Engaged Learning and Teaching 2010


Choices Applied Theatre Program

Actors mid-performance of Choice Applied Theatre Program. School student audience watching.

Judith Brown, Sean Perez, Katelyn Ryan, Lisa McKay - MACKAY

'Choices' is an applied theatre program that has been in operation for over 11 years. It was developed by staff and students of CQUniversity in conjunction with several Government agencies (Queensland Health, Queensland Police Service, Department of Communities and Queensland transport) and with input from the Queensland Ambulance service and Whitsunday Schoolies Advisory Committee to address the risk taking activities of young people celebrating the completion of Year 12 in what is known as 'schoolies'. It is presented to over 3000 Year 12 students in the Mackay and Townsville regions.

Each year a group of three Bachelor of Theatre students write, direct and choreograph Choices, leading a full cohort of students through rehearsals and the subsequent 2 week tour of regional high schools. These students work over several months in conjunction with government agencies to develop and perform the theatre show which conveys 30 key messages in a style and medium that appeals to the target audience. Each year the production is updated with modern music and themes.

This experience is invaluable real-world learning. It teaches the students important graduate attributes including leadership, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem solving and ethical practice as well as developing their specific discipline in music, drama, dance and technical theatre. The program builds and strengthens CQUniversity's relationships with key government departments and schools throughout the Townsville and Mackay Health Service districts greatly improving our reputation and positively showcasing CQUniversity's Bachelor of Theatre to school leavers.

CQUniversity student feedback shows that the students involved learn important skills that they could not learn through regular classroom based teaching. Anonymous school leaver feedback demonstrates that the show is effective in delivering the important moral and safety messages to the target audience. Statistics from the Whitsunday Police District indicates that 'Choices' had a significant effect on reducing the number of infringements from schoolies participants and reports of crime during schoolies weeks. Queensland Health believes the program teaches Year 12 students important life skills. Choices has been awarded two Queensland Government Awards and received many positive media hits. The Choices applied theatre program provides an outstanding example of engaged learning and teaching and helps to keep our communities safe.


Engaging Student with SuperStar Role Models

Dr Steven Pace - MACKAY

Over the past ten years, Dr Steven Pace has coordinated a project that has inspired and motivated hundreds of CQUniversity multimedia students, school students and other Central Queensland residents with live presentations from visiting superstar role models from the digital media industries. These Australian and international presenters have included creative directors, visual effects artists, animators and others who have worked on Oscar-winning films such as The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, Avatar and Happy Feet. Research indicates that 'superstars, or individuals of outstanding achievement, can serve as role models to others, inspiring and motivating them to do their utmost best' when they are considered to be personally relevant and their success seems attainable.

The primary aim of this project has been to inspire and motivate students in programs such as the Bachelor of Multimedia Studies and the Bachelor of Digital Innovation at CQUniversity.
Because of their broad appeal, each of these presentations has been made open to the public, and they have consistently attracted hundreds of interested people. Audience members have travelled from as far south as Brisbane and as far north as Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria, providing a strong indication of how much these events are valued by the community. The events showcase to the public the great professional connections and the quality of learning and teaching that CQUniversity provides.

583 audience evaluations have been collected to date. The feedback from the audiences is overwhelmingly positive. Responses to the open-ended questions included many expressions of appreciation and requests for similar events in the future. These results provide evidence of the positive impact that this project has had in terms of the learning experiences of our students and in building stronger relationships with our communities. The events have also received substantial media attention in print, radio and television increasing the visibility of CQUniversity's overall community engagement and exemplary engaged learning and teaching practices.
The opportunity for students to rub shoulders with industry role models who are at the top of their field internationally is rare in the Australian higher education sector, and possibly unique in Australian digital media programs. From the initial presentation in 2000 through to the most recent presentation in 2010, this project clearly demonstrates what can be achieved through the collaborative efforts of the University, leading industry organisations, local schools, the media, and individual members of the communities that we serve.

John Holland Partnership: Engineers for the Future Program

4 people walking together outside

Stuart Ommensen, Shelley Fawcett, Kim Hetherington, Ian Devenish - ROCKHAMPTON

The John Holland Group (JHG) and CQUniversity have developed and integrated the 'Engineers for the Future' program into the CQUniversity engineering curriculum. This program aims to address increasing complexity in the engineering workplace which continues to present a challenge to engineering educators to be able to provide students with engineering skills and knowledge that is readily transferable to the practical engineering workplace. The program embeds industry relevant lectures from practising John Holland professionals into all levels of the CQUniversity Engineering undergraduate program.

John Holland is a strong supporter of the CQU engineering co-op program. Through being a consistent employer of CQUniversity undergraduates over a number of years John Holland is now seeing the fruit of this involvement offering employment in the 2 year John Holland National Graduate Program for 2011 to 4 CQU graduates. Students with industry experience coupled with academic excellence make sought after candidates. In the most recent interview round, 5 out of the 6 nationally short-listed candidates were from CQUniversity.

Through the process of developing the 'Engineers for the Future Program' for CQU students, it was discovered that the same knowledge gaps (that the program was targeting) existed within the current cohort of John Holland graduates. On this basis it was decided to run the 'Engineers for the Future Program' in an intensive format over 2 days for all Northern Region John Holland Graduates. The Engineers for the Future Program - Graduate Workshop focused on the elements involved in completing a project successfully within time, quality and budget constraints in a system that delivers safety to the people, environment and community.

This Partnership clearly illustrates the benefits of engaged learning and teaching projects. It has resulted in work integrated learning placements and industry delivered lectures ensuring CQUniversity supplies industry relevant graduates to the engineering labour market and has provided excellent graduate employment opportunities. The partnership has helped John Holland identify and solve a knowledge gap in their workforce and has provided them with a first choice source of skilled work ready graduates.