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SCU welcomes Kim Beazley's visit


12 February 2001
The planned visit to Southern Cross University's Lismore campus on Wednesday, 14 February by the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Kim Beazley, has been welcomed by SCU as a further sign that higher education continues to be a significant issue in the lead-up to this year's Federal election.

"Following such developments as the Government's $2.9 billion Innovation Action Plan, last week's announcement of a $117 million rural medical scheme and Mr. Beazley's own commitment to online education, there is a clear recognition of the role that universities have to play in Australia's future," said Southern Cross' Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Rickard.

Saying he was delighted that SCU would be Mr. Beazley's main port of call in Lismore, Professor Rickard added that a major ALP policy announcement, presumably relating to education, was expected during the Opposition leader's visit.

Mr. Beazley will be briefed on SCU's research achievements in the plant genetics field and experience a demonstration of its online teaching facilities. Accompanied by other members of the Shadow Cabinet, Mr.Beazley is travelling from Newcastle through the main centres where Southern Cross has campuses - Lismore and Coffs Harbour. He is scheduled to complete his regional tour in the Tweed Heads area where SCU has just started building a $7.0 million campus due for completion by the first study semester of 2002.

The University's regional network incorporates the latest educational delivery technology, including high-level internet connectivity, interactive videoconferencing and desktop video technology that will network the region when the Tweed campus comes online. "More than one-third of Southern Cross's 10,000 students now use the online learning environment" according to Dr Michael Singleton, the University's Online Manager, "and we have established SCU as a major player in the international online learning marketplace.

"Many institutions rushed to get digital versions of print-based materials and lecture notes online, while SCU systematically developed online learning experiences which fully exploited the technology and opportunities provided.

"We also built a web portal called MySCU that automatically customises itself to the needs of each and every student, including links to our e-library which have been a high priority in our quest to enrich the online experience," Dr. Singleton said.

* Media representatives are invited to be in the Manning Clark Room, top floor of the Lismore campus Library, at 10.00am, Wed, 14 Feb for a practical Online briefing to Mr. Beazley. He will then visit the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics laboratory before giving a media conference at 11.20am.