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Curtin University
Note to staff

4 July 2016


It was wonderful to see so many people at Professor Graeme Wright’s farewell last Friday.  As well as having the opportunity to wish him and his wife, Irene, all the very best for their retirement, we were able to acknowledge the huge contributions that Graeme has made to Curtin. Under his leadership, Curtin’s research profile has gone from strength to strength, as reflected in our ERA performance, our rankings, our research revenue and our overall research reputation. He will be greatly missed at Curtin, not only for his leadership but for his collegiate and supportive approach, which has impacted positively on so many people. In acknowledgement of Graeme’s achievements, he has been offered an Emeritus Professor title – he will take this up as soon as his period of leave is over.

It was also very pleasing to see the strong turnout for this morning’s NAIDOC Week events – the flag raising by George Hayden and Darren Garvey of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, and a presentation by Nick Abraham of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.  These were the first of a series of NAIDOC Week events being held on the campus which I encourage all staff to attend.

Curtin Stadium will be lit in the colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags for the duration of NAIDOC week. The lights began yesterday and will continue through to Sunday 10 July.

DSC_9615 (4) (1280x853)

Graeme and his wife Irene being farewelled on Friday.

Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff

I am pleased to advise that nominations are now open for the 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff.

The awards recognise significant contributions in the areas of engagement or collaboration, leadership, innovation or service, and are open to teams and individuals who are continuing or fixed-term professional staff. Any staff member is welcome to make a nomination.

Winners will receive up to $4,000 (individuals) and $20,000 (teams), which can be used for personal or career development opportunities such as career coaching, workshops and conferences.

Nominations close 5 pm Friday 12 August 2016 and winners will be announced at an end-of-year event. For more information, please visit the website.

The JCPML anniversary lecture

The 17th JCPML Anniversary Lecture by Ms Sally Warhaft held last week was extremely well received. Ms Warhaft was introduced by JCPML Patron, the Honourable Julia Gillard.

In her entertaining and insightful speech, Ms Warhaft outlined what John Curtin, Australia’s 14th Prime Minister, might have made of the current Federal election campaign, the longest in the country’s history.

Her lecture is now available online. (Please note the video does not appear with Internet Explorer 9 – you will need a newer version or a different browser.)

Curtin success at WAITTA INCITE Awards

The WA Information Technology and Telecommunications Alliance (WAITTA) INCITE Awards were held last week and Curtin was recognised in a number of categories.

Professor Kevin Flynn (Head of School, School of Electrical Engineering and Computing) worked with Nuheara on the development of IQBuds technology which won the award for Most Disruptive Technology.

Curtin was also recognised with the Most Impactful Social Benefit award for our Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance, which helps with the often difficult transition of those with autism into the workforce.

Curtin PhD graduate and founder of DownUnder GeoSolutions, Matt Lamont, received the Most Effective Platform award for his work on a data centre cooling solution.

Curtin student, Mustafa Atee, was also a finalist for the Best Student Project of the year award for his Electronic Pain Assessment Tool (ePAT) app for dementia.

Well done to everyone involved on these excellent achievements.

WAITTA award

Most Disruptive Technology award winners (L-R): Mr Greg Breen (Software Team Lead), Dr Mani Kanesan (Senior Electronic Hardware Engineer), Mr David Ward (VP Engineering & Operations), Professor Kevin Fynn (Curtin), Dr Alan Davis (VP Product) and Mr Justin Miller (Founder & CEO)

Curtin athletes heading to Rio

Please join me in wishing the very best of luck to Curtin students representing Australia at the Olympics next month. From hockey to synchronised swimming, Curtin is very well represented. The University supports their endeavours especially through initiatives such as our  Elite Athletes Program.

In the words of Australian women’s hockey midfielder and Curtin student Jane-Anne Claxton: “Whether it’s at uni or on the sporting field, always know your limits… and push them.”

Our Curtin athletes are listed below and you can view an inspiring video about them here:

Men’s hockey:

  • Matthew Swann – Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance)
  • Aran Zalewski – Bachelor of Commerce (Finance and Marketing)
  • Simon Orchard – Bachelor of Commerce (Public Relations and Journalism).

Women’s hockey:

  • Jane-Anne Claxton – Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy)
  • Kathryn Slattery – Bachelor of Agribusiness
  • Emily Smith – Bachelor of Commerce.

Synchronised swimming:

  • Amie Thompson – Bachelor of Engineering.

Sprint kayaking:

  • Steve Bird – Bachelor of Psychology.

Men’s water polo:

  • Aaron Younger – Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance)
  • Joel Swift – Bachelor of Commerce.

Women’s water polo:

  • Zoe Arancini – Bachelor of Science (Laboratory Medicine).

Paralympic swimming:

  • Katherine Downie – Bachelor of Architectural Science.


  • Carrie Smith – Bachelor of Arts (Urban and Regional Planning).

Australian Institute of Building (AIB) Professional Excellence Award WA 2016

Curtin was recently presented with a certificate of accreditation for our Bachelor of Applied Science Construction Management course by the Australian Institute of Building (AIB) at the WA Chapter Professional Excellence in Building Awards.  The University’s relationship with AIB helps ensure our courses meet the requirements for industry accreditation and we look forward to strengthening this relationship.

AIB award

L-R: Mr Frank Dilizia (WA Chapter President, Australian Institute of Building), Associate Professor Monty Sutrisna (School of Built Environment) and Mr Norman Faifer FAIB (National President, AIB).

Conference breaks attendance records

Curtin’s 2016 English and Literature Conference attracted a record crowd last week.

About 6,500 Year 12 students and teachers from more than 90 public and private schools attended the sold-out event, which featured 35 lectures presented by Curtin academics and tertiary and secondary education specialists on topics from the Year 12 English and Literature syllabus. The conference, now in its thirtieth year, helps students prepare for their end-of-year WACE exams.

A large number of staff from across the University were involved in organising and hosting the event, and I would like to thank them all for their excellent work.

World’s Greatest Shave

The Leukaemia Foundation hosted the World’s Greatest Shave award night on 22 June and Curtin placed fourth in the Education category and twentieth in the National Team category. Curtin was the only university participating.  Well done to everyone who donated time or money to this charitable initiative.

End of Ramadan celebration

The Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, ends with the festival of Eid al Fitr (Eid) on 6 July. A celebratory meal breaks the fast and at this time charity and good deeds have special significance. Eid is also a time of forgiveness and making amends.

Place Activation have organised a free multicultural long table lunch to celebrate on Thursday. Please see Staff News for more information.

Terrorist attacks

Sadly, over the past week we have seen terrorist attacks in Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, resulting in hundreds of people dead and injured.  As always in such situations, we are contacting any members of the Curtin community who were in the vicinity of the attacks to check on their welfare and to offer support and assistance.  Staff and students who feel in need of support as a result of these attacks are encouraged to contact Counselling Services.

  1. Mat Darch July 4, 2016 5:08pm

    The winner of Miss NAIDOC 2016 is a Curtin graduate:

    “Last night Wilman-Noongar woman Shelley Cable was crowned Miss NAIDOC Perth.

    The 21-year-old, who graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Finance) in 2014, and now works full-time as a finance analyst, took part in the competition because she wanted to learn more about being an ambassador for her ‘mob’.”

    • Ann Paterson July 17, 2016 4:33pm

      Hi Mat

      Shelley’s achievement was mentioned in the 7 June Note to Staff.



  2. Deborah Terry July 5, 2016 9:13am

    Dear Mat

    Thank you for letting me know. This is excellent news – I will congratulate Shelley on this achievement in my Note to Staff next week.

    with best wishes


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