Hobart and William Smith Colleges/Union College Partnership for Global Education

Queensland, Australia Term 2001 Information Page

This document will be updated as the 2000-2001 academic year progress. It will give the most current information on the joint Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Union College Term Abroad which is scheduled for the Fall Term of 2001. It also contains of a series of links to similar Hobart and William Smith programs that took place in 1994, 1996, and 1998. As well there are links to Australia related sites.

Tentative Schedule

As of 11 July 2001

0August12 Arrive in Geneva3 Classes Begin @ HWS4
1 5 Movie6789 1011 Mitchell arrives in Brisbane
2 12131415 Classes Finish in Geneva16 Group leaves Geneva17 18 Group arrives in Brisbane
3 19 City Center Orientation20 UQ Orientation and BBQ21 Classes Begin @ UQ2223 Brisbane Forest Park, Mt Coot-tha2425
4 2627282930311
5September23 North Stradbroke Island4 North Stradbroke Island5 North Stradbroke Island6 North Stradbroke Island7 North Stradbroke Island8 North Stradbroke
6 9101112131415 Lamington National Park
7 16 Lamington National Park17 Lamington National Park18 Lamington National Park19 Lamington National Park202122
8 23242526272829
9October301 Lady Elliot Island2 Lady Elliot Island3 Lady Elliot Island4 Lady Elliot Island5 Lady Elliot Island6
10 78910111213
11 1415 Carnarvon Saddler Springs16 Carnarvon Saddler Springs17 Carnarvon Saddler Springs18 Carnarvon Saddler Springs19 Carnarvon Saddler Springs20 Carnarvon Saddler Springs
12 2122232425 2627 North Stradbroke Island?
1328 North Stradbroke Island?29 North Stradbroke Island?30 Finals, Projects, & Reports31 Finals, Projects, & Reports1 Finals, Projects, & Reports2 Finals, Projects, & Reports. Final Banquet3
14November 4 Students Depart5 6 7 8 910

Background Information

As of 11 January 2001

What: The Queensland, Australia Science Term Abroad is a program of study on marine and terrestrial ecology in eastern Australia that integrates its field and lecture components. It is an appropriate program for students intending to major or minor in the natural sciences, especially biology, geoscience, or environmental studies. Four field trips are planned for the program.

When: Fall 2001 tentative schedule: Preparation: 3-16 August in Geneva, NY 18 August--9 November in Australia (spring in Australia).

Faculty: The Hobart and William Smith directors for the term are Tom Glover of the Department of Biology and Kevin Mitchell of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Professors Glover and Mitchell directed a similar program in the Fall of 1996 and 1998. Faculty from the University of Queensland will lecture in three courses and help organize the field work.

Where: The program is base at the University of Queensland (Australia's largest university) in Brisbane. Queensland is a state on the east coast of Australia and Brisbane is its capital city. With a current population of about 1.4 million, Brisbane is Australia's third largest city, but has a "small town" feel. It holds many attractions for visitors, including its abundant sunshine and tropical climate.

A major feature of the program is field work at four locations: North Stradbroke Island which is a sand island in Moreton Bay about two hours from Brisbane, Lamington National Park which is a subtropical rainforest about three hours from Brisbane, Lady Elliot Island which is a coral cay at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, and the Saddler Springs--Mt Moffat section of Carnarvon National Park which is a drier, cattle ranching area of Queensland.

Anticipated Courses: The program courses are: The Terrestrial Ecology of Australia, The Marine Ecology of Australia, Issues of Environmental Management and Conservation, and a multidisciplinary course on Australian Culture, Society, and Contemporary Issues. See below for more information.

Cost: Costs, which include all program travel in Australia, will be equivalent to the cost (tuition, room, and board) of a term on campus, exclusive of the air fare to Australia. To control student costs, we will obtain a group rate [current estimate $1490] for the flight from Rochester, NY to Brisbane. This ticket will allow you to individually schedule the details of your return to the United States. This will permit additional travel within Australia and/or New Zealand at the end of the program.

Financial Aid: HWS Students: Any aid that you currently receive is automatically applied to the costs of this program, except for the work-study portion. Students not currently receiving aid, but who can demonstrate need in meeting additional costs involved in off-campus study, may also apply for support. Union Students: Similar, but see Professor Thomas for details.

Prerequisite courses: Introductory Biology and ideally a statistics course. Strongly recommended: Additional courses in biology, geoscience, environmental studies, anthropology/sociology, or political science.

Australian Faculty: David Yates, Department of Botany and Ian Tibbetts, Division of Marine Science, both of the University of Queensland. Roger Clay: University of South Australia, Department of Environmental and Recreation Management. All were associated with our previous programs.

Accommodations: Homestays with families in Brisbane.

Proposed number of students: 32--35.

The Terrestrial Ecology of Australia (Biology 23x)
This program examines the heritage of the terrestrial flora and fauna of Australia, and assumes a basic familiarity with the biology and ecology of terrestrial systems. The origins and uniqueness of Australia's flora and fauna will be discussed in light of continental drift, past and present Australian environments. The program combines lectures and field-based tuition with essays and research reports to develop knowledge of Australia's unique terrestrial environments and to provide the skills with which to investigate them. Field activities include a half day field excursion during the first week of the program in a eucalypt forest, five days on Stradbroke Island (a large sand island bearing mainly wallum vegetation, jointly with the Marine Biology Program), and five days in rainforest at Lamington National Park. Toward the end of the program, a week in an arid inland site, gives students further opportunity to examine and explore aspects of terrestrial ecology shaped by the harsh environment.

The Marine Ecology of Australia (Biology 23y)
This program assumes some familiarity with biological and ecological principles, sampling techniques, sampling and experimental design and statistics. The program draws together background knowledge of Australian marine systems and maritime resources with a variety of concepts and exercises in marine biology. The program takes participants from the rich diversity of the estuarine and coastal systems around Moreton Bay to Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef. It combines classroom lectures and field-based learning with essays and research reports to provide an understanding of tropical marine biology and ecology. Together with some fascinating side trips to consolidate information on other aspects of Australian ecology and Australian life the program represents an intensive and diverse teaching package that is unique in Australia.

Australian Culture, Society, and Contemporary Issues (BD 233)
Course to be organized by Glover and Mitchell. No prior knowledge is expected but an attention to news and current affairs that relate to Australia in local print and electronic media would be advantageous. As in the past, the lecturers will be drawn from a variety of disciplines and represent a range of viewpoints. We expect to utilize staff from a variety of departments and programs (especially the Australian Studies Program and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Program) at the University of Queensland and other resource people (e.g., David Watson, head of the Liberal Party in Queensland and member of the Queensland Parliament, Lloyd Hancock of Saddler Springs Educational Centre, and Grahame Walsh who is an international authority on aboriginal rock art). Topics may include introductions to: Aboriginal Society and Culture; European Impact on the Environment; Sustainable Agriculture and Development; the Australian Political System; the Economy of Australia, health care ("socialized medicine"), educational systems, or welfare; nuclear weapons in the South Pacific.

Discussions, journals, papers, and student presentations would provide a chance for reflection on the similarities and differences between the cultures of Australia and the United States. The field trips provide material for discussing issues of development and the Stradbroke and Carnarvon trips provide opportunities to raise issues related to the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.

Issues of Environmental Management and Conservation (ENV 2xx)
Depending on the backgrounds of students, this new course to be offered in part by Roger Clay of the University of South Australia. Topics might include biodiversity, land conversion, coastal development, fire ecology, use of biological indicator species, and Australia's National Park system. Much of the lecture work for the course might be done during the program's preparation period in August before departure with additional lectures on the Moreton Bay Catchment in Australia provided by the School of Marine Science. In Australia, Glover and Mitchell would supervise students in developing final projects and papers and grade their presentations and written work at the end of the term.

Previous Queensland Term Programs

  1. Information from the 1996 HWS Trip to Queensland. See this site for a complete and detailed look at the program from 1996. The 2001 program will be similar.
  2. Post Cards from the 1998 HWS Trip to Queensland. A brief look at some of the highlights of the 1998 trip.
  3. .
  4. Information from the 1994 HWS Trip to Queensland. This information is a bit out of date and there has been no attempt to update the site in recent years.

The students, staff, and staff families at Lady Elliot Island, December 1996.

The focus of this and previous the Queensland, Australia Science Terms Abroad was the marine and terrestrial ecology of Australia. The program integrated its field and lecture components. Courses on statistics and data analysis were included to provide the necessary background for students to do field-based projects that include a substantial quantitative component. Additionally, a course on the society and cultural history of Australia helped put contemporary social issues in Australia in perspective.

Links to the University of Queensland

The program is based at the University of Queensland (Australia's largest university) in Brisbane. Queensland is a state on the east coast of Australia and Brisbane is its capital city. With a current population of about 1.25 million, Brisbane is Australia's third largest city, but has a "small town" feel. It holds many attractions for visitors, including its abundant sunshine and subtropical climate.

The University of Queensland location provided for easy access to an extremely wide array of different ecosystems. The program included major trips to four field sites: a sand island, a subtropical rainforest, a coral reef, and an arid bush habitat.

The Great Court at the University of Queensland.

Field Work

A major feature of the program were the field trips of five to seven days to each of these four locations: There were also three half-day field trips. The first trip was to Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane. It occurred on the second day of the program and served as an orientation to some of the ecological features of Australia. The other trip was the University of Queensland's Vet Farm at Pinjarra Hills for a lecture on marsupial biology and some hands on experience with koalas. The final trip at the end of the program was to the Queensland Parliament in Brisbane.

Waterfall at Lamington National Park.


The Hobart and William Smith directors for the term were The program directors were Professor Thomas Glover of the Department of Biology and Professor Kevin Mitchell of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Both have directed similar programs before. Two faculty from the University of Queensland, David Yates in the Department of Botany and Ian Tibbetts of the School of Marine Science, will direct one course and the field work. Both were associated with the 1994, 1996, and 1998 programs.

David Yates (left) and Tom Glover at 18-mile Swamp, North Stradbroke Island.

Links to Related Australian Sites

Red ochre stencil at Carnarvon Gorge.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women are coordinate, four-year, private, liberal arts colleges located in Geneva, New York with a combined enrollment of approximately 1800 students. A prominent feature of the curriculum is study off-campus. The Colleges organize or are affiliated with more than 20 different study-abroad programs world-wide. Most of these programs are directed by Hobart and William Smith faculty.