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International visitors check out innovative engineering degree

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Andrea GoncherA visiting delegation from the USA will be in Bathurst this week to examine the engineering degree offered at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Bathurst.

Engineering lecturer Dr Andrea Goncher said the CSU course is fast becoming recognised as a global leader in innovative education for engineers.

"The visitors from the Minnesota Institute of Engineering (MIE) recognise that our degree embeds our students in industry very early in their studies, which enables them to develop professional and practice-based skills through industry experience early in their engineering course," Dr Goncher said.

"MIE identified our engineering degree as a global leader and state-of-the-art program in engineering education, and we are looking to share our experiences and expertise to identify strategies that help them to embed their students in US industry."

The original Iron Range engineering program previously used in Minnesota provides a four-year degree based on practical industry experience. The degree is accredited through Minnesota State University, Mankato, and is located in Virginia, Minnesota.

Other partners in the Minnesota Institute of Engineering include Mesabi Range College and Itasca Community College, which are similar to Australian TAFE colleges.

Tour leader Mr Ron Ulseth said MIE is inspired by CSU Engineering and the Iron Range model.

"The new MIE model of engineering education uses features from Charles Sturt University and Iron Range models so our graduates will have a set of attributes necessary to practice in this century," he said. 

Dr Goncher said both programs emphasise strong industry collaborations and aim to deliver distinctive curricular experiences.

"We want to deliver better engineering solutions that address the needs of the local community, our society and the world," she said.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
For interviews with Dr Andrea Goncher and visiting delegates from the Minnesota Institute of Engineering, contact CSU Media.

Hamlet opens 16 May at CSU Riverina Playhouse

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Hamlet UTE May 2017The University Theatre Ensemble (UTE) production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet opens on Tuesday 16 May for five nights at the Riverina Playhouse at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga.

Hamlet is the first production of UTE's 2017 season and is directed by Dr Robert Lewis, a lecturer in acting for stage and screen in the CSU School of Communication and Creative Industries in Wagga Wagga.

"Hamlet is arguably one of the world's most famous tragedies," Dr Lewis said. "It is set in the Kingdom of Denmark, a country on the brink of war, and is a story about a family and a man torn apart by murder, revenge, madness and living in a world of other people's appearances.

"This adaptation of Hamlet is performed by Charles Sturt University second-year Bachelor of Stage and Screen (Acting) students. The character of Hamlet is performed by a chorus, with each of chorus member representing an aspect of Hamlet's psyche such as lust, ambition, greed, revenge and torment.

"Our students are so lucky to have the CSU Riverina Playhouse as their performance venue," Dr Lewis said.

"UTE is unique in the fact that it is not only the performance arm of the Bachelor of Stage and Screen, it is also a vehicle for assessment, where students learn the craft of acting, take risks, and perform in challenging works."

Hamlet opens at the CSU Riverina Playhouse on Tuesday 16 May at 7.30pm, then plays Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 May at 7.30pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2pm.

Tickets can be booked at the Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre Booking Office, telephone 6926 9688, or are available at the door. The University continues its policy of providing excellent value for money with tickets prices of $20 full price, $18 for groups (5 or more), $15 concession, and $12.50 for students. Book online at http://www.civictheatre.com.au/

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Robert Lewis.

Publicity image of the 2017 UTE production of Hamlet - photo credit: Rachel Baird

Participants sought for study into coloured rice health benefits

Monday 15 May 2017

The potential health benefits of coloured rice is the subject of new research at the Functional Grains Centre at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga.

CSU PhD students Kiara Thompson and Esther CallcottParticipants in the study are being sought by CSU PhD students Ms Kiara Thompson and Ms Esther Callcott as they investigate if the bioactive compounds in whole grain coloured rice varieties have therapeutic effects for obesity and related diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

 "The seed coats of coloured rice are rich in antioxidants and our aim is to test the role of these chemical compounds in reducing blood clotting, inflammation and chemical damage to cells in overweight or obese people and in those who have type 2 diabetes," Ms Callcott said.

The researchers are seeking people who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes to take part in the study. They will be asked to complete a health and food questionnaire, body measurement and give a small sample of blood.

"We'd like to hear from people who are overweight or obese, that is those with a Body Mass Index of greater than 24.9, and or, those who have type 2 diabetes," Ms Thompson said.

"To take part in the study people need to be non-smokers, aged between 18 and 65, who are not pregnant and who don't suffer any chronic diseases.

"We also need to ensure they're not taking anti-inflammatory or anti-clotting medication."

The research is supervised by Dr Abishek Santhakumar and Professor Chris Blanchard from CSU's School of Biomedical Sciences.

The Functional Grains Centre is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre and is an initiative of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.

For further information about how to take part in the study, please email Ms Kiara Thompson or Ms Esther Callcott.

Media Contact: Emily Malone , 0439 552 385

Media Note:

PhD students Ms Calcott and Ms Thompson will be available for interview at 10:30am on Monday 15 May at the National Life Sciences Hub (NaLSH), building 289, near car park 70 off Nathan Cobb Drive at CSU in Wagga Wagga.

To attend contact Graham Centre Communications Officer Ms Emily Malone 0439 552 385 or email emalone@csu.edu.au

The research has been approved by CSU's Human Research Ethics Committee.

You, Us, Here, Now in Albury-Wodonga

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Local community organisations, future needs for professionals in a sustainable world and a vulnerable frog all feature in a Sustainability Day being hosted at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 11 May.

Organiser Ms Kerry Read said the theme 'You, Us, Here, Now!' focuses on how to address sustainability at three levels: as individuals, as an organisation and in the community.

"We want to show how we as individuals can be more sustainable in our everyday lives, highlight to Charles Sturt University students and staff what we do about sustainability as an organisation, and create awareness of opportunities and organisations available in the local community that are focused on sustainability," Ms Read said.

Running from 10am to 2pm at 'The Gums', the day will include information stalls with advice on how to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, how we can use sustainable practices in our careers, volunteering opportunities with local organisations, and details about the Sloane's Froglet, a vulnerable species that calls CSU in Albury-Wodonga home.

"Even our food has been selected with sustainability in mind, based on minimal packaging and lower associated carbon emissions," Ms Read said. The day also has local entertainment and a trivia event.

President of the local student representative council, Ms Claire Garner, said Sustainability Day aimed to show CSU students the roles they could play in a sustainable world.

"We all struggle to be sustainable in our lives. This festival showcases ways we can improve the sustainability in our daily activities, in ways we may not have previously known, and to become more aware of unsustainable practices," Ms Garner said.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For interviews with event organiser Ms Kerry Read and student representative Ms Claire Garner, contact CSU Media.

The 'You, Us, Here, Now!' festival runs from 10am to 2pm on Thursday 11 May at the Gums Café, CSU in Albury-Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona.

CSU student fundraising assists medical research

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Students at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga have again shown their support for the community after raising more than $800 for the Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI).

As part of the Jeans for Genes fundraising program, the University's Residence Life student leaders hosted a 'Double Denim' event on campus on Wednesday 3 May.

Students donated a gold coin to attend the barbeque to raise money for research to cure and treat childhood diseases.

A cheque for $873 was presented to the Institute's Ms Helen Chamberlain on Wednesday 10 May by Head Resident and veterinary science student Mr Hughie Ryan (left). He was accompanied by fellow students Mr Luke Schulz and Mr Hamish Pennington and CSU assistant catering manager Mr Mike Bailey (far right).

Media Contact: Fiona Halloran , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:
Through Residence Life, CSU offers a range of accommodation and support for students living on campus. Read more here.

Calling householders to Power Down

Monday 8 May 2017

Low energy light bulbsA project coordinated by Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers is helping local householders in the Lavington and North Albury areas reduce their power costs.

Working with Albury City Council and the NSW Environment Trust, the 'Powering Down' program will deliver $15 000 in assistance and advice to lower income families to curb the incidence of power disconnections in these areas.

Project leader Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, in CSU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said, "Power disconnections in these suburbs are above the national average. An older resident told me that it's too expensive to stay at home these days. She said many people go to shopping centres and public places because of the high cost of heating and cooling.

"Low-income households have to be the most frugal electricity users, yet they spend a higher proportion of their income on energy costs."

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, lowest income households consume 31 per cent less electricity than the national average. Yet in the same households, energy costs absorb seven per cent of their income compared to the national average of two per cent.

"The up-front costs of energy efficient appliances or fittings are one part of the problem. They are considered luxuries in many low-income households," Dr Masterman-Smith said.

To address these costs, the program will provide the first 50 low-income households who register with Powering Down with energy efficient items worth $300, as well as advice on how to further reduce their bills.

Any North Albury and Lavington resident can also compete for the 'Powering Down Cup', which includes large gift vouchers for the 'Biggest Losers and the Lowest Users of Electricity'.

"We believe that by addressing people's electricity use, we can reduce stress on people's budgets and the environment," Dr Masterman-Smith said.

In addition, the project team will commence a household survey in the suburbs to draw a clearer picture of energy security and stress in this community.

To participate in the Powering Down project, phone 6040 7813 or visit the Global Village Community Co-operative at 1076 Mate St, North Albury.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For interviews with Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, call CSU Media or Dr Masterman-Smith on mobile 0403 766 996.

More information on the Powering Down project is available here.

Posthumous honours for Geoff Honey

Saturday 6 May 2017

Charles Sturt University (CSU) will hold a dedication ceremony on Monday 8 May to posthumously honour the life of Mr Geoff Honey, Executive Director of Student Administration. 

The ceremony from 10am under the Chinese elm tree at CSU in Wagga Wagga will mark the first anniversary of the 51 year old's sudden death on Sunday 8 May, 2016.

A plaque has been organised by the Wagga Wagga High School classmates of Mr Honey and CSU.

In addition, a Charles Sturt University Foundation scholarship has been established in his name. 

The annual Geoff Honey Memorial Scholarship provides valuable support to a new CSU student experiencing financial hardship.

Mr Honey's widow Cheryl Honey, who also works at CSU, said she was very touched her husband would be remembered in this way.

"Geoff would be delighted with this honour and would wish me to thank everyone involved," Mrs Honey said.

CSU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) Professor Ken Dillon said the scholarship was something that Geoff would have liked.

"Geoff was a long serving Executive Director of Student Administration and I think he would be a bit chuffed with this new scholarship offered through the Charles Sturt University Foundation," Professor Dillon said.

"We all miss Geoff and this dedication will help us remember his significant personal and professional contributions to the University and the Wagga Wagga community."

During graduation at CSU in Wagga Wagga in December 2016, the University Council posthumously conferred the title of Doctor of Business (honoris causa) on Mr Geoff Honey.

Media Contact: Fiona Halloran , 0439 475 315

Media Note:

The media is invited to attend the dedication ceremony for the late Mr Geoff Honey from 10am on Monday 8 May under the Chinese elm tree outside the Graham Building (number 229) near Joyes Hall, Albert Pugsley Place, CSU in Wagga Wagga.

The Charles Sturt University Foundation provides scholarships to CSU students. The scholarships are made available through the generous donations provided by individuals, companies and organisations.

Spectacular Egyptian textiles in Wagga

Thursday 4 May 2017

Sam Bowker with textileOnly a few days remain to see a unique example of Egyptian art at the HR Gallop Gallery (building 21) at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga.

Dr Sam Bowker (pictured with the textile), lecturer in art history and visual culture in the CSU School of Communication and Creative Industries in Wagga Wagga, said the exhibit of a very rare and spectacular example of 19th century Egyptian tentmaker applique – known as Khedival khayamiya – is part of the exhibition 'Have Poets Left a Patch to Sew?' at the gallery.

The show includes new digital animations and soundscapes by Rachel Walls and Dr Damian Candusso, recreating the 'Street of the Tentmakers' in Cairo, as well as new poems from the Booranga Writer's Centre.

"These art works represent a meeting of the contemporary high-tech and the historic handmade," Dr Bowker said.

"The two elements overlap between two teaching and research strengths of Charles Sturt University ─ our innovative approaches to both photography and Islamic art.

"This exhibit is called the Thatcher Panel. It was made around 1900, and it's enormous; it fills the whole wall with intricate geometric patterns, exquisite sewing and complex calligraphy. It's on loan from a collection in the UK, and has never been displayed in Australia. This is your only chance to see it in person before we digitise it."

This week CSU's Mr Timothy Crutchett will take a series of high-tech gigapan photographs of the exhibit. His previous 'gigapan khayamiya' can be seen here - http://scci.csu.edu.au/gigapixelproject/ 

Egyptian textile 1 closeupJust click on an example, view it on full screen, then zoom in slowly.

"The resolution on these digital images is mind-blowing," Dr Bowker said. "It allows the viewer to see individual stitches from many metres away. These 'gigapans' help to preserve this endangered Egyptian textile art by letting huge or fragile textiles be studied online, accessible to anyone who wants to see them."

Dr Bowker explained that the significance of the exhibit is not that the textile is temporarily available for view, but rather it is the actual CSU project of hi-tech digitisation of this textile.

"This is significant because we're breaking new ground with photographic technology using a remarkable Egyptian textile," Dr Bowker said. "The time it spends on the wall is only intended to be brief, because the photographs through the gigapan system at Charles Sturt University are extraordinary.

"These kinds of photographs are usually used for large-scale landscape panoramas, not textile surfaces. The Google Cultural Institute uses a similar technology, but we're using it for Egyptian khayamiya."

The exhibit finishes after 4pm on Friday 5 May.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Dr Samuel Bowker or phone him on 0414 659 631.

BEST evidence for stroke patients

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers are working with local health services to improve the rehabilitation of adults who have had strokes in southern NSW.

CSU's Dr Melissa Nott and Dr Leah Wiseman from Albury Wodonga Health are seeking to improve the uptake and use of evidence-based guidelines from the National Stroke Foundation to help people who have had a stroke in a single comprehensive website.

The website was developed in collaboration between CSU, Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Albury-Wodonga Health as part of the Best Evidence for Stroke Therapies (BEST) project.

"We developed the BEST website to encourage people with stroke to drive their own recovery with assistance from their carers and local clinicians," said Dr Nott, a researcher and occupational therapy lecturer with the School of Community Health at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

['Cheryl' from Wagga Wagga tells her story here on the importance of a team approach to her rehabilitation after a stroke.]

Resources available for patients and carers on the website include 'step-by-step' guides, information and instructions sheets and videos, home activity records and goal setting worksheets. On the same site, clinicians can access 'how-to' videos, implementation checklists and evidence summaries to help them implement and evaluate their stroke-related care.

"We wanted to provide all the information that would be needed by both patients and clinicians so that clinicians feel more confident to implement the National Stroke Guidelines and that patients receive the best quality care," Dr Nott said.

"Geographical distance from health services can make it difficult for patients in regional NSW to access outpatient services once they have been discharged from hospital. This website offers an alternative way to ensure all patients can access the highest quality rehabilitation."

Stroke is associated with cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death and disease burden in Australia. The rate of cardiovascular disease in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District is significantly higher than the NSW average and is a priority area for the region.

The BEST project uses the website as part of an investigation into how to improve outcomes for people who have had a stroke in regional and remote areas of Australia.

The project and website will be officially launched in Wagga Wagga at the Acute Stroke Unit, Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital, at 12.30pm on Thursday 4 May.

Results from the project are due in June 2018. The project is funded by NSW Health and its Translational Research Grant Scheme.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
For interviews with Dr Melissa Nott, contact CSU Media.

FACTS Day at CSU Bathurst for high school students

Monday 1 May 2017

Flags CSU Bathurst gatewayAn estimated 800 senior high school students from the NSW Central West will attend the annual Facts About Careers and Tertiary Study (FACTS) Day at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Bathurst on Thursday 4 May.

CSU prospective student adviser Ms Melinda Negus said, "The FACTS Day provides students the opportunity to speak to and hear from a range of career-offering organisations and higher education providers.

"This is an important time in the students' lives as they approach the Higher School Certificate and end of secondary school and are considering their next moves and career paths. The information and insights on offer can help to make their decisions about their futures less daunting."

Organised by the Central West Careers Advisers Association and hosted by CSU, the day will be divided into two sessions: Session 1 from 10.30am to 11.30am, and Session 2 from 11.45am to 12.45 pm.

Speakers at the event will include Ms Hilary Matchett ( Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) graduate), Mr Jake Mayhew (current Bachelor of Physiotherapy student), and Mr Jarryd De Castro ( Bachelor of Justice Studies (Policing) graduate).

Participating schools include Kandos High School, Orange Christian School, Orange High School, The Scots School (Bathurst), St Stanislaus College (Bathurst), All Saints College (Bathurst), James Sheahan Catholic High School (Orange), Cowra High School, Bathurst High School, Blayney High School, Canobolas High School (Orange), MacKillop College (Bathurst), Oberon High School, St Raphael's Catholic School (Cowra), Molong Central School, and Canowindra High School.

Some of the exhibitors at the FACTS Day include University Admissions Centre (UAC), Sydney University, Newcastle University, the Australian Defence Force, and Centennial Coal.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with CSU prospective student advisor Ms Melinda Negus. Mr Des Crawford, President of Central West Careers Adviser Association, Denison College/Bathurst Campus is available for interview on 0422 822 926.

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