A quick Q&A with Dr Susanna Chamberlain

Dr Susanna Chamberlain (centre)

School of Humanities academic, Dr Susanna Chamberlain, discusses her passion for supporting and moulding the next generation as they become new colleagues in Academe.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I gave up wanting to be a ballerina when I was too tall by the age of nine, so then I thought I’d like to be an archaeologist and discover new tombs in Egypt, or a doctor who cured some terrible disease, or a fighter pilot (but I was a girl in a decade when that was not possible), so I finally decided that I wanted to be a teacher.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
I have worked in factories, retail outlets, community organisations, counselling agencies, private practice and a range of educational institutions. For two decades I was a Narrative Family Therapist, and have worked in Domestic Violence Prevention and student counselling.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
What’s an app? I do use Facebook, Instagram and Youtube on my computer – does that count?

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
Marie Curie (providing she had been decontaminated and was no longer radioactive), Albert Einstein, J.K Rowling, Michel Foucault (or Pierre Bourdieu, depending on which Frenchman would come) and Enrico Caruso.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
I have two: Amelia Peabody Emerson, a feminist Egyptologist whose criminous detections and fantastic family are a perpetual favourite; and Jean-Luc Picard (although he ties with Katherine Janeway) captain of the Star Trek spaceship.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
My current role is mainly bringing up the next generation – at the present time I am concentrating on supervising and supporting PhD students so that they become new colleagues in Academe. It is highly satisfying to see them unfurl their petals and produce amazing work.

7. You recently spoke at Griffith’s Lightning Talks, what sparked your interest in Populism?
I have always had a keenly developed political sense. It probably started at the age of three when I was put into a party dress to hand out how-to-vote cards for my grandfather who was standing for State Parliament, or as a child sitting under the table on election nights while I heard politicians discuss the results.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am planning to retire from the University before then but hope to continue to mentor and support young academics still. My children are having children, so I shall be taking an active role as a Nonna, when I am not travelling.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
So far I have seen 12 PhDs to completion and I am working with a few more; the social enterprise core stream in the BA which I was primary convenor of for seven years was also a great delight as it brought so many people to an awareness of what they could do.

10. Tell us about a project/research you are working on at the moment.
I am working on a research project about the pedagogy of Research Higher Degrees; the emotional and social implications of undertaking such a degree is often not recognised in the formal supervision process.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Find something you love and are passionate about, and enjoy the process. Work with others, but don’t let them tell you what to like.

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
The subject librarians and the learning advisors are the best resources in the Griffith University Library – they are astounding in their knowledge and wonderful in their understanding.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?

  • Never research anything that you despise – or with anyone you detest.
  • Always look beyond the brief – find the outer edges of the disciplinary universe and boldly go. Read widely – I recommend Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaima as antidotes to research fatigue, but also because the imagination is as important as the analysis.
  • Don’t worry if it takes a longer time than you think it should – the university hour is three hours in anyone else’s time.
  • Don’t Panic! (thanks to Douglas Adams).

Trimester break, time to relax

Ahhh, we can almost hear your relief through the screen as you see those magic words: Trimester Break.

For the lucky ones among us, this might mean an overseas vacay, but for some it might mean making the most of a staycation.

Whether you’re waiting at an airport, relaxing on the beach, or still in your pyjamas on the couch, check out the list below to keep your brain active…. Or, as I would prefer, switch it off completely and fill it with trashy celeb gossip.

Check out the list of magazines and interesting articles below, thanks to PressReader:

Jetsetter, camper, traveller?
Camper Trailer Australia – Great Aussie road trip games
International Traveller – Travel Hacks: Staying safe on holiday

DIY your thing?
Better Homes and Gardens – Top 10 tradie tips
Australian House and Garden – Don’t move, improve: renovating advice

Getting fancy in the kitchen?
Taste – Our top meals at a glance
Healthy Food Guide – Your ultimate guide to meal planning

Keeping the brain active?
Science Illustrated – Life in the Ice Age
Business First – Special Feature: Medicinal Marijuana
Money Magazine Australia – Where to invest $10K

Or switching it off?
Empire – 26-page Comic-Con blowout!
Cosmopolitan – How to wear: the street style you love
Wheels – Tyre test 2017

See the library catalogue for more information about PressReader and how to access on or off-campus.

The Lecture Capture service is getting an upgrade

The current version of Lecture Capture (Echo Centre) is coming to the end of its vendor support in 2017. To continue providing the valuable lecture capture service, the University is implementing the new version, Echo360 (Active Learning Platform) beginning in Trimester 3 2017.

The existing arrangements for automated lecture recording will continue with one change. Prior to the first teaching session in a Trimester, you will need to add the Echo360 link to your Learning@Griffith course site. This will provide you with greater flexibility to either link to a whole course section within Echo360 or to specific recordings.

Help materials including screenshots and a short video to assist you with adding this link will be made available prior to Trimester 3 2017.

In addition to the above change, you will notice some powerful new functionality including:

  • improved personal capture for creating desktop videos,
  • the ability to embed student response activities within your presentations and videos,
  • and a mechanism for students to identify points of confusion.

You can still use Echo360 like you do now, but if you would like to learn more about the new features for your classroom, visit the Project website.

8,900 new ebooks available from Springer

Calling all engineering, computer science, medicine and, biomedical and life science gurus! You can now access even more comprehensive bodies of scientific, medical and technical research documentation.

Our Scholarly Resource Services have recently enabled access to over 8 900 titles published from 2015 to 2017 in the following Springer Collections:

  • Biomedical and Life Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Medicine

You can check out ebooks on robotics, cancer nanotheranostics, earthquake/tsunami engineering, gamification, self-aware computing systems, nanotechnology, and so much more. I can feel my IQ increasing just reading the titles!

To access these, simply:

  • Jump onto the library website
  • Click inside the library catalogue, to filter the search to books on the left hand side, and then electronic only from the drop down menu
  • Type in your search terms in the main text field. Use the keywords “springer”, and one of the collection names names listed above, for example “engineering” and start browsing.

Now you’re ready to start reading!

Are you a researcher interested in High Performance Computing?

High Performance Computing (HPC) refers to the practice of aggregating computing power in a way that delivers much higher performance than one could get out of a typical desktop computer or workstation in order to solve large problems in science, engineering, or business.

As a researcher at Griffith University, you have access to a number of HPC systems, including:


Euramoo is the QRIScloud “Cluster-as-a-Service” offering. It provides a batch scheduler environment and is pre-populated with a range of computational application software.

The hardware and configuration of Euramoo are optimised for running multiple independent jobs each using a single processing core. It is ideally suited to large parameter sweep or ensemble applications.

See the Euramoo User Guide for assistance.


Griffith University
Griffith University’s High Performance Computing Facility is a 792 core HPC cluster and consists of a mixture of SGI Altix XE and SGI® Rackable™ C2114-4TY14 servers. These servers are interconnected by a very high speed network (infiniband) this provides a suitable platform for running highly parallelised jobs (mpi). It is managed by eResearch Services.

Gowonda is used to run computations that require large amount of computing resources (CPU, RAM, hard disk). All Griffith University researchers and researchers from QCIF affiliated institutions have access to Gowonda.

See the Gowonda HPC User Guide for assistance.


Research Computing Centre, UQ
FlashLite has been designed explicitly for Australian research to conduct data intensive science and innovation.

FlashLite supports applications that need large amounts of memory or very high performance memory and optimises data movement within the machine.

FlashLite has been designed to support data intensive applications, which are neither well served by traditional supercomputers (Gowonda) nor by modern cloud-based data centres (AWS).

Where can I go for help?

You can contact Griffith University, HPC Systems Engineer, Indy Siva or attend Hacky Hour.

A quick Q&A with Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh

Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh


School of Government and International Relations academic, Professor Ciaran O’Faircheallaigh discusses his work in environmental conservation, staying at Griffith University and his work with Indigenous cultures.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a vet because I loved animals, especially horses.

2. Tell us about a previous job (work experience/volunteer work) that you’ve had.
When I studied at University people didn’t have part time jobs during semester, they worked during the summer holidays to keep them going during the academic year. I worked two summers in a bottling plant attached to a brewery. Seven or eight weeks without a  day off, shift work Monday to Friday, work all day Saturday and Sunday (double time, hoorah for penalty rates!), and saved a heap of money. This meant we were able to be full time students and really enjoy the whole university experience. I feel sorry for students today, a lot of them are under so much pressure with work and study, they miss out on a lot of what university has to offer outside the class room.

3. Which 3 apps do you use the most on your mobile device?
Calendar to know where I’m supposed to be and when; Google maps to get there; and Optus Sport to keep track of Aussie Rules and English Premier League.

4. Which 5 celebrities would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?
My kids will tell you that I’m not well up on celebrities. Rick Stein to cook and talk about food. James Halliday to talk about wine and bring a few great bottles from his cellar. Hilary Mantell to discuss writing and books. Diana Krall to sing for us after dinner. And Kevin Spacey just because I think he’s amazing.

5. Tell us about your favourite fictional character.
Fictional character or character in fiction? Thomas Cromwell, the central character in Hilary Mantell’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Like many really interesting characters, a complex mix. Calculating, ruthless, utterly unforgiving in pursuit of anyone who did him harm; but fiercely loyal, protective of people wronged by the powerful, and a loving father.

6. What’s the best thing about your current role?
Doing research with fascinating people in some amazing places.

7. What sparked your interest in Indigenous and environment governance?
Doing PhD field work in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, at the Panguna copper mine, where poor governance of Indigenous issues and of environmental impacts  eventually led to an armed rebellion, the forced closure of one of the world’s biggest copper mines, and a civil war that resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Not anywhere else, as I have no desire to leave Griffith. Maybe working less than full time and spending more time with my grandsons.

9. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Doing field work with Aboriginal traditional owners in Cape York and the Kimberley.

10. Tell us about a project/research you are working on at the moment.
I’m working with Conservation International and Oxfam America to help develop the negotiation capacity of their Indigenous partners from different parts of the world.

11. What wise advice do you have for new researchers?
Pick a research area you’re passionate about and make a long term commitment to building up your expertise in that area. You may have to take on other projects for career reasons, but plan to stay focused on your core research area for decades rather than years.

12. What’s the best resource you’ve discovered in your Griffith University Library?
Without doubt electronic access to journals and electronic document delivery.  Maybe only researchers who, like me, started their careers working with hard copies of journals that you couldn’t search electronically and couldn’t take out of the library can appreciate what a boon this is.

13. Can you give us your 3 best research tips?
See answer 11. for my best research tip. Two more. Don’t get discouraged if articles get rejected – some of the world’s best writers have had quite a few rejection slips early in their careers. Work on developing links between teaching and research – some great research ideas come from interactions with students, and students love to feel they’re getting access to ‘hot off the press’ research.

New to project management? 5 things you need to know

Well, let’s be honest. There’s way more than five things you need to know about project management. It’s quite a complex topic. But below are five project management eBooks to get you started.

You can access these eBooks in the Books24x7 database. Your helpful Griffith University library provides access to this database and its amazing resources.

There are books on general project management resources, tool and techniques, best practices, PMP Certification and PRINCE2.

So if you are new to project management, or simply looking to further your already extensive knowledge, head to the Books24x7 database and start reading!

Project Management Basics: How to Manage Your Project with Checklists
McBride, Melanie. 2016
Including detailed checklists and hard-headed advice, this practical resource provides step-by-step instructions for managing any project in a clean sequence of five classic phases―initiating, planning, executing, releasing, and closing.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), Fifth Edition
Project Management Institute. 2013.
This book ‘provides guidelines for managing individual projects and defines project management related concepts. It also describes the project management life cycle and its related processes, as well as the project lifecycle’.

Project Management Leadership: Building Creative Teams, Second edition
Burke, Rory & Barron, Steve. 2013.
Providing exercises and worked examples throughout, this comprehensive guide offers a look at the human factors involved in Project Management, in particular, the leadership skills required to ensure successful implementation of the current best practice.

Project Management: A Managerial Approach, Eighth Edition
Meredith, Jack R. & Mantel, Samuel J.
John Wiley & Sons. 2012.
Focusing on all facets of the steps needed to successfully manage a project – from planning and resources to budgeting and more, this book will also help those preparing to take the PMBOK® certification exams of the Project Management Institute.

PRINCE2 for Dummies, Second Edition
Graham, Nick.
John Wiley & Sons. 2010
Offering practical and easy-to-understand advice on using PRINCE2, this comprehensive guide will help you divide your project into manageable chunks, so you can make realistic plans and know when resources will be needed.