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Curtin University
Vice-Chancellor
Note to staff

29 February 2016

 
 

My thanks to everyone involved in making O-week so successful.  The week is a great way to prepare our new students for their university studies.

A recent highlight for me in the build-up to the beginning of the academic year was being involved in Curtin’s first university-wide scholarships presentation ceremony. The event was conducted on the stage that we use for our February graduations and was a very special way to acknowledge the achievements of our scholarship winners. It replaced our previous practice of having separate faculty presentations.

Nearly 400 students were presented with scholarships, supported by faculty leaders, industry partners, scholarship sponsors, school principals and family members. My warm congratulations to our scholarship recipients. I wish them, and all of our new students, the very best for their studies at Curtin.

Appointment of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Professor Chris Moran

Professor Chris Moran

I am very pleased to announce that Professor Chris Moran will commence as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research at Curtin University on August 1 2016.

Professor Moran is currently Professor and Director, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, a position he has held since 2007.  The Institute comprises seven discipline-based research centres and is one of the largest entities of its kind in the world.  Professor Moran’s previous roles include Founding Director, Centre for Coal Seam Gas (UQ) and Founding Director, Centre for Water in the Minerals Industry (UQ).  Across a 16 year career with CSIRO, he held a range of leadership roles, including heading the team that developed the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship Program.

Chris has been a Board Member of five Cooperative Research Centres.  In the international domain, he was Director of the International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC) a collaborative partnership with UWA and established an International Centre of Excellence for the mining industry located in Chile.  He holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences (with Honours) and a PhD from the University of Sydney and has a strong international and national reputation for his research and expertise in soil science (digital image processing), natural resources (spatial modelling and statistics) and water management.

I am sure that everyone will join me in welcoming Chris to Curtin later this year.  We are delighted he has accepted the position.  His expertise and experience will ensure we continue to both strengthen our research profile and build the critically important links with industry that will be so essential to our performance and reputation in the future.

As previously announced, Professor Graeme Wright will be retiring from the University in mid-2016.  As Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Graeme has overseen a period of major growth and achievement in relation to Curtin’s research profile and trajectory.  We owe a huge amount to his leadership and vision for research at Curtin and I look forward to acknowledging his contributions more formally later this year.

Fast radio burst

It was recently announced that a team of international scientists, including staff from Curtin, were able to identify the precise location of a fast radio burst (FRB). FRBs are bright radio flashes which generally last for only a few milliseconds and are very difficult to detect. Only 16 others had been observed before this discovery, and how and where they originated was completely unknown

I acknowledge the hard work and effort of the Curtin staff who were involved in this achievement:

  • Dr Ramesh Bhat, Senior Research Fellow, Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA)
  • Professor Steven Tingay, currently seconded to INAF (Italy) and formerly Co-Director – Science, CIRA and Director, Murchison Widefield Array (MWA)
  • Dr Andrew Williams, MWA Monitor & Control Engineer, CIRA
  • Dr Randall Wayth, Senior Research Fellow, CIRA; Director, MWA since December 2015.

Dr Bhat is a team member of the SUPERB collaboration (“Survey for Pulsars and Extragalactic Radio Bursts”) and was involved in the analysis of this result, working on data from the MWA, Parkes and the Giant Metre-Wave Radio Telescope in India.  Professor Tingay, Dr Williams and Dr Wayth were in charge of the MWA operations at the time of study and provided observational data to the SUPERB team.

Eduniversal rankings

I am pleased to advise that Curtin Business School has excelled in the Eduniversal rankings which evaluate the best 4,000 Master courses in 30 disciplines, worldwide.

The CBS Master of Taxation degree ranked 18th in the world, and the Master of Supply Chain Management degree ranked 40th in the world.  In addition, Curtin Business School once again received a 4 Palmes of Excellence rating by Eduniversal for its significant international influence. Congratulations to all involved in this success.

Digital customer experience recognition

I am delighted to advise that Curtin’s website has been ranked at number one in the 2015 Global Reviews Customer Experience Index for the Tertiary Education Industry.

This award recognises excellence in digital customer experience and demonstrates our commitment to help prospective students engage with Curtin online. Congratulations to all those who have been involved with helping Curtin achieve such a fantastic outcome.

Entrepreneurship masterclass

I recently opened a masterclass for entrepreneurs headed up by our Innovator in Residence, Adjunct Professor Bill Tai. This workshop-style masterclass covered topics including building products for scale, growing high performance teams and building an audience for products.

Among the presenters were Susi Mai, co-founder with Professor Tai of Mai Tai and Xtreme Tech Challenge, an international start up competition; Paul Herz, a senior operations executive responsible for Apple’s display technology; Melanie Perkins, CEO of Canva, the world’s fastest growing digital design platform; and Katarina Roth, builder of a highly successful information technology platform consultancy.

The event was a sell-out and has received positive feedback from the audience of entrepreneurs, developers, researchers and students. The masterclass demonstrated our strengths in entrepreneurship and commercialisation, and I commend those involved in its organisation.

Update on UniForum data collection

The UniForum staff data was released in the UFAST tool on Friday 19 February and the contractor spend data was released on Thursday 25 February.  It is pleasing to see that 41 per cent of survey respondents have now logged into UFAST, eight per cent have begun coding and two per cent have already submitted their data.

I encourage all respondents to enter their survey allocations into UFAST for both the staff and contractor data. All submissions need to be completed by 11 March. If you have any questions, please email uniforum@curtin.edu.au.

Other points of interest

The outcomes of the Review of Academic Reshaping were presented at last week’s SET meeting by Professor John Cordery (Provost) and members of the Review Panel, Professor Kevin Batty (Head, School of Pharmacy), Mr Ian Jackson (Director of People and Culture), and Panel Executive Officer Sara Brown. Professors Clare Pollock and Steven Tingay, and Associate Professor Tania Broadley were also members of the Panel, and I thank all involved for their work.

The Review was very thorough and makes a number of important recommendations.  The response to these recommendations is currently being finalised. As soon as this work has been completed, the full report and the agreed response to the recommendations will be made available to the University community.

 

 
 

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