ACU (Australian Catholic University)

ACU Alum

Issue 4, Autumn 2013


New rural student accommodation

The first of 11 new accommodation facilities for nursing students from ACU and the University of Ballarat (UB) has been opened at East Wimmera Health Service, St Arnaud.

A collaborative initiative by ACU and UB, the Department of Health, and 13 regional health services and organisations of the Grampians region of Victoria – The Grampians Clinical Training (Nursing) Capacity Building Project was formed in 2010 as part of Health Workforce Australia’s Clinical Training Funding program.

The project is focused on building clinical training capacity for undergraduate student nurses in the Grampians region.

Dr Val Goodwin, Associate Head, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, ACU Ballarat said that as enrolments in Bachelor of Nursing programs at ACU and UB grow, there is a need to build additional capacity for clinical placements within Ballarat and to better utilise the regional capacity outside Ballarat.

“Within Ballarat, the demand for clinical placements for undergraduate student nurses has been outstripping capacity, while clinical placement capacity in regional health services outside Ballarat has been under‐utilised,” she said.

The project has also implemented a new model for clinical training which is also anticipated to increase the clinical training capacity for Bachelor of Nursing students in the Grampians region and to increase the utilisation of that capacity.

Health Workforce Australia, as an Australian Government Initiative, is providing $2.8 million in recurrent funding over 2011‐13 and $2.4 million in capital and establishment funding.

By the end of 2013, the combination of these innovations is expected to increase clinical training capacity for student nurses across the Grampians region by 45 per cent and approximately 50 per cent of the increase in clinical training placements will be in rural settings.

Welcome for inaugural education professor

Dr Jim Gleeson has been appointed to the inaugural role of Professor of Identity and Curriculum in Catholic Education at ACU.
Professor Gleeson joins ACU from the University of Limerick, Ireland where he was Director of the Curriculum Evaluation and Policy Research Unit. He was also Course Leader for the Postgraduate Diploma in Education and the Masters in Education Leadership programs.

Dr Gleeson has extensive experience in curriculum development and evaluation. He worked as Project Leader of the SPIRAL 2 project on Transition from Adult to Working Life and as Education Officer for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

Widely published in the area of curriculum policy and development, Dr Gleeson served on the editorial board of Irish Educational Studies for

10 years and was the European representative on the International Journal of Vocational Education and Training editorial board. Dr Gleeson has been actively involved in research and development activities including research supervision and mentoring.

“I am excited to commence this role with ACU as it strengthens its commitment to the Catholic intellectual and social teaching tradition, while nurturing the personal and professional development of current and future teachers and leaders,” said Dr Gleeson.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr Gleeson to ACU in this key role,” said Professor Marie Emmitt, Executive Dean of Education.

“His appointment will enable ACU to take a leadership role to inform curriculum development and identify how curriculum can be shaped, implemented and evaluated from a Catholic perspective.

Michael Kirby launches book

Former Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Honourable Michael Kirby AC, CMG, presented ACU academic, Dr Peter Reddy’s, book launch.

The launch of Peace Operations and Restorative Justice: Groundwork for Post-conflict Regeneration at the Fitzroy Town Hall was followed by a lecture on The Role of the Judge by Mr Kirby.

The book provides a comprehensive survey of peace operations, focusing on the cases of Somalia and Bougainville comparing their societal contexts, their conflicts, peace operations and final outcomes.

With a recommendation of regeneration as key to any restoratively arranged peace operation, Dr Reddy discusses the congruence of crime, armed conflict and violent disorder, critiquing restorative justice as a suitable application to complex civil wars.

“Dr Reddy has described how the theory behind international peace keeping is not dissimilar to the theory behind local peace building,” said Mr Kirby. “This book is about a very important problem in our world and I congratulate Dr Reddy on completing it.”

Executive Dean, Professor Brian Fitzgerald said “it was fantastic to have the Honourable Michael Kirby AC, CMG, visit the new Faculty of Law at ACU and not only launch the book, but meet with our first-year students and staff.”

“The students found his presentation both captivating and interesting. We hope to welcome him back again in the near future.”

Signadou celebrates 50 years

ACU’s Canberra Campus celebrated its golden jubilee in March.

Opened by Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies in 1963, what started out as Signadou Teacher’s College has grown to become a vibrant campus of ACU, offering programs in health sciences, social sciences and theology as well as education.

Former students and staff converged on the nation's capital to celebrate the achievements of the last 50 years.

Events included a symposium with speeches by Father Frank Brennan SJ and Sister Margaret Mary Brown OP, the College’s Foundation Principal, and a gala evening held at Old Parliament House featuring ACU Chancellor General Peter Cosgrove AC MC. The celebrations culminated in Signadou 50th Anniversary Day on March 24.

Campus Dean, Associate Professor Patrick McArdle, said the essence of the College continues to animate the University.

“Education, especially education in a Catholic University enables transformation of individuals, but more so of communities,” he said.

“The last 50 years are a legacy of the empowerment that education can bring to so many."


Dr Stephen Weler

Dr Stephen Weller has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Deputy Vice‐Chancellor (Administration) at Australian Catholic University (ACU).

Dr Weller joins ACU from James Cook University where he was Deputy Vice‐Chancellor (University Services) and Head of the Cairns Campus.

With more than 20 years’ experience in tertiary education across five universities in three states, Dr Weller brings a wealth of experience to ACU. He holds a PhD in Organisational Justice from Victoria University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Technology, Sydney, a Master of Commerce, Employment Relations from the University of Western Sydney, and a Bachelor of Arts, Government and Public Administration from the University of Sydney.

He replaces outgoing COO John Cameron, who is retiring after almost 40 years in higher education administration.

Profesor Claire Wyatt -Smith

Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith has been appointed to the position of Executive Dean, Faculty of Education.

Professor Wyatt-Smith comes to ACU with a distinguished scholarly background and publication track record in education, most recently at Griffith University. Widely recognised for her expertise in education – particularly in regard to literacy and assessment– Professor Wyatt-Smith has attracted substantial national competitive grant funding and government-funded research consultancies. Through research studies and partnerships she has generated new conceptual and applied knowledge that has influenced literacy education assessment and related curriculum policy directions, including provision for students with learning difficulties.

She replaces Professor Marie Emmitt who will be Executive Dean of the Faculty until 2 September 2013. Professor Emmitt will continue as a Professor of the University until 31 December 2014. In this time she will re-engage with her academic discipline of language and literacy education by revising her language and learning textbook. Professor Emmitt will also explore research in Catholic identity and teacher education. 

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