Awards for community programs

THE ORGANISERS of two University of Southern Queensland (USQ) programs have been honoured with an award that recognises and encourages exceptional community service by USQ employees.

FCHP: LEARN and BEAMS have each won a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement and Service, with Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla presenting the certificates during a staff ceremony at USQ Fraser Coast last week.


The Fraser Coast Health Professionals: Local Education and Research Nexus (FCHP: LEARN), led by USQ staff Associate Professor Jennifer Kelly and senior lecturers Dr Jamie Shield and Julie Martyn, designed and ran a program of fortnightly workshops throughout 2014 covering health practice, management and research topics.

“We wanted a multi-discipline program that would cater to all local health professionals and relevant organisations. Most importantly we wanted affordable access to ongoing education for Fraser Coast people who work in health-related areas,” Associate Professor Kelly said.

More than 450 health professionals attended workshops throughout 2014 with representatives coming from medicine, nursing, midwifery, dietetics, science, research, social work, disabilities, dentistry, aged care and private healthcare.

Building Engagement and Aspirations through Mentoring in Schools (BEAMS) is a volunteer peer mentoring program aimed at widening tertiary participation.

USQ students regularly visited Fraser Coast schools throughout 2014 to interact and support students in their classrooms. Mentoring also enhances USQ students’ skills and knowledge to increase their employability.


BEAMS project officer Tracy-Madonna Wylie said there had been an increase of the number of USQ mentors and their involvement in the local state high schools, particularly working with students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

“Winning this Award was particularly exciting for the USQ Fraser Coast as 2014 marked the launch of the BEAMS program in our region,” Ms Wylie said.

“Congratulations should also go to the local high schools that have been very supportive of this program and the wonderful USQ students who trained as BEAMS mentors and volunteered their time and expertise to work with the high school students.”

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas congratulated everyone involved in winning this year’s awards for outstanding community engagement.

“Their work was selected from high quality nominations across USQ’s campuses at Toowoomba, Fraser Coast, Springfield and Ipswich,” Professor Thomas said.

Next year’s FCHP: LEARN program was launched at USQ Fraser Coast on December 16. Workshop topics in 2015 will include superbugs, healthy teams and much more.

For more information on the 2015 FCHP: LEARN program, please visit the USQ website at



USQ Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla (centre) presents a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement to USQ Fraser Coast BEAMS representatives Tracy-Madonna Wylie (left) and Elle Green.

Feature photo (top): USQ Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla (left) presents a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Community Engagement to FCHP:LEARN representatives Tania Wiesmayr-Freeman, Julie Martyn and Ruth Newby.


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