New Council Sets Sight on Student Development


The newly elected board members of JCU’s Council are planning to focus on new student developments during their four-year term.

By Domanii Cameron

James Cook University officially welcomed the new JCU Council board members at the 16th Annual Council Induction last Wednesday.

The induction of the members was held at the School of Creative Arts courtyard.

Secretary of Council Michael Kern says the Council proposes to set up a Student Focus Subcommittee.

“The council has already decided that it may create some new committees and subcommittees,” Mr Kern says.

“It would include a Student Focus Subcommittee and a Risk Subcommittee.”

Kern says the subcommittees will be welcomed as a refreshing new initiative by students.

“We’ve always wanted a student focus subcommittee and it’s really hard because if you read the JCU Act, it very rarely mentions students,” Mr Kern says.

“It’s a very exciting development.

“Having a Student Focus Subcommittee will be amazing.”

JCU's Council has proposals for a new student subcommittee. PHOTO CREDIT: JCU Website

JCU’s Council has proposals for a new student subcommittee. PHOTO CREDIT: JCU Website

With the 2014 Budget announcing that universities may soon be able to charge independent prices on courses, JCU may find itself a part of a more competitive market.

JCU Chancellor John Grey says to combat this, the Council needs to ensure that the University maintains a high international reputation.

“What students are looking for is value for money and what they’re looking for are very clever teachers and researchers,” Mr Grey says.

“We already have an international reputation in a number of areas including marine science and sustainable ecologies and so on.

“Those things are a big plus,” he says.

The Chancellor says having students on Council is very important.

“There are two reasons we have students on Council.

“One is to have student input but also because it’s a wonderful opportunity for students to see the governance of a very large organisation with high dollar values, so they learn a lot out of it.”

The Chancellor says the elected students have been very enthusiastic.

“They’ve been a bit amazed by the complexity of it because it’s beyond anything so far that they’ve run into, but they have been very enthusiastic and eager to learn,” he says.

Student Council member Laura Walker says her primary goal is to represent JCU’s student body.

“I was elected by the students,” she says.

“That’s my role within Council and I will always be open to students coming up to me.

“I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”

Elected student member Edward Harridge who is a Business and Law student says to help address issues that may arise out of the proposed 2014 Budget, JCU can be made more appealing by focusing on quality.

“Focusing on quality in its areas of comparative advantage like marine biology and marine sciences and that sort of thing will help,” Mr Harridge says.

“For areas like law and business however where there is a lot of competition, JCU doesn’t have an advantage and it will have to compete on price.

“There will have to be more efficiency on those particular areas.”

Both Edward and Laura agree that parking is a popular issue when campaigning.

“We could remove some of the overzealous issuing of parking fines,” Mr Harridge says.

“There is plenty of room outside of the library for parking and also near the Creative Arts building.

“There certainly isn’t a shortage of space.”

Fellow elected student member Mark Dodge was unavailable to speak at the induction.

To raise any issues with the student members, you can contact them  here.