ACU (Australian Catholic University)


Issue 2, Spring 2011


ACU researchers help families reconnect

Researchers at ACU have received a share in more than $3 million to help reconnect Forgotten Australians and former child migrants with their families.

ACU's Professor Shurlee Swain and Dr Nell Musgrove will work in collaboration with a team from the University of Melbourne to develop a new website and records database for the national Find and Connect campaign.

The service will help Forgotten Australians and former child migrants access professional counselling, locate material to help trace their personal and family history, and, if possible, reunite with family members.

As part of the project, up to eight child welfare historians will join ACU for three years to assist with the development of the website.

The Find and Connect website and database of records will assist care leavers to find records held by past care provider organisations and government agencies.

The Find and Connect service is part of a commitment made during the Federal Government's 2009 National Apology to more than 500,000 Forgotten Australians and former child migrants – many of whom suffered abuse and neglect while in out-of-home care last century.

Students issue a call to arms

The fight against cancer was front and centre at the Northern University Games last month, thanks to the 30-strong ACU team.

Athletes from the University's Brisbane Campus supported the Cancer Council's Call to Arms campaign by having a "splash" of yellow on their uniform.

Campus Life Coordinator Mark Young said students donned yellow armbands, face paint, shirts and socks at the Armidale competition.

"Participating in Call to Arms is a great way for our students to know they are making a difference in the fight against men's cancers, and to help raise funds for the work of Cancer Council Queensland," he said.

"Half of all Australian men will develop cancer by 85 years of age."

Funds raised will help prevent and detect cancer in men, find new treatments, and support men in need through Cancer Council research, prevention and support programs.

Call to Arms began in 2006 after Essendon Football Club champion Adam Ramanauskas was diagnosed with cancer and his teammates wore yellow armbands in the Clash For Cancer against Melbourne Football Club.

Since then, sporting clubs of all codes and levels have joined the cause by wearing yellow for one game each season.

Adolescent smoking linked to school suspension

Year 7 students suspended from school are twice as likely to use cigarettes 12 months later, a new study has shown.

"Get-tough approaches to challenging student behaviour have intuitive appeal but may have harmful consequences for students in the long run," said lead researcher Dr Sheryl Hemphill, Professor of Psychology at ACU.

"Whenever a student is getting into trouble at school, one of the first questions we need to ask is why the student is behaving that way. Once we work that out, we need to assist the student to access appropriate assistance if needed."

The study, published in the international journal Health Education and Behavior, draws on data from the International Youth Development Study, a longitudinal study of 5,769 students from Victoria and the US state of Washington.

The study asked Year 7 and 9 students about their experience of school suspension, cigarette use, and a range of factors known to influence student behaviour.

Drake House officially opened

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has officially opened and blessed ACU's newest building, Drake House.

Located in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, the property was built in 1883 and has been restored to provide office and residential space for the Vice-Chancellor and other university staff.

Drake House is named after ACU's inaugural Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Drake, who served in the position from 1991 until 1998. A respected scholar of economics, Professor Drake was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003 for his services to education.

He thanked the University for the recognition of his service.

"In its 21st year Australian Catholic University can justly claim to be a true university of recognised standard," he said. "The passage of time has proved that it is indeed a single, integrated, independent, public institution that is one and the same truly Australian, truly Catholic and truly University."

New title for AFL star Jim Stynes

Melbourne Football Club president Jim Stynes OAM was recently awarded ACU's highest honour, Doctor of the University, in recognition of his service to the community, particularly in the areas of youth depression, homelessness and suicide.

One of AFL's most celebrated players, and the only player recruited from outside Australia to win the prestigious Brownlow Medal, Jim's legacy extends far beyond his football career – to building resilience and inspiring greatness in young people.

In 1994 Jim co-founded the youth charity, Reach Foundation, with the vision that every young person will receive the support and self-belief they need to fulfil their potential.

His motivation has not wavered, despite battling with cancer since mid-2009 – if anything his determination has increased, referring to the challenge of surviving as the "marathon" of his life.

Jim shared the celebration of his achievement with his god-daughter Sarah O'Connor who graduated from a Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Arts in the same ceremony.

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