Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Another year is coming to end and I’m looking forward to spending some time with my family over the holidays.

Despite the University having to make some tough decisions during the year, we have certainly achieved some amazing things, making the outlook for 2014 very bright. Our domestic student enrolments have grown over the course of the year and we’ve at long last begun to see a turnaround in international student enrolments. This year we’ve also had some impressive results in the international university rating system, QS Stars, and more recently secured Australia’s biggest share of funded postgraduate student places for allied health and nursing. We have also gained additional funded places for our popular enabling program STEPS. And of course the imminent merger with CQ TAFE and the injection of Commonwealth funding gives us plenty to look forward to, not just in 2014 but beyond.

As of July next year, CQUniversity will be responsible for the education and training of up to 40,000 students across the country, in a vast range of study areas from Certificate I to PhD.  This will make CQUniversity like no other university in Queensland. It will be history making for all involved and is creating a lot of excitement for staff, students, industry and the community.

Reflecting back on all that has happened this year, for me, 2013 has been about the people of CQUniversity – our dedicated staff, our fantastic students, and the wonderful communities who have supported us throughout our journey this year.

Yes, this year has had its challenges, but I have never been prouder to be Vice-Chancellor, then during this year.  I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our hardworking and committed staff for working tirelessly throughout the year.

As much as I love holidays, I am looking forward to getting back to work next year and moving forward with transition activities. Without wanting to wish the first half of next year away, I can’t wait for 1 July.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone, I hope you have a very safe and very relaxing break!

Thanks for checking in on my blog over the past year.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Health funding will benefit regional Queensland

No one can argue that there has long been a shortage of skilled health workers to service regional areas of Australia. This is an issue training providers, universities and governments alike have worked to address over the years.

There are many reasons why there are shortages in regional and remote Australia but a common explanation usually relates to difficulties in luring health professionals away from larger cities and the lifestyles these metropolitan centres can offer – especially to young people.

I have always said that those who study local, are more likely to stay local and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to health professionals. Students who leave their regional hometowns to study at metro universities are less likely to return home after completing their studies and regional universities find it harder to attract students from larger cities. If we can do something to turn this around and encourage people to study at their regional university or to relocate and study in a regional centre I think we can start to fill this void.

This is why I congratulate the Federal Government on their recent announcement to fund almost 300 additional places in postgraduate health programs at CQUniversity.

The Government has recognised the need for highly trained health professionals in regional Queensland and CQUniversity has demonstrated a strong capacity to deliver educational pathways.

Students are the big winners because they will now have more options to further their studies and become highly trained health professionals upon completion. I hope this will go a long way in both encouraging people (especially recent school leavers) to stay in Central Queensland to study and luring students from the city to study with us.

The other big winner will of course be regional Queensland communities who will benefit access to health professionals on their doorstep.

This is such a positive development not just for CQUniversity but other regional universities, as this type of funding supports universities, that are serving communities with the highest demand for skilled workers.