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Curtin University
Note to staff

1 June 2015


New centre opens in India

The Centre for Advancement in Education and Research was inaugurated at a function held at Assam Administrative Staff College in Guwahati, India on 16 May.

The Centre, which is a collaboration between the Government of Assam and Curtin University, was opened by Professor Andris Stelbovics and Professor Brett Kirk from Curtin and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.  It is designed to improve engineering education, particularly in the areas of technical education and research.  Under the partnership, Curtin will work with the State of Assam in developing and implementing a world-class Washington Accord accredited program.

Chief Minister Gogoi said the Centre would bring about a paradigm shift in the State’s higher education sector.  It would identify gaps between Assam’s current capacity and world standard research and education practice, designing curriculum relevant to present day requirements and aligning its research activity with both local and international priorities.


Chief Minister Gogoi inaugurates the Centre with Professors Stelbovics and Kirk.

Brazilian climate change grant for Associate Professor Joseph Awange

Associate Professor Joseph Awange of the Department of Spatial Sciences is part of an international research team that has won a three year grant of $129,000 from the Brazilian Ministry of Education to study ‘Climate change impacts on the Brazilian water resources’.

Brazil’s worst drought in 80 years is of growing concern to the country’s authorities. The research study will utilize multi-mission satellite observations and model outputs to monitor the Brazilian basins’ water storage changes and the related impacts of climate change. It is hoped that the study will not only reveal the extent of shrinking of the available total water storage but also simulate future change scenarios resulting from climate change.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Joseph Awange on this achievement. He is scheduled to spend the latter months of 2015 in Brazil working with the research team.

Curtin Library’s excellence recognised

I’m delighted to announce that the Curtin Library has won the Library Board of Western Australia Award for Excellence. The Award for Excellence is an annual award that is open to all libraries in Western Australia (academic, public, school, etc) so it is a great honour to win.

The Award was presented for the work that Library staff undertook with the AHEAD program throughout 2014. This involved designing learning activities and running library sessions for three different year groups (Years 8, 10 and 11) as part of their campus experience.

The sessions, which varied in length from 30 to 60 minutes, aimed to develop the students’ digital literacy skills by teaching them to use a range of educational apps and technologies, as well as to help them develop information literacy and research skills, and acquire knowledge about the Library’s resources and services.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the work itself and the nomination.

Aspire Award winners

Congratulations to Professor Kerry Brown of the School of Management and Dr Oktay Erten from the Curtin Western Australian School of Mines for winning Aspire University Professional Development Awards this year.

The Aspire Program is an initiative of the Perth Convention Bureau, designed to assist the professional development of university staff at the same time as building the profile of Western Australia as a conference venue.  Applicants are required to research an international conference that has the potential to be staged in Western Australia and to present a short case as to why the conference could be held here.  Winners are provided with up to $5,000 to attend an international conference in their chosen field of endeavour.

Professor Brown will travel to Finland to attend the World Congress in Engineering Asset Management and will bid to bring the Congress to Western Australia.  Dr Erten will be attending the Annual Conference of the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences in Germany in September.  Curtin has already learnt that Western Australia’s bid to hold the conference in Perth in 2017 has been successful, with the WA School of Mines named as the host institution.  Partners will include the CSIRO, Edith Cowan University and the University of Western Australia.

I am pictured here with Dr Erten and Professor Brown at the Aspire Awards

I am pictured here with Dr Erten and Professor Brown at the Aspire Awards

Strengthening Our Culture working groups

The Strengthening Our Culture program aims to improve the lived experience of staff at Curtin. I would like to remind you that expressions of interest are currently being sought from staff to join one of three working groups:

  • Leadership (chaired by Professor David Wood, Provost & Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor)
  • Staff Engagement (chaired by Ian Callahan, Vice-President Corporate Services)
  • Systems Change (chaired by Professor Michael Berndt, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Health Services).

These working groups provide an opportunity for individuals to make a significant contribution to the creation of a positive, high-performing culture at Curtin.  It is important that they are representative of a broad cross-section of the University.

Nominations close on 12 June.  All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 22 June. Expression of interest forms can be obtained by emailing or by calling Casey Ball (extension 4735) or Jamie Kho (extension 4806).

Other points of interest

At last week’s SET meeting a presentation of the ART Curriculum Transformation project was provided by Associate Professor Sue Jones, in her role as Director of Learning Design in Curtin Teaching and Learning.  The presentation demonstrated the significant progress that has been made on the Learning for Tomorrow projects.  On the eve of her retirement, SET acknowledged and thanked Sue for the enormous contribution she had made to these projects and throughout her 25 year career at Curtin.  Sue shared her farewell event with Dr Karen Glaister, another long serving and highly-valued member of the Curtin community.

Also at SET, Associate Professor Jon Yorke (Director, Assessment and Quality Learning) presented an overview of the latest University Experience Survey (UES) results.  The results indicate that Curtin is the sixth most improved university on teaching quality since 2013, with significant improvements across a number of key areas.

Chief Financial Officer David Menarry provided a summary of the feedback that has been provided in relation to the Budget Model Review and Professor Clare Pollock (Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic) presented the draft terms of reference for the Academic Reshaping Post Implementation Review. The Review will look at both the process and early indications of benefit realisation of the Academic Reshaping project.



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