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Ignite - 2016, Edition 1

Ignite: Edition 1 2016

Vice-Chancellor’s comment

“In 2016 Community magazine is evolving and changing. More than just a fresh, clean look and feel, this renewed publication is the first step to expanding USC’s connectivity with a wider conduit to a growing network.”

New look for Community as USC embarks on new directions and growth

This year represents the starting point of an important new chapter for USC. Celebrating our 20th Anniversary, we look back on how far we have come as a community and the power that the people of this university have to transform lives. As we start this new chapter, we are taking definitive steps toward a bright future, guided by the roadmap of our ‘2020 vision.’ This strategic plan has some ambitious objectives, many of which are well underway thanks to a successful start to the year. USC’s student population has increased by more than 11 per cent this year and the university’s footprint has extended north to the Fraser Coast with a new campus coming online for semester one. Our researchers continue to attract national and international attention, leading global collaborative projects and achieving widespread success in recent competitive grant rounds.

In much the same way that our university is embarking on an exciting new phase of growth and development, so too is our flagship publication, Community magazine. Over many years, this publication has become our connection with staff, students, community members and alumni all around the world. We’d like to thank you for being a part of this community and invite you to continue to enjoy our magazine as it evolves and changes through 2016. More than just a fresh, clean look and feel, this renewed publication is the first step to expanding USC’s connectivity, providing a wider conduit to a growing network. The magazine’s content is designed to spark your curiosity and fuel your interest … and thus it has been renamed Ignite.

Ignite contains a mix of feature stories to provide deeper insight as well as articles, opinion pieces and shorter news bites for a relaxed, entertaining read that will keep you up to date. Ignite also showcases beautiful imagery from our own community with this first edition cover, Dragonfly #2, by Billy Mentiplay, an awarded piece from the Student category in 2015 ‘Life’s Wild at USC’ photography competition.

Ignite will continue to evolve to incorporate a digital showcase of feature pieces and new articles so that you can stay connected with USC between publications. This will also provide an opportunity for the creative work of our community to be showcased to a wider audience.

It is with pleasure that I welcome you to the first edition of Ignite.

Professor Greg Hill
Vice-Chancellor and President

1996–2016 – CELEBRATING 20 YEARS
University’s history and future plans feature in ‘Visions’ book

By Terry Walsh

2016 is a milestone year for the University of the Sunshine Coast as it celebrates the 20th anniversary of its opening.

Festivities involving thousands of people in total were held at the University’s main campus at Sippy Downs on 26 February — the date that the first lecture was held at USC in 1996.

Events on the day included a staff celebration to honour those who have worked for the University for 20 years, the conferral of an honorary doctorate on science commentator Dr Karl Kruszelnicki at a gala evening ceremony (see page 4) and the launch of Graduate Walk, a fundraising initiative involving USC alumni to help support future students (see Page 10).

The ceremony also highlighted USC’s contribution to the academic, cultural and economic advancement of the region, as well as its commitment to sustainability and reconciliation.

A key part of the celebration was the launch of a book, called ‘Visions’, which captures the heart of the University through the transformational stories of its people.

‘Visions’ mentions hundreds of people who have been connected to the University since it opened 20 years ago and features more than 400 images, from new professional photographs to treasures from personal and USC archives.

Author Julie Schomberg, a USC staff member and graduate, said the book included 140 interviews with past and present students, staff and community members to personalise the achievements and challenges of one of Australia’s fastest-growing universities since 1996.

“This project was an opportunity to track down some extraordinary stories and explain what USC is all about, particularly for readers who haven’t seen its growth or realised its impact,” said Ms Schomberg, a journalist of more than 20 years.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill, who joined USC in 2005 and became Vice-Chancellor in 2011, said the 14 chapters of ‘Visions’ reflected different themes of the University’s development, ranging from innovation and sustainability to research and partnerships.

“The book also forecasts our future, just as we’re expanding interstate to Melbourne and north to the Fraser Coast, starting work on new health research institutes, and planning a huge new campus in the Moreton Bay region by 2020,” he said.

Emeritus Professor Paul Thomas, USC’s founding Vice-Chancellor until 2010, said he was delighted at the book’s readability and accessibility to everyone, not just University insiders.

“The stories in here are vivid reminders of people and events, and are melded well to balance the deeply personal with the factual history,” said Professor Thomas.

‘Visions’, published by the University of the Sunshine Coast, is on sale for $24.95 at the Co-op Bookshop on campus at Sippy Downs, telephone 5430 1205 or email usc@coop.com.au to purchase your copy.

USC awards Dr Karl his first Honorary Doctorate

By Julie Schomberg

Science commentator gives special presentation at gala event

One of Australia’s most recognisable science commentators, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki AM, was recognised in a new way by the University of the Sunshine Coast on Friday 26 February.

The author, media personality and public speaker, who already had multiple degrees and national awards, received his first Honorary Doctorate as part of USC’s ceremony to celebrate its 20th anniversary of opening in 1996.

Dr Karl — a 2012 National Living Treasure, 2006 Member of the Order of Australia and 2003 Australian Father of the Year — entertained and amused the audience with a lively discussion about the past, present and future, including the importance of education.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the honorary award was in recognition of Dr Karl’s excellence in science communication throughout his 30-year career of providing expert commentary across Australian media, starting with his founding in 1985 of ABC-TV science program ‘Quantum’ (replaced by ‘Catalyst’).

“Dr Karl is one of the nation’s best-known science commentators, popularising key scientific questions and inspiring curiosity and interest in science among generations of Australians,” Professor Hill said.

Dr Karl had previously visited USC in 2009 to address a science conference at the University’s Innovation Centre.

He currently appears on Channel 7’s ‘Weekend Sunrise’ program, ABC TV and national radio shows, writes weekly columns for major print media and has more than a quarter of a million Twitter followers.

He has written 38 books, from ‘Great Moments in Science’ in 1985 to last year’s ‘Short Back and Science’.

Dr Karl’s weekly show on ABC Radio’s Triple J, which attracts some 300,000 listeners, has mentioned USC’s engineering program and climate change research.

“I love the kangaroos on the campus at USC and I think the Sunshine Coast is an interesting region made up of separate parts — the narrow coastline, the broader agricultural land, and the hinterland,” he said.

USC opens at Fraser Coast and Melbourne

By Terry Walsh

New campuses north and south expand USC’s footprint

The University of the Sunshine Coast has this year established itself on the Fraser Coast and in the busy metropolis of Melbourne.

On 1 February, USC moved into a campus on Old Maryborough Road at Hervey Bay that had been the local base for the University of Southern Queensland for the past 18 years. The facility is now called USC Fraser Coast.

In a symbolic gesture, USQ’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla presented USC’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann with the keys to the campus.

Professor Lohmann said the handover of the campus was a significant occasion for USC and for the region.

“This handover follows many months of careful planning and work by both institutions to make the transition for staff and students as smooth as possible,” she said.

“USC has a strong commitment to servicing demand in the Fraser Coast region for a diverse higher education offering to support future education, skills and workforce requirements.”

Hundreds of students — comprising new first-years and those who have transferred from USQ — attended the USC Fraser Coast orientation day on 19 February, leaving standing room only in the main lecture theatre during the official welcome.

Spontaneous applause greeted the announcement by USC’s Director of Northern Campuses Graham Young that this was the first USC Fraser Coast orientation day.

More than 350 students are now enrolled in a range of study programs, including degrees in Business, Nursing Science, Sport Science and USC’s bridging program called Tertiary Preparation Pathway.

Meanwhile, USC is currently welcoming its first students in the heart of Melbourne at a campus over six floors at 399 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.

It has partnered with the Australian Technical and Management College (ATMC), to offer eight degrees in areas such as Business, Accounting and Information and Communications Technology to more than 70 international students.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said this partnership was partly in response to strong student demand from India and Nepal.

He said ATMC staff would deliver USC’s programs using the personalised, face-to-face teaching methods that had helped rank USC in the top 20 percent of Australian universities for teaching quality every year for the past 10 years.

ATMC Chief Executive Officer Dr Manish Malhotra said he was delighted with the commencement of the partnership.

“USC is an outstanding, progressive Australian public university with a commitment to graduate outcomes and excellence in teaching, which will make it a perfect partner in attracting international higher education students to Victoria,” he said.


For a larger serving of news, visit usc.edu.au/newsbites

Crime prevention book secures top award

A book that focuses on the practical ways communities can work together to reduce crime has earned a USC academic a prestigious industry award. Professor Tim Prenzler, who coordinates USC’s Bachelor of Criminology and Justice, recently received the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology’s Adam Sutton Crime Prevention Award for his book Professional Practice in Crime Prevention and Security Management. The prize is awarded each year to the crime prevention publication that best demonstrates pragmatic, workable solutions to Australasian crime problems, and reflects the values of a tolerant and inclusive society. Professor Prenzler, who edited the book and co-wrote six of its chapters, said techniques covered in the book included situational prevention and crime prevention through environmental design, which consider how social and physical contexts can be adapted to reduce opportunities for crime.

‘Fitspiration’ photos cause body image strain

Displaying images of super-fit females with the aim of promoting exercise to women could be doing more harm than good, according to psychology research conducted by USC. The study involved 322 women responding to either images of fit, toned models engaged in active pursuits or of thin models typically seen in fashion magazines. USC Lecturer in Psychology Dr Kate Mulgrew said participants who viewed images of very fit women recorded levels of dissatisfaction with their own bodies just as bad, or even worse, than the participants exposed to images of fashion models. Dr Mulgrew said these findings countered the common assumption that “fitspiration” photographs would promote a healthier body image. She said the body type displayed in these photos was one that the average woman would find extremely difficult to achieve.

Spartans make a splash at national championships

The fledgling USC Spartans swimming team made the rest of Australia sit up and take notice by finishing third on points at the 2016 National Swimming Championships in Adelaide during April. The Spartans team, which comprises two high-performance squads coached by Chris Mooney (Olympic) and Jan Cameron (Paralympic) at the University of the Sunshine Coast pool, ended the eight-day national carnival ahead of many well-established clubs. Ten Spartans swimmers gained selection in the 65-strong Australian team for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics — a remarkable result for a program that officially began only one year ago. Ms Cameron and Mr Mooney have both been selected as coaches for the Australian team and USC academics Dr Danielle Formosa and Professor Brendan Burkett will also travel to Rio with the swimming team as sports scientists. The Rio Olympic Games will run from 5–21 August and the Paralympic Games will be from 7–18 September.

Researcher helps rule out ‘spiderman’ evolution

USC Lecturer in Animal Ecophysiology Dr Christofer Clemente has played a key role in research that has all but ruled out the possible evolution of a “spiderman”. Dr Clemente worked with Dr David Labonte of the University of Cambridge to discover why geckos are the largest animals capable of scaling smooth vertical walls. Their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal in January, stated that for a human to scale these surfaces, adhesive pads would need to cover 40 percent of that person’s body surface. Dr Clemente said another strategy would be to make the adhesive pads stickier, rather than bigger. “Our research findings could be applied to something mundane like cleaning the outside of a building, right through to having a robot that can go into disaster areas where humans can’t enter,” he said.

Academics use USC research to take on Death Star

Risk assessment tools developed at the University of the Sunshine Coast have been applied in a galaxy far, far away. To help demonstrate the emerging field of human factors research to engineering students, UK academics recently turned to the fictional Star Wars universe to subject Darth Vader’s Death Star to a battery of human factors tests. Dr Guy Walker from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University used methods developed at USC’s Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems to come up with a list of 21 quicker and safer ways Luke Skywalker could have attacked the Death Star, from implanting a computer virus to enticing Storm Troopers to defect to the Rebel Alliance. USC Professor of Human Factors Paul Salmon said USC’s human factors tools had already been used to design safer rail level crossings and develop defence force training programs.

USC is uni of choice for super Hoopers of science

Top grades and the pursuit of science have encouraged Vanessa Hooper, 18, to become the third of her siblings to study at USC. The 2015 dux and captain of Burnside State High School started a Bachelor of Biomedical Science this semester. “I wanted to stay local and continue to enjoy the Sunshine Coast lifestyle,” Vanessa said. “I’m particularly interested in research involving the development of personalised medicines to target specific cancers or diseases in an individual.” Vanessa achieved an OP1 just like her 20-year-old sister Kathryn, now studying a Bachelor of Science on campus at USC after enrolling in 2013. Their elder brother Jono, the 2010 Burnside State High School captain, completed his USC Science and Honours degrees in three instead of four years and is now an environmental scientist with local consultancy Future-Plus Environmental.

Report highlights dramatic rise in research quality

By Julie Schomberg

Three areas of research at USC are now well above world standard

A national report has confirmed a significant improvement in the quality of research at the University of the Sunshine Coast, with 14 of USC’s 24 assessable fields rated at, above or well above world standard in 2015.

USC’s research in three areas — Environmental Science and Management, Nursing and Zoology — scored the top rating of 5, or “well above world standard”, in the Australian Research Council’s 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) report that was released in December.

USC disciplines of Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Ecology, Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences, Fisheries Science and Clinical Sciences were rated 4, or above world standard.

Forestry Science, Medical and Health Sciences, Human Movement and Sports Science, Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, as well as Psychology were rated at 3, or world standard.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco said the ERA report was a reason to celebrate.

“These outcomes show that our strategy to develop niche research areas has been highly successful,” he said.

“Our ERA scores have improved significantly since the 2010 and 2012 reports. In 2012, for example, we had only 10 fields ranked and these were mostly below world standard.

“We will now continue this exciting trajectory and work on boosting other disciplines that have qualified for ERA assessment, together with identifying and nurturing new world standard disciplines to build a mature and international University in the Sunshine Coast region. We’re looking forward to the next report.”

PhD student joins world-first wetland research project

By Jarna Baudinette

Industry partnership funds USC research project at new residential estate

A world-first research project into how floating wetland systems can be used to improve water quality in residential developments has attracted a postgraduate student from Germany to the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Peter Schwammberger, 31, recently moved to the Sunshine Coast from Munich after receiving a scholarship to complete his PhD through an innovative research partnership between USC’s Stormwater Research Group, engineering consultancy firm Covey Associates and the developers of local residential estate Parklakes 2.

As part of his PhD, Mr Schwammberger will monitor and evaluate the performance of a $1 million floating wetland treatment system–believed to be one of the largest of its kind in the world–recently installed in a 2.5-hectare man-made lake at Parklakes 2 in Bli Bli.

The treatment system uses selected plant species to mitigate the impacts of stormwater runoff from the nearby estate by drawing excess nutrients and pollutants from the surrounding water.

Research findings from the three-year project will help to determine best practice for using floating wetland treatment systems in and around residential estates.

Prior to commencing at USC, Mr Schwammberger completed a Master of Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and worked as a project manager and environmental consultant for a range of industry-based clients.

“In my previous work I specialised in water research, particularly using different technologies to improve water quality in urban infrastructure projects,” he said.

“Often developers just build, and don’t take action until they realise there’s a problem.

“What’s great about this project is that the developer is very proactive about environmental considerations, and is willing to invest to ensure the best possible water quality.”

Mr Schwammberger said working with natural materials and plants would provide a welcome change from some of his previous projects, as would being based at USC.

Head of USC Engineering’s Stormwater Research Group Dr Terry Lucke, who is Mr Schwammberger’s principal supervisor, said his student’s unique combination of research and industry experience made him an ideal candidate for the collaborative project, which is the first of its kind on the Sunshine Coast.

Also on the project team is Covey Associates environmental manager Dr Chris Walker, who completed his PhD on urban lake design and stormwater quality modelling at USC in 2012 and is co-supervising Mr Schwammberger’s research.

EMBA students get down to business in China

By Jarna Baudinette

Eye-opening insights into international business culture were on the itinerary for a group of postgraduate business students from USC during a recent study tour to China.

Twenty-six Executive Master of Business Administration and MBA students spent nine days in Beijing and Chongqing, where they visited the Chinese headquarters of multinational companies such as Lenovo and researched China’s unique consumer and business markets.

USC Professor of Marketing Meredith Lawley, who accompanied the group to China, said the study tour allowed students to implement the knowledge and skills learned during their study programs in a real-world context.

“A majority of the students who attended the tour are senior managers with at least five to seven years’ experience, including chief executive officers, business owners, health professionals, school principals, and financial and banking executives,” Professor Lawley said.

As part of their coursework, EMBA and MBA students are required to identify a business opportunity within China, or to develop a strategy for importing services or products from China to the Sunshine Coast.

Overseas study tours are a popular optional component of all postgraduate business degrees offered at USC.

USC’s detection dogs team calls in new trainer

By Gen Kennedy

Research work enhanced by expansion of project

With a new trainer, several fresh canine recruits and exciting projects in the pipeline, the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Detection Dogs for Conservation team is gearing up for its biggest year to date.

Veteran dog trainer Sarah Fyffe has joined the USC research group that has a team of specially trained sniffer dogs working alongside academics on ecology research and conservation projects.

Ms Fyffe will head up the recruitment and training of four-legged employees with the skills to sniff out scents including those of koalas, koala scat (droppings) and water dragon eggs.

Having previously trained dogs for the Australian Federal Police and Queensland Corrective Services, Ms Fyffe said she was excited to be joining a team that shared her passion for wildlife protection.

“It’s enthralling work for me, and much more fun than training dogs to sniff out drugs and bombs,” she said.

“We really need to understand the behaviour of the animal we’re searching for, as well as the behaviour of the dog, and that throws up some fascinating challenges.

“Educating the handlers about canine body language and psychology is also critical to the project’s success.

“Everyone on the Detection Dogs for Conservation team is really passionate about building the program up and it’s fantastic to be working with so many great minds.”

Six-year-old border collie Maya, who has worked with several regional councils on koala population projects, has been joined by four more keen canines.

USC Research Fellow Dr Romane Cristescu said all of the dogs had been surrendered to animal welfare centres and were selected for this program for their confidence, drive and soft nature.

“The importance of being university-based is that we can scientifically assess our dogs’ advantages and limitations,” she said.

“The program is really taking off in 2016, and we believe that detection dogs can make a positive difference in conservation.”

Detection Dogs for Conservation has launched a crowdfunding initiative to assist in the recruitment of new detection dogs.

For more information on the program, visit www.usc.edu.au/ddc or for information on the crowdfunding campaign, visit www.chuffed.org/project/usc-detection-dogs-for-conservation

Generous graduates make a name for USC

By Julie Schomberg

Large crowd attends unveiling of Graduate Walk

Hundreds of University of the Sunshine Coast alumni recently unveiled a special pathway on campus that demonstrates their pride in USC and willingness to help future students.

The University’s Graduate Walk initiative features the names of 400 alumni etched into pavers that have been laid near the Library as part of an enterprising fundraising project to support USC students in financial need.

Many of the graduates, accompanied by family and friends, returned to their alma mater from across Australia on Friday 26 February for the event. Donations of $200 for each paver raised $80,000 for USC Study Support Bursaries.

USC Alumni Relations Officer Anita Edmonds said every graduation year of USC’s history was represented in the pavers, alongside the 100 different degrees that spurred the students to careers around the world.

“The project was designed to recognise graduates and inspire future students as the Coast’s own University turns 20 this year,” she said.

Ms Edmonds said the biggest single supporter of Graduate Walk was philanthropist Jocelyn Walker, who bought 12 pavers for past recipients of her family’s annual Vic Walker Memorial Scholarship as well as family members.

The unveiling of Graduate Walk provided 2008 Master of Financial Planning graduate Priscilla McCullough, 35, of Sydney an opportunity to finally step on to the USC campus at Sippy Downs.

“I completed my studies part-time and online between 2004 and 2007,” said the Brisbane-raised financial planner, who was promoted to Financial Planning Manager at the Commonwealth Bank in Sydney in April 2013.

“I submitted all assignments online and took all exams online, which was really uncommon among my colleagues and school friends.

“Having never attended campus, I didn’t go to my graduation ceremony. Rather than stop and take the time to celebrate my achievement, I just kept on working and built my career.

“But when I received the offer to donate to USC’s Graduate Walk, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to recognise the contribution USC has made to my career and finally allow my Mum to share in my accomplishment.”

Ms McCulloch said attending the event helped her to realise the significant difference the Graduate Walk donations would make to students who are struggling to meet financial commitments.

Nominate top alumni for awards

If you know an outstanding graduate of USC, why not nominate them for the 2016 Outstanding Alumni of the Year Awards?

Each year, these awards recognise those who have attained significant achievements in their fields of endeavour since their graduation, including professional, academic, research, community and/or other achievements.

There are three award categories: Outstanding Alumnus of the Year; Regional Achievement; and Rising Star.

Nominations can be made by USC alumni, staff, students and members of the community, such as colleagues, family and friends. Self-nominations are accepted with a letter of endorsement.

Nominations will close on 30 June and the awards will be presented at the Outstanding Alumni Awards Ceremony on 15 September. All alumni are welcome to attend this celebration.

For details about how to nominate or to read about past award recipients, visit www.usc.edu.au/alumniawards or contact Anita Edmonds at Alumni Relations at
alumni@usc.edu.au or phone +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 news of the University and opportunities to stay involved. Contact alumni@usc.edu.au to update your contact details.

Neurophysiologist leads USC’s new mind institute

By Julie Schomberg

New centre to focus on key mental health issues

A leading academic and medical specialist involved in world-renowned research and clinical practice has moved from Sydney to the University of the Sunshine Coast to lead its new multi-million-dollar facility focused on preventing, treating and curing mental illnesses.

Professor Jim Lagopoulos has started work as the inaugural Director of USC’s Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience–Thompson Institute at Birtinya, near the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The three-storey Innovation Parkway building, purchased by USC in 2015 after a generous donation by philanthropists Roy and Nola Thompson, is now being fitted out as a hub for world-class mental health research, teaching and clinical services.

Professor Lagopoulos, who has 20 years of experience as an intraoperative neurophysiologist, was the Director of Clinical Imaging at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute for the past five years.

Professor Lagopoulos said the Thompson Institute would address key mental health issues in the community, ranging from youth suicide prevention to dementia and including mood disorders, depression, autism, dyslexia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to implement a model of CARE, which stands for Clinics, Advocacy, Research and Education,” he said.

“Our clinics will provide services based on latest evidence. We will advocate for the wellbeing of vulnerable people, including those with mental health issues and their carers.

“Our research investigations will be world class and aimed at translating into clinical interventions. And we will be educating the next generation of brain scientists and specialist doctors.”

Professor Lagopoulos, whose pioneering techniques in the use of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) on brains have brought science closer to finding the cause of schizophrenia, will be continuing his own team’s research on neuroimaging.

“It’s fantastic to think that work to be conducted at the Thompson Institute and USC will be part of the ongoing collaborations we have with Ivy League universities such as Harvard and Yale,” he said.

The institute has in place a board chaired by former Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d) and including Professor Max Bennett AO of the University of Sydney and Adjunct Professor John Mendoza of ConNetica Consulting.

USC’s Development Office aims to raise a further $10 million to help realise the full potential of the CARE concept at the Thompson Institute. To donate to this project, telephone +61 7 5430 1104 or development@usc.edu.au

USC-trained teachers in demand in rural classrooms

By Jarna Baudinette

Sisters Laura and Ellen Gavin are among a growing number of USC graduates swapping the coast for the country through the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Rural and Remote Education Bursary program, with the pair both securing teaching positions at Mt Isa.

The program provides opportunities for Primary Education students to undertake supervised teaching placements in rural and remote Queensland schools, through the financial support of a bursary funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.

Laura, 21, and Ellen, 23, were among 43 USC students who were presented with bursaries by Tim Fairfax AC at a ceremony at USC late last year. Ellen completed her final practical placement at Happy Valley State School in Mount Isa in October, and was offered a position teaching Year 3 at the school in 2016. She said the bursary provided an opportunity to consider teaching in remote Queensland.

“I was a little hesitant at first, but the placement in Mount Isa was honestly the best thing I’ve done at university. I had so much fun,”
Ellen said.

“And before I started teaching this year I’d already made some great friends and learned a lot about the school.”

Laura undertook her final placement at Barcaldine State School, in Queensland’s central west, and is now teaching at Townview State Primary School.

USC’s Education Partnerships and Professional Learning Coordinator Dennis James said at least nine of the 10 fourth-year students who participated in last year’s program had received permanent job offers, and several third-year students had been offered jobs upon graduation, which demonstrated the demand for USC graduates in rural schools.

USC’s Development Office Director Russell Ousley said the presentation ceremony in December provided an opportunity to acknowledge the ongoing generosity of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, which had funded a total of 264 teaching placements for USC students over the past five years.

Take your skills to the next level

In a world of rapid change and increasing competition, a postgraduate qualification can give you the skills and confidence to take your career to the next level.

At USC, your postgraduate experience will build on the knowledge you’ve gained from your undergraduate degree or the skills and experience you’ve built through your work history. USC postgraduate programs offer flexible delivery including on-campus, online, blended and intensive study modes to help you balance work, family and study commitments.

Choose from a wide range of coursework programs or specialise in your field of study with a higher degree by research.

Visit Postgraduate coursework for more information.

USC GALLERY exhibitions


The USC Gallery is located at the University campus on Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs. It is open free to the public from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday and closed Sundays and public holidays.

Regional Marks: Celebrating 50 Years of Print
19 May–2 July

This exhibition will celebrate the Print Council of Australia’s 50th birthday in 2016. It will showcase innovative printmaking through traditional and contemporary methods by established and emerging printmakers from the region. Included are all print forms, traditional through to digital on all printable surface mediums, including artist books and sculptural works.

David Green: Collecting Tomorrow’s Dreams
7 july–20 august
Creative Generation: north coast (south) Regional Exhibition 2016
25 August–10 September
Deeper conversations lecture series
Photojournalism—The Back Story: Rob Maccoll
31 August, 6.30–7.30pm

For more information or to register for the Deeper Conversations Lecture Series, telephone 5456 5746 or email ljaeger@usc.edu.au

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