ACU academics were honoured for important contributions to social change in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Greg Craven congratulated Professor Susan Dann and Professor Shurlee Swain for the awards that acknowledge their contributions to the community.
“We are enormously proud of the ACU staff who are committed to providing better outcomes for their students, their colleagues, the University and the community at large. Through their specific areas of expertise, Professor Dann and Professor Swain’s work has significant impacts on the lives of others.”
Professor Susan Dann was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to business education through commercial marketing techniques to deliver positive social outcomes.
Professor Dann is National Head of the Peter Faber Business School at Australian Catholic University, where she has worked since 2010.
The award recognises the valuable contribution she has made through driving the adoption of social marketing campaigns such as those opposing drink-driving, smoking and domestic.
Social marketing uses techniques such as consumer research, emotional appeals and social norms to promote health, raise awareness and induce changes in behaviour. Professor Dann said social marketing was initially controversial because it involved being more sympathetic to those engaged in undesirable behaviour.
A campaign against domestic violence, for example, focused on how a perpetrator might feel about their children seeing the violence, rather than on the suffering of the victim.
“That campaign was successful because it looked at it from the perpetrators’ point of view. If you are going to change people’s behaviour you have to think about what matters to them. The perpetrator might not care what happens to the victim but they might care about what happens to their children.”
It’s now standard practice for social marketing to be part of social change campaigns. Workplace safety campaigns portray the family waiting for the worker who never comes, rather than showing the classic hard hats and hi-vis vests. Domestic violence campaigns trade on the disapproval of mates. An anti-drink-driving campaign focuses on the social shame of a father unable to drive his daughter to netball practice.
Professor Dann was the Foundation President of Australian Association for Social Marketing as the Foundation President and the Foundation Director of the International Social Marketing Association.
Professor Shurlee Swain was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to education, particularly through comparative social history, as an academic, author, and researcher, and to the community.
Emeritus Professor Swain has been associated with ACU since 1991, first as a lecturer and then as Professor of Humanities.
She is the author of three reports for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: History of Child Protection Legislation; History of Institutions providing Out-of-Home Residential Care for Children; and History of Australian inquiries reviewing institutions providing care for children.
She is also joint guest Editor of the current special edition of the Journal of Australian Studies covering the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Professor Swain has published extensively on family and child support issues. Her books include Born in Hope: the early years of the Family Court of Australia; Confronting Cruelty, Constructing the Good Christian Woman, and Separate Spaces: Mapping the Melbourne of the Single Mother.
She is a Fellow of both the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Academy of the Humanities in Australia.