Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A week in the life of a regional university VC

CQUniversity is proud of its history as a regional university. Our foundations are firmly planted in central Queensland but in the last two decades CQUni has identified opportunities to serve students and communities in other regions. Initially this drive saw the University establish campuses in other major CQ centres, followed by the establishment of campuses in the three major cities on Australia’s east coast to attract a growing international student cohort.

Now following the establishment of a campus and research institute in Adelaide and distance education study centres and hubs in Cairns, Cannonvale, Charters Towers and Townsville, CQUniversity has the biggest geographical footprint of any Australian university. Nobody said a model like this would be easy but no one disputed the benefits and opportunities either.

Currently we have 20 locations across the nation, with a view to open two more in Western Australia by the end of the year. As well as the obvious benefit of delivering services and facilities to help our many distance education students, a physical presence in so many places means we are working directly with communities and giving people the chance to get in touch with tertiary education and training.

It’s great being able to serve so many communities and students and it’s especially great to hear from distance students who say their lives have been made so much easier by having access to high-speed, free internet, when they need it, so that they can attend online lectures and research their assessments.

As the VC of such a far reaching university it does however mean that I’m never in the one place too long. While I’m based in Rockhampton I don’t think I have spent an entire week here all year (albeit it has been a busier year than usual as a result of our merger with CQ TAFE). Most weeks I’m out on the road working from all our locations and getting to know our people whether it be at a student forum, a graduation, alumni event, program launch or building opening.

Opening the Townsville Study Centre with Mayor Cr Jenny Hill

Last week was a classic example of this. I started off in Rockhampton before traveling to Charters Towers (via Townsville) to open our Charters Towers Study Hub at the Dalrymple Trades Training Centre on Thursday, drove back to Townsville for the opening of our Distance Education Study Centre there on Friday, boarded a flight back to Rockhampton to attend the opening of the CQU Creates art exhibition that night, then travelled to Mackay on Saturday for the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music’s 25th Anniversary gala concert before coming back to Rocky on Sunday for the launch of a Community Cabinet meeting at our Yeppoon study centre on Monday.  

Admiring Professor Owen Nevin's photographic entry at CQU Creates

It might sound exhausting but I really think I have one of the best jobs out there. Everyday I’m meeting new people and sharing the CQUni story with anyone who’ll listen. 

Welcoming MPs to the Yeppoon study centre before Community Cabinet

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