ACU (Australian Catholic University)

ACU Alum

Issue 5, Spring 2013

Faculty round up


Addressing the Sacred Conference 2013

ACU recently welcomed academics and arts practitioners from around Australia to its Addressing the Sacred through Literature and the Arts, a conference exploring the interplay between the arts and the sacred.

The conference, which was held at ACU’s Strathfield Campus in August, featured distinguished keynote speakers including novelist, essayist and winner of the 2012 Patrick White Literary Award, Amanda Lohrey; poet, literary critic and philosopher of religion, Kevin Hart; and artist, curator and art historian, Rosemary Crumlin RSM; and some 40 papers on the sacred in architecture, film, literature, music, theology and the visual arts.

It was the second conference presented by The Sacred in Literature and the Arts (SLA ), a community of interest that includes Australian and international writers, artists, musicians, academics, religious and members of the public.

The conference program included readings by Robert Adamson, Hart, Anthony Lawrence and Lohrey and workshops with Anne Benjamin (Tanka and the Sacred: exploring mystery in miniature), Susan Murphy (The Koan of Planetary Crisis), and Tracey Sanders (The Sacred and the Aesthetic Self: unpacking the sacred through dramatic action).

Hart, Tony Kelly and Angela McCarthy facilitated a postgraduate seminar that encouraged interdisciplinary discussion and networking for researchers in the arts, religion and spirituality.

Two exhibitions were on display at the McGlade Gallery on the Strathfield Campus during the conference: a photographic exhibition, Picturing Compassion, curated by Juno Gemes and Dean Sewell, and an exhibition of woodblock prints by Ethiopian artist Falaka Yimer.

To register interest in future conferences, please contact Dr Elaine Lindsay on


The Faculty of Business has increased its suite of postgraduate courses for 2014, offering new postgraduate study options in Commerce, Supply Chain Management and Information Technology.

Master of Commerce

The Master of Commerce has been designed as a pathway for graduates who wish to pursue career advancement through a postgraduate award, a higher degree by research, or an academic or research career in their chosen field. This program would suit graduates of Business, Commerce, Accounting, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Management, Finance Business Information Systems and other related courses.

Run over two years full-time (or part-time equivalent), the Master of Commerce is available for study in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Students can also look at studying the Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate in Commerce.

Supply Chain Management

The Faculty of Business has also launched programs in Supply Chain Management run entirely online. Ideal for those who already have some knowledge of supply chain concepts and principles, students can select the Graduate Certificate (six months full-time), Graduate Diploma (one year full- time) or the Master of Supply Chain Management (18 months full-time). The programs will teach students to address issues including material and information flows, translating business goals into value chains, and applying advanced project focuses on the key supply chain elements of production, supply, inventory, location, information and performance.

The Master of Information Technology For students looking to achieve more technical competencies,the Master of Information Technology provides communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and technical knowhow to help them advance their career in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Students are given the opportunity to select an area of specialisation and apply appropriate technologies in the analysis and design of business systems. The generic skills and foundation knowledge in ICT provide graduates with the flexibility required to develop careers in rapidly changing systems environments. The Information Technology programs are also available in Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma study options. For more information postgraduate course offerings visit Business' postgraduate website


The Faculty of Education is holding workshops and professional development sessions for new and experienced teachers at different stages of their career.

Higher Degree by Research weekend workshops

The Faculty of Education will hold its bi-annual Higher Degree by Research (HDR) weekend workshops in September. Held across the Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Strathfield campuses, the workshops will provide prospective and current students with opportunities to engage and network with other members of ACU’s vibrant research community.

The workshops will cover key topics including writing literature reviews, presentation skills and planning research, and research ethics. Current HDR students will present their research “work-in-progress” reports and share their knowledge with prospective students and other researchers. Leanne King, second year Doctor of Education student, said she found the workshops extremely useful.

“I thought I was not ready, but presenting my work-in-progress during the HDR session highlighted to me that I was on track. It helps tremendously to hear about other research methodologies which are being utilised and the writing information sessions were specifically useful as I start writing my research.”

“The HDR sessions are also an opportunity to network with other students and staff in the Faculty. It is encouraging to know that the staff are forthcoming with valuable advice.”

Information sessions on course offerings for students who want to enrol in a research degree will also be run at the event. Prospective students will be able to meet supervisors, discuss research ideas and gain an understanding of life as an HDR student.

Campus Dates

  • Ballarat 21 September
  • Brisbane 18-19 October
  • Canberra 14 September
  • Melbourne 21 September
  • Strathfield 21 September

For more information or to register visit the event website.

Professional Development for Teachers

New and experienced teachers can now enrol to gain invaluable professional development and training in the area of behaviour management in classrooms.

The Faculty of Education will present a one-day professional development program on Managing Challenging Behaviours: Enabling Teachers to Cater for the Diversity of Needs in an Inclusive Classroom.The workshop will focus on Interactive Management and Building Respect and Responsibility.

Teacher–student interaction specialist, Jenny Mackay, will present this highly practical workshop at ACU’s Canberra campus on 26 October 2013. For more information or to register, visit the event website


New Postgraduate Courses in Mental Health

In 2014 ACU’s Faculty of Health Sciences will be offering three new postgraduate courses in mental health;

  • Master of Mental Health (Allied Health) and (Nursing)*
  • Graduate Diploma in Mental Health (Allied Health) and (Nursing)*
  • Graduate Certificate in Mental Health (Allied Health) and (Nursing)*

Current mental health postgraduate programs in Australia focus on either the Acute Mental Health Care setting or are generic courses. ACU’s Master of Mental Health (Allied Heath) and (Nursing) has been developed as a course specifically for clinicians entering into the specialist area of Mental Health and aims to develop knowledge and skills in graduates at a specialist and advanced level.

The primary aim of the course is to provide these clinicians with appropriate knowledge and skills to work across a range of mental health settings including acute care, community mental health and psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery services.

In the current period of mental health service provision reform, there has been a shift in focus from acute inpatient treatment to that of recovery-oriented practice. With this change in focus comes recognition that the workforce requires professional development opportunities to keep pace with such change.

The Master of Mental Health (and embedded Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate) will provide opportunities for the workforce, particularly those engaged in psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery-focused services, to build the required knowledge, skills and competencies. This will better equip them to respond to the needs of consumers.

The course is ideal for new graduates of nursing and/or allied health and for those working in mental health but who  have no formal postgraduate mental health qualifications. As a postgraduate qualification is a requirement for employment beyond entry level in the mental health setting and for credentialing as a mental health nurse, nurses undertaking their graduate year are encouraged to pursue a Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health. Examples of potential career options include:

  • Clinician
  • Case manager/worker
  • Team Leader
  • Service Manager
  • Triage Manager
  • Psychiatric Consultation & Liaison Nurse

The course structure involves carefully designed coursework units with embedded research-led teaching, delivering evidence-based knowledge and practice for immediate application/ translation in the workplace. It offers a coursework or thesis pathway. ACU domestic alumni are eligible for a 10 per cent discount in postgraduate studies if they enrol in any of these courses. For further information visit the Health Science's postgraduate courses website ( au/courses/2013/postgraduate/health) or email

*Subject to final approval. 


ACU welcomed the inaugural class of law students to the Melbourne Campus this year, and will launch the law program at the North Sydney Campus in 2014.

Executive Dean Professor Brian Fitzgerald  believes that by offering the Bachelor of Laws and dual law programs in both Melbourne and North Sydney campuses ACU will strengthen the reputation of the new programs specifically developed for 21st century legal practice.

"Our aim is to offer students a highly personalised and supportive learning environment. We will strive to provide them with a solid knowledge of the law as well as an understanding of the needs of our wider community, equipping students to build a fulfilling career in an increasingly dynamic global environment," he said.

"ACU’s Law degree and dual degrees have a practical focus delivered in the context of the core values underpinning the University, including social justice, human dignity and respect, ethical practice and the public interest. A unique aspect of all of our law degrees is the requirement for our students to undertake pro bono legal work experience from second year onwards."

Work has started on the North Sydney campus to create a new moot court, law library and Faculty of law office. The new facilities will replicate those which were designed and built on the Melbourne campus for the inaugural cohort of law students.

Our students talk about why they chose to study law at ACU on the View ACU Youtube chanel

Jean-Paul Valjean Rensburg
Bachelor of Global Studies/Bachelor of Laws

“The fact that I get to travel and study overseas made me choose the dual degree. In the future I want to pursue international criminal law, human rights law, the military police or perhaps working for a Non Government Organisations like the International Centre for Transitional Justice.”  


Reverend Joseph Lam PhD is a Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology at ACU’s Strathfield Campus. He tells Amy Bishop about his latest book, Joseph Ratzinger’s Theological Retractations: Pope Benedict on Revelation, Christology and Ecclesiology.

The publication of an academic book, in particular when it deals with great thinkers, such as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is like the birth of a child. It involves love, dedication and sacrifice.

My love for Benedict matures over years. As a young student of theology (in Germany, Rome and Belgium), I was looking out for great lights which can give me not only intellectual satisfaction, but also enlighten the direction of my life. I found them in the person of St. Augustine (354-430) and Benedict XVI who dedicates his entire academic life to the studies of the great African Saint.

Pope Benedict XVI and I share the same passion for Augustine. The way Pope Benedict interprets and transmits the writings of Augustine has always inspired me. Although I have studied the writings of Joseph Ratzinger as a young student, it was the crucial year 2005 (Ratzinger was elected Pope in April 2005) which encourages me to focus wholly on him. In 2009 I published my first book on Ratzinger in German and as a result, I was invited to the Vatican to meet Pope Benedict.

In a sentence, can you explain what your current book is about?

My book summarises critically the great theological heritage of a theologian Pope. It deals with the most central and concrete topics of Christian theology, such as Revelation, Jesus Christ and the Church.

What book are you reading at the moment?

As theologian and priest I always try to read as global as possible. Next to theological books, I am currently reading a historical novel called Sanctus. On my desk are also various books on psychology, neuroscience and economics. However, I have also now started to read about iconic features of the Australian culture, such as the history of rugby league (I am a supporter of Manly).

What has been the most significant development in your field since starting your career?

Modern science has progressed at a pace which only reflects the rapid change of our life. At the same time, theology needs to engage in a dialogue with it. The main question: How can I digest so many views in a short time? How can I incorporate the insights into theological teaching? This integration of science is part of the Catholic intellectual tradition which is also crucial for the identity of the ACU. 

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