ACU (Australian Catholic University)

Insight

Issue 1, Winter 2011

Newsbites

Tim Flannery awarded university’s highest honour

Internationally acclaimed explorer and conservationist, Professor Tim Flannery, has been awarded ACU’s highest honour, Doctor of the University, in recognition of his contributions to environmental science and his advocacy for peace.

As a field biologist, Professor Flannery has discovered and named more than 30 new species of mammals. His pioneering work in New Guinea prompted David Attenborough to put him in the league of the world’s great explorers.

An accomplished writer, Professor Flannery has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and a dozen books including The Future Eaters and the internationally acclaimed The Weather Makers – addressing the issue of climate change.

In 2007 Professor Flannery was named Australian of the Year, and in January was appointed to the head of the Climate Change Commission established by Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Setting the benchmark with paid parental leave for dads

ACU is on track to implement a new workplace agreement that will set the benchmark for parental leave provisions in Australia – by including dads as well.

Under the proposed Enterprise Agreement, fathers who nominate themselves as the primary carer will be entitled to 40 weeks leave at 60 per cent pay, provided they have been with the University for at least two years.

This is in addition to the Government’s paid parental leave scheme, which was introduced on 1 January this year.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven, said the new agreement will not only put ACU at the forefront of the education sector, but across the industries.

"We are determined to promote gender equality and continue to attract and retain the very best staff," he said. "This new agreement will allow parents of either gender to elect to be the primary carer, and provide them with the financial support they need."

ACU above world standard in theology research

The quality of research at ACU, especially in theology, has been recognised through the Federal Government’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative.

The ERA initiative shows how Australia’s research efforts compare to the rest of the world, and gave ACU a score of four out of five for the Religion and Religious Studies category – a performance above world standard.

This result puts ACU equal with some of the country’s most prestigious universities, with no other theology provider receiving a higher score.

New Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) appointed

Professor Pauline Nugent, former Dean of Health Sciences and 2009 Victorian Businesswoman of the Year, has been appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

She will have national responsibility for the University’s five faculties, Indigenous education, community engagement and academic matters related to international education.

Professor Nugent has a background in nursing and trained at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. She holds a Master of Education from Monash University and a Bachelor of Applied Science from Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences.

Her scholarly record includes publications, public lectures and conferences in nursing education, rural health, clinical research and health curriculum development as well as public funding of research development and evaluation projects worth more than $5 million.

Professor Nugent was appointed to the inaugural Chair of Nursing Development at Deakin University in 2003, after serving as the Head of School of Nursing since 1997. In 2007, she took up the role of Dean of Health Sciences at ACU, where she facilitated a 37 per cent increase in student load for health sciences, introduced new courses in physiotherapy and paramedicine, and established new research centres and domestic and international partnerships.

Health and wellbeing centre on track

Work is well underway on ACU’s $75 million expansion of its Melbourne Campus in Fitzroy.

The new National Centre for Health and Wellbeing on Young Street, which is aiming for a 6-Star Green Star Energy rating, will comprise lecture theatres and state-of-the-art learning facilities, as well as a gymnasium, bookshop, chapel, student centre and rooftop garden.

The nine-storey development will incorporate a range of environmentally sustainable initiatives including active mass cooling concrete slabs, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water heating panels and wind turbines.

The centre will enable the University to graduate an additional 500 students a year in nursing, paramedicine, midwifery, exercise science, occupational therapy, psychology and public health – as well as greatly increase research capacity in those areas.

The project is due for completion by May 2012.

A look to the future

Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven last month announced the launch of the University’s Strategic Plan 2012-2014 project – which will involve a series of consultations with staff in the lead-up to the release of the new Strategic Plan in January 2012.

"The past two years have been a time of great change for ACU," he said.

"The University has grown from a relatively small institution to a university of substantial size and activity, with new faculties and courses and a renewed focus on our research profile.

"It is important that in this process of renewing our Strategic Plan we do not lose sight of what it is that defines us – our complexity; our uniqueness; our national character; and our deep concern for ethics, the dignity of the human person, equity and social justice."

ACU staff can stay up-to-date by visiting www.acu.edu.au/StrategicPlan2012-2014

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