Social innovation and the SDGs
Our commitment to social innovation education means that its graduates have the capabilities and mindset to positively shape their world. It also means that they are equipped with ‘future of work' skills, such as creativity, innovation and collaborative leadership.
More than 35 per cent of courses have social innovation components and initiatives embedded into the curriculum. We have continuously expanded the activities and opportunities available, to develop this social innovation mindset. For example, many courses include iChange as an introduction to social innovation during the first year of study (such as the Bachelor of Psychology and the Bachelor of Criminology).
Students across many courses also have opportunities to think about entrenched social issues, explore the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and learn how to creatively and effectively problem-solve with their peers. The Office of Social Innovation (OSI) supported the development of extra-curricular activities such as the Festival of Change (FoC), a virtual event held over three days, to engage staff and students in social innovation-related activities.
Other Social Innovation work undertaken in 2021 included:
- the annual Festival of Change
- a dedicated page of Social Innovation resources on the University’s StaffNet site
- a human-centred Design session at the Student Leadership Conference
- a Social Innovation Education Community of Practice
- Central highlands Social Enterprise launched
- the iActivate short course launched through the Centre for Professional Development
- Education strategy for social impact released
Educational resources 2021
View a sample of the activities where we have collaborated and engaged with stakeholders in the development of educational resources that align to themes of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Strengthening food security in Fiji
Our researchers in Public Health, Agriculture and Nutrition have collaborated on an international project to empower the lives of Fijian women with the potential to strengthen food security, health outcomes and maximise economic impacts.
10,000 Steps program
We lead the 10,000 Steps program to improve community health and wellbeing. It is a program that started in Rockhampton and is now a national community-based health initiative.
Regional Medical Pathway
In partnership with the University of Queensland, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CQHHS) and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) we launched the Regional Medical Pathway (RMP). The RMP will help to address the critical issue of ensuring regional health workforces are equipped to meet future needs. The Pathway will see students complete a three-year Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) course with our university, before moving into UQ’s four-year MD program that will be offered in full in Bundaberg and Rockhampton. The Hospital and Health Services will then provide student placements, internship opportunities and postgraduate training places within their regional footprints.
Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research
The mission of the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research (QCDFVR) is to contribute to the prevention of and response to violence against women and children through research, education and sector support. The following are two initiatives delivered by the QCDFVR:
- Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Forum – This was the 17th Annual Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Forum hosted by QCDFVR. The forum featured presentations and workshops on research, prevention, trauma, and healing.
- Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury Forum – Hosted by QCDFVR, this half-day forum featured the issue of domestic violence and brain injuries
Our University in collaboration with community service entities and other universities has developed the Choices program to educate year 12 school students on safe behaviour in their post Year 12 school celebrations.
iActivate – Design and Grow Business for Good developed to provide a self-paced and ultra-flexible course to guide aspiring and early career social entrepreneurs from idea to impact. This partnership between Impact Boom and our University is supporting 'business for good' to change the world.
Gladstones STEM Central
Gladstone's STEM Central has partnered with a number of organisations for funding to deliver exciting experiences for students in Central Queensland. More than 600 students, preservice teachers, community members and staff got to explore and expand their STEM knowledge and skills with a series of COVID-safe events.
- The Science Experience
Year 9 and 10 school students broadened their knowledge of STEM, business and entrepreneur skills with a trip to Quoin Island with several rotations including The Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Tangaroa Blue, CMERC, Harbour Watch, a tour of the Gladstone facilities, drone flying, virtual reality along with guest speakers’ presentations from our staff and stakeholders.
Year 10 Indigenous students attended campus as part of their career development to investigate potential career opportunities in the region.
- Queensland Virtual STEM Academy
Students from several schools were lucky enough to access seagrass meadows and coral rock pools to collect seagrass seeds, assisting with the research CMERC are currently undertaking as well as experience some hands-on STEM activities on the barge.
- First Lego League
More than 300 students battled it out at the annual STEM event. This experience has students develop solutions to various challenges while introducing them to STEM through fun, hands-on learning.
- School Visits
Schools have taken the opportunity through COVID-19 restrictions to explore the facilities and resources of STEM Central. This included 80 Year 5 students from Calliope who attended to undertake a Leadership Camp.
- Indigenous STEM Camp
Gladstone and Boyne Island have been hosting a unique five-day camp aimed at closing a key education gap by enhancing Indigenous kids’ engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
RACE – Gippsland
RACE - Gippsland delivers a range of hands-on, interactive, and engaging activities to primary and secondary students focused on raising aspirations in agriculture and building student capacity in STEM, digital technologies, agribusiness, manufacturing and food and fibre concepts.
The Safety Circus is an engaging theatre production delivered by the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, which imparts important safety messages to children around the areas of road safety (wearing helmets on bikes and scooters), bullying (using bystander behaviours to change the outcome of bullying), and use of a safety network to find a trusted adult.
Central Highlands Social Enterprise Program
We have partnered with Central Highlands Community Services (CHCS) with funding from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal to deliver the Central Highlands Social Enterprise Project. This project included several events and workshops across the Central Highlands communities to develop skills in working in social enterprise organisations.
TeacherFX (Teacher Farm Experience)
The Teacher Farm Experience Program aims to increase the knowledge and confidence of STEM, digital technology and agriculture educators to allow them to incorporate food and fibre production into their teaching programs. As part of this partnership with Rabobank, our university has developed innovative and interactive resources for teachers to take back to the classroom and an evaluation framework to determine its success.
Women in Agri-tech Initiative
The 'Women in Agri-tech’ project will create and foster a strong network of females who will become leaders in digital literacy, STEM and entrepreneurship in regional, rural and remote areas. They will be guided and mentored by female researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs to develop engaging learning resources which will, in turn, inspire girls in the classroom to realise the opportunities available to them.
Skilling Queenslanders for Work Program
We partnered with various stakeholders to help the Rockhampton region's unemployed learn new skills and improve their everyday lives through the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program funded by the Queensland Government's Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.
Project Booyah in collaboration with Queensland Police, Police Citizen Youth Club and the Queensland Government provides at-risk students with hospitality training.
Whanu Binal Indigenous Entrepreneur Program
We have partnered with Arrow Energy to deliver their Whanu Binal Indigenous Entrepreneur Program. This partnership was established in 2019 and continued to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and individual workers throughout 2021 and is designed for Indigenous Entrepreneurs, executives, managers and Traditional Custodians.
Women In Agri-tech
The ‘Women in Agri-tech’ project will create and foster a strong network of female teachers who will become leaders in digital literacy, STEM and entrepreneurship in regional, rural and remote areas. They will be guided by female researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs to develop engaging learning resources which will, in turn, inspire girls in the classroom to realise the opportunities available to them.
Women in Agri-tech offer a range of programs and events for students and women in agriculture. This includes the Pitch Competition and the free access to twelve learning modules suitable for Year 7-12 students featuring agri-tech tools and systems which were written by the participants of the Women in Agri-tech project.
Women In STEM
With only one-quarter of students studying STEM in Australia being women, we aim to inspire young women to pursue careers in science through programs and events including Whitsunday STEM Challenge and the 2021 CQU Qld Pedal Prix Super Series. Events such as these work to change society's gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM.
Women In Innovation and Sustainability
Our annual Festival of Change is an online and on campus event celebrating and inspiring social innovation. The 2021 launch event, Female Champions of Sustainability showcased a panel of female innovators and entrepreneurs and aimed to inspire other women to create change by sharing their experiences and achievements.
Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network
The Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network (CQRASN) is striving to deliver excellent regional arts programs and services to ensure that our Central Queensland communities are connected, creative and cultural communities to live and work. This project leads a series of activities and events across the Wide Bay and Burnett. Delivering workshops and forums, as well as networking and festival events.
Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music
The Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music is proud of its reputation for providing a supportive, nurturing and friendly environment for exceptional students to work with award-winning staff.
2021 STEM Expo – Resource of Educators
CMERC Researchers and RHD Students held a stall at the event for Coastal and Marine Science. The STEM Expo is held annually for Gladstone STEM Educators and Community Members with an interest in Citizen Science.
Future Leaders Eco Challenge (FLEC)
The Future Leaders Eco Challenge is an annual reef education event hosted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) with our university taking part. The event aims to see students, teachers, their communities and local environmental agencies make positive environmental changes for the marine environment.
Director of CMERC Associate Professor Emma Jackson explained how our contribution celebrates the importance of our coastal habitats and educates on our environmental impact.
The Island Classroom
We have partnered with Great Keppel Island Hideaway to create an Island Classroom for students and staff. This initiative will see students and researchers work on real-world projects that contribute to environmental sustainability.
Girls STEM Camp
We hosted over 40 female high school students from account the region and on Curtis Island, promoting courses and seagrass restoration research. CMERC researchers ran an activity with the Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre.
Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre
Our Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) has been established to work with coastal industries and communities to develop practical and sustainable solutions for our unique coast and marine environments. Some educational resources developed through CMERC are:
- CMERC hosted a Caring for Oiled Wildlife Course by Incident Response Unit, Environmental Services and Regulation Division, Department of Environment and Science. CMERC staff, major Gladstone industries (including GPC) and community groups attended.
- CMERC researchers represented us at Oceanfest 2021 with displays about seagrass restorations and microplastics research activities.
- CMERC researchers presented a 'Surviving on Mars with Seaweed' segment at the CQU STEM area at the World Science Festival Gladstone Community Day, which saw 1,756 visitors to the event.
- CMERC researcher was one of three guest scientists to talk to over 880 school students and teachers at the World Science Festival Gladstone Student Day, about 'Cool jobs'. The session also included the students visiting the STEM Mission to Mars and Q and A with science celebrity Dr Karl.
- CMERC and seagrass researchers from Melbourne, Wales, Netherlands, Spain and Plymouth formed the Global Seagrass Nursery Network, to share seagrass nursery research across the globe through a series of workshops, seminars and the development of protocols.
- Professional Learning for Educators (Page 17) – CMERC engaged with three local groups – primary and secondary school teachers and teaching students on Quoin Island. CMERC assisted with the discussion and practice of scientific surveying methods and interpreting the relevance to students of all ages.
- CMERC collaborated with international seagrass community to produce the Seagrass Restoration Handbook to aid practitioners to undertake seagrass restoration. CMERC contributed to the chapters on public engagement and communications for restoration; Seagrass Restoration in Practice, and Getting Started: Restoration Project design, planning, permitting, licensing and funding.
Fitzroy Basin Association - Ridgelands Landholder Support
Our students were able to gain practical experience by assisting Ridgelands landholders with Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management. Students built dams to prevent soil loss.
Community Seagrass Flower Harvest
Passionate citizen scientists have joined researchers from the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) to collect seagrass flowers in Gladstone Harbour, for the final harvest of the season.
Agri-tech Education is a collection of projects aimed to showcase the scientific and digital skills required in the agricultural industry to upskill the current agricultural workforce and attract the next generation to work in the food and fibre production sector.
Women in Agri-tech
The ‘Women in Agri-tech’ project will create and foster a strong network of female teachers who will become leaders in digital literacy, STEM and entrepreneurship in regional, rural and remote areas.
TeacherFX (Teacher Farm Experience)
The Teacher Farm Experience program aims to increase the knowledge and confidence of STEM, digital technology and agriculture educators to allow them to incorporate food and fibre production into their teaching programs.
RACE – Gippsland
Raising Aspirations in Careers and Education - Gippsland (RACE – Gippsland) will deliver a range of hands-on, interactive and engaging activities to primary and secondary students focused on building student capacity in STEM, digital technologies, agribusiness, manufacturing and food and fibre concepts.
Gladstone STEM Partnerships
The Queensland Chief Scientist, Professor High Possingham launched the new Queensland Government Partner-Up Queensland Regional Science and Innovation Network (The Network) which will be hosted at our Gladstone Marina campus, with support from Inspiring Australia STEM hub network, the Gladstone Connects team, Gladstone Regional Council, Australia Pacific LNG, Rio Tinto, StartUp Gladstone, Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre and the University’s Coastal Marine Ecosystem Research Centre (CMERC).
Parasites in the Wild - Citizen Scientist Program
Passionate Citizen Scientists have joined researchers to collect and identify ticks using field and laboratory equipment and easy-to-understand identification keys. Citizen Scientists will be able to get hands-on in the design and construction of laboratory and field equipment, including tick traps.