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Curtin University
Note to staff

16 January 2017


I would like to wish all staff all the very best for the new year. I trust that you all had a restful and enjoyable break. I look forward to working with everyone this year for what I am sure will be another successful year for Curtin.

Vale Notices

We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sarawak’s Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem. He was a member of our Sarawak campus council from 2000 to 2012 and maintained a close and valued relationship with Curtin throughout the rest of his career. His leadership and caring nature will be greatly missed by all. On Thursday 12 January, the Sarawak State Government declared a state of mourning and our Sarawak campus was closed as a mark of respect. On behalf of Curtin, I offer our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in Sarawak.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

Associate Professor Bill Cooper, one of the first WAIT staff members in Geography, passed away on New Year’s Day. Bill joined WAIT in 1968 and, following his ‘retirement’, remained at the University to develop teaching programs and research in cultural heritage until the late 1990s.

Bill oversaw the development of the BA (Social Sciences) as one of WAIT’s first Bachelor’s degrees in 1973 and supervised WAIT’s first research masters and PhD graduates in Geography. In a wide-ranging career, he consistently advocated multidisciplinary collaboration, served terms as Head of both Social Sciences and Social Work, pioneered study abroad programs and made a significant contribution to the development of our academic policies and procedures. He was a recipient of the Professional Service Award of the Institute of Australian Geographers in 2002, primarily for his contributions to geographical education at secondary level and to the Australian & New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science. On behalf of everyone at the University, I offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

We’re officially 50

As you know, 2017 is a special year for us as we are celebrating 50 years since our first students started studying at our predecessor institution, WAIT.  We will be using our 50 years of innovation celebrations as an opportunity to increase our engagement with our alumni and partners, and to showcase the many contributions we have made to Western Australia and beyond over these past five decades.

The anniversary will be officially launched on 10 March with a staff celebration across our campuses, which will be combined with my first address to staff for the year and the launch of a specially developed staff video. An invitation will be sent to you in coming weeks.

Our 50 years of innovation logo will help us to build a strong profile for our year of activities, both internally and externally. The Curtin email signature has been updated to include this logo and I ask you to visit the Curtin brand toolkit to refresh your current signature with this new version for 2017. Style guidelines for the application of the logo and other anniversary brand elements will also be available in the toolkit soon.

In addition, 50 years of innovation banners and other promotional materials are being produced to promote the anniversary at relevant events throughout the year. All requests for these materials should be directed to University Marketing via the brand portal.

The ‘Your Story’ section of the anniversary website is building steadily, with people from across the world sharing their stories about how their WAIT and Curtin experiences helped shape their life paths and perspectives. It is a wonderful reminder of the power of education and, if you haven’t already visited this site, I recommend you do so. You may also want to add your own story to the mix.

I look forward to bringing you more news of our anniversary activities as the year unfolds and, in the meantime, you can visit for the latest updates.

Celebrating Strengthening our Culture and the transition to the People and Culture Strategy

Late last year, we held a final celebration for the Strengthening our Culture program team and looked back on the initiatives and activities undertaken as part of the program, which ended as planned in December 2016. Although the program has come to an end, culture remains a key strategic focus as part of the Strategic Plan 2017-20 and the improvements made through the Strengthening our Culture program will continue as part of our new People and Culture strategy.

To progress the goals of the new Strategy, we will be seeking expressions of interest in early 2017 from staff keen to support the work and activities in these areas. Individuals who have been involved in Strengthening our Culture may wish to re-nominate, and we welcome interest from other staff. More information will be provided at a later date.

I would like to acknowledge the excellent work that has been delivered under the program and thank everyone who has been involved with Strengthening our Culture. If you would like to see the full set of slides from last year’s event, please visit the Strengthening our Culture website.

Muresk partnership

I am pleased to announce that in late December Curtin signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Muresk Institute.  The MOU aims to strengthen Western Australia’s agricultural industries through research and education.

Curtin has a strong history in and commitment to teaching and research in this sector and we are currently focussed on growing our agriculture research base, developing skills for the agriculture and food sectors, and supporting growth within the sector.

Muresk will work closely with us to cultivate synergies between courses offered at Muresk and Curtin’s Agribusiness degree, with the goal of offering students recognised credit transfer and streamlined articulation pathways. Through the relationship, honours, postgraduate and PhD students will also have access to Muresk facilities to assist with education and research projects.

With Deputy Premier and Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey, and Murdoch University Vice Chancellor, Professor Eeva Leinonen at the signing the Memoranda of Understanding between the universities and Muresk Institute.

With Deputy Premier and Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey, and Murdoch University Vice Chancellor, Professor Eeva Leinonen at the signing the Memoranda of Understanding between the universities and Muresk Institute.

Significant achievements

  • Professor Jill Downie, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), has been appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Julie Bishop, as the Education representative on the Australian National Commission of UNESCO.
  • Professor Andrew Lowe, Director of Curtin’s Nanochemistry Research Institute and Professor of Polymer Science in the Department of Chemistry, has been awarded the prestigious 2017 International Association of Advanced Materials Medal for his outstanding contributions in the field of Advanced Materials Science and Technology.
  • Dr Evelyne Deplazes, a Curtin Research Fellow in the School of Biomedical Sciences, has received the Young Biophysicist of the Year Award from the Australian Society for Biophysics (ASB) in December.
  • Curtin scholars Talia Raphaely and Dora Marinova have won the “Best Sustainable Foods Book” in Gourmand International’s Gourmand Awards for their edited reference Impact of Meat Consumption on Health and Environmental Sustainability.
  • Curtin continues to be recognised as Australia’s most collaborative university by the Nature Index and has now placed 73rd in the world on Nature’s 2016 list of top bilateral research collaborators. Curtin’s top collaborator was the University of Western Australia. The two universities are the only institutions from Australia to feature on this list. You can find the full list here.
  • Curtin’s Graduate School of Business (CGSB) has been identified as one of the top 250 business schools in the world according to a new QS ranking report. Drawing on results from its surveys of MBA employers and business and management academics, QS considered full-time Master of Business Administration programs across the indicators of Employability and Research Excellence. CGSB was included in the Superior category due to its solid reputations for both indicators. The full report is available via the QS website.

Well done to all involved in these outstanding achievements.


After successfully taking part last year in the UniForum sector benchmarking study of administration and support services, Curtin has now committed to participate for the next three years. Those of you who have worked at other universities may be familiar with its benefits, as it has been used by several institutions for a number of years now. The UniForum website provides further background.

The UniForum multi‐university benchmarking program is a study of administration and support services that helps us understand better how our approach to delivering support services compares to other institutions and what we could do to improve the provision and resourcing of these services to support our teaching and research.

System-sourced data collection is already underway and we expect to complete this phase in early January.  The second phase involves collating staff activity information through a survey involving selected supervisory staff.  Selected staff will be invited to a briefing session in mid-January prior to completion of the survey.

This is an important strategic initiative for Curtin.  If you are one of those requested to assist in the data collection process, I encourage you to provide your full support. This will have a small impact on your time but will be highly valuable to the program. I thank you in advance for your contribution.

If you have any questions about Uniforum, I encourage you to contact Curtin’s UniForum program manager, Mr Jonathan Khan via email or on +61 8 9266 2444.

WA School of Mines sponsors artwork competition for local schools

Last year Curtin’s WA School of Mines (WASM) sponsored an artwork competition for local Goldfields schools that encouraged students to submit mining themed artwork. The winning students for each year group received a $75 book voucher, $125 towards something educational for their classroom and had their artwork featured in a 2017 calendar. The School printed and sold 1350 calendars. These were mainly purchased by local mining companies, and all profits were donated to Goldfields Education Mining Industry Alliance. This is a great initiative that encourages interest in the mineral resources industry among school children and supports education in mining. I congratulate the staff who helped organise this excellent community engagement activity.

WASM 2017 Calendar featuring artwork from local Kalgoorlie – Boulder Schools.

WASM 2017 Calendar featuring artwork from local Kalgoorlie – Boulder Schools.

  1. George Curry January 16, 2017 11:36pm

    Associate Bill Cooper also made significant contributions to rowing in WA. He was also one of the founding members of the Curtin University Boat Club.
    Further information at:

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