CHC Researcher Receives Best Paper Award at World Symposium in Samoa

Dr Johannes Luetz, senior lecturer and post-graduate course co-ordinator in the School of Social Sciences and Chair of the Research Committee, showcased CHC at the “World Symposium on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies in Coastal Communities” held in Apia, Samoa, 5-7 July, 2017.

With over 100 participants from 23 countries, the Symposium was a truly international and interdisciplinary event, mobilising scholars, social movements, practitioners and members of governmental agencies, undertaking research and/or executing climate change projects in coastal areas and working with coastal communities. Cooperating organisations included the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the World Health Organisation (WHO); the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO); and the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP).

Dr Luetz’s area of expertise is climate change and sustainability, specifically the ways environmental change impacts societal structures in poor communities, including human relationships and networks.  Global warming is predicted to result in not only sea level rises but also an increase in the intensity of extreme weather events. Worldwide, the political response to natural disasters is to provide economic assistance to deal with acute crises such as lack of housing, food, water and electricity. Whilst these are important considerations, less attention is paid to the lingering impact of these disasters on human life which may include temporary or permanent displacement, broken social networks, psychological trauma, educational disruption, lack of occupational opportunities and resultant poor living conditions and economic hardship. This is particularly the case in countries of the developing world, which struggle severely to deal with the overwhelming social impact of events such as flooding and cyclones. As a Social Scientist, Dr Luetz aims to use research to make the world a better, safer and fairer place for all, especially poor and marginalised communities.

Dr Luetz’s paper, co-authored with Tongan Ph.D. researcher P.H. Havea, “We’re not Refugees, We’ll Stay Here Until We Die!”—Climate Change Adaptation and Migration Experiences Gathered from the Tulun and Nissan Atolls of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, drew on pilot research conducted on the Carteret Islands of Bougainville/Papua New Guinea (PNG). Recognising that it is imperative that policy makers rethink adaptation responses to extreme weather events, the paper provides several recommendations in the areas of education, livelihood security and future governmental planning.

The research paper was exceptionally well received, winning 1st Prize in the category Best Paper Award, received jointly with the co-author from the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. The paper has since been published by Springer, one of the top five scientific publishers as a chapter in “Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies for Coastal Communities”.  This is a volume of the award-winning book series “Climate Change Management”, which since its creation in 2008 has become the world’s leading peer-reviewed book series on this topic.

Those interested in further information please contact Dr Luetz ( )

CHC Researcher boosts international profile

Karenne Hills, from CHC’s School of Social Sciences, continues to build an international profile in the area of disability theology research.

In August, Karenne spoke at The International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) World Congress, which attracted 1,600 delegates from around the world, and is one of the most prestigious conferences internationally in this discipline.  Presenter numbers are strictly limited and thus acceptance to speak is competitive and a great achievement in itself.  Karenne presented “Spirituality in the context of non-verbal autism”, based on her PhD research.

The following week Karenne spoke at the Exclusion and Embrace conference.  This is a multi-faith Australasian conference which focuses on the growing interest in faith and spirituality in the lives of people with disability.  Karenne was a steering member of the conference committee and as such has been working hard for the past two years in the planning and success of the three days of the conference.

Her presentation “Towards a model of inclusive practice in Christian higher educational institutions:  A prototype program” described a program currently in operation in the CHC School of Social Sciences.  The program is an innovative, individualised educational support program designed to assist students with a disability to succeed at tertiary study.  The program began in 2014 and to date has realized success far exceeding the school’s expectations.  It has also attracted international interest from other educational institutions, disability organisations, and leading disability scholars.

Karenne was also invited to participate in a panel discussion on day three of the program alongside Dr Samuel Kabue, (Executive Secretary of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network), Dr Bill Gaventa (Director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability and Director of the Collaborative on Faith and Disability), and fellow Australians Andy Calder and Louise Gosbell.  The panel discussed ideas and innovations for the inclusion of disability focused courses along with programs for people with disabilities in seminary and theological college curricula.

As a result of her presentations, CHC has been showcased to a large number of people representing a variety of organisations and Higher Educational Institutions from across the globe.  During both conferences she also had the advantage of networking and consolidating scholarly linkages with leading international disability scholars.

Sue Chapman wins Three Minute Thesis Challenge

Congratulations to CHC lecturer Sue Chapman, for winning the annual Three Minute Thesis Challenge at Griffith University.

Sue, who teaches drama in CHC’s School of Education, Humanities and Business, will now represent Griffith University in the Asia-Pacific Finals of the competition on 30 September, 2016.

Currently competing her PhD at Griffith University, Sue is passionate about incorporating the arts into school curricula and believes that the teaching of so-called ‘serious’ subjects such as Maths,  English and Science can be improved dramatically through creative approaches.

See the full story at: Arts immersion wins Three Minute Thesis

Climate Change – Research Update

Dr Johannes LuetzIn addition to chairing CHC’s first-ever Research Symposium in July, CHC’s Senior Lecturer Dr Johannes Luetz has achieved significant recent success with his own research activities.

As noted here previously, Johannes presented a paper at the Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific Region which was held in Fiji last month.  His paper “Climate change and migration in the Maldives:  Some lessons for policy makers” was well received and has subsequently been accepted for publication as a chapter in the book “Climate change adaptation in pacific countries:  Fostering resilience and improving the quality of life”.  This book forms a volume of the award-winning book series “Climate change management” published by Springer.

Following this, Johannes has been accepted to present a paper at the Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Asia to be held in India in February 2017.  His paper “Climate change and migration in Bangladesh:  Empirically derived lessons and opportunities for policy makers and practitioners” draws on field research conducted as part of his PhD.   Papers from the symposium will be published in a multi-volume publication “Guidebook on climate change adaptation in Asia:  Strengthening sustainable development and adaptation capabilities” which will form a volume of Springer’s “Climate change management” series.


CHC Research Symposium – Full Program Released


Christian Heritage College has released the full preliminary program for its inaugural Research Symposium, entitled Learning and Loves: Reimagining Christian Education.

To be held on July 18 and 19 this year, the program will feature Dr James KA Smith (Calvin College), Dr Ryan Messmore (The Millis Institute, CHC) and 36 research papers presented by some of Australasia’s leading Christian education experts.

Click on the image above to see the full preliminary program or visit

Registrations are still open and can be made clicking on the button below. Registrations close on 10 July, 2016.