Exercise Science update

Exercise Science update

The School of Exercise Science has achieved some great accolades in the past six months, with outstanding contributions from staff in industry, research and teaching.

High performance sports experts

Dr David Opar, Professor Justin Kemp and Dr Stuart Cormack were awarded the 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Postgraduate Teaching Excellence Award

Olympic success

The school of exercise science assisted Malaysian track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang to a historic bronze medal in the recent Summer Olympics in Rio. The team was led by Dr Stuart Cormack, with the support of ACU lecturer and PhD candidate Paul Tofari, bringing decades of experience in high performance sport at AFL and Olympic level. From a nutrition perspective, experienced Performance Dietitian and ACU PhD candidate Benita Lalor worked alongside Jill Leckey from the ACU’s Centre for Exercise and Nutrition, providing detailed dietary planning that included training and race day nutrition strategies. The team was also responsible for mentoring the coaching staff involved in Azizulhasni ‘s preparation for Rio. Read more about this story >

We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate students in the School of Exercise Science that represented Australia at the Olympic games, Olympian Annabel Smith in Diving and Paralympian Ellie Cole in Swimming.


Research success

Dr Dave Opar was the winner of the ACU Finals for his Five Minute Research Pitch ‘Hamstrung’ and will be heading to the Nationals Finals on the Gold Coast in late November as the ACU representative. He has also received 50K funding from the ACURF to further his research in ‘The time course of recovery of hamstring strength throughout ACL injury rehabilitation’.

Alongside our staff contributions, students have had a great impact within their disciplines and continue to seize opportunities. Frances Taylor, after recently completing her Honours is looking to continue her cardiovascular research next year with Professor Simon Stewart from the Mary Mackillop Institute. PhD candidates Jack Hickey, Danielle Gescheit and Joshua Ruddy were shortlisted for recent Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) awards. Whilst PhD candidate Chris Swain has been awarded an Endeavour Research Fellowship and will be spending six months with the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in New York. The Harkness Center for Dance Injuries is a part of New York University’s Langone Medical Center, and this will extend Chris’s research into the epidemiology and biomechanics of low back pain in dancers.


Learning and teaching success

Mr Anthony Whitty has been awarded with the Australian Award for University Teaching (previously known as the OLT award) for 2016 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. Anthony’s citation was in ‘creating an authentic learning experience that integrates scientific principles and professional experiences to enhance the employability of Exercise Science graduates.’ In addition Professor Justin Kemp, Dr Stuart Cormack and Dr David Opar were awarded the 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Postgraduate Teaching Excellence Award for their implementation of and innovation in the delivery of the Master of High Performance Sport, aligning with ACU’s Postgraduate Strategy.


Community engagement success

Kicking Goals Together (KGT) was awarded the 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Community Engagement. KGT was established by Dr Matthew Pink, Lecturer, School of Exercise Science and Health, Sport and Well-Being, ACU, Brisbane, in collaboration with the MDA, and the Rohingya Young Stars, a local football team of youth from refugee migrant backgrounds.

The program is a sport and job-readiness education engagement for Brisbane youth from refugee and migrant backgrounds. The key objective of the program is to assist these young people to participate in Australian society, which is achieved by welcoming the community to the Banyo campus every week to participate in a game of Futsal followed by a session of Skill-up.

<< Back to Issue 9