BIG FUTURE: USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas and Chancellor John Dornbusch oversee the changing of the sign at the front of the campus.
BIG FUTURE: USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas and Chancellor John Dornbusch oversee the changing of the sign at the front of the campus. Rob Williams

USQ moves into Ipswich and prepares for growth

THE SIGNS have changed and a new flag has taken it rightful place at the now-official University of Southern Queensland campus in the heart of Ipswich.

Yesterday was USQ's first day as owners of the campus, with the property transfer going through early yesterday morning.

USQ is taking over the campus from former owners The University of Queensland after two years of discussions.

An estimated 600 UQ medical, nursing and paramedical students will continue to study at the Ipswich campus until the end of their degrees in 2016.

They will be joined by the first intake of USQ students set to study nursing and paramedical science, the first two courses to be offered under USQ.

USQ Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas said student acceptances for the 2015 university year were still being finalised, but there had been a strong number of applications for the first two courses.

"It will be small to begin with," she said.

"There is a strategy that will take a few years to roll out."

About 15 UQ staff members will remain on the campus as USQ staff members, and about 45 USQ staff will be based there initially.

Professor Thomas said USQ's school of health and wellbeing would be based at the Ipswich campus - its long-term plan includes adding courses such as community health and psychology.

Other courses USQ hopes to bring to Ipswich in coming years include aviation, airport management and engineering.

Professor Thomas said the community could expect to see a different style of university.

She said USQ was renowned for its support for students, who came from different backgrounds and had often faced severe education disadvantages in the past.

Professor Thomas joined USQ chancellor John Dornbusch and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale yesterday for the handover and a flag-raising ceremony.

Mr Dornbusch said the changeover was the beginning of a true partnership for the long-term development of Ipswich.

"Today is momentous," he told the crowd.

He paid homage to UQ's steadfast support of education in the region.

Cr Pisasale also credited the changeover as the beginning of a significant journey for Ipswich.

He said USQ's presence in Ipswich would have a major impact on the whole of south-east Queensland.

"I don't think people realise the effect that universities do have on a city," he said.