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Curtin University
Note to staff

26 October 2015


2016 ARC College of Experts Appointments

The Australian Research Council has recently announced appointments to its 2016 College of Experts.  I congratulate the following Curtin staff members who have been appointed to the ARC College and thank them for their willingness to undertake this significant role:

  • Associate Professor Grant Wardell-Johnson, Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Associate Professor Kate Trinajstic, Faculty of Science and Engineering
  • Professor Marco Falasca, Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Professor Xiangyu Wang, Faculty of Humanities
  • Professor Brett Kirk, Office of Research and Development who has been re-appointed.

I would also like to acknowledge the 2013 – 2015 ARC College members, Professors Philip Newsholme, Julian Gale and Hong Hao, for their important contribution to the academic community during their terms, and to thank Professor Moses Tade and Professor Tilak Chandratilleke for their continuing contributions to the ARC College.

Professor Balser a finalist in prestigious international award

Curtin University’s new Dean Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Professor Teri Balser, is a finalist in the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, one of the most significant teaching awards in the English-speaking world.

Created to honour outstanding professors who are distinguished for their ability to communicate as classroom teachers, the award has a personal prize of $US250,000 and $25,000 for the winner’s university.  Professor Balser is one of three finalists, and the only one from Australia.  The winner will be announced next year.

Professor Balser joined Curtin earlier this year and has most recently worked at the University of Florida where she became the first female dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. She was also the 2010 CASE/Carnegie Foundation U.S. Professor of the Year.

I am sure all staff will join me in congratulating Teri on becoming a finalist, and wish her well for next year.

Curtin students win design prize again

For the second consecutive year, a team of Curtin Chemical Engineering students has won the BOC Design Prize.  This prize is contested among student teams from chemical engineering departments across Australia and New Zealand and is awarded for the best final year process plant design project.

The winning students were Caitlin Bushell, Joshua Goyder, Madelaine Santini, Craig Underwood and Sarah Waslin. Their entry involved the design of an LNG plant that uses a propane pre-cooled nitrogen cycle refrigeration system. The project was supported by Woodside and the team was supervised by Associate Professor Ahmed Barifcani.

Curtin has won this prestigious Australia-New Zealand prize more times than any other university over the last six years.

Three of the winning students, Madelaine Santini, Joshua Goyder and Craig Underwood, with Associate Professor Ahmed Barifcani (left) and Mr Adam Martin of BOC (centre).

Three of the winning students, Madelaine Santini, Joshua Goyder and Craig Underwood, with Associate Professor Ahmed Barifcani (left) and Mr Adam Martin of BOC (centre).

John Curtin Weekend

The year’s John Curtin Weekend (JCW) activities ran over six weekends in September and October.  During that time, 640 volunteers visited 43 regional and metropolitan sites in WA and Miri, Sarawak, to work on community projects.

In Bunbury, for example, volunteers helped to redesign the front and rear gardens of the South West Cancer Support Centre.  Two groups of ten volunteers were involved over two weekends undertaking tasks such as pruning, weeding, planting, mulching and creating vegetable and herb gardens.  The end result of their efforts is a warm and welcoming area for the Centre’s patients, families, volunteers and staff.

Ms Treslyn Hansen of SolarisCare Foundation with JCW volunteers

Ms Treslyn Hansen of SolarisCare Foundation with JCW volunteers

In Brigadoon, ten volunteers assisted Riding for the Disabled by clearing the horse paddocks of debris, checking and repairing fences, maintaining the riding equipment and conserving the riding track.  Riding for the Disabled WA is dedicated to providing therapeutic and recreational benefits through equestrian activities to people with disabilities.

JCW Riding for the Disabled

John Curtin Weekend is now in its seventeenth year and is the largest community project undertaken by Curtin Volunteers!  I was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet with a number of those involved recently and to thank them for their work and commitment.

Changes to titles

In order to align with contemporary usage and better reflect current portfolio responsibilities, the Executive Committee of Council has recently approved changes to the titles of some of the Executive Managers and their corresponding portfolios:

  • Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor now changed to Provost
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education now changed to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Development now changed to Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research
  • Vice-President, Corporate Services now changed to Chief Operating Officer
  • Vice-President, Corporate Relations and Development now changed to Vice-President, Corporate Relations
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor, Curtin Sarawak now changed to Pro Vice-Chancellor and President, Curtin Sarawak
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor, Singapore now changed to Pro Vice-Chancellor and President, Curtin Singapore.

We will also be adopting the following changed portfolio names to reflect the new titles:

  • Office of the Provost (currently Office of Provost & Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor)
  • Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic (currently Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education)
  • Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research (currently Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Development)
  • Office of Corporate Services (currently Office of the Vice-President, Corporate Services)
  • Office of Corporate Relations (currently Office of the Vice-President, Corporate Relations and Development).

These changes are now in effect, with associated changes such as those to delegations and to policies and procedures to be finalised by the end of the year.

Supporting Curtin AHEAD

Congratulations to The Gliders, the Curtin staff team that won the Leadership Learn to Row Program regatta against the Mighty Marlees  on 17 October.  The corporate leadership program included a four week rowing program at the Curtin University Boat Club, networking breakfasts and a leadership keynote speaker series.

Funds raised through the program are reinvested into the educational outreach work of Curtin AHEAD (Addressing Higher Educational Access Disadvantage), particularly supporting the Row AHEAD Project, an academic mentoring and learn to row program for students at Clontarf Aboriginal College.

The Mighty Marlees were coached by Cameron Thorn and its members were Shirene Varendorff, Catherine Gangell, Robyn Kenneally, Nancy Perree, Anna Parkin, Ken McCluskey, Greg Knight, Marco Schultheis and Madiha Bux.

The Gliders were coached by Jo-anne Boserio and the team members were Kevin Ferguson, Lisa Smith, Lien Stewart, Brian Murphy, Nicole Ryan, Dave Parsons, Lei Cui and Michael Chan.

The Gliders

The Gliders with the winners’ trophy at the Leadership Learn to Row Regatta






  1. Mattie Turnbull October 26, 2015 2:48pm

    When will the new titles/responsibilities be posted on the Curtin website please; for example if I key in Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education, will the system ‘take me’ to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic?

  2. Bridget Halbert November 16, 2015 2:10pm

    Dear Mattie

    The Vice-Chancellor has asked me to respond to you on her behalf and to thank you for your question. Staff profiles have already been changed and the Curtin search function has been indexed to reflect the new titles. However, as the online search pulls from the content on webpages, they also need to be updated for the search to function effectively. Each area is updating the relevant content on the pages they control.
    kind regards Bridget Halbert (Executive Officer to the VC)

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