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Education stories

The following stories relate to Tasmania’s Education sector:

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

IMAS takes on POMS threat

Scientists are working with oyster farmers to reduce the impact of a likely outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome this summer. Last year's outbreak has caused an impending oyster shortage this festive season and signs of the virus are expected to emerge again when water temperatures consistently reach 18C, most likely later in December. The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science has a research team working with growers on ways of reducing mortality in POMS-affected areas through husbandry and farm-management adjustments affecting oyster size and age, handling, stocking densities, positioning of oysters in the water column, and the cooling of oysters. Dr Sarah Ugalde said: “Mechanical grading is quicker, but much more stressful for the oyster compared to grading by hand and this may make them more susceptible to the virus.” POMS was first detected in Tasmanian waters in January 2016 and spread to five growing areas — Little Swanport, Blackman Bay, Pittwater, and Pipe Clay Lagoon — causing widespread oyster deaths that resulted in financial stress and job losses among oyster growers.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

Ten new cockroaches found

Ten new species of cockroach have been discovered in Tasmania since 2014, three of them in the Launceston backyard of Natural Sciences Collections Officer, Simon Fearn, from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. Mr Fearn said only about five out the 5,000 known species of cockroaches were pests, contaminating food and spreading disease. “Most cockroaches never come into your house, they just live in the bush and they play a vital role in breaking down nutrients and leaf litter, and pollinating plants,” he said. “Just a handful of urban, introduced cockroaches are giving the whole group a bad name, whereas the majority are actually doing us a service.” Mr Fearn said the new Tasmanian species have yet to be formally described by a taxonomist, a lengthy scientific process. Mr Fearn told The Examiner he had identified 700 different species on his cockroach-rich quarter-acre block.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

Global Law rating for UTAS

UTAS is in the top 100 universities worldwide for Law, according the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings. UTAS’s Faculty of Law has placed 61st internationally and sixth in Australia. The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Margaret Otlowski, said: “It is such tremendous news … To be regarded amongst the world’s best for Law is a reflection of our commitment and dedication to legal teaching and research excellence. We punch well above our weight in regard to research outputs, which have national and international significance, and the career success of our graduates. Our alumni have gone on to pursue successful careers across the legal profession including Rhodes Scholars, State and Federal politicians, Governors, Supreme and Federal Court judges and international lawyers with the United Nations and The Hague.”

6 November 2017, Edition 189

Seaweed in brain breakthrough

Edition 189_Williams

Seaweed extracts produced by Tasmanian biopharmaceutical company Marinova are proving effective in the treatment of traumatic brain injury.

5 November 2017, Edition 189

Lobster hatchery to lead world

Edition 188_Heywood Smith

The world’s first commercial rock lobster hatchery will be built in Tasmania following a $10 million deal between Hobart-based aquaculture supplier PFG Group and the University of Tasmania.

3 October 2017, Edition 188

The legend of Jimmy Possum

Edition 188_Epworth

The legend of a reclusive bush carpenter named Jimmy Possum persists in craft-minded Deloraine – and his chairs are treated with respect by knowledgeable collectors far beyond the town.

3 October 2017, Edition 188

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Latest news

Bigger, cleaner ships for TT-Line

Edition 190_TT-Line

TT-Line is set to order two new, bigger and cleaner ships to boost capacity and heighten customer appeal on its Bass Strait service.

11 December 2017, Edition 190

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