Staff spotlight: Unique charm of Canberra

Published: Monday 26th October 2015

Danielle Leahy says her role as an executive officer to Canberra Campus dean follows the normal job description however there was one aspect of the job she values and enjoys more than any other.

“This is fostering, enhancing and supporting the socially cohesive nature that is inherent in the fabric of the Canberra Campus,” Danielle said.

Danielle started at ACU as Team Leader of the Student Centre on the Strathfield campus in 2011, however the following year she and her husband swapped the city life for life on a farm, and for Danielle, a new job on ACU’s Canberra Campus.

“My husband and I decided to leave city living behind and purchased a 100acre property in the small country village of Tarago NSW,” she said.

“During my move I was fortunate enough to be able to transfer to the Canberra Campus, and soon after, I commenced in my current role in the Office of the Campus Dean.”

It is common knowledge amongst most if not all ACU staff that each campus operates in a slightly different way, in ways that work for that specific campus. It is this uniqueness that forms the identity of a campus and the people that work and study on that campus.

“I believe having a strong campus identify allows staff and students to feel like they belong to something greater than just their Faculty or Department, it breaks down perceived barriers and encourages and strengthens a sense of ownership, responsibility and pride for what happens to and on their campus,” Danielle said.

“It is this formation of campus identity that I feel is the cornerstone to what makes a good university campus tick.”

How a campus goes about developing and enhancing their identity is as individual and unique as the campus itself, what works on one may have little or no impact on another.

On the Canberra campus it is social gatherings in the form of morning or afternoon teas, events to welcome new staff, celebrate a peer’s achievements, mark important dates or share in an important milestone that foster and shape the campus’ identity, and I am honoured and privileged to play an integral part in organising and implementing the events that shape our Campus’ identity.

It isn’t necessarily the activities/events themselves that make Canberra campus in my opinion a good university campus, but rather the idea that we have found what it is that engages staff and students on this campus to participate and get involved.

“The heart of any campus should be its students and staff, when they feel happy, respected and included then the campus as a whole benefits.

“At the end of the day once a campus is able to identify what the special something is, the glue or the fabric that holds the campus together, then it will in my opinion become a good university campus without even trying.”