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Curtin University
Note to staff

10 October 2016


 John Curtin Medal 

The John Curtin Medal ceremony was held last Friday, coincidentally on the 75th Anniversary of John Curtin becoming Prime Minister in 1941. Since 1998, the Medal has been awarded annually by Curtin to members of the community who demonstrate the former Prime Minister’s leadership qualities and commitment to community service.

This year’s Medal recipient was domestic violence survivor and advocate Dr Ann O’Neill, who received the award for her tireless efforts to raise awareness about family violence and provide support to victims of such violence.

In 1994, Dr O’Neill lost her two children and her leg in a murder-suicide committed by her estranged husband. Just seven months later, she commenced full-time study in honour of her children, going on to gain a Bachelor of Social Work with First Class Honours and a PhD in International Health at Curtin.

Dr O’Neill’s extraordinary courage, resilience, vision and leadership make her a very worthy recipient of the John Curtin Medal. I encourage you all to watch this short video online that profiles her profoundly inspiring story.

JC Medal Ceremony

Professor John Cordery, myself, Dr Ann O’Neill and the Chancellor Colin Beckett.

Sunday Night program

Some of you may have seen Sunday Night on Channel 7 last night. It included a story, entitled Hunting Grounds, was an investigation into university campus assaults. All Australian universities, including Curtin, received a Freedom of Information request from Channel 7 for information including relating to reported sexual assaults. Curtin responded to the request.

The broadcast is a timely reminder for me to re-assert our commitment to providing a safe place for all students and staff members, free of harassment, discrimination, violence, and consistent with our values. This is something that we take very seriously and we have recently examined all of our procedures for handling these very difficult matters. It is an area that we are working closely on with the Guild, and we appreciate their leadership and commitment in this respect. As part of the Universities Australia initiative, Respect. Now. Always., we are also participating in the prevalence survey of sexual assault on our campuses. This survey is currently open and we are actively encouraging students to participate.

I also remind you that if you are aware of or have experienced an incident of sexual harassment or assault, please report it by contacting Curtin’s Safer Community Team on 9266 4444 or the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732. Curtin’s Safer Community Team treats all reports seriously and confidentially.

Concerns can be reported through the Safety at Curtin website (an anonymous option is provided), or via Curtin’s Integrity and Standards Unit website. Furthermore, students, staff and visitors can stay in direct contact with our Curtin Security team via a free smartphone app called SafeZone which I encourage you to download.

National Taiwan University ranking

I am pleased to announce that Curtin has improved in the National Taiwan University (NTU) ranking of the world’s top 500 universities, rising from 397th to 370th globally and remaining the 9th ranked university nationally.

The NTU ranking is based on publications performance – research productivity, research impact and research excellence – and also ranks institutions across six fields and 14 subjects.  Curtin has risen in one field and in four of the six subjects in which we feature. A table of results is provided below for information.

Ranking 2015 2016
Overall 397 370
Field – Social Sciences 216 175
Subject – Civil Engineering 64 41
Subject – Geoscience 60 54
Subject – Chemical Engineering 109 93
Subject – Environment/Ecology 262 235
Subject – Mechanical Engineering 259 275
Subject – Mathematics 249 277

Further analysis will be undertaken by the Office of Strategy and Planning and will be available on the Office website shortly.

Congratulations to all who contributed to Curtin’s strong results in this ranking.

Gekko Systems and Curtin to collaborate

An agreement was signed between Curtin and Gekko Systems on Friday launching a significant collaboration that will bring to market a device to help gold mine operators optimise process plant efficiency and reduce gold losses.

The device, known as Carbon Scout, was developed by Dr Teresa McGrath and Adjunct Professor Bill Staunton, in association with Bill McCallum from Havilah Consulting. Gekko Systems have licensed the technology from Curtin and will be responsible for the marketing, manufacture, sales and aftermarket support of Carbon Scout.

This is a great outcome for Curtin and demonstrates the real impact and commercial benefit that can be realised from research collaboration. Congratulations to Dr McGrath, Mr Staunton and Rohan McDougall (Director, IP Commercialisation) on this achievement.

Gekko Systems

Sandy Gray (Co-founder, Gekko Systems); Elizabeth Lewis-Gray – Chair, Gekko Systems), myself and Professor Chris Moran (DVC-R).

Congratulations to our staff and students

There has been much to celebrate over the past week.  I congratulate all involved in these very significant achievements:

  • Associate Professor Nicoleta Maynard from the Faculty of Science and Engineering has been awarded the 2015 Caltex Teaching Award, in recognition of her work to foster links between academia and industry, develop a community of teaching practice, provide educational leadership, and implement innovations in curricula, assessments and learning resources.
  • Dr Max Massi from the Department of Chemistry and the Nanochemistry Research Institute, has won the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s Organometallic Chemistry Award. The award is given for contributions to the development of organometallic chemistry over the last ten years.  The focus of Dr Massi’s research is the synthesis of luminescent metal-based complexes for application in materials and life science.
  • Dr Lucy Dougan, from the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, has won the WA Premier’s prize for poetry at the Premier Book Awards. Dr Dougan received the award for her 2015 book, The Guardians, which is her fourth poetry collection. The book has also been shortlisted for Premier’s prizes in Queensland and Victoria.
  • Curtin alumna Dr Brooke Davis won the emerging writers award for a novel, Lost & Found, written as part of her PhD at Curtin. Brooke graduated from the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts with a PhD in 2014.
  • Pharmacy academic, Mustafa Atee, is a finalist for the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Researcher of the Year award and Associate Professor Tele Tan (School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering) is a finalist for the ICT Educator of the Year award. Mustafa Atee was recognised for his work developing ePAT, a mobile medical application to assess pain, whereas Associate Professor Tan has been recognised for the Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance. Curtin student, Axel Vekemans is a finalist for the ICT Student of the Year award.
  • Two staff members received 2016 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning at a ceremony last week. Dr Rachel Sheffield was recognised for creating and sustaining interactive, community-focused learning design and spaces to support the development of teachers and student teachers professional identity in science education, and Dr Jonathan Paxman was recognised for approaches to research-integrated teaching, support for student activities, and outreach that builds the confidence, motivation and identities of citizens and engineers of the future.
  • Professor Jeff Petchey, from the Department of Economics at Curtin Business School, has been reappointed by the Federal Cabinet to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, for a further five years.

Mental Health Week (10-14 October)

This week is Mental Health Week, and once again Curtin will be promoting the Act-Belong-Commit campaign, which encourages individuals to take action to protect and promote their own mental wellbeing. Staff are encouraged to get involved in activities that will be happening across our Bentley Campus from 10-14 October.

Visit the Mental Health Week website for a full list of events and activities including pilates, meditation, free massages and more. University departments can also host a morning or afternoon tea during the week to raise funds for Act-Belong-Commit’s youth mental health initiative ‘Youth Connectors’. Curtin stadium will be lit in the Act Belong Commit colours this week.

  1. Helen Verhoeff October 12, 2016 4:17pm

    Really pleased to read that Dr Ann O’Neill was awarded the John Curtin Medal – she has done great work over many years to support those impacted by family violence. I heard her speak for the first time at an event twenty years ago, not long after having lost a friend. Her determination and resilience has been an inspiration to many, including me.

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