Graduation time and celebrations are growing on the Border, with Charles Sturt University (CSU) this year holding four graduation ceremonies in Albury from Thursday morning, 28 April.
Over 820 graduates will be eligible to receive their doctorates, degrees, diplomas and certificates from CSU Chancellor Lawrie Willett, AO, with over 600 actually attending their ceremonies, together with more than 1 800 family and friends.
Highlighting the growing importance of research at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, this year 13 Doctors of Philosophy will be awarded to researchers from the Faculties of Business, Education and Science.
Venue: Albury Entertainment Centre, Swift Street, Albury
Thursday evening – New Dean of CSU’s Faculty of Business, Professor Lesley White.
Friday morning – Mr Mike Taylor, inaugural Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
Stories of interest from the ceremonies include:
Sister act for graduation (Thursday morning and afternoon)
Woodchopper shows great respect for feet (Thursday morning)
If CSU podiatry graduate Brent Smith says your foot is getting the chop, be afraid! Mr Smith is a NSW and national wood chopping champion who has combined his love for his sport with his studies and future career as a podiatrist
in regional Australia.
Getting social accountability into credit unions (Thursday afternoon)
Social and environmental sustainability are becoming important measures of modern businesses, with stockholders placing greater pressure on boards of directors to show how they ‘stack up’. CSU accounting researcher Dr Dianne McGrath has worked with smaller financial institutions based in regional Australia such as WAW Credit Union
on the Border to develop a framework for reporting on the social impacts of the organisation. “The framework also aims to improve the social accountability of organisations to their stakeholders such as stockholders and government regulators, in the same way that financial and environmental information is analysed by these groups,” Dr McGrath said.
Extra ceremony to cope with growth (Thursday evening)
A new ceremony has been added to CSU's graduation season in Albury-Wodonga, with over 160 new graduates from the University's Melbourne Study Centre choosing to receive their awards in Albury. Study Group Australia administers the centre, which offers CSU's undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in business, information technology and accounting. Established in 2006, the Melbourne centre hosts 470 students from 21 countries.
Foxes not taking the bait (Friday morning)
In Australia, the introduced Red Fox is a serious threat to livestock and a major predator of wildlife. Ecology researcher at CSU, Dr Andrew Carter, is passionate about the need to change the way foxes are currently controlled. “Native ground-dwelling fauna, such as the Bush Stone-curlew, are especially prone to fox attack. Fox control is a key management strategy for halting the decline of the curlew, which is mainly found on private farmland,” Dr Carter said. “We need to improve our understanding of where foxes live and how they move throughout agricultural landscapes so we can increase the efficiency of our control measures and stop the decline of the curlew in south-eastern Australia.”
A life with impaired speech (Friday morning)
Poorer results at school and unemployment could await people if speech impairment is not addressed at a young age. CSU researcher Dr Jane McCormack has looked beyond simply correcting children’s production of sounds and words to investigate the full impact of speech impairment on the lives of affected children and their families. “My studies have highlighted that speech impairment can affect a child’s whole life, as well as their families,” says Dr McCormack. Her work investigated how childhood speech impairment can limit life activities and gathered the experiences of children and their parents to describe how children with speech impairment relate to authority, with their friends and peers, parents and siblings, as well as how they progress at school. “Policy-makers, speech-language pathologists and educators can use this work to provide direction for timely and holistic intervention services for individuals with speech impairment, and their families,” Dr McCormack said.
Water stress main limit for new trees (Friday morning)
Water stress is a major constraint to eucalypt regeneration in grassy woodlands in south east Australia, according to studies completed by the newly graduated Dr Alison Skinner. The amount of weeds in the grass layer in these areas had less impact on bush regeneration than expected, as competition from grasses, even in sparse pastures, restricted tree seedling germination and survival, regardless of the species present. “Interestingly, tree seedling establishment was higher in an exotic pasture on a fertile soil than a degraded native pasture." Seed supply from mature adult trees and loss of seedlings from livestock grazing remain the greatest constraints to eucalypt regeneration on farms, “but by managing ground cover and grazing, we can help establish the next generation of trees, which are vital to wildlife on farms”.
Mountain wombats move with changing climate (Friday morning)
Areas suitable for wombat homes in the Snowy Mountains could increase by 16 per cent by 2050, according to a three-year study by a CSU researcher as part of her PhD studies. “But they are more likely to fill in areas around the same altitude rather than move upslope,” says Dr Alison Mathews. “This means we have to better manage existing areas where wombats roam now, rather than assume they will move higher up the slope as temperatures rise and snow cover diminishes.” Dr Mathews investigated the population ecology of the Common Wombat, Vombatus ursinus in the Snowy Mountains to better understand the environmental factors that limit where they currently live, and to predict where they will move with the effects of climate change.
Listen to the community to value the environment (Friday morning)
Natural resource managers around Australia and the world wrestle with how to 'value' different places in the environment, particularly when allocating funds and resources. Dr Eloise Seymour has used the little used social approach to evaluating the values communities place on important natural features, rather than simply putting economic values on them. While different parts of the community – urban and rural centres, farmers, environmental groups and natural resource managers - recognise the value of natural places for sustaining life and providing habitat for flora and fauna, “farmers expressed the widest range of values which reflects the tension they have between conserving the environment while making a living out of the land,” Dr Seymour said. “Different community sectors expressed varied environmental, social and economic values for natural places, so resource agencies need to involve a wider cross-section of the community in decision-making.” Her studies were conducted in the North Central region of Victoria, focusing on box-ironbark forests, the Moolort wetlands and the Loddon River.