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Curtin University
Note to staff

18 May 2015


Curtin Medical School

It certainly has been an eventful week, with the announcement of Federal Government support for the Curtin Medical School being a major achievement for the University.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the many members of staff – past and present – who have played very significant roles in getting us to this point.

I would particularly like to acknowledge the former Vice-Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Jeanette Hacket for her leadership of the original proposal and Professors Colin Stirling, Jill Downie and Michael Berndt for their roles in developing the proposal and seeking support for it from both State and Federal Government.  In addition, I acknowledge and thank Professor William Hart for the absolutely critical role he has played as the Foundation Dean of Medical Education – we would not be so well prepared for the commencement of our new Medical School in 2017 without William’s vision, hard work and persistence.

Partnership with edX

In another exciting development, Curtin has been accepted as a member of edX, a consortium of elite higher education institutions established by Harvard and MIT universities in 2012, which offers interactive online classes and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

edX partners include many of the world’s top ranked universities recognised for their cutting-edge technologies and innovative pedagogy, and which have a reputation for offering the best of higher education online.  Curtin is the only Western Australian university in the edX consortium, and only the fourth university in Australia to be accepted into the consortium.

Becoming a member of the edX consortium opens many opportunities for Curtin to collaborate in teaching and learning innovation with leading international universities.  The first Curtin MOOC to be launched on edX will be The Business of Mining in mid-June. This MOOC was developed in collaboration with leading industry and education experts and uses interactive techniques to provide an introduction to the lifecycle of mining, from exploration through to mine planning, operation and closure.

The Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the Honourable Bill Marmion, and edX’s President Wendy Cebula, who flew in from the United States, announced our edX collaboration and the new MOOC at a special event last week.

Many thanks to Professor Jill Downie, Professor David Gibson and their colleagues for all their work in preparing The Business of Mining MOOC and positioning us so well for acceptance into the edX consortium.

Myself with Minister Marmion and edX President Wendy Cebula at the launch last week

Myself with Minister Marmion and edX President Wendy Cebula at the launch last week

Pride in Diversity Awards

To top off an excellent week, I was delighted to hear that Curtin was named the Highest Ranking University for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality for the third year running at last week’s national Pride in Diversity Awards.

The University was also ranked third in the top 20 employers for LGBTI employees and Maz Rahman of Ethics, Equity and Social Justice received the Sapphire Inspire Award, acknowledging her significant contribution to LGBTI workplace inclusion initiatives.

The Sally Webster ALLY Award was presented for the first time to honour her work to promote and embed LGBTI inclusion and support in the workplace.  Sally was a long time staff member at Curtin who sadly passed away late last year.  Fittingly, the award was presented by her husband Evyn and their sons Luke and Josh to winner Kristina Bennett from Westpac.

Pride in Diversity is Australia’s first and only not-for-profit workplace program to assist employers with the inclusion of LGBTI employees.

The Awards ceremony coincides each year with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia; a day that is acknowledged each year by Curtin in different ways.  This year Ethics, Equity and Social Justice and the Ally network launched Trans Support – A Guide about Gender Transition at Curtin University for university-wide consultation.

Curtin is committed to creating an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment and to supporting diversity in sexuality and gender.  These awards are a wonderful recognition of this commitment and I congratulate all those involved.

Invitation to the VC Forum – 29 May

The first VC Forum for the year will be held on 29 May from 12 noon to 1pm in the Tim Winton Lecture Theatre.  This VC’s Forum will focus on the impact of the State and Federal Budgets, the new Medical School and the edX partnership, as well as the outcomes of the Review of International Strategy and Framework 2015 and what we’re doing to strengthen our culture in response to the Your Voice results.

I look forward to seeing you there. The Forum provides an invaluable opportunity for me, and my senior colleagues, not only to discuss current issues of relevance to the University, but also to respond to specific questions and concerns raised by staff.

Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards 2015

The Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards were established in 2007 to recognise the commercialisation efforts of Curtin staff and students.  The competition is now a highlight in the Western Australian innovation calendar and showcases Curtin’s commitment to research excellence and impact.  The key objectives of the program are to celebrate and reward the achievements of staff and students working on new products and services with potential to positively impact the community.

The winning entry will receive $15,000 cash with other prizes totalling $20,000 available.  In addition to the prize money, entrants and their co-researchers will be appointed a mentor who will help assess the technology and provide both commercial advice and commercial presentation coaching.

Applications are invited from Curtin staff and students with ideas, concepts and projects that have commercial potential.  To apply, download the Curtin Innovation Award Application Form and briefly describe your idea or research, then email the completed form to Applications close on Friday 22 May 2015.

I commend this initiative to you all, as the real reward is more than just the prize: it is the opportunity to translate the results of your research into improved products and services.

2015 John Curtin Medal nominations closing soon

As many staff will be aware, the John Curtin Medal is the University’s highest non-academic award and since 1998 it has been presented to outstanding members of the broader community who exhibit John Curtin’s attributes of vision, leadership and community service.

Nominations for this year’s John Curtin Medal will close at 5pm on Friday 5 June 2015, and I encourage you to consider nominating a deserving person who meets the selection criteria.

Please note that nominations should be kept strictly confidential.  Candidates should not be contacted for information regarding their nomination.  The nomination form and further details can be found online or contact Julia Nicol, Director, Public Relations on extension 7711 or by email ( for advice on submitting a nomination.

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine

The School of Nursing and Midwifery has changed its name to the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, to recognise the addition of the Paramedicine program to its course offerings, and the relocation of the Pre-hospital Resuscitation and Emergency Care Research Unit (PRECRU) to the School.

The Paramedicine program, established in partnership with St John Ambulance (WA), is a post-employment undergraduate program, which is available as part of the Bachelor of Science (Health Science) degree.  The first intake of students commenced in 2013.  PRECRU, also established in collaboration with St John Ambulance (WA), undertakes high quality pre-hospital clinical research to build an evidence base to inform clinical practice and service delivery.

The School’s collaboration with St John Ambulance is unique within Australia, and combines the key elements of education and pre-hospital care research and clinical service into strong and productive collaboration.


The annual Curtin FM Radiothon has been a resounding success, raising more than $102,000 this year.

Curtin FM, based at our Bentley Campus, is Western Australia’s largest community radio station.  It is a not-for-profit enterprise completely self-funded from community support and corporate sponsorship.

The Radiothon ran from 29 April to 3 May and received more than 1,700 individual donations ranging from $2 to $1000.  With over 200,000 listeners each week, Curtin FM is a much-loved and supported voice in the community.  More than 50 volunteers helped with the Radiothon by taking calls, collating pledges and assisting with the event.

The Station broadcasts a large number of University-related announcements each week, and showcases Curtin research through on-air interviews, as well as running a highly successful cadet journalism program and participating in media training offered through the Public Relations area.

Congratulations to all volunteers and staff who contributed to making Radiothon 2015 such a success.

Other points of interest

At last week’s SET meeting, the EQUIP Review Team reported on Phase One of the EQUIP Post Implementation Review.  Phase One analysed the approach and implementation of the EQUIP Project and Phase Two, to be conducted later this year, will determine whether the intended outcomes of the EQUIP Project have been achieved.

The findings and recommendations of Phase One of the Review will be circulated to all staff.

The Review of the Academic Reshaping Initiative will commence shortly and its Terms of Reference and membership will also be circulated.

SET also received an update on recent rankings from the Office of Strategy and Planning, and the impact of the Federal Budget was discussed.  A comprehensive analysis of the Federal Budget’s impact will be provided at the VC Forum to be held on 29 May (see above for details).


  1. Igor Bray May 18, 2015 1:17pm

    I was interested to listen to the AMA attack on the radio this morning. Rather than accusing them directly of a potential conflict-of-interest, I think it is best to engage with them directly on their argument. Their concern is that there are already too many medical graduates in WA. If so, what is the problem? Has Law collapsed because there are too many Law graduates? What about the cyclic nature of the resources sector and associated engineering jobs? Many professions have to deal with occasional oversupply of graduates. This is the reality of vocationally oriented study. In the final analysis, would the planet be worse off if WA trained more doctors? I think not.

    • Amit Rudra May 18, 2015 4:53pm

      In my experience there is a great shortage of GPs in the market. E.g. in our area, we have to wait for more than a week (at times a fortnight) to get a consultation with my GP. So, not sure why they (AMA) say, that there is “No shortage”.

  2. Andrew Lowe May 18, 2015 4:18pm

    The problem is that the doctors trained in WA will want to stay in the capital cities and not go out into the world. They won’t want to go out into the bush or off into developing countries – the current doctors don’t.

    Can someone please show me, in these fiscally tight times, how it will be more economically efficient to create a whole new medical infrastructure, buildings, class rooms, lecture theatres, morgues, dissection labs, teaching staff, lab staff, support staff etc etc instead of expanding the existing medical schools.

    As to your comments regarding Law collapsing, that is irrelevant. But if you wish to go down that path, how many people who study law actually end up practising it? You will find that the numbers are not that high. If you are going to suggest that medicine should be the same as what happens to law, study a degree, get said degree and then face a decent chance that you won’t utilise your training, then that is an insult to all the patients the students disturbed whilst they were undergoing training. It’s an insult to those who donated their bodies to medical training.

    The money that is being spent on this medical school idea is money that could be utilised much more efficiently elsewhere

  3. Ann Paterson May 19, 2015 9:21am

    Posted on behalf of Professor Terry:

    The new medical school will provide medical education to students straight from school and every effort will be be made to attract students from rural, outer- suburban, socio-economically disadvantaged and indigenous backgrounds. The school will use case-based learning methods with examples drawn from rural practice and problem-based learning contextualised around primary care.

    There is currently a 4:1 disparity in availability of GPs in the Western as compared with the Eastern suburbs. A new facility in the Eastern suburbs is needed.

    Curtin University has most of the specialised infrastructure already in place (dissection facility, labs, etc.) because we already have a very large Faculty of Health Sciences and actually provided this teaching to all medical students from UNDA till 2013. The new building on campus (building 410) will also be used for general teaching and learning. The new facility at Midland to be funded by the State Government will provide infrastructure for an inter professional clinical school as well as innovative technology for off-campus learning.

    We have undertaken in-depth analysis of medical workforce needs in Western Australia, using publicly available data and independently validated. There is a current deficit of 950 doctors in WA and an additional 1150 jobs currently being done by our excess of overseas-trained doctors. The population continues to grow and the community needs medical care. It is not currently adequate in many outer suburban and regional areas. Curtin University is pleased to now be in a position to make a contribution to helping with this.

    Kind regards


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