The power of engagement with Professional Associations – a student case study.

Ms Jodie Duignan-George1

1CQUniversity, Cairns, Australia


Professional Industry Associations are typically the central access point for information, resources and networking opportunities for career professionals. Given this, they offer a wealth of information for students within a particular profession. Sometimes these organisations offer more than meets the eye, particularly in terms of their support for student development. Through meaningful university engagement with Industry Associations, programs can be identified or developed that will provide students with significant opportunities for extra-curricular development; delivering invaluable personal and professional growth to the student.
Within the sector we tend to associate such engagement with academic staff. There is however, a role professional and student support staff can play in harnessing these opportunities.
This case study provides an insight into the tangible and intangible outcomes that can be achieved when Universities meaningfully engage with Industry Associations.


Jodie Duignan-George is the Associate Vice-Chancellor, Cairns and Far North Region for CQUniversity. With a 20 year career in higher education Jodie has a strong understanding of the issues facing the sector, particularly from a regional university perspective.

Jodie commenced with CQUniversity in 2014 to establish a campus in Cairns. On the back of a strong engagement agenda the Cairns campus has exceeded all business case expectations since its opening in 2015 and the campus continues on a significant growth trajectory today

Jodie is an active member of her community, serving on the Management Committees of Study Cairns (as Vice President) and Cairns Chamber of Commerce (as Vice President). Jodie is also a Director on the Board of Advance Cairns (locally) and Engagement Australia (Nationally).

Jodie is an engagement specialist and a strategic thinker who loves working with ‘out of the norm’ ideas.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education. We are focused on: The quality of the student experience Supporting and empowering students to achieve their educational and life goals Enhancing student wellbeing and development Improving student success and persistence Providing outreach to students at-risk Raising institutional student retention rates For more information, please visit the ANZSSA website at