ACU Update is produced fortnightly for staff, students and friends of Australian Catholic University (ACU). To submit a news article or event, please email editor@acu.edu.au or call 02 9739 2514.

Five-star performance in Good Universities Guide

ACU has once again achieved a number of coveted ‘five-star’ performance ratings in the recently released 2008 edition of The Good Universities Guide.

Each of ACU’s six campuses achieved five-star ratings in an impressive four categories, building on similar achievements in previous years.

“I am particularly pleased that this year’s Guide not only recognises ACU’s supportive and nurturing learning environment, but also the University’s ability to produce graduates of the highest order: graduates who think critically, are guided by social justice principles and are highly sought after in the job market,” said ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO.

ACU’s NSW and ACT campuses – the North Sydney Campus (MacKillop), Strathfield Campus (Mount St Mary) and Canberra Campus (Signadou) – were given five stars for Entry Flexibility, Graduate Employment, Positive Graduate Outcomes and Staff Qualifications.

The Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s) and Ballarat Campus (Aquinas) in Victoria achieved five stars for Entry Flexibility, Graduate Employment, Student-Staff Ratio and Positive Graduate Outcomes.

The Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo) was given five stars for Graduate Employment, Indigenous Participation, Positive Graduate Outcomes and Staff Qualifications.

Ratings in The Good Universities Guide are based on information obtained from the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training and comments from our graduates (Graduate Destinations Surveys). The Guide is independent of universities and government.

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Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics winner announced

Dr Catriona Mackenzie has been awarded the 2007 Australian Catholic University Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics, valued at $10,000.

Dr Mackenzie, from Macquarie University in Sydney, is the sixth annual winner of the prize. Her work, Relational Autonomy and Moral Imagination, explores the concept of individualism and its effect on the wellbeing of society as a whole.

“In winning this award, Dr Mackenzie has joined an eminent group of researchers who have not only contributed to the development of improved ethical standards in Australia, but also captured the spirit of ACU’s own social justice and ethics mission through their research,” said ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO.

Dr Mackenzie’s work presents an alternative approach to autonomy – a person’s ability to make independent choices – that considers the effect such choices have on the lives of others. Her work argues that autonomy is “morally flawed” if it fails to consider social justice and equality.

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Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO (left) with Dr Catriona Mackenzie

Shadow minister visits North Sydney

ACU's North Sydney Campus recently hosted a visit from Stephen Smith MP, Commonwealth Shadow Minister for Education and Training.

Mr Smith met with members of the University Executive and discussed issues relevant to higher education, including aspects of the Opposition’s education policies.

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO welcomed the opportunity to share more information with the shadow minister about how ACU operates as Australia’s only public Catholic university, open to all.


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Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO with Shadow Minister for Education and Training Stephen Smith MP

Dr Yapko speaks on depression

Visiting US psychologist Dr Michael Yapko embarked on the Melbourne leg of his Australian trip this week, taking in a number of media and speaking engagements.

On Monday morning, Dr Yapko was a special guest on Neil Mitchell's radio program on local station 3AW, speaking about the proliferation of depression in Australia.

On Wednesday evening, he presented his Psychological Underpinnings of Depression lecture to a packed house at the Melbourne Campus's Christ Lecture Theatre.

Dr Yapko's lecture series continues; for more information, visit his page on the ACU website http://www.acu.edu.au/acu_national/schools/psychology/news_events/Dr_Yapko_Visit

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Dr Michael Yapko PhD

Make Poverty History banner

Staff and students from the University’s Strathfield and Melbourne campuses recently completed “Make Poverty History” banners, which are being sent to Oxfam to form part of a Guinness Book of Records “world’s longest banner” attempt.

The banners have been created to help politicians understand that structural changes are needed to address poverty.

Technology Lecturer Louise Duvernet from the Strathfield Campus and her textiles students have been thanked by those involved for their work “transforming our little patches of calico into beautiful works of art”.


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Technology Lecturer Louise Duvernet with a banner created by Strathfield students

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Students celebrate the completion of the Strathfield and Melbourne banners

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Students at Strathfield Campus

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The Mission Engagement Team at Strathfield with one of the banners

Nominations open for 2007 Margaret Balint Award

Nominations are open for the 2007 Margaret Balint Award for
Service to the University.

The award honours the late Margaret Balint, highly respected for her contributions to education throughout her long career at the Sydney campuses.

All staff in NSW are eligible for the award. For further details, including the criteria, please email cynthia.donald@acu.edu.au

Nominations should reach Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) Professor Peter Wilson by Friday 28 September 2007.

Shanghai visitors view online learning

A delegation of teachers from Shanghai TV University has visited the North Sydney Campus to learn more about distance education and online learning.

The 18-person group, led by Associate Professor Warwick Wilson from Sydney College of Divinity, were in Australia for a five-day distance education and online learning course at North Sydney Institute of TAFE.

Their visit to ACU took in the University's approach to online learning, a 'real world' example of the distance education model.

Focus on ACU’s libraries

National Libraries Director Mr Chris Sheargold was recently awarded a Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.

“From the outset our aim has been to provide the same level of service, collections and facilities to each student, regardless of their geographic location and we have, more recently, extended this aim to fully online students,” said Mr Sheargold, who has been with ACU and its predecessor colleges for 27 years.

When the University began operations in 1991, the various libraries were already sharing a catalogue and data through UNILINC, but it was another five years before they were formally transformed into a single national unit.

Libraries on all campuses have been upgraded and the collections improved, especially through the provision of extensive electronic resources. The latest Rodski library survey showed significant improvements in client satisfaction and rated ACU’s libraries strongly against others in the tertiary sector.

“Our libraries have gone from being repositories of print material to becoming learning hubs and collaborative working spaces that provide gateways to an incredible range of resources,” he said. “We provide the best of both worlds. We have a strong focus on the student as our client, serving them face to face at a local level while still offering the broad resources of a national university.”


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Carrick national award winner Mr Chris Sheargold in the Ballarat Campus library

ACU radio jingle competition

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Students are invited to create a 20-30 second radio commercial for the University’s new radio station, ACU Wired.

Entries will be judged according to how the recording reflects the University’s Mission, based on a 300-word explanation; the quality, including the mix of sound effects, instruments, rhythms and “vox”; and “appeal”, including how “exciting, catchy and memorable” judges find each entry to be.

The winning entry will be used as the opening credit on “Wired” throughout the day. The prize is a $100 Coles/Myers voucher.

Entries, including name, contact details, course and student number should be emailed to Student Senator Teresa Georges at student.senator@mackillop.acu.edu.au by Friday 7 September 2007. Visit http://www.acu.edu.au/student_life/acu_radio for more information.

Awards for 25 years of service

Awards for 25 years of service to the University and its predecessor colleges were presented recently by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to School of Theology Lecturer Dr Mary Sheather at the Canberra Campus, and to School of Theology Professor Robert Gascoigne at the Strathfield Campus.

In Canberra, tributes recognising Dr Sheather’s many contributions to theology, to teaching and to campus life were made by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Professor Gabrielle McMullen, Canberra Campus Rector Professor Peter Camilleri, Faculty Dean Professor Gail Crossley and School of Theology Acting Head Dr Patrick McArdle.

At Strathfield, Professor Gascoigne was joined by his wife and colleagues for morning tea. Institute of Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education Director Professor Neil Ormerod and Professor Crossley spoke of Professor Gascoigne’s record of scholarship and leadership in theology.

Award for collaborative research into the importance of qualifications

School of Education (Vic) Associate Professor Joseph Zajda has been awarded $82,500 to conduct a research project on The Importance of Qualifications—Credentialism in the 21st Century. “This is Department of Education Science and Training category competitive grant, awarded by the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Arts and Eidos Queensland,” Associate Professor Zajda said.

Team members include Associate Professor Zajda and Professor Philip Clarkson of the School of Education (Vic), and Faculty of Education Research, Research Training and Partnerships Associate Dean Associate Professor Elizabeth Warren, along with Queensland University of Technology Professor Carmel Diezman.

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Zajda has been invited by the UNESCO Institute of Education to join the board of consulting editors for their internationally acclaimed refereed journal International Review of Education, the oldest scholarly journal in the areas of international education and comparative education research in the world, circulating in some 200 countries.

Rare performance by international organist

Internationally acclaimed US concert organist J David Hart recently performed at the Melbourne Campus. He discussed the organ’s capabilities with students, and well as demonstrated them.

This performance, sponsored by Bernie’s Music Land at Ringwood, is part of ACU's free Lunchtime Concert Series.

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J David Hart (seated) with music students Keaton Cloherty (left), Jessica Reidy, Bronwyn Dean, Paige Burney and Thomas Daddow.

Grant to assist Indigenous students’ education

The Department of Education, Science and Training has awarded ACU funding for a project on Enabling Home School Transition: Using Indigenous Students’ Oral Language as the Foundation for Literacy and Numeracy Learning and Teaching.

Faculty of Education Research, Research Training and Partnerships Associate Dean Associate Professor Elizabeth Warren and Mathematics Literacy Education Research Flagship Senior Lecturer Dr Janelle Young have received $87,460 over 20 months to extend their research into literacy and numeracy.

Their current research involves the Flagship, Cairns Diocese and Independent Schools Queensland. The new funding will allow a Catholic primary school on Thursday Island and a public school at Yarrabah to become involved in the study.

Focus on eating disorders in the school setting

Understanding and Managing Eating Disorders in the School Setting, a paper by postgraduate psychology student Bridie Hellings and Senior Lecturer in Psychology Dr Terry Bowles has been published in the latest edition of the Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling, volume 17, number 1, 2007.

The article covers key issues associated with eating disorders. In particular the clinical eating disorders of anorexia nervosa and bulimia are explored. Among the topics covered are: how classrooms are affected, how to help a student suffering from an eating disorder, school-based prevention, and future directions.

Information session on international student visas

Representatives from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will visit the Melbourne Campus on Friday 31 August to give a staff presentation on issues relating to student visas and the new National Code. The session, including question time, will be held in Room 2.81 from 10am to 11am.

Staff planning to attend are asked to email International Student Advisor Mr John Crowder at john.crowder@acu.edu.au

World University Games representatives return

ACU exercise science students from the Melbourne Campus have returned from the 2007 World University Summer Games (WUSG), held recently in Bangkok, Thailand.

Sarah Katsoulis achieved silver medals in the 100-metre and 50-metrebreast-stroke races and was a finalist in the 200-metre breast stroke event.
Grant Nel was a finalist in the 3-metre synchronised springboard event and a semi-finalist in the 3-metre springboard event.

Chelsea Carpenter battled illness throughout the tournament but placed well throughout the heats of breast stroke and the individual medley.

For more information on the games, visit http://www.fisu.tv/su2/ban.html

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ACU students were among competitors at the World University Summer Games

Collaborative education symposium

The Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) NSW is hosting a symposium, “Mapping the Territory”, at the Conference Centre at the UWS Hawkesbury Campus in Richmond on Thursday 6 September.

Registration is $50. The symposium will feature showcases of effective teaching models and best practice in cooperative education, guest speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.

For more information, visit http://www.swin.edu.au/hosting/acen/index.php

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Upcoming Events

Details on these and other upcoming events can be found at www.acu.edu.au/events

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