Flinders University will be able to tap the knowledge and wisdom of Indigenous elders and enhance the learning experience for its medical students following the opening of a refurbished lecture theatre in the University’s School of Medicine by Acting Prime Minister the Hon. Julia Gillard.
Flinders Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Barber said the University welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment to the Better Universities Renewal Fund (BURF) that is facilitating the upgrading of lecture theatres and other improvements to the campus.
“In a highly competitive tertiary education sector, both here and overseas, it is vital that we offer prospective students the most advanced technologies and most attractive campuses possible. The Better Universities Renewal Fund has certainly allowed Flinders to improve the student and learning experience at Flinders,” Professor Barber said.
“We are also pleased that the Australian Government recognised that BURF was only the first phase and that continuing investment in the University was possible through subsequent funding from the Teaching and Learning Capital Fund for Higher Education,” he said.
The $8.9 million in BURF funding received by Flinders is supporting the following projects:
- The refurbishment of six major lecture theatres including upgraded audio-visual equipment.
- Installation of a campus wide wireless network.
- Construction of new clinical laboratories for the Faculty of Health Sciences.
- Construction of a collaborative learning hub with refreshment facilities in the Central Library.
- Upgrading the Refectory.
The installation of state-of-the-art video and audio links with Flinders remote and rural teaching and research facilities in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria was one of the key outcomes of the lecture theatre refurbishment in the School of Medicine.
Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Professor Michael Kidd said the refurbishment added a new dimension to the Medical School’s teaching and research infrastructure.
“While we have had the ability to broadcast lectures online and hold video-conferencing, the new communications links will allow much greater flexibility and speed in the two-way conversation with Flinders’ ten rural and remote clinical training and research sites,” Professor Kidd said.
“An Indigenous elder in Alice Springs or Nhulunbuy could, for example, offer medical students at Flinders campus some invaluable insights into the cultural sensitivity of providing health services in remote communities,” he said.
“Flinders has a very strong rural and remote health network through its Northern Territory Clinical School and Rural Clinical School based in Darwin, Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Alice Springs, the Centre for Remote Health at Alice Springs, the Flinders University Rural Clinical School based in Renmark, Victor Harbour, Strathalbyn and the Barossa and Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health based at Mount Gambier, Hamilton and Warrnambool.
“The latest communications technologies will bring together these centres of teaching excellence in rural and remote locations across South Australia and the Northern Territory and also link them into our lecture rooms in Adelaide. In doing so, our high quality teaching of medical, nursing and allied health students will be further enhanced and even stronger bonds and engagement will be forged with regional and remote communities.
“The refurbishment of the lecture theatres in the Flinders Medical Centre will, in its own way, play a part in the University’s efforts to help ‘Close the Gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health.”