Advances for a new academic year

A message from Executive Dean (Faculty of Education and Arts) Professor Elizabeth Labone:

The Faculty of Education and Arts is very pleased to welcome our new and returning students this week. It is particularly exciting to have our Melbourne staff back on campus. While COVID-19 has presented many challenges, it has also provided the faculty with the context to explore new opportunities for innovation and positive change.

This semester, we commence a new suite of undergraduate teacher education programs including the introduction of these at our new Blacktown Campus. Congratulations to Dr Joanna Winchester on her new role as Deputy Head of Education at that campus.

We are also pleased to commence the Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation) program at the North Sydney Campus. I would like to acknowledge the work of Director Professor Robert Carver and colleagues Dr Kishore Saval and Dr Tyler Paytas in ensuring this program is ready for new students.

Welcomes, farewells and honours

The National School of Education recently welcomed Professor Donna King to the role of National Head of the School of Education, Faculty of Education and Arts. Professor King’s research is in STEM education, and she has been the chief investigator on four ARC grants. Professor King has also received numerous teaching awards and has been deeply engaged with schools both in supporting students in STEM and in the professional development of teachers.

Professor Shukri Sanber will take a well-earned break on long service leave after concluding his term as National Head of Education. I would like to thank Professor Sanber for his leadership of the National School of Education over the past three years. He has been integral to the success of the school and faculty, and I thank him for his thoughtful leadership, his deep commitment to our Catholic identity and mission, and his compassion, integrity and collegiality.

We also farewell Associate Professor Cathy Jenkins who will leave ACU in April. She commenced with the university in 2012 and will be sadly missed by her colleagues and students.

Congratulations to Honorary Professor Dr Anne Benjamin, who received a Papal honour as Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great in recognition of her outstanding service to the Catholic Church. Dr Benjamin and Dr Seamus O’Grady have recently published Not Forgotten: Australian Catholic Educators 1820-2020, and Dr Benjamin and Associate Professor Charles Burford have recently released Leadership in a Synodal Church.

Institute of Learning Science and Teacher Education (ILSTE)

Higher education partners of the Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment (GTPA), an ILSTE initiative, convened at a GTPA Collective Digital Symposium in February. Eighteen universities came together to share, discuss and learn about embedding evidence, evaluative expertise and data characteristics.

I wish to acknowledge a multidisciplinary team in the Institute who have been awarded funding from the Federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment to investigate performance pathways in teacher education. The outcomes will provide the country’s first empirical data on the utility of ATAR as a predictor of success in teacher education.


This will be my last bulletin before I leave on 12 March. During my 20 years at ACU, I have had the privilege of being part of many wonderful initiatives and working with many talented colleagues, students and stakeholders.

I have greatly appreciated the support and commitment of faculty staff and thank the many staff in the directorates who have supported our work. I have valued the distinctive qualities of ACU, which are grounded in our Catholic identity and mission, and have informed and underpinned the work of the faculty.

FEA has a very busy and exciting year ahead and I wish all of you the very best.

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