Issue 9
Monday, 05 November 2018
Charles Darwin University
 The new Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, Professor Dominic Upton and the College of Nursing and Midwifery's new Dean, Professor Catherine Turner
The new Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, Professor Dominic Upton and the College of Nursing and Midwifery's new Dean, Professor Catherine Turner

Greater focus on nursing and health

The new Colleges of Nursing and Midwifery and Health and Human Sciences now provide a much greater focus on these important areas of teaching and research.

The areas were previously part of the former Faculty of Engineering, Health, Science and the Environment but were given a stand-alone presence through the recent higher education restructure.

CDU has appointed two highly credentialled deans to head up the new colleges to provide the drive and leadership to ramp up the university’s ability to produce high-quality graduates with a diverse range of skills.

Professor Catherine Turner, a highly experienced nursing administrator, clinician and educator has become the first Dean of the College of Nursing and Midwifery.

She is a Harvard University Fulbright Scholar and National Health and Medical Research Council Fellow with qualifications in nursing, population health and education.

She has worked as a clinical nurse, epidemiologist and held senior appointments in the tertiary and government sectors including Assistant Commissioner (Nursing) in Queensland.

While at the University of Queensland, Professor Turner established the former School of Nursing and Midwifery and last year was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant contribution to the nursing profession, specifically through research into practice, population health and higher education.

Professor Turner said she wanted to bring her experience as a clinician, researcher and teaching academic to help educate the nursing and midwifery workforce for the specific remote health care needs of the Territory as well as the future health workforce needs nationally and internationally.

“Nurses are by far the single largest health professional group and the foundation in any health care workforce globally. They are also very often at the frontline in remote areas where people often have poorer health outcomes,” she said.

“So the teaching of nurses is a vital aspect in maintaining a functioning and capable health system, not only in the Territory but also in all parts of the globe.

“One of the attractions of coming to CDU was that the university recognised the importance of the disciplines of Nursing and Midwifery by awarding them their own college. 

“Add to this the dual-sector nature of CDU and this meant it is possible to make a real difference to health outcomes via graduates from the types of academic programs delivered and the impact of research performed,” she said.

The new Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, Professor Dominic Upton, was a leading psychologist in the United Kingdom before moving to Australia and most recently was the acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra.

Not only does Professor Upton have a strong research record with more than 200 publications, but he also has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of his support of teaching excellence.

Professor Upton said he was attracted to the position at CDU because it offered the ability to grow something special to address the Territory’s unique set of circumstances.

“The NT has a blend of rural, remote and Indigenous populations that represent a special challenge in any health and wellbeing context but particularly allied health,” he said.

“The challenge for me is to be able to deliver graduates across a range of disciplines that help address those challenges.

“There is currently unmet need in many health services such as psychology and other allied health services. We have great programs at CDU across a range of areas and we have to make sure we are at the forefront in the minds of potential students weighing up where they should study.

“Pharmacy, Exercise and Sport Science, and Medical Lab Sciences come to mind as courses we offer that we really need to make a concerted effort in ensuring potential students are aware they are available locally. There is not only a benefit to the student studying locally, but they are much more likely to go on to work in the NT than if they study interstate,” Professor Upton said.