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Curtin University
Note to staff

12 October 2015


Four inspiring people awarded the John Curtin Medal 2015

The founder of the Fibromyalgia Network in Western Australia, an international humanitarian, and two influential Aboriginal Elders received the 2015 John Curtin Medals at a ceremony last week.

The University has awarded the John Curtin Medal each year since 1998 to members of the community who have exhibited former Prime Minister John Curtin’s attributes of vision, leadership and community service.

International humanitarian and Curtin graduate Sian White; Aboriginal Elders Mr Ezzard Flowers and the late Mr Angus Wallam, who played an important role in the return of The Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artworks to WA; and the founder of the Fibromyalgia Network WA, Dr Kaye Brand, were awarded their medals by acting Vice-Chancellor and Provost Professor John Cordery at a ceremony last week. As Ms White is currently overseas, her medal was accepted by her parents, whereas Mr Wallam’s medal was accepted by his granddaughter and niece.

More information on our inspiring 2015 medallists can be found here.

Mary and Roger White, representing Sian White; Dr Kaye Brand; Chancellor Colin Beckett; Mr Ezzard Flowers; Professor John Cordery; Elaine and Sherene Wallam, representing the late Angus Wallam.

Mary and Roger White, representing Sian White; Dr Kaye Brand; Chancellor Colin Beckett; Mr Ezzard Flowers; Professor John Cordery; Elaine and Sherene Wallam, representing the late Mr Angus Wallam.

National Taiwan University ranking

I’m pleased to announce that Curtin has significantly improved in the National Taiwan University (NTU) ranking of the world’s top 500 universities, rising from 453 to 397 globally and from 13th to 10th in Australia.

The NTU ranking is based on publications performance – research productivity, research impact and research excellence – and also ranks institutions across six fields and 14 subjects.

Curtin achieved significant improvements in a number of fields and subjects:

  • Civil Engineering climbed 18 places to achieve a world ranking of 64, remaining at fifth nationally
  • Chemical Engineering ranked at 109 in the world, a rise of eight places, and from fifth to fourth nationally
  • Social Sciences jumped 34 places to 216 globally and from 16th to 12th nationally
  • Environment/Ecology improved from 269 to 262 globally, remaining at 16th nationally
  • Mathematics dropped slightly from 247 to 249 globally but improved from sixth to fifth nationally.

Our highest ranked subject is Geosciences at 60 in the world and fourth nationally, a slight decline on the previous year (54 globally and third nationally).  Mechanical Engineering is ranked at 259 (241 last year) and 10th nationally (the same as last year).

Further analysis will be undertaken by the Office of Strategy and Planning and will be available on the Office website shortly.

Congratulations to all who contributed to Curtin’s strong results in this ranking.

WA AIDS Council 30th Anniversary Awards

Last weekend the WA AIDS Council held the 30th Anniversary Awards ceremony to acknowledge the collective response to HIV/AIDS over three decades.

Dr Jonathan Hallett of the School of Public Health was recognised for his work over many years in a number of outreach, peer education and health promotion programs. He joined the Council’s Board of Management in 2006 and until recently was its Chairperson.

Curtin itself was recognised for the longstanding partnerships between the WA AIDS Council and a variety of areas at the University, including the Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN) and the Health Promotion program.

Congratulations to Jonathan and all those at Curtin who have worked so hard in this important area.

Curtin Sarawak students excel internationally

A team of chemical engineering students from Curtin Sarawak has won the 2015 APAC-EMEA (Asia Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa) Honeywell UniSim Design competition. The award ceremony will take place in Madrid on 17 November.

Sarawak students also excelled in the competition last year, topping the Asia-Pacific region, the first time a group entry had done so.

This year’s winning entry was “Retrofitting of the natural gas liquid (NGL) fractionation trains using a modified self-heat recuperative (MSHR) process to improve the overall energy efficiency of gas processing plant (GPP)”, by students Ren Jie Lee, Shih Chiang Lim, Tze Mun Sam, Ying Ting Loo and Dr Mesfin Getu Woldetensay.

Congratulations to all those involved.

Sarawak students

The 2015 student team (l to r): Ren Jie Lee, Tze Mun Sam, Dr Mesfin Getu Woldetensay, Ying Ting Loo and Shih Chiang Lim.

Start-up success

A Curtin start-up company, Skrydata, has won $50,000 from Jolimont Capital through KPMG’s Energise program. Skrydata is developing novel algorithms that can identify patterns and relationships in big data sets for the purpose of business process improvement. The company is based on the work of previous Curtin Fellows, Dr Fedja Hadzic and Dr Michael Hecker.

Strengthening our culture

The Senior Executive Team (SET) is committed to improving the lived experience of our people at Curtin, and your feedback will be an important element in achieving this.

A Strengthening Our Culture Suggestion Box has been created as a way in which you can provide ideas and suggestions on how you believe the culture and working environment at Curtin can be improved, particularly in relation to systems and processes that could be streamlined. Suggestions received will be considered by the Strengthening our Culture Working Groups – these groups are focused on staff engagement, leadership and systems change.

The Suggestion Box can be accessed online.

I look forward to receiving your suggestions to help make the University a better place to work and study.

Vale Lance McMahon

Lance McMahon

Lance McMahon

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Lance McMahon on 7 October, after a short illness.

Most recently, Lance was a Research Associate and PhD student at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy, but many at Curtin will also remember him as a Lecturer in the Curtin Business School from 1986 to 2001, where he was a much liked and colourful personality.

Lance taught management and marketing (specialising in the public sector) and public policy, for much of the time in close collaboration with the late Professor Allan Peachment. He was also active for many years teaching in Kuching on behalf of Curtin Sarawak, and was a stalwart of the Curtin University Rugby Club. Lance had most recently been teaching management in Al Ain, in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

We extend our sympathies to Lance’s family and friends on this sad loss.

Relay for Life

The Curtin Relay for Life will be held on the Bentley Campus this coming weekend. The event starts at 11am on 17 October and concludes at 11am the following day. Relay for Life raises funds for cancer research and is a great cause, as the video from last year’s event makes clear. You can find out more about Curtin’s event, or register a team, online.

Pasar Malam

This year’s Pasar Malam is on Friday, 16 October. It’s a celebration of international food, with stallholders and entertainment from around the globe, put together to conclude Multicultural Week. With approximately 30 – 35 stalls expected, there will be plenty of food to sample. All students, staff, friends and family are invited to come along from 5 pm – 10 pm.

Pasar Malam is a not-for-profit student initiative, organised annually by the International Students Committee (ISC) and Curtin Student Guild. I congratulate the Guild on this excellent initiative.

  1. Robert Guthrie October 12, 2015 4:34pm

    Very sad to see the passing of Lance McMahon – a wonderful character and great commentator on matters to do with the Public Service. Also one time punk rocker of infamous reputation. RIP Lance

  2. Mattie Turnbull October 13, 2015 6:23pm

    Mattie Turnbull

    Another member of the Friday Claret Club of yesteryear gone! What a good time we all had – most importantly, we shared a sense of the absurd which Lance had in spades. Aw, we’ll miss him and his view of everything!

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