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Campus News : October 2010
www.uow.edu.au University of Wollongong Campus News October 2010 5 unveils hospital proposal When Margie Jantti joined the University of Wollongong Library staff as a young Loans Supervisor in 1993, its electronic resources amounted to a handful of CD-ROMs and around 20 databases that students and staff had to book ahead to use. As University Librarian in 2010, Ms Jantti now presides over a massive electronic resource that includes close to 12,000 e-books, 70,000 e-journal titles and more than 300 databases -- most of which can be accessed simultaneously by multiple users. The Library also has 300 computers for students to use, and a wireless network for students to access on their own laptops. It has 75 (full-time equivalent) staff, including a strong technical support team. "The University has been hit by a huge technology wave, and the Library has been at the forefront," said Ms Jantti, who took over as University Librarian when Felicity McGregor retired earlier this year. "And if anything, the pace of technological change is actually accelerating. We try to plan five years ahead, but that is becoming increasingly challenging." Much has changed in the 17 years Ms Jantti has worked at the Library, but what hasn't is its central role Library rides wave of technology in academic life. It now has had more than 1.5 million visitors a year, and around four million downloads annually from its electronic resources. "The Library is absolutely critical to UOW's success, and we are always looking at ways we can make it better," Ms Jantti said. Books and other printed material continue to be an integral part of the Library's resources, with 500,000 volumes available for students and staff. However, the advantages of electronic versions of high-demand course materials are obvious, especially with the need to provide seamless 24-hour access for multiple users in Australia and overseas. developing the business model. He said federal MPs Sharon Bird, Jennie George and Ms George's successor as Member for Throsby Stephen Jones had given the proposal considerable support at federal government level, while Member for Keira David Campbell had championed it with the state government. Professor Iverson said the concept would complement UOW's training of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, as well as the work of the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI). "When the Graduate School of Medicine opened (in 2007) we started looking to the future, and considering how we could help make fundamental improvements to the region's health and medical infrastructure," Professor Iverson said. "The public hospital system is overloaded, not just in the Illawarra but right around Australia. We wanted to develop a proposal that would address the most pressing issues locally -- like long surgery waiting lists and the need to travel to Sydney for many specialist services -- while also providing an innovative model that could be applied in other parts of Australia." Professor Iverson said the new hospital would complement rather than duplicate services provided by Wollongong Hospital. "We will be cooperating, not competing, with the area health service," he said. "The idea is that we would work in consultation with the Department of Health and the area health service so that the new hospital could develop specialisations in a number of key fields -- leaving Wollongong Hospital to use its resources on expanding its services in other fields. That way we'd be improving the overall level of services." He said possible areas for the new hospital to specialise in included orthopeadics, cardiovascular, geriatrics, palliative care, oncology and cancer services, neurology, ophthalmology, gynaecology and primary care. A key feature of the precinct would be the primary care facility, with around 10 fully-equipped outpatient clinics. "There is plenty of research data from overseas that shows that a health system works best when it has a strong base in primary care, and this centre will be an important part of our strategy." He said he was particularly keen to develop a training model for nurse practitioners - highly-trained nurses University Librarian Margie Jantti. She says the Library is at the forefront of a technological wave. who could take pressure off doctors and provide primary health care services in aged care and public hospital system facilities - as part of the precinct's focus on training doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. Mr Grange said the proposed complex would provide 80,000 square metres of integrated facilities, and building designs were well advanced. Mr Grange said UOW had completed detailed financial modelling with Access Economics and other consultants, and believed the business model was excellent. "Access Economics estimates that during the two- year construction phase the project will generate 2400 additional construction and related jobs in the region. When operational there will be 1100 on-going jobs," he said. "So while the medical and health care benefits are paramount, it would also provide a major economic boost to the region." The University believes that if funding can be secured in 2011, the precinct could be operational by 2013. NH Ms Jantti said in 2000 UOW had endorsed an electronic-preferred policy, which precipitated the growth in e-resources. "We had about 5000 e-journals in the year 2000, and within a decade we're up to 70,000. The increase has been huge, but it has needed to be to keep pace with demand and befitting of an institution now widely recognised for its learning and teaching performance and its position in the top 2% of universities worldwide. Electronic delivery has become increasingly important as the University has expanded its footprint (with satellite campuses) in Australia and overseas, particularly with the University of Wollongong in Dubai." Ms Jantti said Library staff were constantly upgrading resources to match the increasing diversity of UOW courses and insatiable demand for new technologies that will deliver electronic material more efficiently. "For example, we will be introducing new search interfaces in 2011, and predict a huge increase in usage because (electronic) material will be so much more discoverable," she said. She has signalled a change agenda, with an emphasis on strengthening the Library's position in supporting research, expanding digital collections, participating in offshore developments and critically reviewing Library facilities and services in anticipation of growing student numbers. Ms Jantti is proud of the Library's physical space, which was upgraded and expanded in 2007-2008 at a cost of $9 million, and the magnificent sculptures and paintings that enhance the interior of the building. "You just have to see how many graduates come in on their graduation day to be photographed in front of the sculptures like (Ian Gentle's) Salivating Croc to know how much people appreciate the art," she said. NH