Hundreds of years teaching experience; Charles Sturt celebrates regional teacher education

9 NOVEMBER 2022

Hundreds of years teaching experience; Charles Sturt celebrates regional teacher education

Charles Sturt University celebrated the collective contribution of alumni of the Bathurst Teachers' College (BTC) when they gathered to commemorate 71 years since the first intake of students.

  • Approximately 100 Bathurst Teachers’ College (BTC) alumni were present for the luncheon at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst to celebrate 71 years since the first intake of students on Tuesday 8 November
  • The alumni collectively represented hundreds of years of teaching experience and contribution to regional development
  • Charles Sturt has contributed more than 26,000 education graduates from the Bathurst campus, and new federal and state government funding will expand future teacher education

Charles Sturt University celebrated the collective contribution of alumni of the Bathurst Teachers’ College (BTC) when they gathered to commemorate 71 years since the first intake of students.

BTC is one of the predecessor institutions of Charles Sturt University and was established on the site of the Bathurst Experimental Farm in 1951 to contribute teachers to schools in rural Australia.

This event, which took place on Tuesday 8 November, was originally scheduled last year for the 70th year since the first intake but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon and the Head of the School of Education Associate Professor Will Letts welcomed the approximately 100 BTC alumni, 29 of whom were ‘pioneer’ graduates.

Professor Leon said the luncheon was an opportunity to mark the significance and impact those early years of Bathurst Teachers’ College made on the rich foundation upon which Charles Sturt University thrives today.

“Our success is grounded in the qualities we draw from the University’s remarkable predecessor institutions - our sense of community, excellence in education and resilience,” she said.

“At Charles Sturt, Yindyamarra Winhanganha is our purpose and guiding principle. It is a Wiradjuri phrase meaning ‘the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in’ and it underpins everything we do.

“Charles Sturt University students and alumni continue to create a world worth living in by contributing positively to the lives of others every day, many in rural and regional Australia.”

Professor Leon noted that the teacher education program that commenced in 1951 with BTC’s first intake of students and supplied the rural schools of Australia is mirrored today with 75 per cent of Charles Sturt graduates still working in a regional area after graduation.

“The ripple effect this has on our regional communities is immeasurable,” she said.

“To quantify the impact of education from this place, Bathurst Teachers’ College produced more than 3,000 education graduates between the years of 1951 to 1969. Mitchell College of Advanced Education produced approximately 6,000 between the years of 1970 to 1988. Charles Sturt University has added a further 17,500 education graduates and continues to grow.

“This equates to well over 26,000 education graduates from our Bathurst campus alone.

“These graduates have the potential to change lives, inspire dreams, and push the limits of human potential. Each of our alumni in this room today is living history and testament to the impact your admirable profession has on the future for all, and each one of you is a vital and valued part of our Charles Sturt University story. I thank you.”

Professor Leon also noted the federal government has demonstrated its confidence in Charles Sturt to supply future regional teachers through funding for 320 additional Commonwealth Supported places for education, and the NSW Government has provided $500,000 to fund the University’s ground-breaking Collaborative Teacher’s Aide Pathway.

This innovative program aims to address Australia’s troubling shortage of teachers by retraining and upskilling teacher’s aides, Aboriginal Education Officers and other classroom support personnel, making it faster and easier for them to become qualified classroom teachers.

Special guest speaker at the luncheon was alumna Mrs Michelle Michael from the NSW Department of Education, where she is Director of the NSW COVID-19 Taskforce: Learning from Home, and Director of Support and Rural Initiatives.

Mrs Michael delivered an engaging live-video presentation that involved ‘live’ crosses to online students aged 8 to 10 years who are studying remotely on vast homestead properties in the far-flung western regions of NSW. These include near Pooncarie (north of Mildura and south of Menindee), and Broken Hill in the west, and Cameron’s Corner, where the borders of NSW-South Australia-Queensland meet in the north-west.

Her presentation impressed the audience; it demonstrated how much the distance teaching online technology has evolved and included a demonstration of virtual reality.


Media Note:

To arrange interviews contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or via news@csu.edu.au 

Photos: (Top) Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon addresses the BTC alumni at the luncheon

In-text: Bathurst Teachers' College memorabilia photos

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