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Curtin University
Note to staff

25 May 2015


National science honour for Professor Julian Gale

Julian Gale PhotoI am delighted to advise that John Curtin Distinguished Professor Julian Gale, from our Department of Chemistry, is one of 21 new Fellows elected to the Australian Academy of Science.  Each Fellow is recognised for their outstanding contribution to science and scientific research.  Professor Gale will be admitted to the Academy in a formal ceremony today, 25 May, in Canberra.

Professor Gale’s research uses computer models to explore the properties of chemicals at the atomic level. This can be applied to help understand mineral formation, catalysis, pharmaceuticals and many important processes relevant to both nature and industry.

More information about the new Fellows can be found on the Australian Academy of Science website.

Congratulations to Julian on this significant achievement.  I would also like to acknowledge the computational chemistry group who support Julian in this important work.

Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week events

A number of events have been organised at Curtin to recognise two important dates in the national calendar: Sorry Day (26 May) which remembers and commemorates the mistreatment of the Stolen Generations, and National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) which commemorates two significant milestones in our country’s reconciliation journey – the 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. All staff and students are invited to participate in one or more of the following:

  • Sorry Day – Planting of the Native Hibiscus: Tuesday 26 May 1-2pm
    The Native Hibiscus is symbolic of the scattering of the Stolen Generations as it represents resilience and the ability to survive. Curtin’s Elder in Residence, Associate Professor Simon Forrest, and members of the Senior Executive Team will plant Native Hibiscus trees in the garden adjacent to the Tim Winton Lecture Theatre. Other attendees will also be invited to plant a tree and take seeds away to plant at home. The planting will be followed by an afternoon tea in the Centre for Aboriginal Studies
  • Reconciliation Lunch at The Centre for Aboriginal Studies: Wednesday 27 May 12noon – 1pm:
    Enjoy a free lunch with staff and students of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, sign the Reconciliation Wall and help to create the ‘Sea of Hands’ – a symbol of Indigenous rights and mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities
  • Movie screening of Our Generation, Bankwest Lecture Theatre, Thursday 28 May 12.30 – 2pm
    This feature-length documentary explores the current state of Indigenous relations in Australia. Tickets are limited so please register online.

Throughout National Reconciliation Week the library foyer will feature a display of images, articles and resources giving historical and cultural perspective to the message of reconciliation and hope for the future. Curtin has also sponsored a banner in the State Government’s Reconciliation Week Street Banner Project. This will be on display in the Murray Street Mall in Perth until 7 June.

Meanwhile, Curtin’s work continues on delivering outcomes from its Reconciliation Action Plan (2014-2017). Achievements to date include:

  • the inclusion of KPIs around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander outcomes in the Executive Performance Management System and Faculty Plans
  • the embedding of on-country units into the curriculum as part of the Indigenous Cultural Capability Framework
  • availability of pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders into every discipline at Curtin through UniReady
  • development of integrated offerings between the Centre for Aboriginal Studies and other schools and faculties, including the award-winning Indigenous Cultures and Health Unit.

Curtin Medical School

Following last week’s news that the Curtin Medical School has been approved by the Federal Government, the Health Sciences website has been updated to provide the latest information on this exciting development.

The Curtin Medical School site explains the need for the school, provides a broad overview of its offerings and operations, and answers frequently asked questions. I encourage all staff to visit the site to find out more about what the medical school means for Curtin and the Western Australian community.

Student-designed app attracts international attention

A group of Curtin Humanities students will be flying to Washington next month to participate in the final round of ‘Peer 2 Peer: Challenging Extremism’, an international competition aimed at combating violent extremism.

The 10 students – Ruby Avis, Andreas Hufschmidt, James Andrews-Coulter, Milo Radunski, Catherine Holbrook, Caitlin Bathgate, Bayley Howe, Ahmed Ali and Abdi Shire – have developed an app called 52 Jumaa (after the term for Friday, the Islamic holy day) that encourages young Muslims to focus on the positive social and moral aspects of their religion. Users gain points for carrying out kind acts and are able to ‘like’ the positive actions of others.

Curtin is the only Australian university to be selected for the competition, which hopes to find innovative solutions to radicalisation. The project has already received significant media attention, both nationally and internationally, including profiles on Channel 10’s The Project and SBS.

After presenting to officials at the US Department of State, the Curtin group will take up a visiting scholarship, spending two weeks on a fully paid, tailored tour of US hosted by the Department of State.

Congratulations to all the students and their lecturer, Associate Professor Ann Aly, on this very positive and impressive achievement.

Spatial Sciences exhibit a hit

An exciting new spatial sciences exhibit, known as Liquid Galaxy, proved to be a major drawcard for students and their parents at Perth’s Career Expo in mid-May.

Curtin’s Department of Spatial Sciences partnered with Landgate’s WA Land Information Service and the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute to provide the immersive Google Earth experience. Via a chamber of monitors arranged in a wide semi-circle, visitors were able to ‘fly’ to anywhere in the world in seconds, under joystick control. Mountains, buildings, valleys, the ocean floor and even the surfaces of Mars and the moon, filled the screens with rich satellite imagery and 3D building models in stunning large-scale panorama.

The exhibit proved a very effective way of linking study programs at Curtin with the exciting variety of career opportunities available in the spatial sciences industry. Congratulations to all involved.

Other points of interest

As mentioned previously, Phase One of the EQUIP post-implementation review is now complete and the findings were presented at SET on Thursday 14 May.  The review looked at how the project was undertaken, the change implemented, and highlighted aspects of the change process that went well and what can be improved for future large scale projects. The report can be found online.

Professionals@Curtin Committee’s Convenor Tasneem Dawood presented the group’s program for 2015 to SET last week. The Professionals@Curtin group aims to develop opportunities for the University’s professional, technical and general staff. This year’s program is focussed on events involving personal, professional and career development.  Staff members are encouraged to attend.

Staff are reminded that the first VC Forum for the year will be held this Friday 29 May from 12 noon to 1pm in the Tim Winton Lecture Theatre. It will focus on the impact of the Federal Budget, 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.

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. I look forward to seeing you there.

You are also welcome to tune into the live webcast on the day and ask any questions via the chat feature. The link for the EchoCenter where the Join Live Event button will appear on the day is:

If you have any problems viewing the live webcast on the day, please email iLecture Support or watch the iLecture recording which will be available at the same link a couple of days after the Forum.



  1. Mattie Turnbull May 25, 2015 8:37pm

    Managers communications guideline
    A communications guide for managers to assist them in dealing with queries from team members prior to the change proposal release. We feel that it is valuable for all staff to be able to view this document to encourage transparency around the process.

    Question: who manages the Managers if they are to be part of a ‘change proposal’?

    Mattie Turnbull (as in Malcolm)

  2. David Menarry May 29, 2015 4:53pm

    Thanks for your comment with regard to the EQUIP post-implementation review recommendations Mattie.

    The purpose of recommending Manager Guidelines is so that managers are able to better understand proposed changes (particularly where the manager has not been directly involved in formulating the change proposal) so as to be able to better communicate with their staff.

    I would envisage that the Guidelines would identify contact points as appropriate to enable managers to raise any concerns or comments. Of course, the manager also has the option of approaching their own manager to clarify concerns.

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