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Uni's new Vice-Chancellor

Professor Jan Thomas is the new Vice-Chancellor of The University of Southern Queensland.
Professor Jan Thomas is the new Vice-Chancellor of The University of Southern Queensland. Rob Williams

THE freshly appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southern Queensland is preparing to take charge of one of the country's fastest-expanding campuses.

Professor Jan Thomas took charge of the USQ campuses, including the one at Springfield, on January 16, having left her former role at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, Western Australia.

The 50-year-old professor has enjoyed a long career as an academic, having abandoned her veterinary practice to specialise in teaching many years ago.

She has filled the role of deputy vice-chancellor at two universities over the past nine years.

Established only six years ago, the Springfield campus expects to be able to boast 1800 students by the end of 2012.

Those numbers are expected to climb to 3800 by 2020 and 5100 by 2025.

"This campus is one of the fastest-growing in Australia, and through its mere positioning opens up horizons for people that have never thought about going past high school before," Prof Thomas said.

"We will continue to create new courses according to student demand - a lot of research goes into that area."

A recent boost for the uni came in the form of the approval of federal funding for a new building at Springfield - to be completed by the end of 2014.

Although teaching courses have proven the most popular, the campus is branching out by offering new majors in journalism and English literature.

Prof Thomas said the uni's flagship Bachelor of Accounting and Sustainable Business course was also in high demand.

"I was compelled to come to this uni because of the way it builds bridges for people who have not had the chance to participate in tertiary education before," she said.

The uni's own data shows an increasing number of students are coming from Beaudesert, Browns Plains, and the Gold Coast to enrol at USQ Springfield.

Topics:  university of southern queensland, vice-chancellor


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