University of South Australia
About the Centre for Regional Engagement:
The University of South Australia has a very strong commitment to education, research and the development of robust and sustainable regional communities. This commitment is manifest in the University of South Australia’s Centre for Regional Engagement, which has its operation based at the Whyalla Campus and Mount Gambier Regional Centres.
In prioritising regional engagement as a strategic direction, the University of South Australia seeks to provide quality teaching, learning and scholarship in its regional locations and to undertake research endeavours with business, industry and community partners that reflect rural and regional priorities and interests.
Studying at a regional location provides a truly unique university experience. There are often smaller class sizes which can lead to more personable interactions between staff and students, often complimented by an enriched sense of community. Studying in a regional location also has many social and economic benefits. Many students are able to stay at home, have the support of their families and are able to continue with, or gain some form of employment.
The Centre for Regional Engagement provides targeted undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs designed to meet the needs of rural and regional communities. Programs are offered in five areas which are: Business & Regional Enterprise, Nursing, Social Work, Engineering and Foundation Studies.
About the Centre for Rural Health & Community Development
The Centre for Rural Health and Community Development was established in 2006 in the University of South Australia’s Centre for Regional Engagement (CRE) based at the University’s Whyalla Campus. It operates in close conjunction with the Spencer Gulf Rural Health School (SGRHS), a regional, multi-disciplinary school of health sciences created as a joint initiative of the Universities of Adelaide and South Australia. The Centre for Rural Health & Community Development receives funding primarily via CRE, with some additional support from the University of South Australia’s Division of Health Sciences and SGRHS.
The Centre for Rural Health & Community Development was established to advance research, publishing and research education in CRE and SGRHS through the building of research capacity, generation of research income and the creation of a dynamic and collaborative research culture. Its main aim is to provide a regionally-based concentration of research excellence in and for rural and regional South Australia and thereby contributing to community well-being within this area and beyond.
Under the guidance of its founding Director, Professor Brian Cheers, the Centre developed research foci in the areas of population health and well-being, the health of Indigenous communities, and community development. It has drawn upon the expertise of key researchers in the fields of rural health and social work to develop multi-disciplinary capability to do research in partnership with communities and stakeholders. This research has been responsive to the needs of communities within South Australia beyond metropolitan Adelaide. The work of researchers in the Centre for Rural Health and Community Development has involved a combination of consultancy and researcher-led work so that diverse sources of funding have been obtained – from federal and state government, local government, industry and commerce, charitable trusts and non-governmental organizations.
Within the Centre there are two specialist units providing services of value to rural and regional communities:
- The Evaluation Unit, established in September 2008, responsible for undertaking program evaluations on a short-term consultancy basis as well as providing evaluation-related short-courses in rural and regional locations.
- The Applied Statistics Unit, providing services for business and government , specialising in statistical analysis of health-related data and offering a range of short-courses to provide individuals with training in statistical analysis.
With the retirement of Professor Brian Cheers in April 2008 and the appointment of a new Director, Professor Guy Robinson, later that year, there is now the opportunity to build upon the initial foundations for the Centre and to expand its research portfolio into new areas so that the existing research on rural health and community development can be extended to address a wider range of social, economic, environmental and health issues that all contribute to creating sustainable rural communities.