Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mr Rennie Fritschy - Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

The good news just keeps coming this year, as today we learned that our Chancellor Mr Rennie Fritschy has been recognised in the Australia Day Honours List with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) award.

I am delighted that Rennie has been recognised in such a way and it is particularly fitting that this award has come on the eve of his retirement.

The award recognises the significant contribution he has made to regional Australia, particularly Central Queensland, throughout his distinguished career spanning the alumina, nickel, petrochemical and textile industries, and of course as the Chancellor of CQUniversity.

As Chancellor, Rennie has applied his expertise in leadership and strategy development to make a significant and lasting impact on not just the University, but on communities in Central Queensland and beyond. His stewardship of the University has led to the development of new program offerings specific to the needs of the region, state-of-the-art learning and teaching facilities and a greater focus on our global outreach programs, and our social innovation agenda. The roll-out of new allied health programs in Central Queensland in recent years, for instance, is already changing these communities. We’ve begun seeing the first wave of skilled graduates entering the workforce, with at least 70 percent of them remaining in the region to live and work. I know this has been of one of Rennie’s most cherished accomplishments.

It has been strategic imperatives like this which have led to increased enrolments at CQUniversity, helping improve higher education participation within the region. In fact, during Rennie’s tenure as Chancellor we’ve actually seen the gap between metropolitan and CQ regional university attendance rates narrow markedly, which is tremendous social change.

Importantly, Mr Fritschy’s commitment to improving access to higher education for the demographic that CQUniversity mostly serves, including regional and remote, low socioeconomic, first-in-family and Indigenous students, has made positive ripples throughout the region. His tenure as Chancellor has seen CQUniversity emerge as the largest and fastest growing university based in regional Australia.

Rennie has helped take a strong regional university and transform it into a great national university.

On behalf of everyone at CQUniversity I would like to congratulate Mr Fritschy on this award. I am sure you will join with me in agreeing that he is thoroughly deserving of this recognition.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

STEM program offers on the rise at CQUni

How great is it that program offers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are on the rise at CQUniversity?

In fact almost half of all offers made at CQUniversity were for programs delivered by the University’s School of Engineering and Technology, and School of Medical and Applied Science.

Traditionally, programs within the humanities and business have been the most favoured among new students but in the past few years we have seen things event up, not just here at CQUniversity but across the sector. There are so many diverse STEM programs available for students to study from medical science, sports science, food science, medical imaging and sonography, to civil, mechatronic and electrical engineering. These programs also offer students some exciting career pathways after graduation with these types of skills in high demand both in Australia and across the globe.

Another interesting trend emerging as part of these results is also that the percentage of female students entering into study STEM related study has also grown with almost 70 percent of offers made within our School of Medical and Applied Science going to female students. As we all know, STEM has been a traditionally male dominated field, so seeing this turnaround is a terrific result. I think it also shows that high schools are doing a great job encouraging female students to study STEM related subjects and breaking down the gender barriers in this area.

STEM is really emerging as an exciting field of study and I for one am looking forward to seeing how this area grows in the future and what new opportunities become available. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Good news to start the year

It’s wonderful to be announcing some great news so early in the New Year - two CQUniversity led projects have been awarded prestigious Federal Government, Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) grants.

Congratulations must go to Professor Kerry Reid-Searl and Associate Professor Trudy Dwyer who have been awarded a $300,000 grant, to develop a toolkit to facilitate work-ready nursing graduates. The project will help to boost patient safety through innovative simulation exercises involving dramatisation of key health scenarios and role-play participation by undergraduate nursing students.

Kerry and Trudy will lead the two-year project in partnership with academics from the Australian Catholic University, the University of Newcastle and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Further congratulations must also go to Professor Denise Wood and Professor Bronwyn Fredericks who have gained a grant worth $320,000 to carry out research that will bring about an understanding of the factors that impact on higher education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.  The study will involve cross-sector collaboration and a participatory action research approach.

Denise and Bronwyn will lead the project in collaboration with academics from Charles Darwin University, University of South Australia, the University of Newcastle and James Cook University.

Well done to Kerry, Trudy, Denise and Bronwyn. A fantastic outcome and a great way to start the year!