research@USC, featuring one-hour presentations by some of the University’s leading researchers. Engineering research will be the focus of the next lecture from 5.30pm on Tuesday 19 August, followed by environmental research on 16 September, primary industry research on 21 October and education research on 4 November. Register via (07) 5459 4529 or email

05 A globetrotting graduate is making plans to return to the Sunshine Coast after winning USC’s first International Alumni Competition. Jessica Burke-Trebell, 26, of Canada, has won a return flight plus transfers and accommodation to the value of $3,000. The 2011 Graduate Diploma in Education graduate produced a two-minute video about how her study at USC has influenced her work as a teacher in Uganda and the United Kingdom. The contest invited former USC students from overseas to share their experiences of life and study here. It attracted more than 150 entries from 18 countries.

Festival to fire up Coast’s imagination
Imaginarium will be a fun day for the entire community

The University of the Sunshine Coast is transforming its annual open day this year into a community festival aimed at firing up the imaginations of all Coast residents.

USC has invited the entire community to attend its first ‘Imaginarium’ — a free event that will feature live entertainment, interactive activities, technology, fun games and sporting demonstrations—from 11am on Sunday 10 August.

A large crowd is expected, with top drawcards including a concert by singer Darren Percival, DJs, an ambitious bid to snap the Coast’s biggest ‘selfie’ and a quirky Quidditch match.

Those attending will have the chance to win some amazing prizes like an aeroplane flight over the Antarctic, a balloon flight over the Scenic Rim, a shark dive, a whale watching trip and tickets to Australia Zoo and UnderWater World.

And, of course, prospective students will be able to take campus tours, chat one-on-one with academics, gain career advice and find out all they need to know about starting study.

USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the Sunshine Coast Imaginarium was shaping up to be a community event unlike any other before.

“We’ve organised a great program to welcome, excite and inspire Sunshine Coast residents to connect with their university,” he said.

“Education is clearly transformative, and this fun festival will give people a chance to discover the life-changing opportunities available to them at USC.”

Visitors to Imaginarium will be invited to wander through eight exciting precincts, each featuring a range of fun activities and showcasing what USC has to offer its students and the community at large.

For more information visit the Sunshine Coast Imaginarium microsite at

$37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub is taking shape

Construction of a $37.2 million Engineering Learning Hub at the University of the Sunshine Coast is progressing well.

This 6,500 square metre facility, planned for completion by March 2015, will be an impressive state-of-the-art learning and teaching complex that will provide for work across a wide range of disciplines at USC.

It will feature a world-class visualisation theatre for immersive learning that combines visualisation techniques with 3D and virtual reality technologies.

The building, which is being constructed by Hutchinson Builders, is an initiative of the Australian Government’s Education Investment Fund and USC.

It will link to the University of Southern Queensland for collaboration in producing 3D scenarios in civil and mechanical engineering and in developing teaching materials.

High-achievers gain Chancellor’s Medals
Graduates rewarded for academic achievement and community involvement 

A former chef who became an environmental scientist, an education student exploring schooling options for Indigenous children, and an accountant who excelled in his studies, work and community services have received USC Chancellor’s Medals.

Manuel Barth, 22, Marnee Shay, 31, and Daniel Meloncelli, 38, were rewarded in April for their academic achievements and outstanding community contributions.

When Manuel graduated from his USC double degree in Business and Commerce (Accounting), he was already working as an accountant at BDO after securing a part-time job at its Maroochydore office in the first year of his study. The former Sunshine Coast Young Citizen of the Year, USC Council student representative and Mooloolaba Surf Life Saver of the Year now works for international accounting firm Deloitte in Brisbane.

Marnee completed a USC Master of Education to explore different notions of schooling in Australia, such as alternative or ‘flexi’ schools, for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. Marnee is believed to be the first Aboriginal recipient of the USC Chancellor’s Medal.

When Daniel left behind chef work, he retained his passion for food quality through a USC Environmental Science degree followed by a USC Bachelor of Science (Honours Class 1). He is now doing a PhD in Analytical Chemistry, profiling the chemical compounds in honey and investigating its therapeutic potential to treat wounds.

Honorary awards presented for dedicated service

The Cambodian Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Dr Thong Khon, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at USC’s April graduation ceremonies.

Dr Thong, also President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, was recognised for his significant international contributions to sustainable and community-based tourism.

He also signed an agreement with USC and Griffith University to guide collaborative research, training and advancement of sustainable tourism and community development in Cambodia.

Three Honorary Senior Fellowships also were awarded at the USC ceremonies. The recipients included Ken Hicks, a former surveyor and town planner who had steered community, business and government organisations to success on the Sunshine Coast since the 1970s.

Mr Hicks, who recently stepped down after 12 years as Chair of the Sunshine Coast TAFE Council, is a Director of Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, which built the world’s largest wildlife hospital at Beerwah and has conservation projects in at least four countries.

Ian McConachie AM, a food scientist, grower and field researcher who has worked for 45 years to ensure world-class macadamia nut production in Australia, also became an Honorary Senior Fellow.

The founder and former chairman of Gympie-based processing and value-adding company Suncoast Gold Macadamias (Australia), Mr McConachie received the Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for service to the industry as a grower and exporter.

The third Honorary Senior Fellowship went to Dr Ken Wishaw, Australia’s first full-time helicopter rescue doctor who has worked on the Sunshine Coast as an anaesthetist for more than 20 years.

A pioneer of rescue helicopter medicine and aeromedical intensive care retrieval, Dr Wishaw co-founded CareFlight and the New South Wales Medical Retrieval Service in 1986.

Newlyweds graduate with a love of science

As the only USC undergraduate to score a perfect grade point average when he officially received his degree, Gerard Collins was one in almost 1,000.

To fellow graduate Lauren Homewood, however, he’s one in a million.

The two Biomedical Science graduates had a double celebration after walking down the aisle in March at their Buderim wedding and walking across the stage at the USC Graduation ceremony in early April.

Both have very bright futures, with Gerard awarded a University Medal (GPA of 7 out of 7) and Lauren awarded a Faculty Medal (GPA of 6.76 out of 7).

Minister opens Law clinic at Maroochydore
Exciting opportunities provided to USC’s first cohort of Law students

Queensland's Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie officially opened the University of the Sunshine Coast’s new Law clinic in central Maroochydore in May.

Operated in conjunction with the Suncoast Community Legal Service (Suncoast CLS), the clinic is a centrepiece of the University’s new School of Law, which accepted its first students this year.

The partnership is giving USC Law students the opportunity to undertake legal work for clients under the supervision of qualified lawyers throughout their studies.

The clinic is located in refurbished offices and teaching spaces at the Sunshine Coast TAFE building near Sunshine Plaza.

USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said USC’s School of Law now had a strong presence in Maroochydore, where many of the region’s legal practices were based.

“This is an enormous opportunity for our Law students because they will get to experience legal practice in a way that’s not available at bigger Brisbane law schools,” he said.

“They will benefit from having such expert supervision and an enriched educational experience.”

Suncoast Community Legal Service Principal Solicitor Julian Porter said the arrangement would provide ‘wins’ for the legal service, USC and the Sunshine Coast community.

“The students will receive the sort of hands-on experience they need to complement their classroom training and, at the same time, they’ll be working with real local lawyers developing relationships for the future,” he said.

In another strong sign of support from the Sunshine Coast legal profession, two major bursaries for USC Law students have been established.

The Sunshine Coast Law Association has donated a $5,000 bursary for the next three years in memory of well-regarded local solicitor Justin Crosbie who died last year.

Funds for the bursary were raised at a recent gala dinner at the Maroochydore RSL attended by 135 people, including judges and senior members of the legal profession from Brisbane.

Association president John Watson said he was delighted with the attendance and expected the fundraising dinner would become an annual event. Local law firms underwrote the costs of the dinner which raised more than $12,000.

The bursary will go to a first-year student. Selection criteria include academic merit and financial need, with preference given to students who attended high school on the Sunshine Coast.

Leading local law firm, Ferguson Cannon, has provided the funds for a further $5,000 bursary to be given in each of the next three years.

Athletes enjoy success at University Games

A home ground advantage and a record number of participants delivered USC its best ever gold medal tally at the Northern University Games held on the Sunshine Coast in early July.

USC finished fourth overall and claimed four gold medals in the games, which involved 11 universities from Queensland and northern New South Wales and more than 1,650 athletes in 16 sports.

The first three places went to Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University and Griffith University Gold Coast.

USC Sport Manager Nathan Gordon said USC athletes won gold medals in the men’s and women’s futsal, the women’s volleyball and in men’s individual golf.

The mixed touch, men’s football and mixed ultimate frisbee teams each finished fourth.

“Overall we are very pleased with the results achieved by USC competitors,” Mr Gordon said.

“Our team of 200 athletes was the largest to represent USC at any University Games. The fact this year’s games were held here on the Sunshine Coast, meant there was a great opportunity for record numbers of our students to engage in the event.”

The games, run by Australian University Sport, were hosted by USC and the Sunshine Coast Council.

Scientists unlock genome among the gum trees
USC academic helps sequence the genetic code of eucalypt

A University of the Sunshine Coast researcher has helped sequence the genetic code of the eucalypt for the first time, providing fresh insights into the tree that has become the world’s favourite hardwood due to its fast growth, adaptability and complex oils.

Dr Dorothy Steane, who is a Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) Research Fellow at USC and the University of Tasmania, was part of the large international collaboration of scientists that achieved this breakthrough.

Australian researchers from the University of Tasmania, The University of Melbourne, the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, the Australian National University, Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife and USC teamed with 30 institutions in nine countries to sequence and analyse the genome of the Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus grandis).

Their research was featured in international scientific journal Nature in June.

Dr Steane said the international eucalypt research community had created the resources to unlock the potential of eucalypts as a truly global fuel and fibre source.

She said more than 700 species of Eucalyptus grew across a range of environments.

“The genome sequence of flooded gum provides us with the means to investigate the essential differences between species and to understand how eucalypts have adapted to so many different environments,” she said. “It gives us resources to help us develop drought-resilient plantations for future generations.”

The researchers identified 113 genes responsible for synthesising terpenes, the familiar aromatic essential oils of eucalypts. These oils provide chemical defence against pests as well as the familiar aromatic essential oils used in both medicinal cough drops and for industrial processes.

They may be extremely important in understanding feeding preferences of animals such as the endangered koala, while genome-based research could also one day lead to eucalypt oils being used as a base for jet fuel.

Fake wounds so ‘real’ they virtually hurt

Burns, gashes, bullet wounds and blood were recently on proud display to an international audience at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The creation of these simulated wounds was part of the Gathering of Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialists (SimGHOSTS) conference from 25-27 June at USC’s new Learning and Teaching Hub.

USC Associate Professor of Nursing Dr Patrea Andersen said SimGHOSTS was an international conference for technicians and staff involved in teaching through simulation techniques.

“USC organised the conference in partnership with SimGHOSTS and it’s the first time the event has been held outside the United States,’’ Dr Andersen said.

“We hosted 130 delegates from as far away as Saudi Arabia and Canada.”

Dr Anderson said the conference included hands-on training, community networking and product demonstrations, as well as courses on manikin programming, hardware maintenance and audio visual production and systems.

The conference also showcased USC’s simulation suite, a learning laboratory with cutting-edge technology that caters for skills-based training and simulation events.

Road safety academic is a rising star

University of the Sunshine Coast academic Dr Bridie Scott-Parker presented her research at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra in May after being named one of 10 Science Stars of Tomorrow for 2014.

Dr Scott-Parker, whose research at USC aims to reduce the number of car crash deaths among young drivers, was invited to the national public speaking series, which was held to promote science to a broader audience.

Her presentation at the Shine Dome was ‘Young driver road safety: an innovative approach to a persistent problem’.

Dr Scott-Parker is a Research Fellow with the University of the Sunshine Coast Accident Research (USCAR) group and has a PhD in Psychology from Queensland University of Technology.

The academy website said the exciting speaker series was celebrating the organisation’s 60th anniversary with “some of the nation’s brightest rising stars of science ... whose work offers astonishing insights”.

Simulation learning goes high-tech at USC
New studio delivers stunning scenarios for simulation learning

The potential uses for USC’s high-tech Immerse Studio seem to be limited only by the imagination.

This impressive facility is equipped with six overlapping projectors that provide for 270-degree viewing of images and videos in extremely high definition.

While consumer Full HD televisions currently use 1,920x1,080 pixels to display images, and the latest 4K TVs use 3,840x2,160 pixels, the Immerse Studio projects 10,548x1,200 pixels over an area 20 metres long to produce a massive display for simulation learning and teaching activities.

It includes precise sound and video recording equipment to capture how participants perform in simulated scenarios, with easy playback available for assessment. One wall has one-way glass for viewing from a control room.

The Immerse Studio is on the first floor of USC’s $25 million Learning and Teaching Hub that will be officially opened by Senator James McGrath on 4 August.

Associate Professor of Interactive Digital Media and Director of the Engage Research Lab Christian Jones is excited about the opportunities the studio brings to all of USC’s degree programs, as well as to researchers and the community.

“The Immerse Studio will enable our students, researchers, partners and the community to have new experiences of learning, research and engagement,” Dr Jones said.

“It will unlock the potential of this University to create amazing teaching and learning opportunities for students into the future.

“For example, the studio can be used to simulate a busy nursing ward for our Nursing Science students, a war scene for our Journalism students to report on, or a car accident scene for our road safety researchers and paramedics.

“We are currently developing immersive experiences such as simulations of coastal flooding, visualisations of neurological pathways in the brain, installations of interactive digital art and animation, and innovative gaming mechanics for individual and shared exploration and learning.”

The three-storey Learning and Teaching Hub was designed by HASSELL Architects and built by Evans Harch Badge. It is a joint initiative of the Australian Government’s Structural Adjustment Fund, Sunshine Coast TAFE and USC.

DNA project personalises history

An innovative, personalised DNA project has produced surprising results for a group of History students at USC.

USC Lecturer in History and Futures Dr Marcus Bussey said students of his course Global Citizens: A History of Humanity had been “blown away” by the project, in which they shared the experiences of three volunteers who sent DNA to an American laboratory to undergo the latest profiling techniques.

Dr Bussey said it was the first time he had incorporated National Geographic’s Genographic Project test kit into a USC course and he was delighted by the learning outcomes.

“The samples of three students from different ethnic backgrounds were tested, and the results were fascinating, perplexing or confirmed what they already knew about their genetic history,” he said.

“Joseph Young’s DNA results matched his understanding of his Australian Indigenous background, Yannick Carroll was fascinated by his ancestry including Puerto Rican, Sub-Saharan African and European, and there was a wonderful surprise for Megan Fischer.”

Ms Fischer said she was amazed to discover she had two percent Native American in her genetic profile dating back thousands of years.

New way for people to take part in research

USC has launched a new process to enable local residents to participate in some exciting research projects.

The University’s ‘Take Part’ initiative now provides a quick and easy way for people to register their interest online for a wide variety of cutting-edge research.

Head of School of Social Sciences Professor Doug Mahar said the initiative would help progress studies that are likely to benefit people locally, nationally and globally.

“This is USC’s invitation to the community to take part in research that will help further knowledge, facilitate discoveries and support important work,” he said.

To sign up for USC research projects, go to

Bridge contest builds interest

The design and construction skills of second-year Civil and Mechanical Engineering students at USC were put to the test at the University’s annual spaghetti bridge challenge in early April.

This fun event attracted entries from 19 teams, who made a range of sturdy and spectacular bridges using nothing more than 200g of spaghetti, superglue and string.

Event sponsor Covey Associates awarded cash prizes to: Nathan Spann, Ankit Subedi, Scott Wallace and Sawyer Webb for the strongest bridge, a 159g construction that carried 28.2kg (a load to weight ratio of 177); and Cory Tsilfidis, Peter Turner, David Van Der Riet and Joshua Vickers for the best designed and constructed bridge.

Bear expert helps USC prepare to offer zoology
American Fulbright Scholar provides expertise for USC projects and research

American wildlife researcher Professor Hank Harlow spent most of last semester at the University of the Sunshine Coast to help USC develop a new zoology major and boost its animal ecology courses.

The Professor of Zoology and Physiology from the University at of Wyoming has conducted important studies on the influence of climate change on the thermoregulatory behaviour of various vertebrate species.

“I look at how animals are adapted to stressful environments (including) heat, cold, food deprivation, starvation, global change,” he said.

He has been Director of the AMK Research Station in Grand Teton National Park for 20 years.

Professor Harlow worked with USC academics, students, researchers and external partners on numerous projects.

He also helped lead USC’s fledgling research project on Sun Bears in the Asia-Pacific region. Sun Bears are the world’s smallest and least-studied bear species, classified as vulnerable due to declining numbers in the wild.

Professor Harlow assisted USC researchers on campus at Sippy Downs and in field work in Borneo as part of a project that will extend to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality) Professor Robert Elliot said Professor Harlow’s acclaimed research and teaching expertise would be of immense value to USC in curriculum development and its joint bear research with international governments and organisations. Professor Harlow’s visit, which ended in June, was funded by USC, an Australian Government Endeavour Executive Fellowship and the Australian-American Fulbright Commission under its senior specialist program.

USC and the University of Wyoming have had a student exchange agreement in place for 12 years. In 2012, both institutions began a joint social science research project focused on climate change in iconic National Parks.

USC wins $3.88m grant to boost schooling in Papua

USC was recently awarded $3.88 million in Australian Government aid funding to help teachers strengthen their skills and boost outcomes for school students across Indonesia’s Papua province.

The University’s International Projects Group was awarded the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade funding for a large Government Partnership For Development initiative called ‘Increasing education capacity in Papua, Indonesia’.

The two-and-a-half year project will involve more than 20 academic staff from USC, research partners the Australian Council of Education Research, Education Queensland and schools across the Sunshine Coast.

USC Professor Emeritus Merv Hyde, Academic Director of the International Projects Group (IPG), said there would be teaching, research and exchange opportunities for USC staff and students.

USC academic Dr Bill Allen will lead the teaching and staff development components and the project will be administered by IPG manager Suzanne Burford.

Graduate is university’s first Fulbright
Prestigious accolade for USC alumnus from Indonesian province

A Ppapuan teacher has become the first University of the Sunshine Coast graduate to win a coveted Fulbright Scholarship.

Jil Lahallo, 32, of Jayapura in Papua, graduated from USC at the end of 2012 with a Master of Education in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

She was the first of a group of teachers from the Indonesian province to qualify for and finish the year-long postgraduate course on campus at Sippy Downs.

Ms Lahallo was selected for the 2014 International Leaders in Education Program scholarship under Fulbright and returned to Papua in May from the five-month experience in Ohio in the United States.

The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US Government.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said it was a historic moment for the University to learn that one of its alumni had earned the internationally renowned accolade.

“A Fulbright Scholarship is a pinnacle of prestige in the academic world and USC is very proud of her success,” Professor Hill said.

Ms Lahallo said her scholarship involved co-teaching experience at Rootstown High School, Ohio, and graduate-level academic skills classes at Kent State University.

“I worked with scholars from India and Egypt to produce a professional development module on using Content and Language Integrated Learning to enhance students’ comprehension and speaking skills. We successfully presented in Washington DC,” she said.

“I also assisted refugees from Burma and Nepal at the International Institute of Akron in learning English as a foreign language.”

Ms Lahallo said the skills learnt during her USC degree had boosted her success in the United States under the Fulbright program.

Aspiring diplomat earns scholarship

When your career goal is to work as a diplomat, it can only help when your efforts are applauded by Australia’s Governor-General, Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister.

That’s what USC International Relations student Tess Harwood, 19, of Nambour experienced in Canberra in June when she secured one of only 40 prestigious New Colombo Plan scholarships from the Australian Government.

The scholarship scheme is a pilot project of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade aimed at boosting Australia’s relationships with nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Each scholarship has a value of up to $67,000.

Tess will spend a semester at Satya Wacana Christian University, on the island of Java, and complete an internship with a non-government organisation that provides education and assistance to remote villages.

The former Nambour Christian College student, who can speak five languages and plans to one day be an ambassador for Australia, received the scholarship from Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop at a gala ceremony in Canberra.

She was thrilled to meet Ms Bishop, along with Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Prime Minister Tony Abbot and Indonesian Ambassador Najib Riphat Kesoema.

“This program is like the doorway for me into my career,” she said.

At USC, Tess has grabbed every opportunity to study abroad including a semester in Japan through USC’s Global Opportunities program and two study trips to Indonesia, one of which was funded by an Australian Government Asia-Bound Scholarship.

Meanwhile, 24 other USC students will undertake study tours to Hong Kong and Indonesia after receiving separate bursaries under the New Colombo Plan.

Student club helps activate adventures

More than 100 University of the Sunshine Coast students are regularly scaling new heights in their quest to balance their studies with fun and adventure.

They are also trekking the region’s beautiful bushland and kayaking its pristine waterways—and it’s all thanks to USC Activate, a rapidly growing outdoor recreation club.

Club president Laurence Martin said the group had around 120 members and its regular weekend activities attracted more than 50 people each time.

“Essentially, everyone loves the outdoors,” he said. “We attract active people who just want to get out there and appreciate our natural environment.”

More information is available online at

Noosa resident makes $1.7m donation to USC
University grateful for gift of commercial property at Tewantin

A generous Sunshine Coast resident has made a $1.7 million donation to the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Philanthropist, author and restaurateur Sandy Michell’s gift came in the form of a two-storey commercial property on Poinciana Avenue, Tewantin.

Mrs Michell had purchased the building several years ago to provide an appropriate and secure location for the Noosa branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A).

It was not part of her long-term plans to remain landlord for U3A and she had been searching for an organisation with similar values so she could donate the building and see U3A remain on site  for an extended period of time.

USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill has warmly thanked Mrs Michell for her generosity and faith in choosing the University to receive this substantial donation.

“This is a significant gift and demonstrates the very generous nature of Sandy Michell,” he said.

“She has secured a long-term home for U3A and at the same time provided USC an opportunity to further engage with those passionate about lifelong learning.”

People interested in donating to USC can contact the University’s Development Office Director Russell Ousley on 5430 1104 or via

Scholarship recipient revels in research

A University of the Sunshine Coast Psychology Honours study has found that it’s surprisingly difficult for many people to detect a lie—until they get older.

The research by Holly Warland also found that this lie-detection ability was no better among women than men, and no worse among people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Ms Warland, who received a $12,000 Renouf Family Scholarship for academic excellence when she started at USC as an undergraduate in 2009, is now studying a PhD at the University.

Her Honours study also examined people’s ability to read facial expressions. These results were more in line with expectation, showing above average scores for the general population and much lower scores for ASD participants.

USC Lecturer in Psychology Dr Rachael Sharman, who supervised the research, said the study compared people with and without ASD because it was believed that both types of abilities were often impaired in individuals with ASD.

Almost 800 survey participants were tested on their ‘Theory of Mind’ intuitive skills, which allow people to consider others’ thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Dr Sharman said the findings suggested that certain Theory of Mind tasks in the general adult population were not as well developed as past research indicated.

“There were no significant differences in gender either, despite the popular proposition that women are often better at these tasks than men,” she said.

“Surprisingly, the deception tasks proved to be very difficult for a significant proportion. However, this ability improved with the age of participants, supporting the ‘with age comes wisdom’ theory.”

Ms Warland said the age correlation was intriguing. “People over 35 did quite a lot better than younger people in detecting lying,” she said.

She began her PhD this year on therapy intervention for autism, with the goal of helping children learn social skills.

Memorial lecture hailed a success

THE former CEO of Leighton Holdings Wal King AO delivered the inaugural Geoff Shadforth Memorial Lecture at USC on Thursday 15 May.

Hundreds of people from the region’s construction industry and business community enjoyed the event, which is planned to be held annually in honour of the late Geoff Shadforth who was a co-director of Shadforths Civil Contractors.

Mr King, who oversaw enormous growth during his time at Leighton Holdings, shared his insights into the construction industry.
USC’s Development Office Director Russell Ousley thanked the Shadforth family for donating funds to stage the first lecture.

Celebration to recognise our amazing alumni

The University of the Sunshine Coast will hold its annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony on Thursday 11 September.

This event recognises the significant achievements of USC graduates in their fields of endeavour, ranging from professional and academic achievements to research and community work.

All graduates are welcome to attend the celebration, which will be held at USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium from 6-8pm.

USC’s Alumni Relations Officer Anita Edmonds said the annual awards night provided a great opportunity for alumni to reconnect with the University and network with fellow graduates and friends of USC.

There is no charge to attend and refreshments and finger food will be served. For more details, contact Anita Edmonds on, telephone +61 7 5459 4564, or visit

USC graduates help pave the way for future students
Graduate Walk initiative to provide assistance to future students

Graduates of the University of the Sunshine Coast have the opportunity to secure a place in USC’s history as it prepares to celebrate 20 years since opening in 1996.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill recently invited alumni to purchase personally inscribed pavers as part of a Graduate Walk initiative aimed at honouring the achievements of former students while providing assistance to future students.

The pavers will be used in a pathway, outside the main entrance of the USC Library, to be unveiled during the University’s 20th anniversary celebrations in 2016.

A tax-deductable gift of $200 will secure a paver, with all funds raised going to the USC Study Support Bursary that assists students experiencing financial stress.

Graduates can buy pavers for themselves, while others can purchase them as gifts for graduate friends or family members.

Professor Hill said about a third of the 400 pavers available had sold already.

“Graduate Walk will provide a lasting legacy and create a sense of pride and history, not only inspiring our students, but paving the way for their future success,” he said.

“The Study Support Bursary is a special fund established to support our students experiencing financial stress – the kind of stress that can have a real impact on their university experience and sometimes their ability to complete their studies.”

For details about Graduate Walk, go to or contact USC’s Development Office on or Tel: +61 7 5430 1104.

Behind-the-scenes tour for graduates

All USC graduates have been invited to a special afternoon tea and a behind-the-scenes campus tour from 3-5pm on Saturday 25 October.

The tour is for alumni, their friends and family to experience the significant changes that have occurred on campus since its early days.

USC’s Alumni Relations Officer Anita Edmonds said even recent graduates of the University would be surprised by some of the exciting new developments.

“Details about this event will be emailed to alumni in coming weeks,” she said.

To register interest or find out more contact Anita Edmonds on or Tel: +61 7 5459 4564.

Update your details

USC’s Alumni Relations Office is keen to ensure it has the current email addresses of graduates, so they can receive alumni newsletters and invitations to events. Please contact to update your contact details.

USC students in the hunt for Glasgow gold
Champion swimmers take time off study to represent Australia

Two University of the Sunshine Coast students have flown to Glasgow with the Australian team to test their physical and mental skills at the Commonwealth Games.

Blake Cochrane, 23, and Tessa Wallace, 20, are set to compete in swimming events at the Games, to be held from 23 July to 3 August. They are both former recipients of USC’s Sportsperson of the Year award.

Blake, a world champion swimmer, Paralympic gold medallist and recipient of a Medal of the Order of Australia, moved to the Coast in 2011 to train with USC’s High Performance Paralympic Squad. He will compete in the 200m individual medley at Glasgow.

He said he had an intense training and study schedule in the lead-up to his second Commonwealth Games and was determined to get good grades to meet his two goals for 2016, finishing the Clinical Exercise Science degree and competing at the Rio Paralympics.

“I’ve been at the USC pool every day except Sundays and at USC five times a week for my degree,” said Blake.

Tessa, who was a joint winner of the University’s first Sports Scholarship in 2013, was also looking forward to racing at her second Commonwealth Games.

“I’ll be going into my main event, the 200m breaststroke, aiming for that podium finish,” she said.

Also with a firm eye on the Rio Olympics in 2016, the London Olympics semi-finalist has combined training at the Pelican Waters Caloundra Swimming Club with part-time study for her USC Bachelor of Communication.

USC GALLERY exhibitions  |

Entry to the University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery is free and the public is welcome. Open: 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. Closed Sundays and public holidays.

Fibro Coast
12 June–16 August

At a time when rapid change to the urban fabric of the Gold and Sunshine coasts is taking place, this exhibition has been giving visitors the opportunity to re-engage with the cultural, artistic, architectural and design legacy of the beach cottage. Presented in collaboration with the Gold Coast Art Gallery and independent curator John Waldron, the exhibition presents a series of contemporary artists’ impressions in addition to historical paintings, architectural information and photographs of the changing landscape of the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

Photographs and Memories
12 June–16 August

Celebrating the 10th birthday of the USC Gallery in its current location, this exhibition highlights the dedication and work of the gallery’s wonderful volunteers. It comprises a series of photographs that journal the stories, work, laughter and fun of the past 10 years.

Creative Generation
21 August–13 September

The annual Creative Generation Excellence Awards in Visual Art recognise and promote excellence in senior visual arts education throughout Queensland’s state and non-state schools. Held in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment, the exhibition showcases the best of this region’s senior high school art work. This program is designed to raise community awareness about the degree of sophistication in concepts, diversity of technical competence, and the high standard of arts education in Queensland secondary schools.

Grainy songs: biomorphic furniture and votive works
18 September–1 November

A deep love of place and a belief in the centrality of craft provides the platform from which furniture designer and wood artist Ross Annels has developed his practice. In this body of work, functional furniture and traditional craft skills are combined with the forms and sounds in his rural studio environs to create furniture and objects of beauty. Ross Annels has exhibited in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Canada, and his work is in homes and private collections around the world. This is the first time his work has been exhibited at the USC Gallery.

USC Design Student Folio Exhibition
6 November–22 November

Advanced Design students from USC present this collection of industry-ready print portfolios that will introduce them to future clients and employers. Portfolios are built on professional competence in design, concept and technical skills learned through their studio practice and can include new projects as well as those completed earlier in their degree. The outcome is a group of comprehensive portfolios that will be appreciated by anyone interested in design, illustration, photography, marketing, packaging and branding.