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Curtin University
Note to staff

19 December, 2008


Curtin top in customer service among WA universities

A recent independent study which tested the customer service level of Curtin compared with other universities in WA has shown that Curtin is the top performing university in WA compared to ECU, UWA and Murdoch.

A large part of this was attributed to the establishment of the Future Students Centre with its future student enquiry support and the follow-up provided.

In comparison to the previous study conducted in 2007, Curtin has significantly improved the overall experience for a prospective student. The University stood out significantly in the knowledge and advice factor, and the systems factor with scores well above our competitors. Curtin was also the only university to have improved in these factors as well as in the communication skills performance measure.

Congratulations to our Customer Management Unit and all other staff who have put in the hard work to make such a significant difference to improving Curtin’s customer service experience.

Professor Colin Binns retires

Professor Colin Binns has retired after 30 years of valuable service to Curtin and the local and international community.

Professor Binns graduated in medicine from The University of Western Australia and worked for several years in hospitals in Perth before going to Papua New Guinea where he developed an interest in nutrition and in primary health care and health services for developing countries. As a result of research work in PNG, he was awarded a scholarship to study at Harvard University and was later awarded the Independence Medal by the Government of PNG for services to health care.

When he returned to Australia he joined Curtin’s predecessor, the Western Australian Institute of Technology and became the foundation head of the School of Public Health in 1979, a position he held until 2001. Professor Binns founded the Curtin University Health Service and was its medical director for 22 years, and was also the foundation head of the National Centre for Research into Drug Abuse.

He has been a visiting professor at University of Washington, Harvard University and at the Medical Research Council at Cambridge University. He was named the Senior Australian of the Year (Western Australia) for 2004. For two decades he has been involved in national nutrition and public health policies through the National Health and Medical Research Council and other national bodies.

Prof Binns has published nearly 200 papers in the areas of nutrition, breastfeeding, primary health care, health services, manpower planning, health promotion, alcohol and drug abuse.

I know that many people will join with me in wishing him well in the next phase of his life and success in all his future endeavours.

Professor John de Laeter inducted into WA Science Hall of Fame

I am very pleased to congratulate Emeritus Professor John de Laeter who has joined an illustrious list of ‘who’s who’ in the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame. He was recognised as part of the Premier’s Science Awards this year for his lifelong dedication to science in WA.

Professor de Laeter had made a significant contribution to the community and has worked tirelessly to make science accessible and applicable to everyone.

He has played a central role in the way technology is developed and applied in WA and has facilitated collaboration in science between government, industry and universities.

Professor de Laeter was instrumental in founding Scitech in 1988 and worked with government to establish Technology Park in Bentley.

At Curtin Professor de Laeter has had a long and illustrious career, beginning as the inaugural Head of Physics of WAIT in 1968, and moving up through the ranks over the years as Dean of Science, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Engineering and Science, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Development.

He retired in 1993 after 25 years here, however he continues to contribute to research at the University as Emeritus Professor of Physics.

We’ve been extremely privileged to benefit from Professor de Laeter’s tireless work in education and research, and looking back over what he’s achieved over the years it’s easy to see why the State’s scientific community has given him their highest honour.

Curtin advertising students excel in international awards

I would also like to congratulate the School of Art and Design staff and students who have excelled in two recent international competitions.

Advertising student Wassim Kanaan and lecturer Mr Blair McLeish won a bronze award in the student competition at the recent 2008 New York Festivals International Advertising Awards. Their work for Greenpeace was recognised in the Service category. The New York Festivals International Advertising Awards receives entries from 71 countries. Award winners are selected by an international panel of 300 senior Creative Directors representing the most innovative and creative minds from 48 countries around the world.

Curtin advertising students also won five awards at the 2008 Crowbar Awards which highlight the best emerging talent in creative communications and design. The Crowbar Awards is an international platform for emerging young talent to showcase their most innovative work and learn from their peers.

These awards are wonderful recognition of the achievements of staff and students at Curtin. Congratulations to all the deserving winners.

Curtin academic honoured by Royal Australian Chemical Institute

Please join me in congratulating Professor Roland De Marco who has been awarded the prestigious 2008 Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Analytical Chemistry Division’s Lloyd Smythe Medal for his ground-breaking work in analytical chemistry.

The award recognises Professor De Marco’s international standing in research, excellence in teaching and service to the chemical profession in Australia.

Professor De Marco has shown outstanding leadership at Curtin which has resulted in one of the most successful applied chemistry groups in Australia with respect to teaching and research in analytical chemistry

In his research, Professor De Marco uses a wide range of cutting-edge research tools to probe the fundamentals of electrochemistry and to understand how practical systems work to improve performance.

His research has wide-reaching ‘real world’ applications, from reducing pipeline corrosion, increasing battery-life and developing more robust sensors for blood analysis.