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Curtin University
Note to staff

19 March 2009


Mental Health HEESP Initiative

Mental health issues impact on the lives of individuals, their families and communities. Staff from the University Counselling Service and the Faculty of Health Sciences are using Higher Education Equity Support Program (HEESP) funding to work to improve the University experience of people suffering a mental health crisis or a mental illness. The program has three objectives:

1. Increase the knowledge and skills of all University staff by providing the opportunity to participate in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). MHFA is a 12 hour course conducted over two days, teaching people how to provide initial support to someone experiencing a mental health crisis or developing a mental illness. MHFA is a well evaluated program which has been benchmarked as “best practice” and is conducted across Australia and internationally. Training will be provided by University Counselling Service staff who are accredited MHFA instructors. MHFA covers crisis situations such as:

  • Suicidal behaviours
  • Acute stress reaction
  • Panic attacks
  • Acute psychotic behaviour

2. To develop the University Counselling Service website as a resource to assist people who are experiencing a crisis or mental illness and/or those providing support to these people within the University environment.

3. Conduct a survey of students who self identify as having a mental health issue to obtain information that will be used to enhance the University experience for this group of students.

I would like to convey my support for this program which highlights Curtin’s sense of community, respect for diversity and engagement in best practice outcomes. I encourage each school/department to identify key people within their area to complete the MHFA training. Registration is now open on the University Counselling Service website:

If you would like further information about the HEESP initiative please contact Associate Professor Dianne Wynaden on 92662203.

2009 Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards

I am pleased to announce the 2009 Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards. Curtin staff and students are invited to submit applications based on new commercially relevant technologies, products or services related to their work or study.

Applications will be assessed by an independent panel drawn from industry, against criteria including novelty, market potential, competitive advantage and level of development. The technology, product or service must be at least at the initial proof of concept stage.

1st Prize: $15,000 cash and $5,000 in commercialisation services (to be allocated in consultation with the IP Commercialisation office) from Australian Venture Consultants.

Runner up: $7,000 cash and $3,000 in services (to be allocated in consultation with the IP Commercialisation office) from our gold sponsor Griffith Hack and Co patent attorneys.

Encouragement award: $2,000 cash and commercialisation mentoring and training from Watershed.

All entrants will have the opportunity to discuss their innovation with the IP Commercialisation team and other experts who will be available to provide technical and commercial advice and guidance. All applications will be treated as commercial in confidence.

If you are working on something that fits the above criteria, please submit a completed application form to the IP Commercialisation office.

Entries must be submitted by Friday 24 May 2008. Full details can be found on the IP Commercialisation website

I commend this initiative to you all. The potential benefits extend beyond the prizes to the development of your idea in a successful commercial venture.

Curtin Careers Festival Success

Despite the current downturn in the economic market the Curtin Careers Centre once again successfully secured employers to participate in the Curtin Careers Festival.

This year saw an extension from the one day Wednesday fair at Bentley for general employers, to two additional fairs, one on Thursday for Not for Profit and Volunteering organisations, and then on Friday, one for the Health Industry. In addition, on Friday the annual Kalgoorlie/WASM fair was also held.

The initiative of expanding the opportunities for students to meet with employers has been highly successful, with both employer numbers and student participation at an all time high. Feedback we have received from employers indicates that they are impressed by the calibre of questions being asked by our students, and their interest and knowledge of their company.

The employers continually comment on the fantastic support that is provided to them while they are here on Campus. This is mainly due to students who volunteer their time to assist employers and to ensure their needs are met throughout the day. This year over 100 students volunteered their time. The co-ordination of all the fairs has been a monumental task and provides an excellent service to our students and to employers.

My congratulations and thanks goes to the Curtin Careers Centre staff and to their volunteers.

Earth Hour

I am pleased to announce that Curtin will once again support Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign that aims to educate the community about the threats of climate change and inform individuals and businesses about the difference they can make by reducing their emissions at home and in the workplace. This initiative seeks to send a message to the world’s leaders that strong action needs to be taken to combat climate change.

At 8.30pm on Saturday 28 March, it is hoped that 1 billion people in 1,000 cities and towns of all sizes will be turning off their lights for one hour to deliver a simple message about the connection between energy usage and climate change and that mass participation can help improve our planet’s future. In Australia, all capital cities are participating and the target is for 250 local councils in regional and greater metropolitan areas to also participate in Earth Hour 2009.

Last year Curtin far exceeded its target of a 5 per cent reduction in power usage during Earth Hour. Let’s make it a success again this year and I encourage you, your friends and family to participate in 2009.

When you leave work on Friday 27 March, please ensure that all non-essential lighting and equipment such as computers, printers and faxes are switched off. We will be measuring our energy consumption prior to and during Earth Hour to demonstrate how small changes can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming.

Staff and student safety is always paramount, therefore street and interior/exterior stairwell lighting will not be reduced during this time to ensure everyone’s wellbeing. Additional security will also be in place to ensure the safety of all visitors to campus on the night.

For hints and ideas on how to help our planet, please visit Curtin’s Earth Hour web page.

For information about the Earth Hour event in Australia, visit

Your feedback and suggestions about how Curtin can adopt the principles of Earth Hour for the future are welcome and can be sent to