Our Community, Our University

Charles Sturt University's Regional Development Report

In one form or another, Charles Sturt University has been delivering education and research in inland Australia for more than 100 years. From the establishment of the Wagga Wagga and Bathurst Experimental Farms in 1895, Charles Sturt University has grown to become one of the largest Universities in the country generating more than $500 million and 5000 jobs for our rural and regional communities each year.

You can read more about CSU's commitment to regional development on this website,
or download the report in a PDF printable format.

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Expanding Regional Choice

Charles Sturt University continues to be the leading provider of higher education in rural and regional Australia with more than 31,000 students enrolled in the first half of 2010 – an increase of more than nine per cent in total enrolments compared to the same period in 2009.

Increasing levels of demand to study at Charles Sturt University saw the number of new enrolments grow by 19.8 per cent to over 12,300 commencing students, representing a 29.4 per cent increase in commencing equivalent full-time students (EFTSL) – the largest growth in demand experienced by any university in the country. Overseas student enrolments, which comprise 15 per cent of total student enrolments, also increased by 6 per cent in the first half of 2010. Reflecting its mission, Charles Sturt University significantly outperformed state and national averages for the enrolment of rural and regional students as a proportion of domestic student enrolments. Almost 70 per cent of Charles Sturt University's on campus student enrolments were originally from a rural or regional area. Of rural and regional students studying on campus and via online and distance learning, 62 per cent came from Inner Regional areas, 33 per cent from Outer Regional areas and 5 per cent from Remote/ Very Remote areas.

new enrolments

Within our regions, Charles Sturt University remains the overwhelming choice of students. More than 60 per cent of the students who attend university from the Murrumbidgee region choose to study at Charles Sturt University; 55 per cent of students from the Central West of NSW; 45 per cent from the Murray region on the border of NSW and Victoria; 43 per cent from North Western NSW; and 31 per cent from Far Western NSW.

Rural and remote

Rural remote p

The number of equivalent full-time students commencing at Charles Sturt University grew by a total of 29.4 per cent.

Charles Sturt University’s Share of Student Market by Region

(Proportion of students who enrol with CSU as a percentage of all students that attend University
in that region, CSU Division of Planning and Audit 2010)

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Growing Regional Opportunity

In addition to its significant role in expanding local choice for rural and regional Australians, Charles Sturt University remains the largest national provider of online and distance education, enrolling more than 21,000 students across Australia and the world. More than 40 per cent of Charles Sturt University's online and distance education students enrol from a home location in Inner Regional, Outer Regional and Remote/Very Remote Australia.

Specialising in meeting national and regional workforce demand for professional skills, in 2010 more than 200 courses (~80% of total offerings) were offered through online and distance learning – with more planned for the future.

In 2010 Charles Sturt University generated $524 million in gross regional product, $331 million in household income and 4,996 full time equivalent jobs in rural and regional NSW.

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Developing Regional Capacity

Charles Sturt University operates its main rural and regional campuses in Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Goulburn, Orange and Wagga Wagga, generating significant economic activity and employment growth across rural and regional communities. In 2012/13 Charles Sturt University will open brand new higher education centres in Port Macquarie in New South Wales and Wangaratta in Victoria to expand access to higher education even further around rural and regional Australia. This builds on our new study centres in Griffith, Deniliquin and Parkes in rural NSW. The total impact of Charles Sturt University includes expenditure on capital works and the purchase of goods and services in its regions, as well as expenditure by non-local students and by family and friends from outside the local area attending graduation ceremonies and other regular university activities. To maximise the impact of its investments and activities, Charles Sturt University is committed to 'buying local' wherever possible.

According to an independent analysis by the Western Research Institute, in 2010 Charles Sturt University contributed $524 million in gross regional product, $331 million in household income and 4,996 full-time equivalent jobs to its rural and regional communities when initial and flow-on expenditures are counted. For every one dollar of Federal Government funding received, Charles Sturt University returns approximately $4.75 to the Australian economy.

For every one dollar of Federal Government funding received, Charles Sturt University returns approximately $4.75 to the Australian economy.

Overall Economic and Employment Impact on our Regions

(Western Research Institute, 2011)

Economic and Employment Impact by Regional Statistical Division

(Western Research Institute, 2011)

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Strengthening Regional Industries

Providing local access to a comprehensive range of courses and relevant research in rural and regional Australia not only increases opportunity and participation, it also delivers needed skills to regional labour markets.

The Graduate Destination Survey has been conducted annually by Graduate Careers Australia and higher education institutions since 1972. The survey collects information on the employment destination of graduates from Australian universities after they qualify.

In 2010, the survey revealed that more than 77 per cent of Charles Sturt University's graduates who were originally from a rural or regional area commenced employment in a rural or regional area – addressing critical skills needs of regional labour markets. This ranged from 53.3 per cent in the creative arts to 100 per cent in natural and physical sciences.

Destination of Charles Sturt University Rural Graduates

(CSU Division of Planning and Audit, Graduate Destination Survey data, 2010)

In the field of health, Charles Sturt University is making a major contribution to addressing the critical demand for highly qualified health professionals in rural and regional areas. Offering the most comprehensive range of health programs of any university in the country, more than 70 per cent of Charles Sturt University's on campus health students came from a rural or regional area, and more than 70 per cent of those students (over 90 per cent in some professional fields) commenced employment in a rural or regional area.

Destination of Charles Sturt University Rural Graduates

(Division of Planning and Audit, Graduate Destination Survey data, 2010)

Charles Sturt University graduates are now the mainstay of the professional labour market in western NSW. Between 2008 and 2010 the Western Research Institute conducted three labour market studies, surveying professionals in the teaching, social welfare and accounting workforce in western NSW to find out where they obtained their primary and other qualifications. The studies found that 43 per cent of teachers in western NSW schools obtained their undergraduate qualifications from Charles Sturt University, and 39 per cent of teachers held Charles Sturt University postgraduate qualifications. Thirty six per cent of social work and social welfare professionals working in western NSW obtained their base qualification from Charles Sturt University, while 74 per cent of accounting graduates also obtained their qualification from Charles Sturt University.

More than 77 per cent of Charles Sturt University's graduates who were originally from a rural or regional area commenced employment in a rural or regional area.

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Generating Regional Innovation

Charles Sturt University engages in innovative teaching and research, bringing global knowledge and innovation to our regions, and extending regional knowledge and innovation to our world. Below are some of the highlights for 2010.


National Life Sciences Hub for regional Australia

Food security, bio-security and climate change are global challenges driving national priorities in agricultural-animal research and requiring the production of a new generation of highly qualified scientists in rural and regional Australia. In 2010, planning started on the construction of Charles Sturt University's new $45 million National Life Sciences Hub. The National Life Sciences Hub will create strong linkages between research scientists, producers and students, building the critical mass to extend undergraduate/ postgraduate training and improve interactions across partners locally and internationally in fundamental and applied scientific research.

Bringing veterinary innovation to regional practice

Charles Sturt University welcomed final accreditation of its new Veterinary Science program in 2010, designed to address the shortage of rural and regional veterinarians with expertise in production animals in rural and regional Australia. The program was accredited by the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AV BC) for practice in Australia and New Zealand, and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for practice in the UK. The final report concluded that the program "will produce outstanding veterinary graduates, selected and trained for roles in rural Australia". The Council found the "sixyear program, problem-based curriculum and strong focus on production animals are unique and important features of the degree" and that the "facilities that have been built to support student learning are exceptional".

Balancing the benefits of water

Researchers from Charles Sturt University's Institute for Land, Water and Society are part of a team working on a new CSIRO Flagship program titled 'Ecological Responses to Altered Flow Regimes' undertaking applied research to assist water managers balance the multiple benefits of water and achieve enhanced environmental and social outcomes.

Indigenous business research project launched

Charles Sturt University's Institute for Land, Water and Society was awarded a $455,000 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant for a three-year project to determine the factors influencing the success of private and community-owned Indigenous businesses across remote, regional and urban Australia. The research project will involve researchers from Charles Sturt University, the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Newcastle, as well as Indigenous Business Australia and the Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre as industry partners.

University partners in groundwater research and training

Charles Sturt University's Institute of Land, Water and Society is one of 12 university partners in the ARC National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training. Charles Sturt University researchers will focus on the social construction of the concept of sustainable yield as applied to groundwater management. The research will also involve Charles Sturt University researchers in two case studies, one in the Namoi Groundwater System in northern NSW; the other in the Willunga Basin in South Australia.

Taking agricultural knowledge and innovation to Lao

Charles Sturt University's collaborative EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, a joint venture with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, has commenced an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research project in Lao that has the aim of improving food security and rural livelihoods in the rain-fed southern provinces of Lao. The project involves collaboration between the EH Graham Centre, the University of Queensland, the International Rice Research Institute and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture.

Translating research into practice

The EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation unveiled its new 15 hectare field site in late 2010. The field site, located near Wagga Wagga, showcases the Centre's research outputs to assist farmers, advisers and natural resource managers to develop and maintain robust and sustainable food production. It will assist the Centre to deliver productivity gains and environmental sustainability and address the challenges of food security, bio-security, climate change, water scarcity and the skills shortage in agriculture. New technologies included in 2010 were: biochar for increased productivity, weed resistance management, forage crops for feed gaps, minimising crop damage from herbicides, and new crop varieties. The site is managed by an Industry Steering Committee.

Supporting regional industries to grow

Charles Sturt University's National Wine and Grape Industry Centre is an alliance with NSW Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Wine Industry Association. The Centre is working on research that will assist the industry grow their businesses by creating wines in styles that consumers prefer, in contrast to conforming to traditional styles.

Improving industry productivity and returns

Potentially hotter climatic conditions and proposed reductions in water allocations threaten the productivity of vineyards within warmer Australian wine regions. Those regions produce a very significant proportion of Australia's wine exports. Research led by the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre in 2010 examined the relationship between productivity and management of grapevines after harvest; ensuring leaves continue to photosynthesise to replenish depleted reserves of carbohydrates and nitrogen needed for root and shoot growth in the coming Spring.

Preparing Australian wine regions for warmer, wetter summers

Bunch rot of grapes is a significant problem in vineyards that experience rain and high humidity close to harvest. Distinguishing bunch rotting fungus and understanding where and when each is likely to occur lie at the core of effective grapevine management practices. Researchers with the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre are revealing the epidemiology of the various fungal organisms that cause grape bunch rots in the different wine regions of NSW and examining grapevine disease strategies under forecast climate change scenarios of warmer, wetter summers in dry vinicultural regions.

Sharing food and water security knowledge globally

Feeding their burgeoning population is a critical challenge for national policy makers in South Asia. Endemic poverty and food insecurity are associated with water scarcity, while rural livelihood security and good agricultural performance remain firmly linked to sustainable water resources management for food crop production. A team from Charles Sturt University's International Centre of Water for Food Security was awarded an AusAid Leadership Award Fellowship to provide six weeks training around the theme "Knowledge Sharing for Food and Water Security in Asia" to senior scientists from leading institutes in China and Pakistan. The program aimed to increase the exchange of knowledge and information and build common purpose and understanding between Australia, China and Pakistan through the development of effective networks and capacity building.

Working with industry to improve water management

Irrigated farmers in the New South Wales area of the Murray Darling Basin often require a tool to assist them to make decisions about long and short term investment options for their irrigation business. Researchers from Charles Sturt University's International Centre of Water for Food Security, together with the Irrigated Cropping Forum, have developed a program, 'WaterWorks', for farmers and their advisers to answer the question "How should an irrigator use water for best use in any given year?" The model was developed to include a range of business indicators and returns to capital. 'WaterWorks" has been developed over a period of time with the active involvement of researchers and the irrigation community through the Irrigated Cropping Forum.

*Improving agricultural and health outcomes in South Asia

Rice wheat is the major cropping system in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of South Asia and is grown on 10 million hectares in India. As part of an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research project, Charles Sturt University researchers have been instrumental in the development of the 'Happy Seeder', a seeder capable of direct drilling wheat into heavy, machine harvested rice straw to give farmers an alternative to burning. Burning results in extensive damage to the environment (reduced air quality, particulates, greenhouse gases) and human health, as well as substantial loss of plant nutrients and organic carbon, which has important implications for soil health. The Punjab Farmer's Commission has finalised a program to supply about 750 Happy Seeder machines along with a dedicated tractor to different cooperative societies in the state to facilitate the supply of these machines on a contract basis.


Placing the regions at the centre of national education debate

In 2010 Charles Sturt University's Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education brought together leading international researchers in regional NSW to prepare a draft position statement on transition to school. Researchers also met with policy makers from Federal and State governments, early childhood education authorities, and non-government organisations, where they presented and discussed the position statement. On the last day of the conference, approximately 100 early childhood educators from schools and prior-to-school settings joined the group for a series of workshops presented by experts in the field.

Exploring key national challenges from our regions

Charles Sturt University's Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education based in Bathurst is delivering an ARC Discovery Project exploring the practises of leading, professional learning, teaching and student learning. The research will examine a range of issues including inclusive practices that contribute to overcoming social injustices that sometimes arise for students with special needs and ways to develop VET teaching practices and programs to address the needs of the VET sector in the different economic, social, cultural and educational conditions.

Gathering global thinkers in our regions

In December 2010 Charles Sturt University's Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education gathered 40 international PhD students from Canada, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga for a Doctoral School, including a forum to discuss draft manuscripts of articles and book chapters, and cross-national empirical projects currently underway.

Innovative new classrooms for teacher education

The Faculty of Education is charting new directions for teacher education with the design of two new innovative learning spaces at the Wagga Wagga and Bathurst campuses. The buildings will deploy cutting-edge technology to ensure student teachers are well prepared for working with new technology in schools. The new learning spaces will include high definition video conferencing to enable connections between the University and schools located in the Riverina and Western regions. This will enable school teachers to talk to student teachers from their school sites; student teachers to observe classrooms; mentoring groups between student teachers and school teachers; and professional development for Charles Sturt University and school-based staff.


Improving Indigenous rural and remote health

A Memorandum of Understanding signed this year between Charles Sturt University and the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation will enable the parties to work together in research and education that will enhance the wellbeing of the Aboriginal community in Condobolin. Researchers from the University's Centre for Inland Health will work with the Corporation to design and conduct a local community health survey, as well as identify and train Indigenous people at Condobolin as research assistants as a starting point for developing local community capacity for research.

Addressing regional needs through innovation

With critical shortages of paramedics in regional Australia, and growing national demand, Charles Sturt University and the Ambulance Service of NSW have established a new program designed to fast track entry into the paramedic profession. This cutting-edge course has been developed in consultation with ambulance industry representatives from NSW and other states and territories. It has received the formal endorsement of the Ambulance Service of NSW and accreditation by the Council of Ambulance Authorities.

Unique Indigenous mental health program

Charles Sturt University's Djirruwang Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health program is the only program of its type in Australia. The aim of the program is to build workforce capacity for the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Since its inception, it has produced 97 Indigenous graduates in mental health, including students from the Torres Strait Islands. There are 75 Indigenous students currently completing the course. In 2010, two submissions for Federal funding to expand the program into WA, involving collaboration with the Western Australia Statewide Aboriginal Mental Health Service and the Ngunnawal Local Aboriginal Land Council, were successful.

Creatively expanding rural health education and services

Charles Sturt University completed construction in 2010 of its fifth community Dental and Oral Health Clinic located in Bathurst. The University now has community Dental and Oral Health Clinics in Albury- Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange and Wagga Wagga. Expanding on this successful initiative, the University will commence a $5 million expansion of its Dental Clinic in Albury-Wodonga to allow it to offer a broader range of allied health services. The expanded Clinic will include a surgical suite, primary health care rooms, training spaces and additional health teaching facilities to deliver a range of expanded services to the community, and provide clinical training for allied health and dental students.

Bringing the latest educational innovation to our regions

Charles Sturt University is building a new Regional Inter-Professional Clinical Simulation Centre at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. The Clinic will be the most advanced of its type in regional NSW incorporating a state-of-the-art clinical education centre consisting of an Emergency Department Resuscitation Simulation Unit, a Multi-Purpose Scenario Unit, a Control Room, lecture theatre and break-out rooms. It will allow nursing and paramedic students to practise emergency health management skills in a realistic environment prior to undertaking 'real-life' practice in the community, hospitals and health facilities. The use of realistic simulators will allow students to obtain high levels of competency in health assessment, critical thinking and decision making in a safe environment before they practise on real patients in high-pressure situations.

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Delivering to the Community

In addition to being one of the largest job creators, and economic actors, in our regions Charles Sturt University is also integral to the social, sporting and cultural life of our communities.

It delivers more than $500,000 every year in financial and in-kind support to a range of community, sporting and cultural institutions in our regions.

Enriching the cultural life of our communities, the University provides direct and indirect financial support to a range of music and arts organisations  including:

It supports Arts Out West, which promotes, facilitates, educates and advocates for arts and cultural development for communities in western NSW.

With community theatres located in Wagga Wagga and Bathurst, and an exhibition space in Wagga Wagga, the University supports the staging of a range of local drama productions and art exhibitons throughout the year.

The Charles Sturt University Public Lecture Series runs annually, bringing academics, public commentators and national leaders to rural and remote communities to engage rural communities in important debates around national and regional issues.

Helping to keep its communities informed, and entertained, the University funds community radio station 2MCE and supplies low cost hourly news packages to community radio stations across rural and remote Australia through National Radio News.

The University is also a major provider of state of the art sports grounds across all its major campuses, hosting community and University sporting contests and events throughout the year.  The University collaborates with the Western Regional Academy of Sport, which provides development programs for elite regional sports people in western NSW.

Supporting our goal of retaining skills in regional Australia, the University coordinates thousands of student work and clinical placements in communities across rural and remote areas exposing our students to the significant opportunities of working in our diverse communities.

The University also operates a community Allied Health Clinic in Albury-Wodonga to improve the accessibility of services to members of the community in areas of need (with a new Clinic under construction in Bathurst in 2012); Dental and Oral Health Clinics in Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange and Wagga Wagga; a Nutrition Clinic in Wagga Wagga; and, Veterinary Clinic and Hospital in Wagga Wagga.  Charles Sturt Unjversity's students have also delivered speech assessments in schools, medication reviews in aged care facilities, and dental check ups for young people to improve access to health care in our regions, while also providing important training opportunities for our students.

From supporting the arts, culture and sports to providing continuing professionals education to rural health professionals; making our facilities available to rural organisations for workshops and training; conducting  extension training for farmers on the latest techniques and products; contributing as members of Local Health Networks, Regional Development Australia committees, Lions and Rotary Clubs and Landcare programs; and engaging in myriad volunteering programs across our regions; Charles Sturt University's staff and students contribute in thousands of different ways to the life and development of our regions and our communities.

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Building our Health Workforce

Reflecting its commitment to meeting the needs of rural and regional communities across Australia, Charles Sturt University has invested in the development of the most comprehensive suite of professional health programs of any regional university in Australia.

Today, Charles Sturt University offers degrees across its multiple rural campuses that lead to careers as dentists, oral health therapist, pharmacists, medical imagers, pathologists, radiation therapists, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, podiatrists, audiologists, mental health nurses, paramedics, occupational therapist, nutritionists and dieticians, health management and a wide variety of medical science and health specialisations. Indeed, the only major health discipline that Charles Sturt University does not offer is medicine!

This not only makes a career in rural health more accessible for rural students, but also ensures that rural communities have a sustainable stream of highly qualified rural health professionals to meet growing health workforce needs. Reflecting national and international research that shows that a rural student who is trained in a rural area is 4-12 times more likely to work in a rural area, more than 70 per cent of Charles Sturt University's on campus health students came from a rural or regional area, and more than 70 per cent of those students (over 90 per cent in some professional fields) commenced employment in a rural or regional area.

Destination of Charles Sturt University Rural Graduates

(Division of Planning and Audit, Graduate Destination Survey data, 2010)

Charles Sturt University has now developed a comprehensive proposal for the Federal Government to establish a new rurally based medical school to replicate its success in education rural students for health careers. With fewer than 3% of Australian medical graduates choosing rural practice as a career (compared to over 80% of Charles Sturt University’s rural health graduates) Charles Sturt University believes that a rural medical school is the only proven answer to addressing doctor shortages.

For more information go to www.doctors4thebush.org.au or become a supporter at www.facebook.com/doctors4thebush.

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CSU's NSW campuses are located in some of Australia's fastest growing regional cities, offering a unique study experience with access to the best of city living along with the benefits of a regional lifestyle.

Large campuses have allowed the development of fully operational, hands-on teaching facilities, ranging from state-of-the-art scientific and computer laboratories to television studios, broadcasting studios and a simulated hospital. Our facilities set us apart from other universities, allowing students to learn the skills required to be industry-ready from the first year of study.

Further information

Office of Corporate Affairs
Charles Sturt University
The Chancellery Building Panorama Avenue
Bathurst NSW 2795
Telephone: (02) 6338 4200

Media enquiries
Email: news@csu.edu.au

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