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SCU appoints Aged Services Professor


Brigid Veale
14 February 2005
Southern Cross University has appointed Dr Colleen Cartwright as the foundation BCU Neville Spear Chair in Aged Services and the director of the Aged Services Learning and Research Collaboration (ASLaRC).

The Chair in Aged Services has been significantly funded by BCU (Bananacoast Community Credit Union) as part of its commitment to the North Coast community. It has been named after BCU’s founding general manager Mr Neville Spear in recognition of his contribution and his work in promoting the credit union’s philosophy of supporting the community.

BCU Chief Executive Officer Mr Ray Battle said this was a critical project which would have benefits for the entire community.

“Providing funding for this Chair is part of our ongoing obligation to the community. It will provide support for the changing demographic in the region, but also provide education opportunities for young people and help keep them employed here,” Mr Battle said.

Professor Cartwright, who took up her new position at the Coffs Harbour campus on Monday (February 14), has extensive research and teaching experience in the field of public health and aged care.

SCU Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Clark said Professor Cartwright’s appointment would significantly enhance research and learning in aged services.

“This appointment demonstrates a major commitment to researching the problems of the aged in regional Australia and developing solutions which can be implemented here and throughout Australia,” Professor Clark said.

“This will establish Southern Cross University as a national and international player in this field.”

Professor Cartwright comes from the University of Queensland, where she held a number of senior research positions including senior research fellow in Geriatric Medicine.

She has also undertaken a number of community projects, including the implementation of the ‘60 and Better’ program throughout Qld.

“I was interested in the SCU position because of its breadth. It does not have a narrow focus on the medical, social or economic side of aged care. It covers a broad range of areas,” Professor Cartwright said.

“We need to be taking a holistic approach to aged care. We need to start preparing now for the numbers of older people there will be, but we also have to resist incorrectly portraying the ageing population as a demographic time bomb.”

Professor Cartwright said she was pleased to be joining a team at SCU that had been very proactive in the area of aged services.

“I will be working in partnership with aged care services and a range of professions in the wider community to determine how best SCU can contribute to meeting the challenges of an ageing population.”

Photo and interview opportunity Tuesday, February 15, 10.30am Coffs Harbour campus A1.37 Background: Neville Spear was appointed a director of the Banana Growers Federation in 1959. He was appointed the first manager of the Nambucca BFG Members Credit Union Ltd (forerunner to BCU) in 1971. Neville’s wife Beatrice Spear also contributed to the formation of the Credit Union, working as an unpaid volunteer when it was first formed. Mr Spear remained general manager until his retirement in 1996.