ACU's Community Engagement Awards

Information about ACU's distinctive Community Engagement can be accessed at:

The Vice-Chancellor has established the following awards for Outstanding Community Engagement:

Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

Award recognising ACUs work with an external partner(s).

All significant University community engagement projects are eligible to be nominated for the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement.

Staff Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

Award recognising an ACU staff member or staff team.

All staff involved in significant University community engagement projects are eligible to nominate for the award. The staff recipient will be presented with the Staff Award for Outstanding Community Engagement which includes $5,000 for an approved community-engagement related project. Applications from a staff team will also be considered for this award.

Student Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

Award recognising an ACU student or student team.

All students involved in significant community engagement projects are eligible to be nominated for the Student Award for Outstanding Community Engagement. All students enrolled during the calendar year are eligible to nominate for the award. The student recipient will be presented with the Student Award for Outstanding Community Engagement which includes $2,500. Applications from a student team will also be considered for this award.

Winners 2016 Community Engagement Awards

2016 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

2016 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement is awarded to Kicking Goals Together (KGT) a sport and job-readiness education engagement for Brisbane youth from refugee migrant backgrounds.

KGT was established by Dr Matthew Pink, Lecturer, School of Exercise Science and Health, Sport and Well-Being, ACU, Brisbane, in collaboration with the Multicultural Development Association (MDA), and the Rohingya Young Stars, a local football team of youth from refugee migrant backgrounds.

KGT aligns closely with ACU's mission and identity by working collaboratively with all stakeholders to support the dignity of the human person and the common good. KGT welcomes members of Brisbane's refugee migrant community each week to the Banyo campus to participate in organised sporting competitions with Skill-up following after the futsal and aimed at developing the youth's job related skills and networks.

KGT's objective is to assist these young people to participate fully in Australian society

The KGT model has considerable potential to be replicated across communities who are welcoming refugees in Australia and internationally. Through the sharing of the KGT story in a scholarly manner there is strong potential to influence Public Policy in regard to refugee integration in Australian society.

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The Kicking Goals Together (KGT) is a ‘community owned', innovative and sustainable sport, education and wellbeing, capacity-building program. Based in Brisbane, KGT combines a Futsal (Soccer) competition with a job skills education program (Skill-up).

KGT operates in partnership by ACU's School of Exercise Science, Multicultural Development Association (MDA), and the Rohingya Young Stars, a local football team of youth from refugee migrant backgrounds.

KGT aligns closely with ACU's mission and identity by working collaboratively with all stakeholders to support the dignity of the human person and the common good. KGT welcomes members of Brisbane's refugee migrant community each week to the Banyo campus to participate in organised sporting competitions with Skill-up following after the futsal and aimed at developing the youth's job related skills and networks.

KGT's objective is to assist these young people to participate fully in Australian society. KGT explicitly links with MDA's mission of supporting a "welcoming Queensland where all new arrivals have the opportunity to fully contribute to, and participate in a multicultural society". By involving ACU students in the management and operation of KGT, ACU students have the opportunity to develop an appreciation of perspectives of others different to themselves, an appreciation of social justice, and the experience of a commitment to serving the common good.

Skill-up has recently developed networking sessions where the youth participate in mock interviews with professional business people from professions related to the youth's long-term career aspirations.

In 2017 KGT will expand to including a greater number of teams from refugee migrant backgrounds. In addition, there are also plans for the program to expand to other institutions and talks have already begun with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

KGT contributes to the preparation of highly competent ACU graduates through their experience of leadership, working with families from different cultures and the social and ethical dimensions that impact their personal and professional growth through KGT.

This community engagement and its associated research exemplify the sustained and strategic involvement of ACU and its partner organisations in promoting the dignity of people and the common good. The KGT story will be drawn upon in a paper currently being drafted for the Journal of Education, Citizenship, and Social Justice.

KGT developed organically through mutual collaboration between ACU, the Rohingya Young Stars and MDA. The KGT model has considerable potential to be replicated across communities who are welcoming refugees in Australia and internationally. Through the sharing of the KGT story in a scholarly manner there is strong potential to influence Public Policy in regard to refugee integration in Australian society.

2016 Staff Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

2016 Staff Award for Outstanding Community Engagement  is awarded to Dr Wong, Lecturer in Mathematics Education, School of Education, Strathfield Campus for her work in developing and consolidating Maths Clubs at three Sydney primary schools in communities identified as low-SES, Aboriginal and culturally diverse.

These clubs aims to build a strong foundation in mathematics by increasing students' interest and self-confidence in mathematics which breaks the cycle of mathematics ‘failure' for students from low-SES backgrounds and instead builds lifelong ability in mathematics for these students.

Maths Club is a partnership with School of Education NSW, Institute for Advancing Community Engagement, Equity Pathways and the schools and their communities at La Perouse Public School, Holy Family Primary School, Emerton, and Condell Park Public School

The La Perouse Maths Club will be showcased as "One hour in a journey of a lifetime" at the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance conference, 2016. This session will demonstrate the socio-cultural pedagogy and practices implemented at the club which have the potential to inform national mathematics education policy and direction.

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Since 2014, Dr Wong has developed and implemented Maths Clubs at three Sydney primary schools in communities identified as low-SES, Aboriginal and culturally diverse. These clubs aim to build a strong foundation in mathematics and increase students' interest and self-confidence in mathematics which breaks the cycle of mathematics ‘failure'  for students from low-SES backgrounds and instead builds lifelong ability in mathematics as seen in this comment:

"My son… has always struggled with Maths and at times can be difficult to engage… I have now found him to independently complete his maths homework each week with very little or no assistance from me and far less frustration from him."

Maths Club is a partnership with ACU's Faculty of Education and Arts, School of Education NSW, Institute for Advancing Community Engagement, Equity Pathways and the schools and their community at La Perouse Public School, Holy Family Primary School, Emerton, and Condell Park Public School. It is noteworthy that Dr Wong is working with State Schools, not ACU's traditional partnerships with Catholic Schools.

Dr Wong's work with Aboriginal students at La Perouse addresses the National Priority Area to improve health, wellbeing and education outcomes and enhance community. The Maths Clubs promote opportunities that build social capital within disadvantaged and indigenous communities by providing children with a strong foundation for future academic success. Maths Clubs address the Equity Pathways, "Widening Participation" initiative and "provide learning-based programs that foster student engagement in learning".

Engagement and knowledge exchange between students, school and parents recognises the dignity of all and fosters social capital within the community.

To date, 125 primary school students have attended the Maths Clubs. Eleven ACU School of Education students have undertaken their community engagement, with two Year 10 students and three community members having assisted.

ACU Aboriginal students have developed and facilitated activities at La Perouse as part of their study upholding the importance of community through enhancing school- community engagement.

Dr Wong has developed a Maths Club framework and manual ensuring the sustainability and, importantly, replicability of the initiative. Significantly, ACU staff and students have developed specific resources for parent/carers to use with their children at home. Discussions regarding expansion of Maths Clubs to more Sydney schools and other states is underway with the Equity Pathways and IACE.

The La Perouse Maths Club will be showcased as "One hour in a journey of a lifetime" at the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance conference, 2016. This session will demonstrate the socio-cultural pedagogy and practices implemented at the club which have the potential to inform national mathematics education policy and direction.

2016 Student Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

2016 Student Award for Outstanding Community Engagement is awarded to Miss Freeda Thong, a Bachelor of Speech Pathology student, Banyo campus.

The award recognises Miss Thong's outstanding innovation in community engagement. Miss Thong is the Founder and Director of Ecopads Australia, a social enterprise that makes handmade, environmentally friendly and reusable menstrual cloth pads with a cause: for every pad sold, one is sent to a girl or woman in need in a developing country.

Ecopads Australia is an original, innovative and sustainable venture. Miss Thong's personal initiative and energetic and contemporary leadership in building this social enterprise is a compelling expression of the University's mission and identity.

This innovative venture targets environmental change and impact through education and accessibility. Ecopads Australia has grown exponentially, reaching customers both nationally and internationally, including New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, Ireland and Sweden.

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The award recognises Miss Thong's outstanding innovation in community engagement. Miss Thong is the Founder and Director of Ecopads Australia, a social enterprise that makes handmade, environmentally friendly and reusable menstrual cloth pads with a cause: for every pad sold, one is sent to a girl or woman in need in a developing country.

Ms Thong's personal initiative, energetic and contemporary leadership in building her social enterprise is a compelling expression of the University's mission and identity. Ecopads Australia is an original, innovative and sustainable venture which has undertaken crowdfunding to grow the business.

Freeda commented in her nomination: "I have had to learn skills in marketing, business planning, journalism, public relations, networking, and above all have grown an even more fond appreciation of communication. The passion for communication drives me even more academically and within the field of Speech Pathology, because it really is humans' greatest tool. The value of education has never been so prominent to me also." The knowledge and skills Freeda has gained are beyond her current studies and chosen profession.

Miss Thong is driving a powerful venture targeting environmental change and impact through education and accessibility. To make this a reality, the social enterprise is currently building an ambassador program that aims to allow girls and women all around the world to opt in to advocating for the environment.

Ecopads Australia has grown exponentially, reaching customers both nationally and internationally, including New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, Ireland and Sweden.

Miss Thong's successful Social Enterprise, Ecopads Australia, reflects her innovative leadership and commitment to the environment by achieving sustainable change and creating worldwide networks to underpin the growth of her venture.

For more information on the Awards:

Please contact Ms Helen McLucas on (02) 9701 4176 or via email at helen.mclucas@acu.edu.au if you require advice or assistance.

Winners of Previous Awards

Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

Year Vice-Chancellor's Award Recipients
2015 Barefoot Nurses: Train the Trainer Health (TTT) program, Timor-Leste.
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2014 Global School Partners (GSP) an innovative community engagement that partners Australian schools with schools in impoverished communities in Kenya and Zimbabwe building capacity aimed at alleviating poverty in practical ways and raising awareness of how education overcomes poverty.
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2013 Connecting Schools and Communities through Supported Playgroups in Schools Project
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2012 Future in Youth, Timor Leste
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2011 National Church Life Survey (NCLS)
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2010 Refugee Program on the Thai-Burma border.
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2009 The Homework Support Program at Atherton Gardens
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2008 The Ballarat Learning For Life Program
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2007 Clemente Australia
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Staff Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

Year Staff Award Recipients
2014 "Walk in my Shoez": community engagement, social justice and community television bringing together ACU students, individuals and organisations to amplify the voices of community members affected by disadvantage and social isolation.
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2013 Ms Mary Campbell, Relations Coordinator, Institute for Advancing Community Engagement, Fitzroy campus
Dr Tim Moore, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Child Protection Studies, Canberra campus
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2012 Ms Naomi Wolfe, Academic Co-ordinator, Jim-baa-yer
Mr Mark Mahony, Library Technician, Strathfield
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2011 Ms Susie Davies-Splitter, "Hearts in Harmony", Melbourne Campus
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2010 Dr Tracey Sanders, Senior Lecturer, School of Arts & Sciences from the Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo)
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2009 Dr Janelle Young, Senior Lecturer, Language Arts, School of Education, Brisbane
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2008 Dr Ann Gervasoni, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Victoria
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2007 Dr Lindsay Farrell, School of Arts and Sciences, Queensland
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2006 Dr Klaus Serr, School of Arts and Sciences, Victoria
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2005 Ms Judy Fromyhr, School of Arts and Sciences, Queensland
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2004 Associate Professor Denis McLaughlin, School of Educational Leadership, Queensland
Ms Marjorie Campbell, Yalbalinga Indigenous Unit, Strathfield (shared)
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2003 Dr Janet Currie, School of Exercise Science, North Sydney
Dr Peter Howard, School of Education, Strathfield (shared)
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2002 Dr Valda Dickinson rsm, School of Education, Strathfield
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2001 Ms Cheryl Rasmussen, School of Arts and Sciences, Brisbane
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2000 Ms Rosemary Williams, Counsellor / Counselling Psychologist, Melbourne
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Student Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

Year Student Award Recipients
2015 Mr Lachlan McGinness
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2013 Ms Lay Lay Moo, First Year Bachelor of Nursing student, Brisbane campus.
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2012 Ms Catherine Shuttleworth, Co-founder of SeeBeyondBorders
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2011 Ms Irene Mayo, Bachelor of Nursing (Honours) student at North Sydney Campus.
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2010 Ms Tahlia Seymour, Bachelor of Nursing student, St Patrick's Campus.
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2009 Mr William Waugh, Business student, McAuley at Banyo
Ms Kirra-Jai Atkinson, Bachelor of Theology student, St Patrick's Campus.
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2008 Ms Maria Boulatsakos, Bachelor of Exercise Science student, Strathfield.
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2007 Ms Coni Forcey, Bachelor of Social Science student, Melbourne Campus.
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