Transition of Caboolture Campus from QUT to USC
In January 2018, Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Caboolture campus will officially be handed over to the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), marking the end to QUT’s 15-year stewardship and the beginning of USC’s presence in the Moreton Bay region.
Transition talks began in June this year when QUT approached USC in acknowledgment of the recent purchase of land at the old Petrie Paper Mill by the Moreton Bay Regional Council and the opening of a new USC campus there in 2020.
The Caboolture campus, situated on Tallon Street, is owned by the State Department of Education, with a TAFE Queensland facility being co-located there. At present, the premises has a shared occupancy agreement with QUT, which USC hope to continue when they take ownership - a changeover that is heralded by USC to be as seamless as possible.
Current QUT students have the option of transferring their courses to USC, or to study cross-institutionally (picking up some USC courses but still eventually graduating with a QUT degree), or transfer to another QUT campus like Kelvin Grove or Gardens Point.
USC Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Birgit Lohmann, says, “The courses to be offered by USC at the Caboolture campus will match what QUT has already been offering, such as degrees in Nursing, Business, Primary Education, Early Childhood, and some Creative Industries, to primarily ensure that any student who may want to transition into USC courses are able to do so. We will also be offering an accredited Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). And in terms of staff, we have certainly indicated that we are very willing to offer opportunities, and hope many of them will continue with us.”
Whilst the current facilities have been well-maintained by QUT, USC says there will be some initial minor changes when the changeover takes place. “New USC signage, revamping the IT, ensuring the library stocks resources relevant to the new courses, and later adding in more informal student learning spaces where students can gather and work together more socially will occur.”
There will also be the possibility for some students to transfer study to either the Caboolture campus or the Petrie campus when it opens. “The transport links through the train line are very good, and we are also exploring the shuttle bus we offer at the moment which runs from Caboolture to Sippy Downs, providing opportunities for students to study at all of our campuses.”
Professor Lohmann says that USC endeavours to advance the educational opportunities for all in the area. “We hope that our new Caboolture campus will offer us an opportunity to engage with the community even more effectively than we are already, especially as it would suit students who find it difficult to travel long distances. We have significant numbers of students already attending the main campus at Sippy Downs who live in the Moreton Bay region, so the Caboolture campus would be more convenient for them.”
With USC also acquiring the Hervey Bay Fraser Coast campus earlier this year, USC are also in the process of exploring the opportunity to host international students along with catering for the local market. “Higher education, particularly university study, is transformational – it changes people’s lives, and we want to make it available to a broader group of people and ensure they get a high quality experience.”