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Curtin University
Note to staff

15 August, 2008


2008 Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

I am delighted to announce that three nominees from Curtin have been selected to receive national ALTC Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. These Awards recognise, celebrate and reward excellence in university teaching. The successful nominees are:

Leonie Rennie: Office of Research and Development
For exemplary supervision and empowerment of research students through promoting high standards in research education for students and their supervisors

Shelley Yeo, Faculty of Science and Engineering
For the design, development, implementation and evaluation of Curtin University of Technology’s approach to academic integrity and new plagiarism policies and procedures

Marjan Zadnik: Department of Imaging and Applied Physics
For two decades of enhancing students’ learning of physics through innovative and research based curricula, and for scholarly activities and leadership in physics education

This is the third year that the Citation awards have been presented. They are awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to student learning in a specific area of responsibility, over a sustained period, and who are widely recognised for their achievements within their own institution.

This is a tremendous result for these very dedicated teachers and great recognition for the University.

Winners of the 2008 Curtin New Inventor Competition

I am delighted to announce the winner of the 2008 Curtin New Inventor Competition. Generously sponsored by Seaspin Pty Ltd, Cool Energy Pty Ltd, Stone Ridge Ventures, and Curtin, the competition attracted fourteen applications which were assessed for their inventiveness and commercial potential.

The winner of the $10,000 first prize in the 2008 Curtin New Inventor Competition was Dr. Trilochan K Mukkur, for his Non-invasive, Long-lasting Whooping Cough Vaccine.

Whooping Cough is the least well controlled of all vaccine-preventable diseases, with periodic outbreaks resulting in a significant number of fatalities amongst children. Dr. Mukkur is developing a non-invasive vaccine that can be delivered intra-nasally and will offer long-lasting immunity, thereby eliminating the need for injections and booster shots. In addition to increasing public compliance with the vaccination schedule, this will reduce the cost of immunisation by a factor of four, encouraging developing nations to expand their vaccination programmes. The commercial and humanitarian benefits offered by this project make it a worthy winner of the 2008 Curtin New Inventor Competition.

The high quality of the submissions was reflected in the judges’ decision to award three commendation prizes of $3,000 each. These were awarded to:

  • Professor Charles Watson for his research on measuring the efficacy of motor-neurone disease treatments;
  • Marc Steffens for his device which improves the efficiency of metal extraction, and;
  • Dr. George Curry and Gina Koczberski for their economic system for reducing poverty in developing nations.

To find out more about the New Inventor Competition, and intellectual property at Curtin, visit the New Inventor Competition and IP Commercialisation websites.

WA Inventor of the Year Competition

Last year, Curtin spin-out company Scanalyse Pty Ltd was the overall Winner of the 2007 WA Inventor of the Year Award. Two of the runners-up, Cool Energy Pty Ltd and Virtual Observer Pty Ltd, also originated from Curtin research. We have carried on this tradition of success in 2008, with all five entrants based on Curtin research progressing to the second round of judging. Well done to all staff involved!

Staff departures

Professor Kevin McKenna, Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, will retire from Curtin in October, after a 33 year career with the University. Among other roles, he was acting Executive Dean of the Curtin Business School for 18 months prior to being appointed the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor of Curtin Sarawak. He led the Sarawak campus for five years before moving to the International Office and taking up his current role.

I would like to thank Kevin for the contribution he has made to Curtin, particularly to our important international activities, and wish him a happy and productive retirement.

I would also like to advise that Mr Satis Arnold is leaving his position as Director of the Australian Sustainable Development Institute at Curtin with effect from 21 August.

Satis is leaving Curtin to resume his consulting career as a principal of Cambridge Partners Pty Ltd, a Perth based firm specialising in education and research financing, sustainable development solutions and business and innovation strategy. The University would like to thank Satis for his contribution and wishes him well for the future.

Launch of Enterprise Bargaining 2008 Website

As many staff will be aware, the University is undertaking a process of ongoing consultation with management and staff in readiness for new workplace agreements.

Negotiations have recently commenced with unions for two of the three new agreements: VTEC academic staff negotiations commenced in July and the first negotiation meeting for Curtin academic staff was held on 11 August. Regular negotiation meetings have been arranged to ensure steady progress toward the satisfactory settlement of each side’s claims.

The general staff agreement expires in late November and the University is preparing to commence negotiations with general staff unions over the coming months.

As part of our ongoing consultation process, the University is establishing an Enterprise Bargaining website. This will provide a source of information for staff about the progress of the negotiations as well as providing another opportunity for consultation. The website will be interactive to allow staff to ask questions, provide feedback on particular clauses and to make general suggestions to support the negotiation outcomes.

Staff feedback in this process is invaluable to the University in its negotiations in determining terms and conditions which are supportive of Curtin’s strategic aims as well as being attractive to our current and future staff.

I encourage staff to participate in the consultation process and information will be made available on the website as the negotiations progress.

A global email will be sent to staff as soon as the website is live – this is anticipated for 19 August.