Dr Threlkeld has a clear vision for the campus that dovetails with the recent policy agenda announced by Universities Australia, and includes developing global links through international student exchanges, building the University’s capacity to respond to community needs, and strengthening the campus’s role in the Albury-Wodonga region.
‘A modern university like La Trobe is not just a community within itself – it is also part of a broader community – in this case, a thriving regional community that centres on the towns of Albury and Wodonga,’ says Dr Threlkeld.
As part of making this community stronger, Dr Threlkeld sees global engagement as vital.
‘I am a strong advocate for students undertaking overseas exchanges, including exchange semesters at partner universities and professional placements overseas. It is wonderful to see the benefits of this when students return to campus,’ says Dr Threlkeld.
‘International experience greatly enriches students’ education, and when these students graduate and move into employment, it in turn enriches the local workforce.’
Dr Threlkeld says that the policy agenda announced by Universities Australia, A Smarter Australia, is both timely and relevant.
‘A focus of A Smarter Australia is that we should be increasing university participation amongst Australians. To facilitate this we must respond to the needs of people in the area in helping students juggle the many commitments of contemporary life – in terms of flexible study options such as part-time study, intensive classes and online education, as well as access programs that equip mature age students for university.’
‘The demands on people’s time will continue to change, and so my aim is that we will adapt to changing social circumstances so that we continue to make higher education as accessible as possible,’ says Dr Threlkeld.
‘The recently revamped Master of Teaching (P-12) is a good example of our capacity to respond innovatively to our students’ circumstances. Enrolments increased by 66% this year as a consequence of offering the program in block mode, with intensive on-campus sessions to complement extensive on-line teaching and learning activities.’
‘A Smarter Australia also underscores the crucial role that universities play in the productivity and economic development of our society. A 2009 study found that La Trobe had contributed $50.3 million to the region’s GDP and supported 515 jobs. As a campus we are still growing and so we hope that this contribution will only increase,’ says Dr Threlkeld.
La Trobe University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, says that Dr Threlkeld’s extensive record of providing consultancy in health and human service development in north-eastern Victoria makes her an ideal person to continue developing links between the Albury-Wodonga campus and the local community.
‘Her experience in contributing to the design and development of accessible services that meet local community needs is important background for her new role,’ says Professor Dewar.
La Trobe University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (Regional), Professor Hal Swerissen, says that he welcomes Dr Threlkeld’s appointment.
‘La Trobe is the biggest provider of higher education to students in regional areas in Victoria,’ says Professor Swerissen. ‘I have every confidence in Dr Threlkeld’s capacity to develop and strengthen higher education opportunities for the Albury-Wodonga region.’
More about Dr Threlkeld: Dr Threlkeld has been the Associate Head of School of the La Trobe Rural Health School since 2011 and Coordinator of Social Work at the Albury-Wodonga campus. She is a long-term resident of Albury-Wodonga, having moved to the region from Melbourne many years ago. Dr Threlkeld’s background is in social policy and social work.
Dr Threlkeld has served on a number of local boards, including as a longstanding member of the Board of Directors of Gateway Community Health, and has recently joined the Board of Directors of Ovens and King Community Health in Wangaratta. She is currently working with Communities That Care Myrtleford, supporting this community initiative to enhance the experience of young people in the town.
As Head of Campus, Dr Threlkeld replaces Professor Lin Crase, who stepped aside at the beginning of this year in order to focus on his position as the Director of the Centre for Water Policy and Management.
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