Graduate Research School COVID-19 Advice for HDR Candidates and Advisors

COVID-19 Advice for HDR Candidates and Advisors

The COVID-19 situation has meant necessary changes to teaching and learning at JCU in order to keep our community safe. Graduate Research School communications and FAQs have been gathered together below to keep you up to date and supported during this time.

For JCU wide communications please visit the JCU COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions for HDR Students can be found here.

Information on Visas can be found on the Australian Government website here: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/staying-australia


Reading and Writing during Covid-19

Zoom seminar by Associate Professor Liz Tynan on 13 May 2020

Download the slides here.

More information in the Pandemic discussion board on LearnJCU in the HDR Organisation.  Please look for Liz Tynan's thread titled Reading and Writing During Covid-19.


HDR Candidate Forum

On Thursday 16 April 2020, Professor Bruce led an online forum to provide the GRS response to the current situation and answer any questions from HDR candidates.

Download the PowerPoint slides here.

Forum Recording

Temporary University Building Status (TUBS)

Subject: COVID 19 – Temporary University Building Status (TUBS)

Action required: Read


To: All Staff and Students

From: Director Estate

Approved by: Director Estate

Date: 22 April 2020


The University has prepared an information booklet to help you understand what buildings and facilities are currently active. The booklet will be continually updated to reflect the dynamic environment that we are currently working in.

This link (COVID 19 - TUBS) will always lead you to the current version, therefore you will be able to understand what facilities and services are available to you at any time.

For more information, please contact space management on spacemanagement@jcu.edu.au .

Student Success Support Package

To: All Students (Australia)
From: Jodie Midson, Director, Student Services 
Subject: Student Success Support Package
Date: 20 April, 2020

Dear Students,

Last week the Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding announced a Student Success Support Package to assist students who are in need of support due to COVID-19. The package has been designed in response to feedback received from students and will undergo further refinement as circumstances require.

Details are available on the website here.

The application process has been streamlined to one application form and we are encouraging students who are in need to apply for Financial Support. Information about the Academic Safety Net, Health and Wellbeing services, and FAQs are also on the website.

  • Financial assistance
    • Fast Track Student Support Fund offers grants of up to $400 cash and a $100 technology bursary to provide immediate cash flow assistance to students who don't qualify for Government benefits.
    • Exceptional Student Support Fund makes available extended support for those students facing the hardest of circumstances. Assessed on a case-by-case basis, this fund provides assistance with daily essentials through financial grants of up to $2,000 or Electronic Funds Transfer payments of $50 per fortnight. This fund is for those in exceptional circumstances.
  • An Academic Safety Net will help reduce the potential impact of COVID-19 on academic results. This includes non-GPA gradings, changes and flexibility in assessment as well as access to online counselling, Library resources and support services.  It is important to note the clarification provided about assessment flexibility and a waiver of WF, U and N results on academic transcripts where at least 80% of subject assessments have been completed.
  • Increased student support and wellbeing resources. Our student support teams are available for online and phone assistance. We've also introduced bulk billed TeleHealth services for students at JCU Health and JCU Physio Clinic. The full range of health and wellbeing support resources for students are available here.
  • Parking refund. If you purchased a six- or 12-month parking permit between January and March 2020 you will be eligible for a refund. We will contact students directly by student email to organise a refund.

Thank you for your patience and feedback over the past weeks and for your commitment to JCU.  We’re in this together and you can depend on our support.

Your Student Centre team are here to help if you have any questions or need further assistance.

Kind Regards,
Jodie Midson
Director, Student Services
James Cook University
CRICOS Provider Code 00117J (QLD)

Graduate Research School advice notices sent to HDR Candidates

Dear HDR Candidates,

The purpose of this correspondence is to provide information on the current situation regarding travel restrictions into and out of Australia.

It is almost 6 months since the covid-19 travel restrictions were implemented, and we are now facing even more limited international travel.  The GRS are aware of the HDR candidates who are currently located offshore, and are wanting to travel to Australia, specifically Townsville and Cairns, to continue with their HDR course.

If you are a HDR candidate currently located offshore, and wanting to travel to Australia, the GRS will be in contact to ascertain further details of your current situation and to provide further support where possible.

Further to this information, this is also an opportunity to remind all international HDR candidates with a student visa, it is extremely important that you do not let this visa expire.

If your student visa will expire before your candidature is due to end, please submit a Variation of Candidature form to the GRS to request an extension. Once approved, the International Student Support Team will issue a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) document that you will use to apply for a new visa via the Department of Home Affairs website. You may be eligible for a nil visa application charge for a new Student (Subclass 500) visa application if you are unable to complete your approved course of study within the original visa validity due to COVID-19. Please contact the JCU International Student Support team (internationalsupport@jcu.edu.au) if your research has been delayed due to COVID-19.

Kind regards,

Christine Bruce
Dean, Graduate Research

Dear HDR Candidates,

This email is especially relevant to those of you who are off shore and planning to return to or enter Australia as conditions allow. We are very aware that the uncertain nature of these times is not comfortable. Please be assured that at JCU we are working in every way possible to help your return or arrival process.

JCU's approach will be in stages.  The first two stages, which are currently under way, have prioritised bringing currently enrolled undergraduate medicine and dentistry students back to Australia to commence their practicums in semester 2. These students have satisfied the criteria for an exemption from the Australian government travel ban, as they provide essential health services to rural and remote and indigenous populations, and would be significantly disadvantaged if they are unable to continue their studies in Australia this year.

The third stage, which is yet to commence, involves bringing a quota of returning, continuing students who have valid student visas, which may include HDR candidates, back into Australia via a Queensland Universities secure corridor proposal.  This is currently being designed in consultation with Queensland Health and Queensland Police and must be signed off by Queensland State Government before implementation. The participation of any JCU student (HDR or coursework) in this process is being managed by JCU International.

It is anticipated that HDR Candidates who are not returning, continuing students (ie have not spent part of their candidature on campus) will be eligible for entry into Australia upon successful completion of the secure corridor proposal (the third stage).  However, this remains subject to government approval.

JCU International does not recommend candidates who are overseas and wanting to come into Australia apply for exemption from travel bans via the Department of Home Affairs.  This is because you are unlikely to meet the current exemption criteria and it is not known what the repercussions of a declined application might be.

More information will be available once the secure corridor proposal has been developed and approved by government.

We are thinking about you during this difficult time. Please stay in touch with your advisors, peers, colleges and the GRS. We are here to help in any way we can.

Kind regards,

Graduate Research School

Subject: COVID-19 Guidelines updates 15 May 2020

Action required: Implement as required


To: All Staff

From: Andrew Reddicliffe, Work Health and Safety Unit Manager

Approved by: Alison Scott, Divisional Executive Officer

Date: 20 May 2020


The COVID-19 situation is requiring JCU to alter some of the way in which we conduct our business. JCU is also responsible for the safety of our staff, students, volunteers and the public when conducting university activities.

The following documents have been updated to reflect latest COVID-19 requirements from Queensland Health and Australian Government as at 15 May 2020. You will find the information on the WHS Covid-19 website.

  • COVID-19 Field Trip Guide
  • COVID-19 Guideline for Practicals
  • COVID-19 – Safe Use of Personal Protective Equipment Guide

These documents provide guidance on how to safely manage COVID-19 risks during University activities.

Operational approvals for the activity to take part and resources required to be used to conduct the activity will also need to be considered and complied with (refer to the Provost Office). Managers/supervisors of post graduate students, please ensure that these guidelines are provided to students to assist with JCU activities.

JCU will monitor federal and state government advice and update internal procedures as the requirements change.

For more information, please contact JCU WHS Unit or at safety@jcu.edu.au

Dear HDR Candidates,

I hope you are well.

The purpose of this GRS Covid-19 update is to provide further advice to help you manage the impact of Covid-19 on your research progress.

JCU Student Success Support Package

Please be reminded about the JCU Student Success Support Package which has been created to provide financial and other support during these trying times.  It is open to HDR candidates to access if needed.

https://www.jcu.edu.au/studentsuccess

Mid-Candidature Review (MCR) Milestone

The requirement to do the Mid-Candidature Review milestone has been waived for all candidates who would have been required to complete this milestone in 2020.  The reason for this includes inability to undertake conference travel, which many candidates engage in to complete the presentation component of this milestone.  The following points also apply:

  • The option to undertake the Mid-Candidature Review in 2020 can be taken.
  • If the option to undertake the Mid-Candidature Review in 2020 is not taken, then a Progress Report must be completed instead.
  • The Professional Development requirements of this milestone do still apply (80 hours by MCR and 120 hours by Pre-Completion Evaluation).  The options are to submit a record of your Professional Development activities at the time the MCR is due, or to simply have them assessed at Pre-Completion Evaluation.

Milestone flexibility

The inherent flexibility around the timing HDR milestones is being augmented in recognition that there may be delays to milestones due to Covid-19 related restrictions.  If your milestone will be overdue by up to 3 months, please advise the GRS by email to grs@jcu.edu.au so that your record may be updated.  If the delay will be more than 3 months, please submit a Variation of Candidature form.

Candidature Extensions

Candidates will be required to submit a Variation of Candidature Form to apply for an extension beyond 4 years (or full time equivalent) for Doctorates and 2 years for Masters.  This has been carefully considered by the Research Education Sub-Committee.  Reasons for not automatically applying an extension to all candidates include:

  1. Variation to a candidate’s contract with JCU requires the signature of the candidate and cannot be automatically applied.
  2. International candidates must be ensured that any fee exemptions are also extended if necessary and receiving an application will ensure this is picked up if required.
  3. International candidates also have potential compliance requirements for extensions to Confirmation of Enrolment and Visa implications which need to also be addressed which won’t happen with an automatic extension.

Please be assured that all applications will be treated with due consideration, provided principles of applying for an extension have been adhered to, specifically thorough documentation of delays, and clear project and contingency planning.

Leave Options

Just a reminder about the paid leave options that are inherent to JCU funded Postgraduate Research Scholarships.  Options for paid recreational leave and sick leave are available.  Please refer to your scholarship conditions and contact grs@jcu.edu.au to discuss your options.

Exceptional Circumstance Covid-19 Scholarship Extensions

For HDR candidates whose progress has been severely impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, Exceptional Circumstances Covid-19 Scholarship Extensions are available.  Please note: These extensions are for those in exceptional circumstances only.  There must be thorough documentation of the impacts of Covid-19 on research progress, and all options for completions must have already been considered including contingency plans.  Please contact your college HDR Academic Services Officer or ADRE to discuss further.

https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/contacts

Visa Information

For international HDR candidates, the Department of Home Affairs is constantly updating their website with new visa information in response to Covid-19. Please review the website for up to date information:

https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/

Of course if there are any questions about the above, please contact grs@jcu.edu.au for more information.

Kind regards,

Christine Bruce
Dean, Graduate Research

Dear HDR Candidates,

This email comes with the kindest regards to HDR candidates and advisory panels during this difficult time.

Thank you to all in the JCU HDR community who were able to attend the HDR Forum on Thursday 16 April.  At this forum many aspects of HDR candidature in the time of Covid-19 were discussed, and many excellent questions raised. A recording of the Forum will be made available soon, and questions raised will be added to the HDR FAQ site on the GRS COVID-19 Page.

The purpose of this email is to provide you with more information about the University’s support for HDR candidates, specifically how we are supporting you to manage your candidature in response to challenges that may have arisen due to Covid-19.  This email contains three main parts.

The first is the HDR Candidate Quick Check-In Survey. This survey has been developed by the JCU HDR community and aims to gather information to allow us to support you and your research at this time.  It is anonymous, mostly multiple choice, and should take less than 10 minutes.  We ask that all HDR candidates complete this survey.  It will assist us in government lobbying for important support such as funding for scholarship extensions.

Link to Survey:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=6MSoMM0eFE-Amfc0gqetwNOjBA6S909OsaIJmv32jShUN1pIWDBaTU9LQ0dJRTE1RjRGOUI2NFM1OS4u

The second part of this email deals with Progress Reporting. HDR Progress reports are usually due in April and October each year.  This April’s Progress Reporting will be slightly delayed but contains a very important addition: the Candidate Research Delay Record.  The Candidate Research Delay Record should be used to document delays due to Covid-19 restrictions, or any other circumstances causing research delay.  The Progress Report Form also has always contained a section for documenting project plans and contingency plans.

HDR candidates are encouraged to use the Progress Report Form to support any future request for an extension to your candidature, and therefore should be as thorough as possible.  The GRS will send out a separate email about Progress Reporting, with a revised due date.

The third and final part of this email deals with the scholarship extension application process for postgraduate research scholarships, specifically RTPS, IRTPS and JCUPRS scholarships, due to Covid-19 related delays.  While the details of the process are currently being finalised, we are able to indicate the following:

  1. Scholarships are awarded for candidature up to 3.5 EFTSL (Doctorate) and 2 EFTSL (Masters).  Extensions beyond this are not normally funded, however we do recognise that delays due to Covid-19 restrictions will require consideration of funded scholarship extensions.
  2. An application for an extension of up to six months due to Covid-19 related restrictions should be sent to the GRS in the six months prior to the existing scholarship end date.
  3. The GRS will be asking for documentation of delays, and you should use your Progress Report for this purpose, particularly the “Candidate Research Delay Record”.
  4. The GRS will be asking for a revised project timeline and confirmation that the proposed work for the period of the extension will allow the thesis to be completed in that time frame.   This should be done in collaboration with your Advisory Panel.  This may require further contingency planning for parts of the plan that are not guaranteed. Again, we recommend that you use the Progress Report for documentation, particularly the “Project Work Plan” section.
  5. The GRS asks that all options for timely completion have been considered. For example, you may wish to talk to your advisory panel about whether your thesis can be submitted on the basis of research to completed date, even if you had originally planned for further work.
  6. The GRS is currently testing the above process and will advise once it has been finalised.

There are two more things which I would like to share.  The first is that conversations are ongoing regarding the question raised about automatic “candidature only” extensions.  An outcome about this can be expected in the very near future.

Finally, as per the VC’s email on Friday 17 April, a Student Success Support Package is now available that includes Financial, Academic and Health Support components.  More information can be found at https://www.jcu.edu.au/studentsuccess

Take care everyone.  And if course if there are any enquiries about the information in this message, please don’t hesitate to email grs@jcu.edu.au

Kind regards,

Christine Bruce
Dean, Graduate Research

Graduate Research School
Division of Research and Innovation
James Cook University, Australia

Dear HDR students,

I hope this email finds you and yours well.

I am writing this email as one of your three RESC student representatives. The general purpose of this email is to give you a comprehensive summary of the current efforts to gauge HDR students’ concerns related to COVID-19 and initiatives to support HDR students.

Words of empathy and call to support each other:

The SARS-CoV-2 virus and measurements to contain it are having considerable impacts on people and organizations. JCU, and in particular HDR students, are not immune to these adverse effects. In this regard, I want to express my sincere empathy with all of you. I hope we all can find effective and positives ways to move forward in our research projects. I understand the burden that isolation, social distancing, and uncertainty can have on many of us. I have had a reduction in my productivity for concerns about my family and friends. However, it is important to acknowledge that everyone is different. Indeed, some students have told me the current situation has had minimal or zero impact on their progress. I am confident these students can continue their path to completion in great fashion, and I trust they can be supportive and kind towards other HDRs.

Some students are (or will be) facing different challenges during this period: finances, mental health, physical health, etc. These challenges are likely to be accentuated by social distancing and isolation. For some students, this can be a lonely journey. I want to be emphatic in that this does not have to be the only option. Most people need to share their struggles. In this sense, I want to tell you that I am here to listen to you and to understand how you feel. You can contact me in my email or mobile number (0402 332 589). I would be happy to listen and support you. University councillors and international officers are also available to listen to your concerns and help you navigate the current situation (more info about this in Equity and Wellbeing Unit or contacting internationalsupport@jcu.edu.au).

Students raising their concerns

As far as I know, at some point, there were at least three independent groups of HDR students organizing communications to express their COVID-19 concerns to JCU authorities. Please find below a summary of these initiatives.

  • Attachment one is a letter sent by one of these groups. This communication was subscribed by 51 students, mostly internationals, and mainly from the Townsville Campus and Biological Sciences. This letter was addressed to Professor Christine Bruce. But it was also sent to the higher JCU hierarchy (Provost, Vice-Chancellors, and others). I was not involved in this communication, but I think this letter intended to express student concerns promptly. Professor Bruce (GRS Dean) organize a meeting with students who prepare this letter (Brooke, Brittany and Suzanne), the International Office, GRS representatives and I (Monday 6th April). During this meeting, everyone was given a time to express their concerns and views. This meeting was followed up by two emails: one from GRS Dean, and one from Suzanne.
  • Attachment two is a letter prepared by the other two groups of students. This letter tried to articulate the views, concerns, and solutions of students from all our campuses, study modes, and academic units. The approach used was to contact students’ representatives (past and present) from most Colleges, Centres, and Clubs. This letter was presented to the Dean yesterday.
  • Attachment three is a survey prepared by students to gather opinions, concerns, and solutions from HDR students. This survey was presented yesterday in the RESC meeting. The survey intended to collect data which can help to identify priority areas and students in a critical situation. The GRS and student representatives are collaborating in the final survey to be sent to students.
  • I am unaware of any other effort done by HDR students. However, please note that each academic unit (College, Centre, etc) should have active HDR representatives within each unit. There are also students’ representatives in various university bodies (e.g., University Council, Library, Academic Board, etc).

Where we are:

The information presented below has been discussed in different meetings I have participated. Notice that expressions such as “it is likely” or “possible” denote a certain degree of uncertainty about specific points. The reason for this uncertainty is either because no official decision has been made, or because I do not feel confident affirming a particular aspect. I likely forget some important information. If I do, please accept my apologies and understand me.

  • Prof Bruce has been very emphatic in expressing that the GRS and JCU will support all HDR students to completion. The GRS is 100% operative, with staff working from home.
  • Currently, several organizations (e.g., Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, Council of International Students Australia, International Education Association Australia) are advocating and lobbying at the highest level of Australian regional and federal government. At this stage, there is not an official rescue package or financial aid for universities or international students.
  • The lobby described before is quite comprehensive and complex, as it includes visa policies, health insurance policies, care packages, financial aid, etc. There is progress in some areas (e.g., visas, see here).
  • The GRS is preparing a series of actions (surveys, forms) to identify and anticipate student issues and delays.
  • The GRS will likely make available some tools (forms) for helping students document their struggles. It seems these tools will not be compulsory. However, you must document any struggle or issue that is affecting your candidature.
  • Prof. Bruce would likely organise an informative forum with students next week. JCU Provost and International Pro Vice-Chancellor will probably attend this forum.
  • The new cohort of HDR students is expected to continue their Professional Development (PD) online.
  • Training for advisors will also continue online.
  • Some changes will likely be implemented around the Mid-Candidature requirements (number of PD hours and conference presentations at the mid-candidature milestone).
  • GRS is working in a framework for the application of extensions (both candidature and scholarship). Please note that the framework is different from criteria. The GRS Dean was emphatic in making this distinction. In essence, the framework is about establishing a process to receive and evaluate students’ forms.
  • Currently, the GRS intention is that application extensions will be study and address case by case.
  • Dean was emphatic that not helping students is not an option.

All GRS communications and advice related to COVID-19 can be found in this link.

Facts and understanding the complexity of the current challenges:

JCU would be affected by current travel restrictions, isolation policies, economic stagnation, etc, like any other organization. I am not aware of the magnitude of these effects. I know that the GRS and JCU are doing financial forecasting to anticipate financial impacts. The information below about HDR scholarships aims to explain briefly how these are funded.

In Australia, federal funded scholarships to HDR students (local and international) are awarded to each university based on various factors (e.g., research output and the number of HDR completions). This means that it is in the best interest of each university to support HDR completions.

Very few universities in Australia offer four-year scholarships. When they do, these usually are part of some sort of excellence program for high ranking applicants. Most universities in Australia award three-years scholarships, with the possibility of a six-month extension. In various Australian universities, this six-month extension is not guaranteed to all students. In JCU, most students with a three-year scholarship would be able to access the six-month extension (I say “most students” because I do not have official numbers). JCU GRS does not fund scholarships beyond 3.5 years. If a student receives a scholarship beyond the 3.5-year mark, funding is likely coming from another source such as the student’s Academic Unit or academic partner (College, Centre, External Institution).

This funding system, under the current situation, makes very unlikely the possibility to provide a blanket or universal scholarship extensions for all students. News about extension in other universities must be interpreted carefully. These extensions are being done over the basis of a 3-year mark or are backed by university with a stronger financial muscle (this second point is my opinion). Here, I am not trying to argument in favour or against any position. My intention is to describe how the system works under normal conditions. While we are under extraordinary circumstances, the federal government has not yet announced any consideration for the educational sector.

However, Prof. Bruce has communicated to RESC members (yesterday afternoon) that she has received positive news, which allows for broader possibilities. This is very very positive.

What you could do:

  • Within your possibilities, stay safe and strong. Please take a moment to weigh and put each concern and decision in context. Yours and your family health should be the priority.
  • Seek help and support if you need it. I have used the JCU counselling service, and I am a witness to the incredible work they do. If talking to a councillor is not suitable for you, maybe try to reach out to family and friends. As I said before, I am available (I think I’m a good listener).
  • If COVID-19 is not affecting you or your research, fantastic. Keep up with the great work. Maybe consider sharing your strategy with other students.
  • Please document your struggles, if any. This information is very likely to be useful in application to extensions.
  • Be aware that COVID-19 could be affecting the people around you: lab mates, technicians, staff, advisors, etc.
  • It is essential to maintain fluent and transparent communications with your advisory panel. Ideally, you should discuss expectations and goals-setting under the current circumstances, and let them know what concerns and struggles you have. I know some students can found this task daunting or not useful. Also, some advisors might be indisposed to this type of conversation or revision of expectations. I do not have good advice in this regard. Still, even if this conversation is uncomfortable, it is a conversation that should happen. I offer myself to be with you during this conversation if you wish, and you believe this would help.
  • If you currently have research funding from an external organization or funding body, please maintain yourself informed about any change in funding policies. In case of changes, notify your advisory panel and JCU Connect.
  • Please complete any survey sent by JCU (GRS, international office, etc). These surveys are important for planning.
  • If you would be happy to contribute to supporting fellow HDR students or supporting the labour of your students’ representatives, please let (me) them know.
  • I you are a local student, maybe consider reaching out to your parliament representative and lobbying for your needs.
  • Please do not hesitate to share your concerns directly with the GRS, your College/Centre academic officer, your College/Centre Associate Dean Research Education, and your student representatives.
  • Please feel free to share this email with fellow HDR students.

I want to finish this long communication acknowledging the effort from all students contributing to the conversation with JCU authorities. As student, I appreciate your leadership. It would be great to joint efforts in what until now has been a little bit disjointed initiative. I am happy to collaborate with anyone. If we can harvest something positive from this situation, it would be amalgamating the HDR student body, and creating synergy between HDR students across all study modes, academic units, and campuses. I consider this is much needed in the JCU HDR community.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me. For practicality and time constraints, maybe you could contact first your official or impromptu student representative.

Wishing all the best, stay safe and strong

César

César Herrera | PhD Candidate

CSE & CBLG HDR Ambassador, and casual Subject Coordinator

RESC HDR student representative

Ecology | Data Science | Biodiversity | Education & Outreach

cesar.herrera1@my.jcu.edu.au

61 7 478 13273

61 402 332 589

|| James Cook University

|| QLD 4817 | Australia

Subject: Flu vaccine for HDR students JCU Townsville, Douglas

Action required: For appointments contact JCU Health


To: HDR Students

From: Andrew Reddicliffe, Work Health and Safety Manager

Approved by: Alison Scott, Divisional Executive Officer

Date: 14 April 2020


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic JCU HDR students can now access free flu vaccinations through the 2020 JCU flu vaccination program. Please note there is currently no vaccination against the Covid-19 virus.

Students who have chronic conditions or are above 65 years of age are encouraged to contact their GP as there is another vaccination option which is recommended to people who fit these categories.

Vaccinations are administered at JCU Health. Please contact them on07 4781 4495 to arrange an appointment. Appointments are available on the following dates and times

Townsville

Date

Time

Tuesday 14 April 2020

8:15 am – 12:00 noon

Wednesday 15 April 2020

1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Thursday 16 April 2020

8:15 am – 12:00 noon

Friday 17 April 2020

1:15 pm – 4:00 pm

Monday 20 April 2020

8:30 am – 11:00 am

Tuesday 21 April 2020

8:30 am – 11:30 am

Wednesday 22 April 2020

9:00 am – 12 noon

Thursday 23 April 2020

8:30 am – 12 noon

Friday 24 April 2020

8:15 am – 12 noon

  • Contact JCU Health on 07 4781 4495 to make an appointment. Advise you are a JCU student for flu vaccination.
  • Take your Medicare card and University Student ID card (which has “Post- Graduate Student” written on it) to the appointment.
  • Complete the JCU Health Registration form and send to JCU Health PRIORto your appointment via fax 07 4779 2739, emailreception@jcuhealth.com.au
  • JCU Health, 1st Floor, Clinical Practices Building, BD 500 - JCU Townsville

The consent form must be taken with you on the day of your appointment. If you don’t have access to a printer you can collect this form from the clinic on the day.

Appointments will be bulked billed and the cost of the immunisation covered by JCU. If you are unwell, even with just a slight head cold on the day of your vaccination, you will need to postpone to a later date, as the flu vaccine can exacerbate your current condition.

Appointments outside of the agreed JCU times will be at your own personal expense.

International students will be charged a $38.20 consultation fee which should be fully refundable from your private health fund, the vaccination cost will be covered by JCU.

For more information, please contact rehab@jcu.edu.au

Subject: Flu vaccine for HDR students JCU Cairns Campus

Action required: For appointments contact Smartclinic Smithfield


To: HDR Students

From: Andrew Reddicliffe, Work Health and Safety Manager

Approved by: Alison Scott, Divisional Executive Officer

Date: 14 April 2020


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic JCU HDR students can now access free flu vaccinations through the 2020 JCU flu vaccination program. Please note there is currently no vaccination against the Covid-19 virus.

Students who have chronic conditions or are above 65 years of age are encouraged to contact their GP as there is another vaccination option which is recommended to people who fit these categories.

  • Contact Smart Clinic Smithfield (Ph: 07 4057 7300) and make an appointment
  • Advise you are a JCU student for flu vaccination
  • Take your University student ID Card and Medicare Card to the appointment
  • If you have not attended the Smart Clinic Smithfield previously please complete the New Patient form and take to your appointment, please ensure you arrive 10 minutes prior to your consultation.
  • International student members will be personally responsible for their consultation fee of $77, JCU will cover the vaccination cost.
  • Address: Campus Village Shopping Centre, Smithfield
  • Appointments outside of the above times will be at your own personal expense.

Due to current situations with clinics please beware that Smart Clinics Smithfield have advised the following:

  • Doctors will be giving JCU Students their flu injection in their car
  • When you arrive at the medical centre call reception (07 4057 7300)  to let them know where you are and what car you are in
  • You must bring the attached signed consent form with you to give to the doctor or nurse.  If you forget the form you need to reschedule the appointment
  • You must present a hard copy consent form.  If you do not have access to a printer, please collect a hard copy form from the Estate Building (BA4) on campus prior to attending your appointment.

The consent form must be taken with you on the day of your appointment.

Appointments will be bulked billed and the cost of the immunisation covered by JCU. If you are unwell, even with just a slight head cold on the day of your vaccination, you will need to postpone to a later date, as the flu vaccine can exacerbate your current condition.

Appointments outside of the agreed JCU times will be at your own personal expense.

For more information, please contact rehab@jcu.edu.au

Subject: Professional Development and Online Induction

Action Required: Please read this important update from Associate Professor Liz Tynan.


To     : All HDR candidates

From : Research Support

Date  : 6 April 2020


Dear JCU Singapore HDR Candidates

My very best wishes to all JCUS HDR candidates during this difficult time. I have been working with my colleagues to set up new ways of doing things, including Professional Development. Below is a summary of some matters that I would like to draw to your attention.

Induction for commencing candidates

Welcome to all new JCUS HDR candidates. As you will be aware, we are unable to present our normal face-to-face Induction sessions in Singapore. The online version is now available on LearnJCU. Please go to the Higher Degree by Research Students Organisation on LearnJCU, then look at the menu list on the left of your screen. You will see at the top of that list an item called HDR Induction. Click the link and see an array of items for you to engage in flexibly. Note in particular the JCU Singapore welcome slides, which you should view before undertaking the Induction. The items in this folder will need to be completed before your Confirmation of Candidature, but you may undertake them at your own pace. I hope that the instructions on the site are clear, but please do contact me if you have any queries. My e-mail address is Elizabeth.Tynan@jcu.edu.au.

Please note that the two Compulsory Component workshops, Resilient HDR Candidature and Respectful Relationships, are being deferred until it is again possible to hold them face-to-face.  Confirmation will not be held up for any candidate who is unable to attend these workshops, although please be aware that all incoming candidates do need to complete the online JCU Respect module.  Details are available on the GRS website:  https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/Workshops-and-training/RD7003-compulsory-workshops/jcu-respect-recognise,-respond,-refer,-report

Discussion boards

I have established two discussion boards on LearnJCU. The main board is called “Candidature, pandemic and the whole damn thing”, and is available via the content menu in our LearnJCU Organisation. This forum is for sharing experiences as we all work our way through this challenging time. Please share your pandemic hacks, any great online courses you have found, ways to stay healthy and fit while self-isolating, any clever ideas you have about working as a PhD or Masters candidate that you think others would like to know. Some of our HDR Ambassadors will be leading the discussions, but we are keen for all HDRs to be involved. I will post anything interesting that I find too. We are all in this together, and learning about how to do this as it unfolds. This discussion board is not the place to ask questions about the administrative aspects of your candidature. If you have a question like that, please send it to the GRS team at grs@jcu.edu.au and they will be able to help you privately.

I have also set up a discussion board especially for new HDR candidates, titled “Induction Chat”. Please join this discussion board to interact with other new HDR candidates, from all JCU’s campuses, to share ideas and ask questions. How are you settling in? How are your advisory meetings going under the new conditions imposed by the pandemic? Do you have a question for one of our HDR Ambassadors, who are HDR candidates who assist incoming candidates to settle in? Again, this is not the place to ask questions about the administration of your candidature. If you have questions of that nature, please send them to the GRS team at grs@jcu.edu.au

Flexible online modules

Our LearnJCU site contains many flexible learning modules that you may wish to access, to build your Professional Development hours.  I have added some information at the end of this message that you may find helpful.  Just for your information, I am hoping to finalise arrangements soon with the US online training company Coursera for JCU to be accepted into its program of free online courses during the pandemic. I will keep you posted once I have received confirmation from the company. In the meantime, please do browse the Coursera site for suitable training opportunities (https://about.coursera.org/). Hopefully I will know soon whether you may undertake these for free. If not, there will be a fee that you may pay from your candidature funds.

New arrangements for RD7003 Professional Development during COVID-19 pandemic

We encourage PhD candidates to continue fulfilling the requirements of RD7003 Professional Development during these challenging times. However, we are introducing some flexibility into the administrative arrangements to acknowledge that the pandemic may have interrupted your PD plans. Candidates who are approaching Mid-Candidature Review, at which time they would normally have been required to have completed 50 hours of their Elective Component, may now defer finalising their entire Elective Component (that is, all 90 hours) until the Pre-Completion Milestone. This means that you will not need to demonstrate the completion of 50 hours of Elective Component at Mid-Candidature, but instead can finalise the whole requirement near the end of candidature. Note that if you are approaching Mid-Candidature and you already have your 50 hours, you can go ahead and claim them at that milestone, as per the usual guidelines. This new measure is intended for those who are finding it difficult at present to undertake PD activities and would like a bit more time. When submitting MCR paperwork, please make a note that you would like to defer your Elective Component until Pre-Completion, and the GRS team will make a note on your file. Those who choose this option should note that the subject RD7003 will not be able to be passed until Pre-Completion.

Take advantage of the new Leadership and Initiative PD category

Please consider how you might take advantage of the new Leadership and Initiative category in RD7003, in which candidates may claim points for a wide variety of activities, and in doing so may be exempted from the final 40 hours of PD. Those candidates who are currently running virtual writing circles/Shut Up And Write groups, for example, are most welcome to claim credit for these activities. Many other activities may be included, such as leading discussions on our new discussion boards. For more information, please go to: https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/Workshops-and-training/leadership-and-initiative

Skills for International Postgraduates (SKIP)

I am hoping that I will be able to come to Singapore later in the year to conduct my SKIP intensive.  We are of course unable to confirm any dates at this stage, but will have to see what happens over the coming months.  If it turns out that I can’t travel to Singapore, I will make arrangements for SKIP to be conducted at a distance.  Please be assured that one way or another SKIP will be made available to all eligible candidates at JCU Singapore.

Flexible options for RD7003 Professional Development

We know that you will be considering options to keep your doctoral studies moving right now. You may like to take advantage of free, flexible online modules to progress your professional development. The list below shows online modules available on the LearnJCU Higher Degree by Research Students Organisation.  Please log into the Organisation and look at the menu to the left of your screen.  Note that in the case of Epigeum modules, each individual topic you choose will provide three hours of Professional Development credit, once you have completed the end-of-module quiz.

Available on our LearnJCU platform:

Epigeum Research Integrity Additional Modules: contains not just the compulsory core course, but also a range of elective courses such as: Human subjects protection, The humane use and care of animals in research, Conflict of interest, Safety and health and Intellectual property.

Epigeum Research Integrity Modules: contains discipline-specific research integrity courses including Biomedical sciences, Natural and physical sciences, Engineering and technology, Social and behavioural sciences and Arts and humanities.

Epigeum Research Skills Master Program: contains not just the compulsory research methods course, but also a range of elective courses such as Transferrable skills, Entrepreneurship and Ethics.

Epigeum Statistical Methods for Research: highly recommended for all candidates who need to use statistics in their research.  Training is available in stats for Biomedical sciences, Business, Engineering and technology, Natural sciences and Social Sciences.

Epigeum Avoiding Plagiarism:  useful training for all research degree candidates who need to be clear on exactly what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Scientific Integrity:  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Ethics Module: This module, developed by a number of JCU collaborators led by Dr Lynn Woodward, is recommended for HDR candidates carrying out research related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples.  [Updated version under construction – will be available soon.]

The Art of Academic Writing: This writing module helps you build and hone your writing skills.  A research degree requires high-level writing skills that demonstrate technical correctness and excellent style that matches the requirements of the discipline.  This course will provide practical tips and strategies to help you reach your writing goals.  If you complete all topics in the course you may count 12 hours towards RD7003 Professional Development.

The Art of Academic Editing: This module takes you through the foundational skills you need to edit your own work.  Topics include grammar, punctuation, sentences, paragraphs and style.  If you complete all topics in the course you may count 12 hours towards RD7003 Professional Development.  [NB this module is currently closed for repair but should be available again later in April.]

Externally available courses

You are also welcome to make PD selections from the wide range of excellent external courses offered by other providers, some of which may charge a fee.  You may use HDR funds to pay for external courses, so long as your advisory team and College agree.  For a range of external courses, go to this site:  https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/Workshops-and-training/external-training-opportunities

Of particular interest are the eGrad School, which offers highly regarded training that many JCU HDRs have undertaken:  https://www.atn.edu.au/industry-collaboration/e-grad-school/

You may wish to explore the online training opportunities offered by Coursera, which partners with leading US universities and companies to provide content.  Please go to:  https://www.coursera.org/

If you have another externally-provided online course in mind, but are not sure if it can be included as part of RD7003 Professional Development, please do feel free to contact me to check.

Dr Liz Tynan
Associate Professor and Co-ordinator GRS Professional Development Program
JCU Graduate Research School

Good morning HDR Candidates,

Please see the email below from JCU Connect regarding Ethics.

Kind regards,

Graduate Research School

Dear All,

Could you please ensure that all researchers within your College/Institute receive and adhere to the information below in regards to any researchers currently researching or planning their research.

Human Research Ethics: The following information is relevant for JCU HDR and Honours students, advisors, researchers, and Health Ethics Advisors:

For studies currently recruiting participants

  • All Principal Investigators and Supervisors should ensure the safety of research participants against COVID-19 where possible. This may include strategies such as, but not limited to:
    • changing face-to-face data collection from individuals to video-conferencing or teleconferencing as appropriate
    • applying social distancing and hygiene precautions in line with the current recommendations from State and Federal governments (Australian Government and Queensland Health)
    • deferring data collection
  • Changes to a study, including participant participation outside of the HREC approved protocol, must be documented in an amendment form and submitted to HREC for approval.

For studies seeking JCU HREC approval

  • All Principal Investigators and Supervisors are to provide oversight of COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies for the safety and wellbeing of potential participants, research teams and staff.
    • changing face-to-face data collection from individuals to video-conferencing or teleconferencing as appropriate
    • applying social distancing and hygiene precautions in line with the current recommendations from State and Federal governments (Australian Government and Queensland Health)
    • deferring commencement

All Principal Investigators and Supervisors should review and where possible mitigate the project-related risks posed by COVID-19 to research team members and staff. This may include strategies such as, but not limited to:

  • conducting project meetings via video-conferencing
  • ensuring work spaces comply with current recommendations from State and Federal governments (Australian Government and Queensland Health) (at 25 March 2020 this was 4 sq m/person)
  • research staff working from home
  • deferring data collection

For advice related to COVID-19 and its effects on other aspects of your research, please go to the COVID-19 research services

Dr Craig Godfrey BVSc
Manager, Animal Welfare and Research Ethics

Dear HDR Candidates,

Please read this important Professional Development update from Associate Professor Liz Tynan.

My very best wishes to all JCU HDR candidates during this difficult time.  I have been working with my colleagues to set up new ways of doing things, including Professional Development.  Below is a summary of some matters that I would like to draw to your attention.

Induction for commencing candidates

Welcome to all new HDR candidates.  As advised earlier, we are unable to present our normal face-to-face Induction sessions in either Townsville or Cairns.  The online version is now available on LearnJCU.  Please go to the Higher Degree by Research Students Organisation on LearnJCU, then look at the menu list on the left of your screen.  You will see at the top of that list an item called HDR Induction.  Click the link and see an array of items for you to engage in flexibly. These items will need to be completed before your Confirmation of Candidature, but you may undertake them at your own pace.  I hope that the instructions on the site are clear, but please do contact me if you have any queries.  My e-mail address is Elizabeth.Tynan@jcu.edu.au.

Discussion boards

I have established two discussion boards on LearnJCU.  The main board is called “Candidature, pandemic and the whole damn thing”, and is available via the content menu in our LearnJCU Organisation.  This forum is for sharing experiences as we all work our way through this challenging time.  Please share your pandemic hacks, any great online courses you have found, ways to stay healthy and fit while self-isolating, any clever ideas you have about working as a PhD or Masters candidate that you think others would like to know.  Some of our HDR Ambassadors will be leading the discussions, but we are keen for all HDRs to be involved.  I will post anything interesting that I find too.  We are all in this together, and learning about how to do this as it unfolds. This discussion board is not the place to ask questions about the administrative aspects of your candidature.  If you have a question like that, please send it to the GRS team at grs@jcu.edu.au and they will be able to help you privately.

I have also set up a discussion board especially for new HDR candidates, titled “Induction Chat”.  Please join this discussion board to interact with other new HDR candidates, share ideas and ask questions.  How are you settling in? How are your advisory meetings going under the new conditions imposed by the pandemic?  Do you have a question for one of our HDR Ambassadors, who are HDR candidates who assist incoming candidates to settle in? Again, this is not the place to ask questions about the administration of your candidature.  If you have questions of that nature, please send them to the GRS team at grs@jcu.edu.au

Flexible online modules

Recently I sent out information about currently available online professional development modules for you to undertake in your own time.  I would just like to update that information.  At the time of writing this message, I have yet to hear from Coursera about whether JCU has been accepted into its program of free online courses during the pandemic.  I suspect that Coursera has been inundated with applications, which is understandable.  I will keep you posted once I have received word from the company in the United States.  In the meantime, please do browse the Coursera site for suitable training opportunities.  Hopefully I will know soon whether you may undertake these for free.  If not, there will be a fee that you may pay from your candidature funds.  The two modules I indicated would be ready soon – Indigenous research ethics and The Art of Academic Editing – are in the final stages of preparation and I expect they will be ready around 10 April.  Also, please note that ACSPRI courses are face-to-face, and are suspended for now.

New arrangements for RD7003 Professional Development during COVID-19 pandemic

We encourage PhD candidates to continue fulfilling the requirements of RD7003 Professional Development during these challenging times.  However, we are introducing some flexibility into the administrative arrangements to acknowledge that the pandemic may have interrupted your PD plans.  Candidates who are approaching Mid-Candidature Review, at which time they would normally have been required to have completed 50 hours of their Elective Component, may now defer finalising their entire Elective Component (that is, all 90 hours) until the Pre-Completion Milestone.  This means that you will not need to demonstrate the completion of 50 hours of Elective Component at Mid-Candidature, but instead can finalise the whole requirement near the end of candidature.  Note that if you are approaching Mid-Candidature and you already have your 50 hours, you can go ahead and claim them at that milestone, as per the usual guidelines.  This new measure is intended for those who are finding it difficult at present to undertake PD activities and would like a bit more time. When submitting MCR paperwork, please make a note that you would like to defer your Elective Component until Pre-Completion, and the GRS team will make a note on your file.  Those who choose this option should note that the subject RD7003 will not be able to be passed until Pre-Completion.

Take advantage of the new Leadership and Initiative PD category

Please consider how you might take advantage of the new Leadership and Initiative category in RD7003, in which candidates may claim points for a wide variety of activities, and in doing so may be exempted from the final 40 hours of PD.  Those candidates who are currently running virtual writing circles/Shut Up And Write groups, for example, are most welcome to claim credit for these activities.  I have been told that some aims@jcu candidates have been co-ordinating the JCU car fleet so that fellow HDR candidates are able to travel to AIMS, and that activity will also count.  Many other activities may be included, such as leading discussions on our new discussion boards.  For more information, please go to:  https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/Workshops-and-training/leadership-and-initiative

Skills for International Postgraduates (SKIP)

I am getting ready for the first SKIP Townsville course, which will get underway as scheduled on Friday 1 May.  I am evaluating the best platform to use for real-time teaching, and will let all SKIP candidates know once the details are finalised.  Note that for now I plan on working with Townsville-based candidates only, as I would be doing if we were participating face to face.  Cairns SKIP will go ahead as planned later in the year, as will SKIP Singapore.  While we are undertaking SKIP remotely, I plan to modify the content and format so that there will be fewer contact hours, but some tasks to do flexibly that you will send to me for feedback.  Those candidates who are incoming international candidates (who will be based in Townsville, wherever you happen to be located at present) should e-mail me on Elizabeth.Tynan@jcu.edu.au and I will add you to my list.  Those who have already been in touch about joining SKIP do not need to contact me, unless you would like to confirm that you are on the list.  I always look forward to working with SKIP candidates, and even though it will be a little different this time I am keen to begin SKIP and helping as much as I can.

Post-Entry Language Assessment (PELA)

This test and its associated program of English language support will be conducted via Zoom.  The first PELA Zoom test will take place on Tuesday 14 April at 10.30am.  I will be in touch with all candidates who will be required to take the test – you do not need to self-identify.  My colleague, Kellie Johns, will also be providing extensive flexible support via Zoom.

Kind regards,

Dr Liz Tynan
Associate Professor and Co-ordinator GRS Professional Development Program
JCU Graduate Research School

Dear HDR Candidate,

As national measures to protect everyone’s well being proceeds at JCU, those who are able to do so are being encouraged to study from home from Monday 6 April.

Of course, there will be essential staff who must be on-campus for a variety of reasons, not the least of these being to care for our residential students, care for animals, maintain important research projects and provide security for our facilities.

If you are a HDR candidate presently working on campus, and haven't already done so, could you please communicate with your supervisor as a matter of urgency so that your needs can be incorporated into local/college arrangements being made. If you are unable to contact your supervisor, please contact your college in the usual manner.

When you are studying off campus please stay in contact with your supervisory team and continue your plans to study in different ways at this time. If you haven’t had a chance yet to make such plans now would be a good time. We encourage everyone to keep working as you can, even if not at your usual pace. Remember to keep records of any delays so that extensions can be considered at the appropriate time. You will find response to many of your questions on the HDR COVID-19 FAQ page.

Many thanks for your understanding and patience as we work together through these times. I am also aware that many of you face challenges totally outside the norm at this time. For personal support please contact studentwellbeing@jcu.edu.au who offer counselling services.

You can find all college contacts on the GRS Website 

Kind regards,

Christine Bruce and your Graduate Research School Support Staff
Dean, Graduate Research

Dear HDR Candidates,

I am writing to provide you with more information about the University’s support of HDR Candidates in relation to the COVID-19 situation.

You might have heard that a small number of Australian universities have provided automatic six month extensions to HDR candidatures and/or to scholarships.  Our view is that these blanket arrangements are not the best response under the circumstances.

An extension of six months (to scholarship or candidature) may not be adequate in some instances. It is quite likely that some candidates will need an even longer time and more support. On the other hand, it is also probable that there will be candidates who, while having to adapt in some ways, will not suffer significant delays to their progress.

We would like to reassure you, though, that in all cases of legitimate delays you will be supported to complete your candidature, including through fee-waivers and scholarship extensions.

I would like to draw your attention to the other actions that we are taking to ensure you are supported to continue on with your research projects:

  • We are working, with other Australian universities, through the Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR; the peak body for Graduate Research Schools) to lobby the Australian Government regarding access to COVID-19 financial support for HDR candidates and relaxed visa conditions for international HDR candidates who need to vary candidature due to Covid-19 related issues.
  • We will continue to work closely with you and your Advisors to find ways for you to continue your research where that is a possibility for you, including ways of:
    • modifying your research
    • modifying and meeting milestones
    • working remotely
  • Where it is not possible to continue your research either full-time or at all for the time being, we will provide appropriate advice. Please use the contact details at the end of this letter.
  • Where it is not possible to continue your research either full-time or at all for the time being, we will provide appropriate advice. Please use the contact details at the end of this letter.

We strongly recommend you keep records of disruptions to your research, be they through difficulties with access to research facilities and materials or through changed personal circumstances. To that end, a template document that you can use to keep track of disruptions will be added to the HDR COVID-19 FAQ page. If you subsequently find that you will be unable to complete your studies on time, you will be encouraged to apply for an extension to your candidature and/or your scholarship and you can use this record to support your application.

In the meantime, please work closely with your advisory panel, including conversations about:

  • Your own circumstances;
  • What can be progressed over the foreseeable future;
  • Practical alternative approaches to parts of your project; and
  • Any delays in implementing your project plan that are being caused by COVID-19, ensuring that you thoroughly document any such delays.

We will continue to work with ACGR to seek Government solutions that will add to the resources and assistance available and we will inform you when there is reportable progress on these discussions.

I wish you all the very best throughout this difficult time.

Kind regards,

Professor Christine Bruce
Dean, Graduate Research

Support for HDR Candidates and Advisors

HDR Candidates and Advisors are referred to the JCU Covid-19 Advice Page for general advice, and to the HDR Covid-19 FAQ page for more detailed information.

HDR Candidates are encouraged to work closely with their Advisory panel at this time, and also to contact grs@jcu.edu.au with any enquiries.

HDR Professional Development

The HDR Candidate and HDR Advisor Professional Development programs are being transferred to online delivery, with many more flexible options already available.

For personal support please contact studentwellbeing@jcu.edu.au who offer counselling services.

Dear HDR Candidates,

Flexible options for RD7003 Professional Development

We know that you will be considering options to keep your doctoral studies moving right now. You may like to take advantage of free, flexible online modules to progress your professional development. The list below shows online modules available on the LearnJCU Higher Degree by Research Students Organisation.  Please log into the Organisation and look at the menu to the left of your screen.  Note that in the case of Epigeum modules, each individual topic you choose will provide three hours of Professional Development credit, once you have completed the end-of-module quiz.

Available on our LearnJCU platform:

Epigeum Research Integrity Additional Modules:  contains not just the compulsory core course, but also a range of elective courses such as: Human subjects protection, The humane use and care of animals in research, Conflict of interest, Safety and health and Intellectual property.

Epigeum Research Integrity Modules: contains discipline-specific research integrity courses including Biomedical sciences, Natural and physical sciences, Engineering and technology, Social and behavioural sciences and Arts and humanities.

Epigeum Research Skills Master Program: contains not just the compulsory research methods course, but also a range of elective courses such as Transferrable skills, Entrepreneurship and Ethics.

Epigeum Statistical Methods for Research: highly recommended for all candidates who need to use statistics in their research.  Training is available in stats for Biomedical sciences, Business, Engineering and technology, Natural sciences and Social Sciences.

Epigeum Avoiding Plagiarism:  useful training for all research degree candidates who need to be clear on exactly what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Scientific Integrity:  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Ethics Module: This module, developed by a number of JCU collaborators led by Dr Lynn Woodward, is recommended for HDR candidates carrying out research related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples.  [Updated version under construction – will be available soon.]

The Art of Academic Writing: This writing module helps you build and hone your writing skills.  A research degree requires high-level writing skills that demonstrate technical correctness and excellent style that matches the requirements of the discipline.  This course will provide practical tips and strategies to help you reach your writing goals.  If you complete all topics in the course you may count 12 hours towards RD7003 Professional Development.

The Art of Academic Editing: This module takes you through the foundational skills you need to edit your own work.  Topics include grammar, punctuation, sentences, paragraphs and style.  If you complete all topics in the course you may count 12 hours towards RD7003 Professional Development.  [NB this module is currently closed for repair but should be available again early in April.]

Externally available courses

You are also welcome to make PD selections from the wide range of excellent external courses offered by other providers, some of which may charge a fee.  You may use HDR funds to pay for external courses, so long as your advisory team and College agree.  For a range of external courses, go to this site:  https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/Workshops-and-training/external-training-opportunities

Of particular interest are the eGrad School, which offers highly regarded training that many JCU HDRs have undertaken:  https://www.atn.edu.au/industry-collaboration/e-grad-school/

Also, the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Incorporated (ACSPRI) runs excellent courses – see details here:  https://www.acspri.org.au/courses

You may wish to explore the online training opportunities offered by Coursera, which partners with leading US universities and companies to provide content.  This online professional development organisation based in the United States is currently waiving course fees for universities affected by the pandemic.  Please go to:  https://www.coursera.org/

If you have another externally-provided online course in mind, but are not sure if it can be included as part of RD7003 Professional Development, please do feel free to contact me to check.

With best wishes

Associate Professor Liz Tynan
Co-ordinator Professional Development
JCU Graduate Research School
Elizabeth.Tynan@jcu.edu.au

Dear HDR Candidate

As I am writing to you I am conscious that the community situation around the pandemic is escalating. Yesterday the Australian Prime Minister asked us all to stay at home, including working at home if we possibly could. I would like to reiterate this advice and to ask everyone to follow general JCU and college directives around preparing to work at home if you have not already done so. I am very conscious that the scenario and possibilities vary across our diverse research areas. So keep in close touch with your advisors and colleges around particularities for your research group.

It is of the utmost importance, first and foremost that everyone stays well. Be encouraged that social distancing and hygiene are our best friends. Keep in mind North Queensland’s low population density and excellent health facilities.

It is also a high priority, for us here at JCU, to help you keep moving on your candidature. We have put up some FAQs which will help you consider options on the JCU Covid-19 Advice website.  We are also working with your advisors to help them help you. Keep in mind great science and creative work has happened when people have been in isolation. It can be a time of inspiration and high productivity.

Attached we have set out some critical information, and would ask you to monitor FAQs (also attached pending upload) and email for any JCU, GRS or college advice in the next days and weeks.

Stay well and keep in mind your advisors want to help you plan to continue as far as this is practically possible.

Christine Bruce
Dean, Graduate Research and the GRS team.

Dear HDR Candidates

Graduate Research School Induction March 2020, Cairns and Townsville

The following information is intended for incoming HDR candidates who are required to undertake Induction activities at the commencement of candidature at either the Cairns or Townsville campuses.  Some changes are being made to the GRS Induction program in light of the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Please familiarise yourself with the JCU COVID-19 Advice.

We have in mind the health and wellbeing of every candidate and will continue to provide you with the most up to date information as it becomes available.  We are working to ensure that HDR Induction and Professional Development activities are moved to flexible online mode, in line with University guidelines on managing the response to the pandemic.  These guidelines have placed limitations on the size of workshop groups and the hours that groups can work together.  To ensure the safety of all HDR candidates, we are moving Induction and other activities online.

Our programs will be accessible throughout your candidature, to ensure continuity and no delays to your progress.

The main points you need to know about Induction:

  1. We will not be running the previously scheduled face-to-face Induction sessions in Cairns and Townsville.  These were to be held 31 March-1 April (Cairns) and 7-8 April (Townsville).
  1. We will instead make available online information, videos, quizzes and a discussion board to cover material from Day One of Induction.  These will be placed into a folder in the Higher Degree by Research Students Organisation on LearnJCU (www.learnjcu.edu.au).
  1. We expect that the Day One Induction materials will be available by the first week of April.  We will send a message to let you know as soon as they are ready for you to access.
  2. The sessions scheduled for Day Two of Induction, Resilient HDR Candidature and Respectful Relationships, will be deferred until later in the year when we are able to reschedule face-to-face sessions.
  1. You will still need to undertake the JCU Respect online training module, which you will find in the Subject area of LearnJCU.  You should aim to undertake this module as soon as possible.
  1. Your Confirmation of Candidature will not be held up if you are unable to attend Resilient HDR Candidature or Respectful Relationships during the first half of this year.  You will be able to complete these workshops when they become available without your progress being delayed.
  1. Other GRS compulsory online modules are available now for you to undertake flexibly.  For further information about these, go to:  https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/Workshops-and-training/RD7003-compulsory-workshops

Please contact grs@jcu.edu.au if you have any questions about Induction, or any other aspect of HDR Professional Development.

Best wishes

Associate Professor Liz Tynan
Co-ordinator Professional Development Program
Graduate Research School

Advice to Incoming HDR Candidates – Accepted Offer

Dear HDR Candidates,

This information is intended for International HDR candidates who have accepted an offer to commence a HDR at JCU Australia, and may have questions regarding arrival into Australia, and course commencement.

Please familiarise yourself with the JCU COVID-19 Advice.

Please know we are concerned about the health and wellbeing of every candidate and will continue to provide you with the most up to date information as it becomes available.

Regarding arrival into Australia and course commencement, please be aware of the following options.

Option 1: Commence in Australia If you are able and wish to arrive in Australia AND you have a place to self-isolate for 14 days (eg house, hotel room) with support such as being able to access food, transport, self care etc, you are able to commence as normal on your nominated start date.

Option 2: Deferral If you are unable or do not wish to arrive in Australia and/or you do not have a pre-arranged place to self-isolate for 14 days, we suggest that you arrange to have your start date deferred.  To do this, please work with your primary advisor to arrive at an agreed revised start date.  Once a date has been agreed, please inform the GRS who will arrange a new offer if you required.  Please Note:

If you have been offered a JCUPRS or IRTPS scholarship, your latest nominated start date must be 31 July 2020 to guarantee that you will be able to start your scholarship.

If you are not commencing with a scholarship, your start date can be deferred indefinitely, however we suggest 31 July 2020 initially.

Option 3: Commence from Overseas If you are unable or do not wish to arrive in Australia right now, and are able to commence your project externally, you may enrol before you arrive in Australia, with the expectation that you will then come to Australia to continue your research course when it is possible to do so.  Specific requirements for this option are:

  • Your primary advisor must agree that you are able to commence your research externally
  • You must have already had your student visa issued and be able to come to Australia when possible to do so
  • If you have living allowance stipend scholarship to be paid by JCU, this can commence from abroad too but you must have an Australian bank account. See: https://www.commbank.com.au/moving-to-australia/study-in-australia.html

Please do not hesitate to contact grs@jcu.edu.au if we can provide any further assistance.

Dear HDR Candidates,

Further to the advice provided by the Vice Chancellor, I am writing with HDR specific information to assist any of you who may be impacted by the Coronavirus.

We are concerned about the health and wellbeing of every candidate and will continue to provide you with the most up to date information as it becomes available.

It is important that your current details are up to date. Please ensure that your current study mode (ie internal, external), address and travel requests are correctly documented.  Please also ensure that you are regularly checking your JCU email accounts for communication from the University.

What do I do if I’m impacted by the Coronavirus?

  1. Please familiarise yourself with the JCU COVID-19 Advice
  2. Travel and project issues should be discussed with your advisory panel
  3. Any project delays should be documented in your next Progress Report
  4. Graduation ceremony enquiries should be emailed to graduations@jcu.edu.au

A reminder too that if you are unwell, you should not be attending campus, and it is recommended to see your doctor.

We understand that this is a worrying time for many in our community. Free, confidential and professional counselling services are available to you through JCU Student Equity and Wellbeing, Phone (07) 47814711 or (07) 42321150, or emailstudentwellbeing@jcu.edu.au.

Please don’t hesitate to contact grs@jcu.edu.au if we can provide any further assistance.

Kind regards,

Christine Bruce
Dean, Graduate Research

Graduate Research School advice notices sent to HDR Advisors and ADRE's.

Hi Everyone

As you know we are all planning and acting around the coronavirus situation.  Thank you all for comments you all fed to us last week. Earlier this week we sent some general messaging to all students and advisors (attached).

We are conscious things keep evolving.

Please be assured that we are still able to maintain our processes at the moment.  As for any emergency/unusual/extenuating situation that might crop up, we always look to accommodate on a case by case basis where appropriate.

Please don’t hesitate to seek advice from us, and we will continue to alert you should changes come to hand.

In addition to the advice provided on the JCU COVID-19 Advice Page (https://www.jcu.edu.au/covid-19-advice) the notes below are about specific issues that have been raised/would be good to consider in colleges.

Group meetings/visitors  For anyone planning cohort activities, IERC intensives, please keep an eye out for university wide guidelines, both short term around travel and longer term such as planning for needing extra space, cancellations, unexpected illness.  Please consider the option of running meetings virtually and getting people trained to run intensives virtually if needed. Where events are planned to go ahead, using flexible fares seems to be a sensible option under present.

Mid-Candidatures Encourage creative thinking around options that could assist where external presentations are no longer viable due to conferences being cancelled etc.  For example having seminar mornings or days when all students present, peer review under the guidance of a suitable researcher. What criteria would have to be met to qualify as a presentation for Mid-Candidature Review purposes.  ADRE endorsement for college options would be acceptable.

Commencements Delayed commencements for non-scholarship students and scholarship students are managed as usual at present. At the moment, where a deferral is approved for a period of time, students will need to go back into the next available scholarship round should they be unable to commence this year. External or part-time commencement may be appropriate in some circumstances, noting scholarships can only be paid to Australian bank accounts.

Preparing advisors to work with students virtually Should students or advisors be isolated, or should “working at home” be enforced please liaise within your colleges to ensure that advisors and students are prepared to work virtually (as for teachers needing to run online classes for example)

Supervision as a part of day to day academic work. At this stage, other than travel issues, supervision is mostly business as usual. Please work to ensure college scenario planning takes supervision and student research projects into account.

Travel problems impacting projects Students have been advised to discuss with advisors any impacts on projects and strategies for mitigating.

GRS events.  We are assuming events in near future are unlikely to be affected. We are looking at virtual /back up plans in case of changing scenarios.

Please send general queries to grs.staff@jcu.edu.au, and queries relating to a specific student to grs@jcu.edu.au

Best regards,

Christine and Lauretta

Dear Advisors of HDR students,

We are concerned to ensure that staff and students stay informed about COVID-19 (the Coronavirus.)  Further to the earlier emails sent to all staff and students, this message is to assist you in supporting HDR students who may be impacted, now or in the future, by the Coronavirus.

As Advisors of HDR students, we ask that you please

  • Ensure that any HDR research being conducted is done so within the relevant guidelines and advice received from the university.
  • Assist your HDR students to document any candidature delays in their next progress report.
  • Work with them to mitigate risks and support their progress.
  • Note that vulnerable students (people with underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung disease and the elderly) are at risk of more severe disease if infected.
  • Consider a project “Plan B” with your HDR students in preparation for the possibility that data collection, conferences etc. are impacted by travel bans.
  • Ask your students to check their personal, enrolment and travel details are current (e.g. internal or external; address; travel requests) on JCU systems, and that they are regularly checking their JCU email accounts for communication from the University.
  • Remind students that if they are unwell they should not be attending campus and should seek medical advice.

Kind regards,

Christine Bruce
Dean, Graduate Research