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Curtin University
Note to staff

22 June 2015


New senior appointment

Dr Sam Spearing

Dr Sam Spearing

Dr Sam Spearing has been appointed as the new Deputy Director of the Curtin Western Australian School of Mines.

Dr Spearing has a diverse background in academia and the mining industry having worked in the mining and underground construction industry, with a focus on mine design, rock mechanics, training and safety.

Previously an Associate Professor in the Department of Mining and Mineral Resources Engineering at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, USA), Dr Spearing’s global experience will reinforce the international reputation of the School and strengthen its relationships with the mining industry, alumni and the local community.

During his career, Dr Spearing has commercialised various patents and products, attracted over $1.5 million dollars of funded research since joining academia in 2007, and published a variety of technical books and related publications.

Dr Spearing will based in Kalgoorlie and is due to arrive in August.  I look forward to welcoming him to Curtin and to the WA School of Mines.

End of year closedown period

The University will close on Friday, 18 December 2015 for the official 2015/16 end of year closedown period and will reopen on Monday, 4 January 2016.

The extended closedown period will assist the University to manage the financial impact of the half-cohort, as well as allowing staff to spend extra time with family and friends over the festive season.  Consistent with my Note to Staff on 12 November 2014, staff are strongly encouraged to take a combination of days in lieu for public holidays worked, or other forms of leave, for the three days (21- 23 December 2015 inclusive) prior to the usual closedown period (from 24 December 2015), as shown below:

2015/2016 University end of year closedown period:

Monday, 21 December: University closed
Tuesday, 22 December: University closed
Wednesday, 23 December: University closed
Thursday, 24 December: Closedown
Friday, 25 December: Public holiday (Christmas Day)
Monday, 28 December: Public holiday (in lieu of Boxing Day)
Tuesday, 29 December: Closedown
Wednesday 30 December: Closedown
Thursday, 31 December: Closedown
Friday, 1 January: Public holiday (New Year’s Day)

Areas may need to vary their own periods of closure according to business requirements. More details on the end of year closedown period are available on the HR website.

Row AHEAD boat naming ceremony

Last Friday the Curtin University Boat Club (CUBC), in collaboration with Curtin AHEAD blessed the first fleet of boats to be used for the Row AHEAD program. The boats were donated by Curtin AHEAD and will be used by students from Clontarf Aboriginal College as they participate in the program this year. The boats were named with the traditional Noongar words Widjin (black cormorant, a local bird), Moordidjabiny (becoming strong) and Kwadjet Koorl (moving forward) to acknowledge the traditions of the boat club, the values of the Row AHEAD program and the Curtin University motto respectively. CUBC also named new boats in honour of current and past members emphasising the long and proud history of the club.

Chancellor Colin Beckett, Ben Wyatt MLA, and Con Stacey, founder of CUBC blessed the boats with traditional verse and the breaking of a champagne bottle.

The boat naming ceremony marks the significant partnership between Curtin AHEAD and CUBC in delivering an innovative educational outreach initiative. Row AHEAD participants compete in a number of regattas leading up to the WA All Schools Championships. As far as Rowing Australia are aware, to date the Row AHEAD participants are the first all-Indigenous Eight to ever row in an event at this level – a significant achievement for the participants and those involved in the Row AHEAD program.

Chancellor Beckett at the boat naming

Chancellor Beckett at the boat naming ceremony

Staff achievement

Congratulations to Dr Marilyn Metta of the Faculty of Humanities on winning a second international award for her documentary ‘How I Became a Refugee’, which we screened on campus recently as part of Refugee Week.  The film has now received Awards of Recognition from the Accolade Global Film Competition and the Best Short International Film Competition.

Marilyn wrote, produced and directed ‘How I Became a Refugee’ with co-producer Chris Gosfield.  It tells the story of a Burmese Chin refugee family’s escape from religious persecution in their homeland and their resettlement in Perth.  Marilyn and Chris are now working to incorporate the documentary into an educational school kit, to be used in Western Australian schools to encourage better understanding among young people about human rights and global citizenship.

Other points of interest

At last week’s SET meeting, members were informed that Curtin’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Humanities, Professor Majella Franzmann, had resigned from her position on 17 June 2015 and that Associate Professor Steve Mickler, Head of the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, would be taking on the position of Acting PVC Humanities.  Majella’s services and contributions to the University since commencing as PVC Humanities in May 2010 were acknowledged by SET.  I take this opportunity to wish her all the best for her future endeavours and to thank Steve Mickler for his willingness to take on the Acting PVC role.

Travis Moore (HR Manager, Remuneration & Appointment Services) and Caroline Ellis (HR Employee Benefits Officer) outlined a new format for professional staff awards.  They also presented a proposal to introduce awards which would recognise staff who demonstrated signature behaviours linked to Curtin’s values.  Ongoing development of the revised professional staff awards and the proposed values recognition awards was supported by SET.

SET also received a presentation from Norma Jeffery (Research Associate, Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education) on the portfolio entry trial of 2014/15 that aimed to increase equity and participation in the selection processes for Curtin.  SET supported the recommendation that portfolio entry be continued in 2015/16 (as part of the TISC process) for the participating courses and that students accepted as part of the 2014 and 2015 portfolio entry trials continue to have their academic progress monitored.





  1. Mattie Turnbull June 22, 2015 6:25pm

    What does SET stand for? To whom should I direct this question if not this website?

    Cheers, Mattie Turnbull

    • Tracey Rossi June 22, 2015 7:49pm

      SET = Senior Executive Team

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