A hub of higher learning for Cairns
CQUniversity will open a state-of-the-art centre in Cairns, further boosting the city's lucrative education sector.
The university hub has been welcomed by civic leaders who say it is another strong selling point in the region’s vision of becoming a leading study destination.
Vice-chancellor Scott Bowman is in Cairns to inspect the new Distance Education Study Centre, which will service more than 350 Far Northern students enrolled in the university.
The $500,000 hub, located in Florence St, will open in July and allow students to participate in live lectures broadcast via high-speed internet, access e-library and online resources, sit exams, form study groups and lodge assignments.
CQUniversity and the Queensland Ambulance Service are also planning to establish a study hub at the Cairns Ambulance Station for regional students enrolled in the Bachelor of Paramedic Science course.
Prof Bowman, a former deputy vice-chancellor at James Cook University’s Cairns campus, said the opening of the Distance Education Study Centre was a sign of confidence in the region’s economic future.
"We hope to enhance Cairns’ reputation as a university city which is a very attractive prospect for business, industry and families moving to the region," he said.
"The new centre will give CQUniversity a bricks-and-mortar presence in a city where we have been operating for years as one of Australia’s leading providers of distance education."
The study centre will be staffed by leading senior researchers, including international embryologist Prof Gabor Vajta and reproductive scientist Adjunct Prof Peter Richardson.
Prof Bowman yesterday met local state members Gavin King and Michael Trout and Federal MP Warren Entsch at the centre to outline the university’s plans.
Mr King said CQUniversity’s presence was a boon to a city that urgently needed to diversify its economic base.
He said the hub would further strengthen the region’s education sector and complement JCU, which alone is worth an estimated $86 million a year to the Cairns economy.
"We now have a two-university city but I’m not expecting to see the two universities competing for the same students," Mr King said. "Rather, I think they will complement one another."
Cairns woman Demi Bailey, who is studying first-year psychology externally through CQUniversity, was pleased with the new centre’s opening and said email had been her main form of contact with the university.
"The option to talk with someone face-to-face as I progress my distance education will help ensure a more friendly and approachable interaction," she said.
Popular programs via distance education at CQUniversity include health and medical sciences; business, accounting and law; humanities, and built environment and design.
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Smart move: Member for Cairns Gavin King and CQUniversity vice-chancellor Prof Scott Bowman discuss plans for the new education centre in the North.