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Curtin University
Note to staff

7 December 2015


Positive Your Voice Pulse Check results 

Thank you to all staff who completed the recent Pulse Check survey, which attracted a response rate of 80 per cent for fixed term and continuing staff and an overall response rate of 54 percent including sessional and casual staff.

The preliminary results are very encouraging.  Improved responses were evident on the majority of the items, which indicates that the actions taken in response to the 2014 Your Voice outcomes have had an impact.  Nevertheless, there is more that we need to do to strengthen our culture and to address the full range of issues raised by staff in the 2014 Your Voice survey.  I intend to remain focused on this important area and look forward to working with colleagues across the University to make further gains in 2016.

The university-level results can be accessed online.  The more detailed results will be available before the University closes down for Christmas with reports loaded on to OASIS so that all staff can access local area results.

I would like to thank all areas of the University for their work in developing and implementing the Your Voice Action Plans in response to the outcomes of the 2014 survey.  Thanks are also due to the Your Voice working groups, Steering Group, Focus Group and Culture Reps who have actively supported the initiative to strengthen our culture, and to the Pulse Check Champions whose work achieved an excellent response rate.

National Innovation and Science Agenda

The Federal Government has released its National Innovation and Science Agenda, which includes 29 measures to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship across the economy.  The Agenda solidifies the Government’s recent focus on research impact; enhanced university-industry collaborations; and research commercialisation.  It  also includes measures to inspire greater uptake of science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects and activities at the school-level and among women.

Other measures directly relevant to higher education include: increased investment in the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy over ten years; streamlined arrangements for the Research Block Grants; a pilot of a new assessment to measure impact and engagement in university research; changes to the Australian Research Council’s Linkage Projects Scheme to be continuous and fast-tracked; and a new Cooperative Research Centre round to commence in February 2016.

We are now undertaking a thorough analysis of the Agenda and the opportunities it offers for Curtin, and we will provide more information to staff once this has been completed.

Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Awards

The Curtin Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching are given annually and recognise and reward outstanding performances by both individuals and teams in teaching and in enhancing student learning.

There are three categories of awards for which there were a large amount of high quality and very competitive applications.  Please join me in congratulating the following staff:

Awards for Teaching Excellence:

  • Dr Susan Blackley, School of Education
  • Dr Judith Dinham, School of Education
  • Ms Christina Do, Curtin Law School
  • Ms Anne Furness, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, leading The Gerontology Team including: Mr Tony Petta, Ms Ginny Mulvey, Ms Liz Bainbridge and Ms Tracy Redwood.
  • Dr Abey Puthenvilayil Philip, Curtin Business School, MIRI Campus, Sarawak
  • Dr Robert Henry Christopher Madden, West Australian School of Mines
  • Mrs Val Morey, School of Education, leading The Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) Common First Year Team including: Dr Judith Dinham, Dr Eva Dobozy, Dr Jennifer Howell, Dr Audrey Cooke, Dr Rachel Sheffield and Dr Brad Gobby.
  • Ms Michele Quail, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology

Each award winner received a certificate and a grant of $3000.

Awards for Programs That Enhance Learning:

  • Dr Reva Ramiah, Office of the PVC Science and Engineering, leading the Science and Engineering Language and Literacy (SELL) Program including: Ms Lauren Gilson, Ms Holly Bennett, Mr Dwayne Richards, and Ms Lisa O’Sullivan.
  • Professor Tony Wright, School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, leading the Curtin Physiotherapy National Simulation Project Coordination Team including: Dr Penny Moss, Dr Kathryn Watson and Mr Stephen Rue.

Each award winner received a certificate and a grant of $3000.

 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning:

  • Dr Trevor Mazzucchelli, School of Psychology and Speech Pathology: For applying expertise in the area of clinical child psychology to facilitate and inspire clinical psychology trainees’ evidence-based practice and practice-based research.
  • Dr Jonathan Paxman, School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering: For outstanding contributions to student learning, fostering student motivation and independent learning through transformative practices which emphasise active engagement and problem-based learning.

Each award winner received a certificate and a grant of $2000.

Excellence Awards for Professional Staff

The Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff were developed to recognise and celebrate the vital contribution our non-academic staff make to the University.  Like our awards for teaching and research, they are an important way in which we recognise staff who go beyond what is expected and make an outstanding contribution to the University.

Individual winners receive a prize of up to $4,000 to be used for a professional development opportunity. Winning teams receive a prize of up to $4,000 per person up to a maximum of $20,000 per team, to be used for a team-based professional development opportunity or activity.

Over 70 nominations were received and the winners were announced at an event this afternoon.  Congratulations to the following staff and teams:

Excellence in engagement
Individual winner: Ursula Brimble, Records and Information Management
Team prize winner: ALLY Steering Committee

Excellence in leadership
Individual winner: Custodia Musca, Human Resources

Excellence in innovation
Individual winner: Nazanin Mhammadi, Science and Engineering
Team winner: Major Open Data Collection Project Team

Excellence in service
Individual winner: Pramodh Gunawardhana, CITS
Team winner: Future Students Course Advisors, University Marketing

Please take the time to watch the videos which show the fantastic work recognised through these awards.

Science in Australia Gender Equity

Science in Australia Gender Equality (SAGE) is an initiative of the Australian Academy of Science in partnership with the Academy of Technology and Engineering that addresses gender equity in the science, engineering, technology, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) sector.

The program has been adapted from the Athena SWAN Charter, established in the United Kingdom in 2005, which is an accreditation and improvement program for higher education and research organisations focusing on gender and other forms of inequality.  The Athena Swan Charter is proving highly successful in transforming gender equity action to improve the promotion and retention of women and gender minorities within STEMM.

The SAGE pilot was launched on 16 September 2015, making Australia the first nation beyond the UK and Ireland to pilot the initiative.  Thirty-two institutions around Australia, including Curtin, are taking part in the pilot, during which they must apply for an Athena SWAN Bronze Institutional Award, demonstrating a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.

The SAGE project manager Dr Zuleyka Zevallos will be visiting Curtin tomorrow to provide an overview of the program and how staff can get involved.  You can register for Dr Zevallos’s presentation online.

This project is important for research at Curtin, given the changes to NHMRC Administering Institutions Policy.  Equity in research, with a focus on support of the progression and retention of women in health and medical research, is now a requirement of the NHMRC registration process and institutions need to maintain registration to receive funding.

World AIDS Day

On 1 December Curtin Stadium was illuminated red in support of World AIDS Day which raises awareness about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS.  It is a day to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died.  The University is closely aligned with the WA AIDS Council through the Faculty of Health Sciences and its Department of Sexology, and the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health research centre.

We remember those from our community who have been lost to AIDS-related illness and celebrate the courage and determination of people with HIV.


Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorates the recapture and rededication of the Jerusalem Temple.  It lasts for eight days and nights and each night an additional candle is lit.

To mark the Hanukkah, Curtin Stadium will be lit in blue and white from 6 to 14 December, with an additional white stripe being added to one wall each night to symbolise an additional candle on the Menorah.

I wish all those in the Curtin community who are celebrating this festival a Happy Hanukkah.

  1. Talia Raphaely December 7, 2015 3:09pm

    Thank you for marking Hanukkah in such a beautiful and meaningful way. It’s also the Festival of Miracles :-)a time of praying for light to reach into even the darkest parts of the world. Its wonderful to feel a proud part of the Curtin community-a collective starting to truly celebrate its multiculturalism. I look forward to seeing Dwali, Eid, Christmas and other holidays and celebrations spread their light around Curtin in a similar way. Thanks again and wishing everyone a season of light and miracles.

  2. Pnina Levine December 7, 2015 3:29pm

    I am proud to be associated with an institution that accords minorities such respect – thank you.

  3. Peter Green December 7, 2015 4:38pm

    The VC’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff was an uplifting reminder of the significant often unsung work done across the university. Congratulations to all staff who were recognised through their nomination and to the award winners, especially the zombie staff in future students.

  4. Ann Paterson December 7, 2015 4:51pm

    Thanks, Peter, we’re very proud of our zombie staff! :)

    I agree it was a lovely event. Congratulations to all the winners and the nominees, and to those involved in developing the awards and organising the event. I hope many people see the videos which really are inspiring; such work deserves to be celebrated.

  5. Helen Hesselberg December 8, 2015 11:27am

    I echo your sentiments Talia and Pnina.

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