Research students meet to share ideas and encouragement

Published 16 July 2009

tanAbout 100 postgraduate students in the Schools of Education, Law, Health, Rural Medicine, and Business, Economics and Public Policy at the University of New England are meeting this week to share ideas and support each other in their research projects.

The five Schools comprise UNE’s Faculty of The Professions. The Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty, Professor Victor Minichiello, assured the students at the outset that the postgraduate research conference would provide them with long-lasting friendships as well as encouragement and support in their academic endeavours.

The students have travelled to UNE from all States in Australia as well as from overseas countries including South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the United States. Among those participants based on the UNE campus are international students from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Dr Terrence Hays, the conference’s co-convener (with Associate Professor Rafat Hussain), said that this was the Faculty’s fourth postgraduate conference, and that the annual event had seen an increasingly extensive program and a steady increase in attendance since its inception in 2006.

This year’s conference, which runs from Tuesday the 14th to Friday the 17th of July, is titled – like its predecessors – “Bridging the Gap between Ideas and Doing Research”.

“The conference provides a friendly atmosphere for students to present their research and get feedback from academics and fellow students,” Dr Hays explained. “This year’s program comprises 45 presentations by students and eight keynote presentations by UNE academics and visiting speakers – including the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council, Professor Margaret Sheil, and Dr Jane Phillips from Cancer Australia.

“As part of the program, students also have the opportunity to attend skills sessions relevant to data collection and interpretation.”

Heather Buchanan, whose research project – supervised by Professor Minichiello, Dr Hays, and Dr Ingrid Harrington – concerns the use by musicians of mental “body maps” to help them in performance, travelled from the United States to attend the conference.

Tanongson (Tan) Tienthavorn from Thailand, who is studying on campus for a Doctorate in Health Management, said the conference was important for the participants in providing them with “various perspectives” from which to approach research problems. Tan (pictured here), now in the fourth year of a doctoral program that he said had “opened his world”, has attended two previous postgraduate conferences.

Alison Reedy, who travelled to the postgraduate conference from Darwin, where she works as a lecturer at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, said that the conference had provided her with much-needed support and encouragement to continue with her project concerning the use of computer technology to enhance participation in English language learning by Indigenous adults.

THE PHOTOGRAPH of Tanongson Tienthavorn displayed here expands to include Heather Buchanan (right) and Alison Reedy.