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Education stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Education sector:

PM signs on for Hobart deal

Edition 191_Stem

UTAS's proposed STEM project in the CBD and an Antarctic research precinct at Macquarie Point looked more likely after a Federal Government City Deal was signed in Hobart in January.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

30 Tasmanians share honours

Edition 191_Farquhar

Expatriate Tasmanian scientist, Graham Farquhar, AO, was named Senior Australian of the Year, while 29 other local people were honoured in the 2018 Australia Day Awards.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

Devil of a show at TMAG

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) is using three galleries for an exhibition exploring the ecology and biology of the beleaguered Tasmanian devil, along with changes over time in the public perception of the largest surviving marsupial carnivore. The Remarkable Tasmanian Devil exhibition took two years to assemble and will continue until 6 May. Senior Curator, Kathryn Medlock, said "The history of the animal is quite interesting because it really was perceived as being a pest, a threat to livelihoods and agriculture, fierce and nasty. Over time that's changed. I'm really hoping the public will gain a new respect of this animal and broaden their perspective on why it is such a remarkable species that has overcome the odds." Wildlife biologist and TMAG Honorary Curator, Nick Mooney, said it was important that a new attitude towards devils was consolidated in light of their survival struggle against Devil Facial Tumour Disease. "Now that they've had a brush with extinction and they're very rare, people are more interested," he said. An educational program has been created alongside the exhibition and school programs are planned.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

Quolls are on a mission

Twenty captive-bred Tasmanian eastern quolls are set to become the first of their species to live in the wild in continental Australia for more than 50 years. Raised at Trowunna Wildlife Park and Devils@Cradle in Tasmania, they will be released into Booderee National Park in southern NSW in April. Once found across much of south-eastern Australia, the animals have become extinct outside Tasmania, with blame allocated to foxes, cats, poisoning and habitat destruction. Adult quolls are about 37cm long (excluding the tail) and weigh about a kilogram. They feed on insects, small mammals, birds and reptiles. WWF-Australia’s Head of Living Ecosystems, Darren Grover, said: “The loss of native species like eastern quolls has disturbed nature’s balance. The goal is to see some eastern quoll populations permanently re-established in the wild on mainland Australia and it all starts at Booderee National Park ... We hope they settle in quickly, stay healthy and start to breed immediately." The park has been the scene of extensive fox-control programs. If the release is successful, a further 40 quolls will be released in 2019 and another 40 in 2020. The released quolls will be GPS collared and monitored by Parks Australia staff and Australian National University ecologists.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

$14.7m boosts UTAS research

UTAS researchers will map the Milky Way, use our convict history to explore the impact of solitary confinement, analyse how best to influence corporate tax strategies and complete other projects, thanks to 27 grants totalling $14.7 million in recent Australian Research Council allocations. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Brigid Heywood, said: “This is an outstanding result for the university, and for Tasmania, in what is a highly competitive process. Our research delivers significant social and economic benefits to the State, but more importantly it creates new knowledge which drives creativity and innovation. The projects funded today highlight the breadth of the University of Tasmania’s expertise and confirm our place as a research-led institution boldly exploring new frontiers.”

8 February 2018, Edition 191

Academy honours two locals

Two University of Tasmania scientists have received prestigious career honorific awards from the Australian Academy of Science in recognition of their lifelong achievements. UTAS Professor David Cooke (ARC Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits) won the 2018 Haddon Forrester King Medal and Lecture, while his colleague, Professor Matt King (School of Land and Food), was awarded the 2018 Mawson Medal and Lecture. Professor Cooke's investigations into the geological processes that produce copper-gold deposits, as a result of fluids released from magma deep within the Earth's crust, have transformed geochemical exploration techniques around the world. Professor King's work has helped reveal the dynamic nature of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica and how they contribute to sea-level change. Nationally, 18 academics were honoured and most of them will be presented with their awards at the academy’s annual signature science event, Science at the Shine Dome, on 24 May in Canberra. In a further tribute to UTAS, three senior staff have been named in this year's Clarivate Analytics' Highly Cited Researchers list, ranking them in the top 1 per cent in their subject fields globally. They are Professor Reg Watson (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies); Associate Professor Tim Brodribb (Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology) and Professor Sergey Shabala (Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture).

8 February 2018, Edition 191

Ancient ash inspires fire plan

Edition 190_Maynard

A core sample taken from a secluded lake on lungtalanana/Clarke Island in Bass Strait suggests Aboriginal people were using fire management there at least 41,000 years ago.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

Highest honour for Rathjen

Academic Peter Rathjen left Tasmania in December with the highest honour the University of Tasmania could bestow: Doctor of Letters honoris causa. Professor Rathjen had been the university's Vice-Chancellor since March 2011, making a significant impact on its operations and its place in the community. Chancellor Michael Field, AC, said the period had been marked by:

  • Significant growth in domestic student numbers;
  • A sustained climb in global rankings driven by strengthening research excellence;
  • Heightened global engagement and an associated increase in international student numbers, now a key economic sector for the State;
  • Significant capital investment in each of the university’s communities; and
  • The emergence of a new model of higher education aimed at lifting productivity and prosperity by addressing the State's poor educational outcomes.

Professor Rathjen is returning to his alma mater, the University of Adelaide, as Vice-Chancellor.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

New head targets prosperity

UTAS's in-coming Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black, wants to make Tasmania more prosperous and will continue the move from the 50-year-old Sandy Bay campus into Hobart's CBD. A high achiever despite dyslexia, Professor Black, 48, values non-conformity and will encourage a "healthy craziness" on campus. The son of an activist lawyer, he is an alumni of Melbourne University. He has been a Rhodes Scholar, a theologian and ordained Uniting Church minister, ethicist, philosopher, strategic advisor and management consultant. He completed the Black Review into defence force morality in 2010 and was co-author of an Independent Review of the Australian Intelligence Community in 2011. Neither report pleased all stakeholders. UTAS Chancellor, Michael Field, AC, described Professor Black as a standout in a distinguished group of candidates for the UTAS role. "He demonstrated a rare mix of high intellect, academic standing and commercial experience that we feel will be necessary to lead a period of cultural transformation here," Mr Field said. Professor Black told the ABC: "My family and I have been very regular visitors to the island, and indeed my two [twin] daughters ... feel that Tasmania is more home than anywhere else."

5 December 2017, Edition 190

West, 24, is a Rhodes Scholar

Medical student Henry West, 24, is the 2018 Rhodes Scholar for Tasmania. He is undertaking post-graduate medical training at the University of Tasmania and is passionate about preventing cardiovascular disease. Mr West, who received a first-class honours degree in Medical Sciences from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research in 2015, will undertake a doctoral degree at the University of Oxford, with a focus on developing new imaging tools for examining blood vessels, enabling early detection of cardiovascular disease. The Governor of Tasmania, Professor Kate Warner, AM, announced Mr West's scholarship at Government House. Out-going UTAS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, said: "To become a Rhodes Scholar is a life-changing experience, with the program hosting one of the world's most prestigious awards. Henry's on-going dedication and commitment to his studies, and personal achievements, are to be commended and I wish him the very best in his academic career." Mr West has spent time in Uganda providing public health education and intervention. He volunteers locally with the Heart Foundation and in his leisure time runs ultra-marathons, sings and plays the trombone.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

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Tasmania's Stories Edition 191

Edition 191_Campus

Launceston taking the lead in the race to be Australia's "smartest city" is the top story in your first Tasmania's Stories newsletter of 2018.  I hope you find lots to interest you in your latest edition of Tasmania's Stories.

15 February 2018, Edition 191

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