Cat-like appeal

A message from the Associate Vice-Chancellor Queensland Professor Jim Nyland.

Earlier this month the ACU Brisbane community celebrated its annual ‘Blessing of the Animals’ to mark the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, with a record turn-out of many different species including much-loved cats brought in by many campus colleagues.

Given the strikingly ‘feline’ exterior of the new Gaudete Centre in the signature Mercy Building on the McAuley at Banyo Campus, it may be that this venue becomes the new location for future animal blessings?

That said, I suspect the attendance of police horses who feature as the headline attraction may well be a step too far for the powers that be (namely, Renee and Simone), not to mention the carpet cleaners.  Notwithstanding this missed business opportunity, the Gaudete Centre is already proving to be a critically important space in supporting the University’s mission to engage with our strategic external partners.

Black and white photo of the Mercy Building.

Leading principals and politicians, including the Principal of Nudgee College and the Queensland State Minister for Health, are now flocking to the Brisbane Campus with their executive teams to run a series of professional development workshops in this fabulous space.

Earlier this week I attended an engagement breakfast in the centre with the Australian Ambassador to Italy, Dr Greg French, who took time out to serenade those of us present (including Pro Vice-Chancellor International Mr Chris Riley) with a brilliant rendition of “I Am Australian” performed as a duet with one of our amazing business graduates, Geoffrey Fabila. Enjoy this original performance with guitar and didgeridoo. As an old Seekers classic this popular Australian song has been performed many times however never in Italian…until now! You can watch a video of the performance on Workplace.

Photo of Dr Greg French and Geoffrey Fabila performing 'I am Australian'.

Another fabulous space that helps ACU Brisbane to have real impact on the communities it serves is the Leadership Centre in the Brisbane CBD.  Next week I have the privilege of facilitating the fourth and final Research Dialogue series session on Differentiation to improve all Years 5-9 students’ reading and writing skills. The Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILTSE) has partnered with the State Schools Division (Queensland Department of Education), in hosting a series of four panels leading to a think tank in November 2018 on school improvement related to the teaching and monitoring of years 5-9 students’ reading and writing skills. ILSTE are leading the country in this area and these important sessions, which attract audiences of 100+ senior professionals from across Queensland, are hosted in our CBD campus facility in Cathedral precinct.

Anyway, back to those cats and horses…next month the Gaudete Centre will host the Engagement Australia Symposium on the 23 November with an impressive line-up of university engagement leaders, including our own Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement Professor Sandra Jones.  This event will launch the Australian Carnegie Engagement Classification pilot project involving 10 Australian universities that will be piloting a best practice inventory tool for community engagement.  It will also launch the new edition of the journal Transform: the journal of Engaged Scholarship. I hope some of you will be able to join me for this national Higher Education event? Please see the details below.

Image of Engaged Universities promotional banner.

My thanks to all those involved in contributing to, and managing these high profile engagement events and spaces which enable ACU Brisbane to continue to support our key stakeholders locally, nationally and globally, as well as impress the Higher Education sector more broadly as one of Australia’s most engaged university campuses.

Thank you.


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