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Curtin University
Note to staff

4 May 2015


Response to Nepalese earthquake disaster

As I am sure you are aware, thousands of people lost their lives in the earthquake in Nepal, and many more are homeless and possibly injured.  The full extent of the damage and loss will not be known for some time.

Up to 50 students studying at the Curtin Bentley campus and a similar number at our Sydney campus have been affected by this disaster.  There are also affected students studying at Curtin College.  Support is being offered to these students in a range of ways.

Curtin International has invited the students to a morning tea with counselling and support services staff, while the Sydney campus held series of drop-in sessions for their students with counselling and academic staff.  Curtin Counselling continues to be available to anyone who needs support as a result of this natural disaster, and the area can be contacted on 9266 7850.

Two barbeques will be held this week to raise funds for disaster relief: at Curtin College today at 12.30 pm and a joint Curtin Student Guild-University barbeque on Wednesday 6 May, 12-2 pm outside Guild reception (building 106F).  Anyone wishing to assist on Wednesday is asked to contact Maureen Meredith by email or on extension 2118.

In addition, a multi-faith service will be held on Wednesday 6 May, 12:15-12:45 pm in the Haydn Williams Lecture Theatre (405:201).  The service will be a time of remembrance and reflection, offering spiritual support for the many affected by the earthquake.  All staff and students are welcome to attend.

I am pleased to also be able to advise that the University will fund two PhD scholarships in the School of Public Health for Nepalese students.  More information on this will be provided at a later date.

I would like to thank all those involved in these activities for the compassion and care they are showing our students and all affected by the earthquake.  It is a wonderful demonstration of Curtin’s values.

Lotterywest Grant

On Wednesday Education Minister Peter Collier visited Curtin to present a Lotterywest grant for the project ‘Capturing the Oral Histories’ of the Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artworks.

The project was designed in consultation with Noongar Elders and community, and the grant will fund work to capture the history of Carrolup artists by interviewing their families and selected community members.

The work will form the basis of a research archive and documentary, and involve the Noongar community. The grant will also support the employment of a research assistant from the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council to enable collaboration and engagement with that community.

The project lead for the work will be John Curtin Distinguished Professor Anna Haebich, working with Dr Michelle Johnston, both of the Faculty of Humanities.  Dr Johnston will lead the interviews and the filming of the histories, and collate this work into a full-length documentary, as well as smaller video productions.  Professor Haebich will be transforming the oral histories into a written form, and is working to produce a book encompassing personal stories accompanied by images and photographs.

Although the funding was only recently approved, the gathering of these stories has already begun and the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts has contributed over $17,000 towards the project.

The significance and urgency of this project lies in the gathering of these stories to build historical knowledge; the individuals who hold these stories and experiences are ageing and few remain. The retelling of these stories will hopefully lead to cultural healing and reconciliation.

Curtin’s performance in world rankings

Curtin has retained its place among the Times Higher Education top 100 universities under 50 years of age, ranking at 81 worldwide, an improvement by one place from last year.  Curtin placed 13th among Australian universities, and we improved our performance on several key indicators.  The largest increase was in Citations with modest gains in Teaching and Research reputation. The International Outlook indicator continues to perform well with Curtin receiving the highest score of any Australian university.

In this year’s QSWUR subject rankings, 19 Curtin subjects were ranked, including five in the top 100. Curtin’s two highest rated subjects in 2014, Education (37) and Earth and Marine Sciences (40), both declined and are now positioned in the 51-100 band.  QSWUR made major changes to their methodology for 2015, which makes shifts in rankings from 2014 difficult to interpret.  Improved rankings were observed for Electrical and Electronic Engineering (101-150), Statistics and Operational Research (101-150), Agriculture and Forestry (151-200), Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering (201-250), Chemistry (301-350) and Mathematics (301-350).

Six new subjects were added this year with Curtin featuring in three of these: Architecture/Built Environment and Art & Design, both with a debut rank of 51-100, and Business and Management Studies positioned at 151-200.

Congratulations to all staff on these results, which reflect continued progress towards Curtin’s 2030 vision of being recognised as an international leader in research and education.  To read more about Curtin’s performance in other international rankings, click here.

Rob Riley lecture

Staff are reminded that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda will present the 2015 Rob Riley Memorial Lecture on Friday 8 May 2015, from 6.15 pm.  The topic of this year’s lecture is “You can’t be wrong if you’re right … just keep on fighting.”

Mick Gooda has a long experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, having worked in remote, rural and urban environments throughout Australia for over 30 years.  In his role as Commissioner he builds on his experience to advocate the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, and to promote respect and understanding of these rights among the broader Australian community.

To attend the lecture, please email



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