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Curtin University
Note to staff

13 March 2015


Easter break leave arrangements

In November last year, I advised that we intended to use leave management as a way of lessening the impact of reduced student demand in 2015 due to the half-cohort.

An opportunity for staff to take additional leave was provided through the extended Christmas/New Year closedown period in early January.

I was pleased to see that many staff have already responded to my call by taking additional leave during the extended closedown period or booking extra leave in 2015. Our goal is for each staff member with sufficient leave balances to take an average six weeks of annual or long service leave this year.

A further opportunity to take accrued leave arises in the tuition free period in weeks six and seven of Semester One following the Easter break.  Curtin’s Easter holidays are 3, 6 and 7 April, and staff are encouraged to consider also taking leave during the period 8-17 April.

I encourage staff with accrued leave to consider this option and discuss it with their supervisor or line manager.  Supervisors and line managers will accommodate staff requests as much as operationally possible.

Thank you to all staff members assisting the University by booking additional leave in 2015.

Australia Council Award to Professor Stelarc

Congratulations to Professor Stelarc Stelarc on receiving an Australia Council Award for Outstanding Achievement in Emerging and Experimental Arts.

The prestigious national awards combine long-standing lifetime and significant achievement awards in music, literature, community partnerships and visual arts, with new awards in theatre, dance, and emerging and experimental arts.

Professor Stelarc is an internationally recognised performance artist known for his visual probes and acoustic amplifications within his body, using medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality systems, the internet and biotechnology.  This year he will be performing and exhibiting in Toronto, Auckland, Seoul and Perth.

The awards will be presented in Sydney on 19 March.

Research award for Curtin postgraduate student

One of Curtin’s outstanding postgraduate students, Xin Shao, has won the JCEC (WA) Postgraduate Research Excellence Award for 2015, which recognises the best chemical engineering research being conducted by postgraduates in Western Australia.  This is the first time the award has come to Curtin.

Xin’s presentation was entitled “Microchanneled ceramic membranes for oxygen separation from air”.  This success builds on Xin’s PhD work which led to two commercialisation awards in 2013.

Congratulations to Xin and his supervisors Professors Chun-Zhu Li, Dr Dehua Dong and Professor Gordon Parkinson in the Fuels and Energy Technology Institute (FETI).

Links with Europe

Earlier this week the University hosted a delegation of science and research counsellors from European member states, as part of their visit to Perth.

The delegates were given information on Curtin’s international and research ambitions, and the areas in which we would like to deepen our relationships with EU member states. Information about Perth’s advantages as a study destination was also provided.  The visit was coordinated by the Department of State Development who hope to make it a bi-annual event.

Earlier today I attended Curtin’s ‘Strategic Flashlight’ event with the European Union Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann, and Jason Collins, the CEO of the European/Australian Business Council, to discuss Western Australia’s strong links to Europe and how we might increase those over the coming years. Many leaders from business and the diplomatic corps were also present.

Curtin understands the importance of establishing strong international partnerships, and the events this week have been very helpful in giving business and European member States a better understanding of how we can help deepen the relationship with Europe.

Curtin students triumphant

Congratulations also to the team of five Applied Geology and Exploration Geophysics students who won the Asia-Pacific regional competition of the Imperial Barrel Award organised by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. The Curtin team competed against 15 other teams from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Australia.

The Award is an annual prospective basin evaluation competition for geoscience graduate students from universities around the world. Teams compete to win scholarship funds for their geoscience department and the international recognition that comes from competing or winning in the competition.

The Curtin team has won the right to represent the Asia Pacific region at the international finals at the AAPG convention in Denver in May against teams from Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East, and North America.

Curtin scholarship winner

Michael Assmann, a final year Bachelor of Engineering (Metallurgical Engineering) was recently awarded the Sir Frank Espie/Rio Tinto Leadership Award, one the most competitive and rewarding undergraduate scholarships in minerals industry-related fields.

The award is given by AusIMM to the most outstanding scholarship winners each year.


  1. Graeme Wright March 13, 2015 5:43pm

    Dear Deborah

    Your VC Notes above contain several excellent examples of achievements by Curtin staff and students. This is very pleasing recognition for their achievements. Congratulations to them all!


  2. Paul Cozens March 13, 2015 6:45pm

    Dear Deborah, the anticipated reduced student demand in 2015 due to the half-cohort has not eventuated in my first year classes in Urban and Regional Planning.

    On the contrary, we have roughly the same numbers as in previous years. Taking extra leave is therefore NOT an option for myself, and other staff members who are in a similar situation.

    The tuition free period in weeks six and seven of Semester One following the Easter break are when I do my marking and preparation for forthcoming classes – and when I try to catch up on my research commitments.

    kind regards


    • Deborah Terry March 14, 2015 6:17am

      Dear Paul

      Thank you for your note. The choice to take additional leave during the tuition-free weeks in April is entirely optional – I understand that this may be a busy period for staff.

      With best wishes


  3. Kliti Grice March 13, 2015 7:25pm

    Congratulations to Team led by Prof Chris Elders Chevron chair on the Barrel award and team including Gemma Spaak PhD student in WA-OIGC who provided advice from her experience, Dept of Chemistry WA-OIG, TIGER Prof. Andrew Putnis and head of Chemistry Prof Mark Buntine and Geology Prof Pete Kinny and all. Well done on this great achievement for cross disciplinary research/ WASM and ES&C and beyond! Well done all!

    • Deborah Terry March 14, 2015 6:24am

      Dear Kliti

      Thank you for providing this additional information.

      Congratulations to all involved in supporting the Curtin team of students who won the Barrel award – Chis Elders, Gemma Spaak. Andrew Putnis, Mark Buntine, and Pete Kinny. The award is a great achievement.

      With best wishes


  4. Milo Barham March 16, 2015 6:22pm

    I think it amiss that the students themselves have not been named and lauded. Well done to:

    Jake Hammelswang (Applied Geology)
    Jacob Jackson (Geophysics MSc)
    Alexander Mangl (Applied Geology)
    Gareth O’Neill (Petroleum Geology MSc)
    Rachael Wood (Geology-Geophysics)

  5. Deborah Terry March 16, 2015 6:41pm

    Dear Milo

    Thank you for posting the names of the students who won the Asia-Pacific regional competition of the Imperial Barrel Award – it was remiss of me not have included their names in my original note.

    My warmest congratulations to Jake Hammelswang, Jacob Jackson, Alexander Mangl, Gareth O’Neill and Rachael Wood on winning this major award – it is a great honour for Curtin to be represented in the international finals of the Imperial Barrel Award.

    with best wishes


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