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Vale Professor Colin R. Ward

We are saddened to inform members that Emeritus Professor Colin Ward passed away in Sydney last night.

Emeritus Professor Colin Ward

Professor Ward had a distinguished academic and research career in sedimentology and coal geology.  He enthused and mentored many students through undergraduate and post-graduate teaching at University of New South Wales and University of Technology, Sydney.  Professor Ward was an author of several, benchmark textbooks and numerous papers, particularly in the fields of coal geology and mineral matter in coal.

Professor Ward was a past AIG President and Councillor.  He played a major role in developing AIG during its formative years.

Sincere condolences are extended by the Institute to Professor Ward’s family and friends.

Andrew Waltho
19 September 2018

What is continued professional development and why is it a good thing?

Part II.  Continued Professional Development is expensive.  Right?

Wrong.  Continued pprofessional development (CPD) covers a broad spectrum of activities that contribute to both your development of new skills and refinement of existing ones.  CPD always requires an investment of time but it does not need to be expensive or onerous in other ways.

CPD can be considered to be an investment, by you in your own career, and in your development as a professional by your employer.  It can be both formal and informal and requires tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain as you work, beyond any initial training.  CPD records document what you experience, learn and then apply.

Some professions use the term ‘continuing professional develment‘ formally, and require a certain amount of development activity to be carried out and documented each year as a condition of maintaining your membership of, or registration with, a professional body, or a licence to operate in that field.  

In other areas, CPD is used more informally. A commitment to learning and improving is, however, generally expected of anyone in a professional capacity.

There are no formal “licence to operate” provisions affecting geologists, generally, in Australia and New Zealand, although there are specific fields where government authorities require geoscientists to be members of a recognised professional association or institute.  Requirements vary from state to state in Australia.  The situation is very different in Canada, where professional registration is required to work in most provinces and legislation to mandate this is in place.  Professional registration is also required in some U.S. states and in the European Union.  AusIMM Members must have Chartered Professional status to act as Qualified Persons reporting exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves to Canadian securities exchanges.  This is not, however, required of AusIMM Fellows, or both AIG Members and Fellows.  These arrangements are set in Canada and subject to regular review.  

What is a profession?
A profession may be considered to be any career area for which you need a professional qualification. Traditionally, the professions included law, medicine (including dentistry and other allied professions), and accountancy.  More recently, many other professions have emerged, including HR, marketing, sales and IT, all of which have recognised professional qualifications.

While CPD isn’t a requirement for geoscientists in Australia, it does demonstrate commitment to continually improving your skills, in addition to maintaining concepts of best practice through sharing learning with colleagues and peers.

Recording your development actions is essential.  An important part of continuing professional development is being able to demonstrate it.  It is important to keep a diary of all your development activities to be able to show how your skills and knowledge have developed over a period.

2 CPD Hours

AIG organised and endorsed activities have specified CPD hours.  You will have seen these logos in the AIG web site events calendar and email newsletters.

An investment in CPD is typically measured in CPD hours or CPD points, both of which are a combination of the time devoted to continued professional development and an activity weighting or multiplier.  Multipliers reflect the effort and value associated with specific activities.

The AIG’s Registered Professional Geosceintist (RPGeo) programme specifies the following weightings for various CPD activities.  Some examples of the weightings for different activities include:

ActivityWeighting
Meeting, seminar and conference attendance, including webinars.1
Formal postgraduate study, short course and workshop attendance (applied to lecture hours)2
Distance learning – higher degree and postgraduate studies (applied to lecture hours)2
“On the job” learning: e.g. mine visits (other than those associated with regular duties), working with consultants, undertaking company-sponsored research.1
Preparation and presentation of materials for geoscience courses, conferences, seminars and symposia.2
Participation in AIG and other professional society / institute committee work0.5
Receiving mentoring (mentee) from experienced MAIG or FAIG1
Providing mentoring to an early career or less experienced geoscientist0.5

Some activities are subject to additional restrictions, such as the proportion of total hours that may be provided by a single activity, to ensure that continued professional development completed by members has an element of diversity.  There are also specified hours for some activities, such as 30 hours for publication of a paper in a peer-reviewed journal.  A more detailed discussion of what constitutes CPD and relevant weightings is available here.

It’s not all about attending conferences and seminars.  It is clear from the list above that there are a wide range of activities that contribute to professional development, readily accessible by all members.  RPGeos are required to complete an average of 50 CPD hours per year, averaged over three years, which may sound onerous but is something that many members achieve without realising it, or doing anything out of the ordinary.    

The key is ensuring that CPD activities are recorded.

What do you think?  Is a requirement for all Graduates, Members and Fellows to undertake CPD, and in the process satisfying community expectations of what constitutes a professional, something that AIG should consider?  Add your thoughts to this post or join the discussion on the AIG Linkedin Group.

Part I of this article series is available here.

Australian gold at International Earth Science Olympiad

Rebecca Whittle, a Year 11 student from Abbotsleigh high school in Sydney, has won a gold medal at the International Earth Science Olympiad in Thailand, securing Australia’s best gold medal performance at the UNESCO-sanctioned International Science Olympiads since 2009.

Rebecca competed against more than 140 students from 38 countries to win gold, finishing in the top 10 per cent of Earth Science students in the world.

The Australian International Earth Science Olympiad 2019 Team

Her medal is the second gold for Australia at this year’s International Science Olympiads, following a gold-medal performance by Sydney Grammar School student Hugo McCahon-Boersma at the International Physics Olympiad in July.    

“This double gold achievement is our best performance at the International Science Olympiads since 2009. Our teams have put in the hard yards and earned this success,” says Ruth Carr, Executive Director of Australian Science Innovations.

Rebecca was part of a four-member team representing Australia at the International Earth Science Olympiad.  The three other students won silver medals, putting them in the top 20 per cent of students and delivering Australia’s best overall performance at the competition since Australia began sending a national team in 2015.

The International Earth Science Olympiad competition involved two theory exams and four practical tests covering all aspects of Earth systems science and planetary astronomy. Topics included the geology of planetary bodies, the formation of rocks, rock and mineral identification, sea-level rise processes and the geochemistry of groundwater.   

Rose Zhang from Narrabundah College in Canberra was also part of a team awarded a silver medal in the International Team Field Investigation that she completed with students from other countries. This part of the competition emphasises international collaboration and teamwork.  

“We are very proud of our teams’ achievements this year that are a testament to their hard work and the Australian Science Olympiads program’s ability to nurture Australia’s top science students’ passion and talent for science,” says Carr.

The Australian students spent a year in exams and intensive training before competing on the international stage. They outperformed 6,000 other students from more than 280 schools in the qualifying exams, making a shortlist of 91  t to attend a two-week summer school at the Australian National University in preparation for the International Science Olympiad competitions.

The Australian Science Olympiad program is run by Australian Science Innovations and is funded through the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, with support from the Australian National University.

The Australian team results at the 2018 International Science Olympiads are as follows:

Learn more about the Australian Science Olympiad Competition at: www.asi.edu.au

International Earth Science Olympiad
8-17 August, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Rebecca WhittleAbbotsleighNSWGold
Wayne WongJames Ruse Agricultural High SchoolNSWSilver
Rose ZhangNarrabundah CollegeACTSilver
Kim ZhengJames Ruse Agricultural High SchoolNSWSilver

Congratulations to all members of the Australian team for their great achievements.

National PhD Positions in Groundwater – Expressions of Interest

Australian citizens; or permanent residents of Australia; or New Zealand citizens may apply

Expressions of interest by Friday, 31st August 2018

The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) is seeking Expressions of Interest from the brightest minds from a wide range of science, engineering and social science disciplines to undertake a variety of groundwater PhDs across the country. NCGRT headquartered at Flinders University has 13 University partners who are in the top echelons of university rankings for water resources in the world. The PhD research positions offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn and work alongside some of the worlds most revered groundwater scholars and renowned influential thinkers. Candidates will conduct innovative research addressing the most pressing contemporary issues in groundwater science, management and policy.

All prospective PhD applicants who are approved for candidature must meet the eligibility requirements to apply for an RTP scholarship, or an equivalent at their nominated home university. Generous top-up scholarships may be available for suitable projects/students and will be negotiated with successful RTP scholarship recipients.

Research areas of interest: Hydrodynamics and Modelling of Groundwater Systems, Surface water –Groundwater Interactions, Groundwater-Vegetation- Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems, Geochemistry, Integrating Socioeconomics and Decision Support, Characterisation of Aquifers and Aquitards etc.

Applicants are required to fill out this EOI form along with a covering letter, academic transcript sand CV to assist us in matching you to your preferred area of interest and state location / University. Applications to be sent to enquiries@groundwater.com.au by COB Friday 31st August 2018. Shortlist notification by COB Friday 28 September 2018.

Eligibility

Awards will normally only be available to those who:

  • Are Australian citizens;  or permanent residents of Australia; or New Zealand citizens;
  • Have completed at least four years of tertiary education studies at a high level of achievement and have an appropriate Honours 1 (or equivalent) undergraduate degree;
  • Are enrolling as full-time students (part-time awards are available in certain circumstances);
  • Will commence or are continuing a Masters degree by research or a Doctorate by research;
  • Have had their candidature accepted in the area in which they propose to undertake their studies.

This award will not be available to students who have held a Commonwealth Government-funded postgraduate research award previously unless it was terminated within three months of it being awarded.

Follow this link to find out more and apply.

Vale Pat Williams

AIG members are advised, with sadness, that Dr Patrick Williams passed away in the UK late last week, following a protracted illness.

Dr Williams (Pat) joined the staff at James Cook University (JCU) in 1989 and continued in a lecturing role until the amalgamation of Earth Science with TESAG around 2007 when he resigned to become a consultant.

He was a major contributor to the Key Centre in Economic Geology, the Predictive Mineral Discovery CRC and the Economic Geology Research Unit (EGRU) team  at JCU. He supervised and mentored  many honours and doctoral students during his academic career, and was much valued in that role. He was also much valued as an academic colleague by this who worked with him – always good council,  supportive of group activities and delivering of the tasks on his plate.

Pat is recognised by his colleagues for a major contribution to undergraduate teaching in mineralogy, petrology and economic geology. Pat developed a strong research interest in mineralization in the Mount Isa Inlier and became a widely acknowledged expert on IOCG deposits, an ongoing interest that he carried into his post-academic consulting life.

Dr Williams will be missed by the economic geology community in Australia and beyond, and his many friends in North Queensland.

Bob Henderson

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