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Campus Life gets USA intern

American university graduate Katie Seamands has completed a two-month internship with the Campus Life office at ACU’s Melbourne Campus.

Katie with Geraldine Butler and Campus Life Officer James Wood.Katie with Geraldine Butler and Campus Life Officer James Wood.

Katie works in the Office of Campus Activities at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Ohio, and completed the summer internship as part of a Masters in Higher Education Administration.

She specifically explored the difference between campus life activities at residential colleges in the United States, and the education experience at Australian tertiary institutions – by visiting universities in Melbourne and playing a major role in ACU university events.

Katie’s supervisor, Campus Life Coordinator Geraldine Butler, praised her enthusiasm and diligence during the internship.

“Katie has gathered helpful data concerning the first year experience and transition and retention in Melbourne universities,” she said. “She has also been a cheerful contributor to all student events such as The Big Event, Southern University Games, and midyear orientation.”

MacKillop Cross at ACU

The MacKillop Cross is on a national tour and will soon arrive at Australian Catholic University (ACU).

Organised by the Knights of the Southern Cross on behalf of the Sisters of St Joseph, the cross has travelled through each Australian state and territory in honour of Australia’s first saint, Blessed Mary MacKillop.

Two crosses were fashioned from timber in the floor of the first Woods/MacKillop school-house in Penola. One of these crosses was presented to Pope John Paul II in 1986 as a gift from the Archdiocese of Sydney. The second was for St Mary's Cathedral and was used during the 1995 beatification ceremonies.

In 2009 the Cathedral’s cross was presented to the Sisters of St Joseph at Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, North Sydney.

The cross will return to Sydney in time for nationwide canonisation celebrations on October 17, 2010.

Ballarat Campus redevelopments

The Ballarat Campus recently celebrated the renaming of a building in honour of the Mercy Sisters contribution to higher education, and the redevelopment of a new lecture theatre - the Connors Centre.

Bishop Peter Connors, Campus Operations Manager Martin Hill, Profesor Greg Craven, and Associate Professor Joe Fleming.Bishop Peter Connors, Campus Operations Manager Martin Hill, Professor Greg Craven, and Associate Professor Joe Fleming.

Bishop Peter Connors formally blessed the facilities in a prayer service attended by friends and staff of the university.

Associate Professor Joe Fleming, Ballarat Campus Dean, said the facilities blessed by Bishop Connors would be of ongoing benefit to the students and staff of Aquinas Campus.

“Indeed the Connors Centre will become a venue for many activities both within the university and within the broader community,” he said.

Campus Operations Manager Martin Hill said these were just some of the many improvements made to the Ballarat Campus over the past 18 months.

“Rooms have been remodelled and redeveloped to allow more practical use of space for students,” he said. “The conversion of the gymnasium into a state-of-the-art lecture theatre seating up to 240 students has also been a major step forward for the campus.”

Conference explores Catholic educational leadership

The fifth International Conference on Catholic Educational Leadership was held recently in Sydney.

The conference is held every two or three years and deals with educational leadership in the fourth largest education system in Australia - representing 1693 schools and 677,659 students.

Presenters included Indigenous leader Patrick Dodson and Phil Glendenning, director of the Edmund Rice Centre.

Associate Professor Michael Bezzina, conference Chair and Head of ACU’s School of Educational Leadership, said the conference was tailored to the needs and interests of Catholic educational leaders in schools, systems and networks of religious schools.

“It provided opportunities to hear some of the foremost thinkers in the field, and to interact with colleagues from right across Australia and internationally,” he said.

The Australian Catholic Superannuation and Retirement Fund was the Gold Sponsor of the conference.

Bridging cultural and religious difference

ACU’s Ballarat Campus recently hosted the group Sobat - Christian and Muslim religious leaders from Indonesia - for an evening workshop entitled Experience of God as Mystery.

SobatMembers of the Sobat group at Ballarat.

Invited to the region by the Ballarat Uniting Church Inter-Faith Program, the visit was aimed at fostering friendships and building relationships between Indonesians and Australians, Christians and Muslims.

Dr Richard Wade, Assistant Head of the School of Theology at ACU, said it was remarkable to be part of a group of Christians and Muslims struggling to articulate their experiences and beliefs, across cultures and religious traditions.

“It was an interesting, inspiring and spiritual experience,” he said.

Inaugural ACU Learning and Teaching Conference

More than 150 delegates met to promote and celebrate learning and teaching at ACU at the University’s inaugural learning and teaching conference in Sydney recently.

The keynote speaker, Professor Sally Kift, is Professor of Law at QUT and a leading Australian expert in First Year Experience. She challenged participants to embrace mediating first year through the curriculum as a key strategy, delivered via professional and academic partnerships that transcend the silos of academic, administrative and support areas.

Delegates selected from a wide range of workshops covering online learning, educational leadership, harnessing academic skills, pastoral support for students, and innovative approaches to teaching and library services in the 21st century.

The conference fostered cross-faculty and cross-campus networking around learning and teaching with colleagues from all faculties, campuses and career stages participating, as well as professional staff who support academics and students in their learning and teaching.

The conference, sponsored by the Learning and Teaching Centre, sought to support ACU staff in providing students with contemporary pedagogy including online learning and in contributing to continuous improvement in the quality of learning and teaching at ACU.