ACU (Australian Catholic University)


Issue 6, Spring 2012


Law approved for ACU

The new Bachelor of Laws at ACU has been approved by the Victorian Council of Legal Education – chaired by Chief Justice Marilyn Warren of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Foundation Executive Dean of Law at ACU, said he was delighted the University had received accreditation, making graduates eligible to practice.

“Professional recognition is an important milestone in the development of the Faculty,” he said. “The ACU law program is designed to provide a personalised learning environment in which students can learn about current issues of commercial practice with a global and ethical perspective.”

ACU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven, said that as a constitutional lawyer he was thrilled to lead the University in adding a law program to its suite of offerings.

“The four-year degree will be unique in that it will draw upon the experience of prestigious Catholic law schools around the world,” he said.

“I look forward to seeing ACU produce a generation of legal professionals equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle the demands of 21st century practice – and the sense of ethics needed to put their skills to good use.”

The Bachelor of Laws will commence at ACU’s Melbourne Campus in 2013, and at the North Sydney Campus in 2014.

Indigenous elder earns University's highest honour 

Respected Indigenous Elder Aunty Joan Hendriks has been awarded ACU’s highest honour, Doctor of the University.

A Ngugi woman of one of the three clan groups of the Quandamooka People of Moreton Bay, she received the award for her contribution as an Indigenous Elder and educator in the field of Aboriginal education, reconciliation and justice for Indigenous Australian peoples.

Aunty Joan has assisted with programs in Indigenous adult vocational education for more than 23 years. As an Elder in the Murri Court at Cleveland she has greatly contributed to the understanding of issues and concerns within the Indigenous community.

Aunty Joan committed 10 years to a reconciliation program with the Churches Together Aboriginal Partnership. In this role she influenced attitudes to create awareness of and preserve Indigenous culture, influence government policy, and work against discrimination to promote reconciliation and justice within the community.

Biblical study honour 

Professor James McLaren has been announced as the join recipient of the 2012 Krister Stendahl Medal in Biblical Studies by the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana, USA.

The Associate Dean of Theology and Philosophy at ACU’s Melbourne Campus received the award in recognition of his ‘outstanding service to the Biblical scholarly community in Australia and around the world for… collaborative and exemplary effort in the editing of the Australian Biblical Review, an international forum for outstanding biblical research and scholarship.’

The citation also recognised Professor McLaren’s outstanding research, writing, and publishing in the field of Biblical Studies.

The Medal is the highest academic distinction awarded by the Foundation, and honours the distinguished career of Krister Stendahl, late Dean of Harvard Divinity School and one of the most influential biblical scholars of the late twentieth century.

Professor McLaren said he was deeply honoured to receive the award.

Top marks for cardiovascular research 

Australian teenagers have many valuable things to say about health issues – but rarely do they get the chance to talk directly with top medical researchers and scientists.

Professor Robert Whitbourn – Director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre (CvRC) in Melbourne – recently took Year Nine student Simran Dhaliwal (both pictured left) under his wing for a day as part of Research Australia’s Youth Ambassador Program.

Simran joined Professor Whitbourn on a ward round at St Vincent’s Hospital, gaining valuable insights into cardiovascular research and clinical treatments.

She also contributed to a communiqué sent to members of parliament, state health ministers and Research Australia stakeholders as ‘the voice of Australian youth on nutrition and health research.’

Simran said shadowing Professor Whitbourn for a day was a great opportunity.

The Cardiovascular Research Centre (CvRC) was established in 2009 as a joint collaboration between St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, ACU and the University of Melbourne.


Dr John Ballard

Dr John Ballard has been appointed Associate Vice-Chancellor (Melbourne) at ACU.

Dr Ballard has more than 20 years’ experience in the health and aged-care industries. He is the recipient of a number of awards including the 2009 CEO of the Year from theAustralian Human Resources Institute. He will replace Emeritus Professor Chris Sheargold who retires after 35 years of outstanding service to ACU and its predecessor colleges.

Julian Leeser

Julian Leeser, executive director of the Menzies Research Centre, has been appointed Director of Government, Policy and Strategy, at ACU.

The 36-year-old lawyer has been head of the Liberal’s think-tank since 2006. After a year as an Associate to High Court Justice Ian Callinan, he practised as a solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques. Julian was special advisor to former Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock and the then Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business Minister Tony Abbott.

Professor Pauline Nugent 

Professor Pauline Nugent, Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Academic), has been appointed to the inaugural position of Provost at ACU.

She will have overall responsibility for the strategic leadership and operational delivery of the University’s academic objectives, and will continue to oversee ACU’s five faculties, Indigenous education, community engagement and academic matters related to international education. 

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