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Albury launch for writing handbook

Tuesday 6 Mar 2018

A leading education researcher at Charles Sturt University (CSU) will launch a new book this week that recognises that young writers need support from a very early age.

Associate Professor Noella Mackenzie in the CSU School of Education located in Albury-Wodonga is the lead editor of the book and either wrote or co-authored 6 or the 13 book chapters in Understanding and supporting Young Writers from Birth to 8.
The book explores what it means to be a young child learning to write in the 21st Century.

“Writing has possibly eclipsed reading as the critical literacy skill for children to learn,” Professor Mackenzie said.

“The book fills a gap in literacy education, and provides practitioners such as early childhood and primary school teachers with the skills and knowledge they need to effectively support young children as they learn to write.”

The book will be launched by one of the NSW Directors of School Education in Albury, Dr Brad Russell, and CSU’s Head of the School of Education, Associate Professor David Smith.

Teachers, educators and interested members of the community from both sides of the border have been invited to the afternoon event. The launch will be hosted by the Albury Library Museum and sponsored by the local chapter of the Australian Literacy Educator’s Association.

In addition, the launch event will be attended by other co-authors of the book, who are all based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, as well as some of the children who took part in research and provided pictures for the book.

  • Event details
    Where: Albury Library Museum, Kiewa St, Albury
    When: starting 4.30pm on Thursday 8 March

Read and hear further details here on the book Understanding and supporting Young Writers from Birth to 8.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

As well as attending the launch, Associate Professor Noella Mackenzie, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, is available for interviews between 9 and 10am on Thursday 8 March through CSU Media.

Free lecture celebrates our universal right to communicate

Monday 5 Mar 2018

A free public lecture celebrating the universal right to be able to communicate and the 20th year of speech pathology at Charles Sturt University (CSU) will be hosted by CSU in Albury-Wodonga next Wednesday evening, 7 March.

Award winning educator and CSU Professor of Speech and Language Acquisition Sharynne McLeod will present the lecture titled Communication as a Human Right, which will also celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Professor Sharynne McLeod has a long association with the CSU speech pathology program which commenced 20 years ago as part of the CSU School of Community Health in Albury. Professor McLeod is now with the School of Teacher Education in Bathurst.

Professor McLeod has also dedicated her life to upholding Article 19 of the UN Human Rights convention, which states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.

As part of the lecture, Professor McLeod will present her own work in this area.

The free lecture will be held on Wednesday 7 March, starting at 6pm. It will be held in the CD Blake Lecture Theatre (Building 751 Room 104), CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona.

Refreshments will be provided after the lecture.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

CSU celebrates IWD with a live-streamed Sydney Opera House event

Tuesday 27 Feb 2018

Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga will celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) by co-hosting an event in conjunction with the Sydney Opera House.

Head of Campus at CSU in Albury-Wodonga Dr Jenni Munday (pictured) said CSU in Albury-Wodonga will host a live-streaming satellite event from 12.30pm on Sunday 4 March.

“The annual All About Women (AAW) event on Sunday 4 March is one of Sydney Opera House’s flagship festivals and is a prelude to International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March,” Dr Munday said.

“This year the Sydney Opera House will be streaming three headline sessions and an exclusive backstage Q&A with a key speaker.

“It is a full afternoon of talks and discussions about ideas that matter to women, and provides an important platform for women’s voices.”

CSU Albury-Wodonga will stream the whole program, so attendees can choose to stay for one session or the entire afternoon.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Jennifer Munday.

The All About Women satellite event will be live-streamed from 12.30pm to 6pm on Sunday 4 March 2018 at the CD Blake Theatre at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

The full program for the All About Women event at the Sydney Opera House is available at

Multi book launch at CSU in Albury-Wodonga

Monday 26 Feb 2018

Charles Sturt University (CSU) will celebrate the launch on Tuesday 27 February of six books written and edited by members of the CSU Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS).

With topics ranging from healthy ageing, freshwater ecosystems in protected areas, and Pacific politics to empowering social workers, the books are encompassed by the ILWS mission to ‘undertake internationally recognised integrated environmental, social and economic research for rural and regional areas’.

ILWS director Professor Max Finlayson (pictured) said, “These books from a range of disciplines highlight the variety and depth of work undertaken by Institute members.

“Many books contain chapters written by other ILWS members, demonstrating the breadth of expertise available in ILWS for regional Australia.”

One author, Associate Professor Rik Thwaites, said his book on the current state and future of community forestry in the Himalayan nation of Nepal was the culmination of years of work by himself and four former students who have graduated with PhDs from CSU in recent years.

“Nepal is seen as a model and a laboratory for how community forest can be achieved, managed and implemented. But it is not without its problems, especially as the nation and its people change in the modern world, as we discuss in our book,” Professor Thwaites said.

The books to be launched are:

* Bernoth, M., & Winkler, D. (2017) (eds.) Healthy ageing and aged care. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

* Finlayson, C.M., Arthington, A.H., Pittock, J. (eds.) (2017) Freshwater Ecosystems in Protected Areas, Conservation and Management. Routledge.

* Midgley, J. & Pawar, M. (eds.) (2017) Future Directions in Social Development, New York. Palgrave Macmillan.

* O’Sullivan, D. (2017) Indigeneity: A politics of potential – Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. PolicyPress, University of Bristol.

* Pawar, M., Hugman, R., Alexandra, A., Anscombe, A.W.B. (eds.) (2017) Empowering Social workers. Virtuous practitioners. Springer.

* Thwaites, R., Fisher, R. & Poudel, M. (eds.) (2018) Community Forestry in Nepal: Adapting to a Changing World. Earthscan from Routledge.

The event will commence at 10.30am on Tuesday 27 February in the Gums Café, CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Many of the authors and editors will attend the event, which will be followed by a morning tea and conversations with them.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews.

New students arrive for Orientation Week at CSU

Thursday 15 Feb 2018

It’s time for ceremony, wide eyes and nervous feet as over 450 on-campus students are welcomed to their new educational adventure at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga during Orientation Week (O Week), commencing Monday 19 February.

CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said, “The start of the new academic year at the University is always an exciting time, particularly with the arrival of new students on campus for Orientation Week activities, followed by the return of continuing students.

“I welcome all new students, whether they are studying on campus or online.

“Charles Sturt University is committed to providing the best possible student experience, and sharing the University’s values so students become graduates who are insightful, inclusive, inspiring and who make a positive impact in their communities and professional disciplines.”

Orientation Week activities at CSU in Albury-Wodonga include:

  • - Commencement Ceremony: a formal academic procession commences the welcome to new students and their parents to CSU. Commencing at 10am on 19 February in CD Blake Auditorium, off Elizabeth Mitchell drive, Thurgoona (park in car park 2);
  • - Market Day: a ‘show’ day for local businesses and services for new students at CSU. To be held between 10.30am and 1 pm on 19 February (best time 11am to 1pm) in the main courtyard and nearby Gums Café, off Elizabeth Mitchell drive, Thurgoona (park in car park 2);
  • - Activity Day: on Tuesday 20 February to welcome new students studying with the School of Environmental Sciences, to be held from 10.30am to 3pm (best time 11am to 12.30pm) on Lake Hume at the Albury Wodonga Yacht Club, off Old Weir Road, Bonegilla.
  • - Activity Day: on Tuesday 20 February to welcome new students studying with the School of Community Health, to be held from 10am to 12pm in SoCH practice rooms at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Ellis St, Thurgoona.
  • - Enrolment and course information days: on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 February to engage new students in the ‘business’ part of Orientation Week, starting 9am at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell drive, Thurgoona (park in  car park 2).

Across the University, 2 785 new students in 2018 will study on campus. They join the more than 40 000 students who study at CSU, of which 21 per cent are international students from 120 countries studying on campus in Australia and overseas through partners or online.

Session One classes for students studying on campus commence on Monday 26 February.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Public lecture on rights and innovation for older workers

Thursday 8 Feb 2018

Older workers in Australia are facing a ‘Catch-22’ situation.

“Workforce trends and government policy tell us we will need to work longer before achieving a well-earned retirement,” says Head of Campus at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga, Dr Jennifer Munday.

“At the same time, many older workers report experiencing discrimination in their search for jobs.”

Dr Kay PattersonThe federal Age Discrimination Commissioner, The Honorable Dr Kay Patterson, AO, will address this dilemma and present some solutions in a free public lecture titled ‘Older Workers - Rights, Innovation and Inclusion’.

This free event will be held as part of the University’s Exploration Series at CSU in Albury-Wodonga on Tuesday 13 February.

“We invite the people of Albury-Wodonga and surrounding areas to meet Dr Patterson and hear about how we might resolve this dilemma,” Dr Munday said.

Dr Patterson will also discuss innovative opportunities for promoting the rights of older workers and creating an inclusive and productive workforce for Australia.

Event details:

When: 6pm - 7pm, Tuesday 13 February (followed by light refreshments)

Where: CD Blake Auditorium (Building 751, Room 104), CSU in Albury-Wodonga,
off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona

Parking: Car Park 2

About the Exploration Series

The Explorations Series brings speakers from diverse disciplines to CSU campuses to share the latest ideas, thinking and opinions on contemporary social, scientific and cultural issues.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

‘Grey’ water treated nature’s way

Thursday 1 Feb 2018

Water polluted in kitchens and bathrooms at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga has been cleaned up using nature and gravity, with some help from an award-winning scientist and the wetlands he designed.

Professor David Mitchell (centre in picture), formerly with the CSU Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) and CSIRO, designed a set of treatment ponds and wetlands to treat ‘grey’ water produced in academic and residential buildings on the University’s Thurgoona site.

Having previously won state, national and international awards for the water management and treatment system on the site, Professor Mitchell’s design has performed well for over 20 years.

ILWS director Professor Max Finlayson (left in picture) said, “Wetlands have been constructed across the world for more than 50 years to treat polluted water. The David Mitchell wetland system on our campus is a working demonstration of sustainable practice.

“The wetlands were constructed as part of the development of a new campus. It provided a marvellous opportunity to design an environmentally efficient, on-site water management system from scratch,” Professor Finlayson said.

“The number of thermo-tolerant coliform bacteria detected in treated grey water indicates the level of faecal contamination and whether this water can be re-used.

“To date, the treated water has passed every test, providing evidence that individual units of this nature are effective – they can treat grey water and meet initial expectations and specifications.”

Professor Finlayson believes this is but one example of Professor Mitchell’s immense contributions to the management of Australia’s aquatic ecosystems.

“His leadership has been widely recognised and his willingness to spend time advising and supporting others is an example to all. His contributions to the use of wetland plants to treat wastewater are just a part of his tremendous legacy,” Professor Finlayson said.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For interviews with Professor Max Finlayson, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, contact CSU Media.

Note that Friday 2 February is World Wetland Day.

For details on the David Mitchell wetlands, see these papers:

Mitchell, D.S., Chick, A.J., and Raisin, G.W., 1995. The use of wetlands for water pollution control in Australia: An ecological perspective. Water Science and Technology, 32: 365-375.

Mitchell, D.S., Croft, I., Harrison, T., and Webster-Mannison, M. 2001. Water management on the Thurgoona campus of Charles Sturt University. In: R.A. Patterson and M.J. Jones, Proceedings of On-site ’01 Conference: Advancing On-site Wastewater Systems. pp. 287-294.

Endangered turtles at risk from illegal nets

Thursday 23 Nov 2017

Trapped long-necked turtleThe use of illegal nets is placing populations of endangered species of native turtles at risk in Australia's inland waterways says a Charles Sturt University (CSU) expert.

"Our research shows the unthinking actions of people who fish for yabbies using 'opera house' nets are depleting populations of turtles, even here in Albury-Wodonga," said CSU researcher Dr James Van Dyke (pictured left), a turtle and tortoise expert with CSU's Institute for Land, Water and Society.

"I recently found a mature long-necked tortoise dead in one of these traps, which I pulled out of a dam in Thurgoona. Sadly, the female had got tangled in the trap and drowned.

"We know that there are very few young long-necked turtles left in the wild in southern Australia, particularly as foxes dig up over 95 percent of tortoise nests and eat the eggs and babies. So every unnecessary loss of an adult drives another nail in the coffin of this species as they take up to ten years to reach sexual maturity."

Dr Van Dyke hopes people will think twice about continuing to use these nets as they deplete many native species, not just turtles.

The busy researcher noted it is a busy time in general for native turtles, as they come out to nest during the spring storms.

"We are really keen to find where turtles are nesting and we have developed a mobile phone app to help us locate them," Dr Van Dyke said.

Members of the public can log the location of turtle nests they find at the TurtleSAT app, found here.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media for interviews with Dr James Van Dyke, who is based in Albury-Wodonga.

Picture caption: A dead turtle captured in an illegal 'opera house' net found in Albury-Wodonga.

CSU staff member paddles to world gold

Thursday 16 Nov 2017

Lisa SmallboneCharles Sturt University (CSU) staff member and paddler Dr Lisa Smallbone (pictured left) highlighted her sporting prowess as a member of the successful national dragon boat team, the Auroras, competing at the recent world championships in Kunming, China.

Dr Smallbone has returned to her Albury base with two gold medals as a member of the Australian Senior B Women's team that won both the 200-metre and 2000-metre championship finals. They defeated top teams from Canada and USA.

The keen sportsperson was part of a 200-strong national contingent that went to China for the championships, which were held from 18 to 22 October. This was the best result yet for the Australian Auroras at a world nations championship.

"It was a great honour to represent Australia and compete at such a high level," Dr Smallbone said.

"The racing was extremely close and we had to be highly focused and determined to beat Canada, who have dominated the masters division in world dragon boat racing in recent years.

"Their women's team had never been beaten before, and we managed to do it twice!"

Dr Smallbone is a member of Warriors Albury Wodonga Dragon Boat Club, based on the Border.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media for interview with Dr Lisa Smallbone, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Riverina-Murray literacy educators on the move

Tuesday 17 Oct 2017

Noella MackenzieLiteracy educators and parents in Albury-Wodonga and surrounding areas need to note two events and dates relevant to children's development of literacy and writing skills.

The Riverina-Murray Local Council of the Australian Literacy Educators' Association (ALEA) has recently relocated to Albury-Wodonga and will hold events for teachers in Albury-Wodonga on Wednesday 18 October and for parents/guardians at 7pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday 1 November.

The president of the new local council of ALEA Riverina Murray, Dr Noella Mackenzie (pictured), who is also senior lecturer in the School of Education in Albury-Wodonga, said the event on Wednesday 18 October is to launch the ALEA Riverina-Murray council. The launch will be at the Albury Library Museum from 4.30pm to 5.30pm, and this workshop is for primary and secondary teachers.

The free parent forum titled 'Helping young children to draw and write' will be held at Wodonga Primary School from 7pm to 8.30pm on Wednesday 1 November.

As a literacy development researcher, Dr Mackenzie will discuss the important drawing and writing milestones for children; the links between early drawing, writing and reading; some of the issues of writing in modern times such as hand writing and keyboarding; and ways for parents to support children as they learn to draw and write.

Dr Mackenzie said, "The teaching of writing and approaches to support children's development, have changed over time, reflecting shifts in theoretical models and perspectives of teaching and learning.

"Young children begin their writing journey creating meaning by combining talking, drawing, singing and role-playing, long before they engage in the mature written forms of their culture.

"If children see an advantage in being able to write, they will apply the same focused attention to learning how to write that they applied to learning to be oral language users.

"If we encourage and value drawing and talking, we can build a bridge between children's prior-to-school experiences, current systems of meaning-making, and the new system of writing. In this way, writing becomes a parallel means of meaning-making rather than a replacement for the drawing and talking they already do so well when they arrive at school.

"Children who are encouraged to draw, talk, write and share become confident, flexible writers who create more complex texts than when they are restricted to just writing," Dr Mackenzie said.

Dr Mackenzie explained that teaching handwriting and keyboarding has changed dramatically in the last decade with the rise of 'keyboarding', and it is this topic that she will discuss with teachers on Wednesday.

"Twenty or perhaps only ten years ago, learning to write by hand was an important milestone associated with starting school," she said. "Handwriting instruction began with pencils and printing (manuscript), with children graduating to pen and cursive script as they moved into the fourth year of school.

"According to the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, ACARA, 2016a) this is still the expectation of Australian schools.

"But in the last five or so years things have changed rapidly, as tablets and smart phones have become commonplace in many homes, with computers more visible in early childhood education settings and early years classrooms, and with the curriculum increasingly crowded. The accountability agenda that has resulted from high-stakes testing has also impacted what teachers in schools prioritise.

"However, to be literate in 21st century society requires the ability to flexibly create and interpret both print and digital texts. Most people use both keyboarding and handwriting at some stage throughout their day, as well as texting on their phone and/or using a touch screen on a digital tablet."

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Noella Mackenzie, senior lecturer in the School of Education in Albury-Wodonga.

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