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Curtin University
Note to staff

15 February 2016


When I arrived at Curtin two years ago in mid-February, one of the many things about the University that really impressed me was the quality of the graduation ceremonies.  We are now in the midst of this year’s February graduations and I remain incredibly impressed at how well they are managed and what wonderful celebrations they are for our graduates, their families and their friends.  My thanks to the Graduations team and to all the staff who work so hard to ensure the success of these very important events in our annual calendar.

I would also like to thank all the staff who attended – both physically and online – the Uniforum session on Friday.  I appreciated the very strong turnout and the excellent questions that were asked about this new benchmarking exercise.  If you were not able to attend the event and you would like to find out more about Uniforum, I encourage you to access the iLecture.  A link to the session will be sent to all invitees shortly.  If you do have any further questions, please email

Honorary awards

During two of the recent graduation ceremonies the University recognised the contributions of  outstanding members of the community by the awarding of honorary degrees.

I would like to congratulate the following recipients:

  • Emeritus Professor Michael McManus was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science for his substantial contribution to science and education. Emeritus Professor McManus’s scientific research has contributed to our understanding of drug metabolising enzymes, including the relationship of selected enzymes to carcinogenic processes.  He has also made significant contributions to science education, providing input into a number of important education initiatives, and through several significant university leadership positions.  Emeritus Professor McManus graduated from WAIT in 1972 with Bachelor of Pharmacy.
  • Chief Justice of Western Australia Wayne Martin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the legal profession and to the community of Western Australia. Chief Justice Martin has played a very significant role in bringing greater access, transparency, compassion and human understanding to the administration of the law in Western Australia. He is also the inaugural chair of the Curtin Law School Advisory Board.

You can find out more about Emeritus Professor McManus and the Chief Justice at our online Media Centre.

With Chancellor Beckett and the Chief Justice

Respect. Now. Always. campaign

Universities Australia (UA) has launched the Respect. Now. Always. campaign, which highlights the determination of Australia’s universities to ensure our students and staff are safe from sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The campaign coincides with the release of the film ‘The Hunting Ground’, which looks at the incidence of sexual assault in American universities.  The Curtin Student Guild plans to screen the film early in semester to raise awareness of the issues it highlights.  The screening will be followed by a panel discussion.

Curtin University fully supports the UA Respect. Now. Always. campaign.  We have a number of policies and standards that establish the expected behaviour of all at Curtin and which make it clear that no form of sexual harassment or assault is tolerated at the University.

We are committed, through our values of integrity, respect, courage, excellence and impact, to strive towards a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.

New appointment at CIRA

I would like to congratulate Professor Carole Jackson on her appointment as Co-Director of the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (Science) and Director, ICRAR/Curtin Science.  She succeeds Professor Steven Tingay who has accepted a three year secondment as Direttore dell’Osservatorio di Radio Astronomia in Italy.  Professor Peter Hall will continue as Co-Director of CIRA (Engineering) and ICRAR/Curtin (Engineering).

The strong leadership of Carole and Peter will ensure Curtin continues to be a major contributor to radio astronomy research and to the development of the SKA both nationally and internationally.

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training

I am very pleased to advise that Professor Mark Ogden has been appointed to the role of Acting Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training (ADVC-RT) and will commence in this role on Monday, 15 February 2016 while we undertake the full recruitment process for the position.

Mark has extensive research management and HDR supervision experience having served as Postgraduate Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry and as Director of the Nanochemistry Research Institute for three years.  Mark has almost 20 years of experience supervising HDR students, with 14 completions at Curtin.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Kate Wright for her contribution to Curtin and wish her well in her new role as Dean of the Graduate Research School at UWA.

Staff departures

Long standing staff member Professor Geoff West of the Department of Spatial Sciences will be retiring in the first week of March after serving as a Curtin staff member since 1990, and Professor Erkan Topal of the WA School of Mines has been appointed Dean, School of Mining and Geoscience at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan.

We thank both Geoff and Erkan for their contributions to the University and wish them every success in their new pursuits.

Staff Benefits and Wellness Expo

The 2016 Staff Benefits and Wellness Expo will take place this Wednesday in Building 215 from 11.00am to 2.00pm.

At the expo you will have the opportunity to learn more about the wellness program and the many services, benefits and offers you can access as a staff member. I encourage all staff to attend if they can.

The Staff Wellness Program and Employee Benefits are important components of Curtin’s Strengthening Our Culture initiative and have strong links to staff engagement, reward and recognition, and the promotion of a positive and safe work environment.

Orientation Week

The University will welcome new and current students to campus next week as Orientation Week commences. The official Welcome Ceremony will take place on Monday 22 February from 10.00am to 10.30am at Henderson Village.

During the week there will be a range of activities including entertainment, interactive stalls and social events. Although targeted at students, I encourage all staff to get involved. The activation map shows where activities will take place.

If you encounter a student with a question you can’t answer during O-Week, please direct them to ‘The Cabin’ at Atkinson Forum where the Student Wellbeing Advisors and Orientation volunteers can assist.

For more information, please visit the Orientation website.

Vale Aniket Desai

Aniket Desai, a Curtin staff member and student, sadly passed away at the end of January after an unexpected serious illness.  He was just about to start his honours year in geology when his life was tragically cut short.

Aniket had a strong aptitude for applied geology and was well known and liked by staff and students throughout the Department of Applied Geology. He was also committed to helping students through UniPASS where he was employed as a Peer Learning Facilitator in 2014 and 2015.

Our sympathies are with Aniket’s family and friends.  Please remember that support is available through Counselling Services (9266 7850).

Other points of interest

At the Senior Executive Team (SET) meeting last Thursday, Chief Financial Officer David Menarry presented the draft Contract Management Framework.  This Framework is intended as a resource to provide guidance and direction for staff involved in contract management. It does not add to or change current processes but clarifies expectations and highlights existing policy and procedures. The Framework will be available to all staff through the Curtin website.

Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor Humanities, Associate Professor Steve Mickler, and the Head of the School of Design and Art, Dr David Hawkins, presented a new course concept proposal for Animation and Game Design.  SET approved the course at a conceptual level and it will now go to the Courses Committee for consideration.

Information about the Senior Executive Team’s responsibilities and membership can be found on the Curtin website.

  1. Madiha Bux February 15, 2016 2:14pm

    Kudos to Anthea Macrides and the rest of the Graduations Office team for all the hard work they have put in to make the ceremonies better each year.

  2. Tele Tan February 15, 2016 10:25pm

    Happy retirement Geoff. Your unwavering principles throughout the years is what stood out to many who looked you up as a true leader. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of you.

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