Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thank you and Merry Christmas

The past couple of weeks have been hectic!

I have been attending graduations at the Metropolitan Campuses. I never tire of meeting with our graduates and their families. It was a special week for me because my son graduated. Here is a picture of him with his Mum Anita. I could really relate to how the families at the CQUniversity ceremonies were feeling.

We are fast approaching the end of the year and what a year it has been.

We have had a great deal of success in our teaching and learning, research and engagement. Our teaching quality was recognised by the Good Universities Guide and with the outcome of our AUQA audit review. We are also seeing an improvement in our student retention which is very pleasing. We are really starting to ramp up our research efforts and I am sure we are going to excel in coming years. It is great to see so many world class researchers choosing CQUniversity as their academic home. We have defined what we mean by engagement - and our efforts are being recognised nationally and internationally.

Many of our new programs have gotten off to a great start in 2011. This year we had the highest percentage increase of first preference applications of all the Queensland universities. Many of our staff have been working very hard to write new programs and to renew programs for next year and we are seeing very strong applications for 2012 – this is all very good news.

We have also received quite a few early Christmas presents this year. The Federal Government has awarded us more than $70m in SAF and EIF funding (see previous blog) and we have also won over $3m in HEPPP funding which will help us to improve university participation in Central Queensland. On top of this we have been given over $2.5m from BMC and BMA for scholarships. Success follows success and we certainly are very successful!

So the year comes to an end on a high note. I want to thank all the staff of CQUniversity, including those employed through our C Management Services subsidiary, for their hard work this year in moving us towards being one of Australia's truly great universities. In this respect I would also like to thank those who do not work directly for the University but who have also contributed greatly over the past year. This includes Council Members, Engagement Committee members, work placement supervisors, volunteers, alumni and community supporters. Thanks to you all.

I get the feeling 2012 is going to be an even bigger year, with more programs being introduced, many exciting new campus developments and a time when we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary since becoming a university.

I am off early this year for a Christmas break. It is Anita’s 50th birthday on Saturday and we are having a party in Cairns so I am really looking forward to that.

I hope you will have time to view a short Christmas video that has been put together by Elizabeth Tansley -

Have a safe and happy Christmas and I look forward to continuing the great work next year.

Celebrating 20 Years

One of the things I love most about my job as VC are the opportunities I have to chat with students – whether it’s at a BBQ lunch on campus, celebrating their success at a graduation ceremony or welcoming them to campus at orientation week – it is always refreshing to remind myself of the role we play in helping students reach their full educational potential.

I had the chance to meet Renee, one of our BA Professional Communication students recently, who is currently completing her third and final year at CQUniversity. Over the summer semester, Renee is undertaking a work placement with the CQUniversity Corporate Communications team.

CQUniversity offers one of the best mixes of classroom and workplace-based learning of any Australian university and the Corporate Communications team were very keen to have Renee on board for this opportunity.

Interestingly enough, the project Renee has been tasked with during her placement is CQUniversity’s 20th anniversary celebrations. 2012 is a very special year for CQUniversity – and Renee. Although founded in 1967 as an institute of technology, 1992 was the year we gained full university status. Renee just happens to be holding her own ‘20th celebrations’ next year as she was born the same year we became a university.

You might say 20 years doesn’t seem very long in the world of higher education and you’d be right. I like to think of us as being ’20 years young’. One definition I found for young was “being in the first part or period of growth”. I think this describes CQUniversity’s current period of renewal perfectly – this is only the beginning – there are bigger and better things to come.

We have a unique history and a most interesting story to tell. There are countless achievements and successes to be proud of over the past twenty years and I’m very excited to have CQUniversity’s Professor Denis Cryle compile our history since 1992. You’ll be hearing more about our plans to celebrate our 20th anniversary and I’m sure Renee will do us proud – as one of our students – to help bring this all together.

Monday, December 12, 2011

$73.8m funding boost for CQUniversity

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have confirmation!

It was extremely pleasing to receive official word from the Commonwealth Government last week regarding our funding application for higher education investment monies.

CQUniversity has received $73.8m, part of a total pool of $377m from the Structural Adjustment Fund (SAF) and Education Investment Fund (EIF) for 2011.

These funds will allow the University to enter its next phase of development and is a major step forward in the process to revolutionise post-schooling education to better meet the unique skills needs of this region.

At a special briefing event held this morning to mark the funding announcement, it was fantastic to be joined by so many supporters such as Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore and Central Queensland Institute of TAFE Director Gary Kinnon. A large crowd of university and TAFE staff joined with community members, Rockhampton region Mayor, Councillors and representatives from Capricorn Enterprise, the CQ NRL Bid and Central Queensland Indigenous Development to hear how the funding would be utilised.

There are several major projects set to benefit from these funds:

• readying the university for our proposed merger with Central Queensland Institute of TAFE, including new interactive teaching and learning spaces across the numerous CQIT and CQUniversity sites in Central Queensland, to allow for better interaction between campuses;
• a new state-of-the-art engineering precinct at CQUniversity Mackay which will feature purpose-built workshops and learning centres; and
• a further stage of the public-access allied health clinic at CQUniversity Rockhampton.

I believe this funding announcement demonstrates just how crucial CQUniversity is to the national higher education sector and to the communities of the booming Central Queensland region.

These funds represent one fifth of the overall SAF/EIF funding pool for 2011, which is a massive vote of confidence from the Government in the CQUniversity, and our plans for dual-sector status and the development of a world-class engineering school in Mackay.

I look forward to sharing more details about these projects as they progress, but for now, I would like to express my thanks to the Commonwealth Government for its foresight in recognising the immense contribution a dual-sector university, offering world-class engineering programs, will make to a region like Central Queensland and to the many staff who helped put this funding application together – it has certainly been worth the effort.