Introducing the National
Head of the School of Arts, Associate Professor Michael Ondaatje, who commenced
with ACU in August 2014. A historian well known for his work on African
American history and politics, Michael was awarded his PhD, with
Distinction, from the University of Western Australia in 2008. His thesis on African American conservatism
was recognised with the Robert Street Prize for the most outstanding PhD across
all of the University's disciplines. In 2010, Michael's first book, Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern
America, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press and became a
Top 20 International Bestseller in US history. In 2011 the book was recognised
with the Newcastle Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence, and in 2012
was shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association's W.K. Hancock Prize.
Michael has been a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the
University of Oxford. In 2012 the
Australian Academy of the Humanities awarded him the Max Crawford Medal, 'Australia's
most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities'. The
Crawford Medal is 'granted to early career researchers for outstanding
scholarly achievement in the humanities in Australia, and to those whose
publications make an exceptional contribution to the understanding of
humanities disciplines by the general public'.
Michael is also committed to excellence in teaching and
learning. He has been the recipient of several teaching awards at the national
and university level, including an ALTC Award for Teaching Excellence (2011),
an ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (2010), the
Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence (Newcastle, 2010), and the
Faculty of Education and Arts Award for Teaching Excellence (Newcastle, 2009).
He has supervised twenty Honours and PhD theses to completion.
A regular commentator on American politics in the Australian
and international media, Michael has also delivered numerous public lectures,
including the Annual Human Rights Day Address at the United Nations Association
of Australia in 2011. He is co-editor
of the Australasian Journal of American
Studies, a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Historical
Association, and a former Head of History at the University of Newcastle.
In 2013 the United
States Embassy in Australia selected Michael for the International Visitor
Leadership Program, the premier professional exchange program of the US
Michael is delighted
to have joined ACU: 'I am passionate about Arts, and I am looking forward to
working with my colleagues to develop new and exciting initiatives that promote
research and teaching excellence in Arts at ACU. I am committed to enriching the student
experience so that our graduates are prepared and inspired to fulfil their