Maxine has been a driving force behind a variety of initiatives that support students to find their feet in their studies and thrive in their entrepreneurial endeavours.
One of the first things Maxine set about creating was the alternative non-ATAR early entry pathway program called Passion for Business.
Maxine said she was inspired to design the program after fielding calls from distressed high school students and their families: “These are often talented students with aspirations, but something has gone wrong in their final year of school - they have experienced hardship.”
“I remember one grandmother telling me her granddaughter had been unable to achieve the desired marks in Year 12, as her mother had sadly passed away at that time. The young woman wanted to be a social entrepreneur, and as her mother had a disability, she had an interest in that area.”
These circumstances drove Maxine to work collaboratively across a variety of ACU areas to create a program that offered applicants another chance and support to ease their transition to tertiary study.
“The application process assesses the applicant’s passion for the discipline, not only their high school marks,” Maxine said.
Maxine said the young woman was successful in gaining early entry via Passion for Business and has since thrived in her studies, which has included an international study tour to Malaysia.
Maxine has used her teaching and industry networking skills to benefit many students in her role of National Lecturer in Charge of the International Field Experience unit, the July school business unit and Professional Experience units. She successfully acquired funding grants to create an industry-rich immersive experience for international students. She has approached a number of organisations to arrange on-site visits and presentations - including CISCO, Coca-Cola, North Sydney Council and the NSW Business Association.
“With the July school based in Sydney, I wanted to create a truly experiential industry tour with a focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and globalisation, where the students could get out there amongst real businesses. All they needed is an open mind, some comfy walking shoes and an Opal Card.” she said.
Maxine has strengthened international partnerships for ACU and developed a range of innovative international study tours for all business students. These tours are supported through commonwealth grants such as New Colombo Plan and Endeavour Leadership and have provided trips to explore the Silicon Valley, Brexit, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
As result of Maxine nurturing ongoing industry partnerships, Cisco has also invited female ACU students to participate in their 12-week mentoring program for women in IT, Mentor Me.
“The program has been transformational, I am very grateful to Cisco for helping to equip young women to compete for global jobs. In turn, the Faculty has also secured Cisco representation on the Advisory Board for the Information Technology (IT) programs at ACU.”
In addition, students participate in a wide range of work integrated learning opportunities and competitions thanks to Maxine. These include the University of San Diego’s Global Social Innovation Challenge, which calls on students to develop a solution to a social problem.
“These are the future social entrepreneurs; these are the change-makers,” Maxine said.
One innovative pitch by a group of ACU students aimed to prevent drownings in Australian waters. Part of the problem is that people who drown are often international visitors. ACU students developed a pitch to put a scannable QR code on Australian signage at waterways and beaches to help visitors to access vital safety information in their own language.
“That’s what I enjoy about working at ACU, having that sense of who we are and how we’re shaping the future, not only for our students but for industry and the wider community.” Maxine said.