University of Southern Queensland

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University of Southern Queensland
USQ coat of arms.png
Former names
University College of Southern Queensland (1990–1992)
Motto Per Studia Mens Nova
Motto in English
"Through study the mind is renewed"
Established 1967 (see Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education)
Type Public
Chancellor John Dornbusch
Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas
Administrative staff
1668 total staff FTE (2013)
Students 27337 (2013)
Location Toowoomba, Hervey Bay, and Springfield, Queensland, Australia
Campus Urban
Affiliations Regional Universities Network
USQ logo.png

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is based in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, with campuses also in Springfield, Fraser Coast and Ipswich. The institution was established in 1967 as the Darling Downs campus of the Queensland Institute of Technology (which in turn became the Queensland University of Technology). In 1971, it became the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, then the University College of Southern Queensland in 1990 and finally the University of Southern Queensland in 1992.[1]

USQ is spread across 4 campuses: Toowoomba, Fraser Coast and Springfield.[2]

In 2014, the total number of programs offered was 10 for pathway programs 76 for undergraduates and 85 for postgraduates.[3]

Total student enrolments in 2012 were 27,228, of which international students studying on-campus was 1,853 and studying externally was 3,969. Overall, 19,976 students studied online/externally, 4,468 studied on-campus at USQ Toowoomba, 898 studied on-campus at USQ Fraser Coast and 1886 studied on-campus at USQ Springfield[4]


In 1961 the City of Toowoomba reserved 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land to the southwest of the main town centre for educational purposes. This suburb was named Darling Heights on 25 September 1966 but was later renamed Darling Heights.

The Queensland Institute of Technology (Darling Downs) opened in Toowoomba in 1967 as a technical college offering 29 full-time technological diploma courses to 140 foundation students who studied full-time or part-time.[citation needed] The foundation principal was Mr J Wolfe who served until May 1967 when Mr Lindsay Barker became principal.

After the passage of the amended Education Act in 1971 the Institute became an autonomous multi-purpose college under the control of its own college council which subsequently determined that the new college would become the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education.

By 1973, accredited professional degree courses were offered in:

  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Science
  • Business Studies.

The School of Arts was formed in 1974. The Institute established the External Studies Department in 1978 and this soon became a recognised benchmark in its field with UNESCO selecting it as a demonstration unit. By this time external enrolments had begun to rival the number of internal enrollments. The School of External Studies commenced to accept overseas students in June 1985 in Hong Kong, and have obtained about 300 enrollment. All of them enrolled in Bacholar of Business with Accounting Concentration. Only 1 student has completed the program on time in 1988, after three years' of studies. It is the first student in Australia who got an Australian Degree without living in Australia. The Institute became also the first educational institution in Australia that promote qualified undergraduate education overseas, and commenced the period of rapid growth of education industries of Australia globally.

The period spanning 1980 to 1990 saw a period of unprecedented growth of the Institute leading to the establishment of the University College of Southern Queensland (UCSQ) under the sponsorship of the University of Queensland. On 1 January 1992, UCSQ became the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) with Professor Barry Leal becoming the University’s inaugural Vice-Chancellor.

With the appointment of Professor Peter Swannell as Vice-Chancellor in 1996 the University underwent a further period of exceptional growth which included the establishment of a Wide Bay Campus, later renamed USQ Fraser Coast, and a Brisbane Centre in 1997, the USQ European Study Centre in Bretten, Germany in 1998 and the building of a number of landmark structures on campus. In 1998 USQ was voted the 'World’s Best Dual Mode University' by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) while Professor Jim Taylor, the then Director of the Distance Education Centre won the inaugural ICDE prize for individual excellence for his contribution to global distance learning.

In 1999, USQ launched USQOnline, and was named winner of the Best Exporter Award in the Government Category of the National Multicultural Marketing Awards held by the New South Wales Ethnic Affairs Commission. In 2000, USQ won the organisational category of the Queensland Government Multicultural Services Awards and was named joint winner of the Good Universities Guides 'Australian University of the Year (2000–2001)' for demonstrated leadership in establishing the e-University.

In 2003, USQ opened Stage II of its Wide Bay Campus, constructed a research and manufacturing facility for Fibre Composites and established USQ International College, Fiji. Following the retirement of Professor Peter Swannell in 2003, Professor Bill Lovegrove was appointed as Vice-Chancellor. By the end of 2003 USQ had in excess of 25,000 enrolled students from 133 countries and a full-time equivalent of 1400 staff. Since 1992, USQ’s capital works expenditure has exceeded $107 million. The University has an estimated annual economic injection into the economy of the region in excess of $150 million per annum.[citation needed]

In July 2004, USQ won the Commonwealth of Learning Award of Excellence for Institutional Achievement which recognises and honours excellence in distance education and open learning. The Commonwealth of Learning is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.

In December 2004, the University improved its distance education profile by being accredited with the Distance Education Training Council (DETC), an American public service organisation dedicated to identifying quality distance learning institutions. The accreditation is an expression of confidence in the educational programs, policies and procedures of the University by its peers, and brings the institution recognition through the extension of special status by several American states under their legislation and regulations.

Springfield campus buildings, 2014

In Semester One 2006 the USQ Springfield campus opened its doors to more than 350 students in Brisbane’s south-western corridor. The Campus is situated in an education precinct, known as Education City, which includes other educational providers, such as English as a second language providers, an ABC Childcare and Training Centre and the Bremer Institute of TAFE to name a few. The Campus offers programs in Business, Science and Arts and is well known for its intensive mode, which is very popular at the postgraduate level.[citation needed]

The USQ Historical Archives, established in 2007, documents and maintains a secure, publicly accessible collection which records all aspects of the University's history for the purpose of research and to preserve the USQ memory. [5]

USQ Fraser Coast’s new building known as C Block was opened further enhancing the teaching space and facilities at the campus in 2009. Additionally, USQ Artsworx was recognised by the Queensland Parliament as being one of the best non-for-profit organisations focused on community engagement in the state.

‘The Year of Research’ was taken on by USQ in 2010 to signify the commitment to enhancing our research strengths and investment during the year. [6]

USQ took possession of 1.5million photographic negatives and 37 000 issues of The Chronicle and Queensland Advertiser in 2011. This made USQ an important custodian of regional history. The collection is housed in a specially designed room to assist with the preservation of materials. [7]

USQ was a founding member of the Regional Universities Network that was launched in 2011. [8]

Faculties and academic departments[edit]

  • Faculty of Business, Education Law and Arts (BELA)
School of Arts and Communication
School of Commerce
School of Law and Justice
School of Management and Enterprise
School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
  • Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences (HES)
School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery
School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
School of Psychology, Counselling and Community


The University of Southern Queensland has three research institutes and seven research centres. In addition research students and research staff may operate out of the faculty structure.

Based on competitive grants won, industry funded research collaborations, and Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) ratings, USQ has significant and core research strength in the broad area of agriculture and the environment.

It includes research performed across several centres and faculties in areas such as agribusiness, astrophysics, crop biotechnology, the effect of climate on food and water security, precision agriculture, farming mechanisation, irrigation systems, hydrology, soil sciences, forestry, natural resource management, UV radiation, farm energy use and emissions, fibre composite materials, and green energy.

This core research strength has generated over $10 million in new grant and industry funding during 2010-2012[citation needed] and is the driver of USQ’s ERA “world class” ratings in Agriculture & Veterinary Science and Physical Sciences.

USQ also has several emerging areas of research strength including research in digital futures, mathematical sciences, biomedical sciences, and research performed in the broad area of regional systems. This encompasses research into regional sustainability or delivery of health services, business, education, law, social factors, anthropology, indigenous pasts and arts that have a specific regional Australian basis or aspect.[9]

USQ's research institutes are:

  • Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI)
  • Institute for Agriculture and the Environment (IAgE)
  • Institute for Resilient Regions (IRR)

USQ's research centres are:

  • Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development (ACSBD)
  • Australian Centre for Sustainable Catchments (ACSC)
  • Centre of Excellence in Engineering Fibre Composites (CEEFC)
  • Centre for Rural and Remote Area Health (CRRAH)
  • Centre for Systems Biology (CSBi)
  • Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre (CESRC)
  • National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture (NCEA)

Notable Alumni[edit]

Residential Colleges[edit]

The University of Southern Queensland has 3 residential colleges located on its Toowoomba campus. All 3 colleges are co-ed and two (McGregor and Steele Rudd) have no religious affiliation. The 3 colleges are:[10]

  • McGregor - established with the support and initiative of the Darling Downs Institute for Advanced Education in 1967, McGeregor is named after Dr Alex McGregor a former Mayor of Toowoomba, who had a significant influence on the development of tertiary education in the region. The college accommodates 200 students.
  • Steele Rudd - established with the support and initiative of the Darling Downs Institute for Advanced Education in 1967. Steele Rudd is named in honour of Arthur Hoey Davis, pen-name Steele Rudd, a distinguished Australian and Darling Downs author. The college accommodates 130 students.
  • Concannon - owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba and managed on behalf of the Diocese by the University. Concannon College was built at the initiative of Bishop Edward Kelly and is named in honour of the Concannon family, in particular Monsignor Edward Concannon in appreciation for his work in education. The college welcomes students of any religious background, beliefs and cultures. The college accommodates 102 students.

Fraser Coast Campus[edit]

Hervey Bay campus

USQ's Fraser Coast campus is located on the Queensland coast at Hervey Bay, about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Brisbane - a forty-five minute flight or a four hour drive from Brisbane CBD. There are more than 800 students enrolled at Fraser Coast in accounting, business, commerce and marketing; health, human biology and nursing; community welfare and development and human services; education; and postgraduate work-based learning. The Campus features new $800 000 library and bookshop which opened in 2013.[11] The Campus also features a Student Hub for personal and academic support; computer labs and wireless access; green spaces and cafes.

Springfield Campus[edit]

USQ's Springfield campus is located at Springfield, a suburb of approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Brisbane CBD.

Phoenix Radio is a project of USQ Springfield. This online community radio station serves the Greater Ipswich region and also provides training for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Applied Media program as well as people from the local area.

The campus also features:

  • An auditorium
  • The Central Tavern (Formally known as the "On Campus Bar" or "The OC")
  • On-Campus accommodation
  • Direct access to 24 hectares of parklands
  • Orion Greater Springfield shopping and entertainment precinct
  • Close proximity to the Greg Norman-designed Brookwater Golf Course

See Also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°36′15″S 151°55′55″E / 27.6042°S 151.932°E / -27.6042; 151.932