Celebrating excellence

A message from Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis: Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Awards, Award for Excellence in Teaching and Medal for Excellence. 

These awards are an important acknowledgement of our staff and their contributions to projects and initiatives taking place across our university community.

The ACU Human Library team has been awarded the 2022 Medal for Excellence for their work to bring the ACU mission to life and create impact through empathy. The team recruited, trained and supported 16 'human books' for the inaugural Human Library event at the Brisbane Campus in September 2021. In the Human Library, people – instead of books – are on loan to readers, providing an opportunity for individuals from different backgrounds to connect, talk with and learn from each other in a safe environment. Human Library team members Kelly Dann, Karen Desfontaines, Emma Buntowe, Maria Valastro, Janine Quine, Aaron Cornwall and Dr Isabelle Lys also also received the Vice-Chancellor's Staff Excellence Award for Mission Excellence.

The Vice-Chancellor's Staff Excellence Awards, Award for Excellence in Teaching and Medal for Excellence were presented at a special ceremony held at the Melbourne campus on Monday. I enjoyed meeting the award winners and hearing in person about the impressive work they have been undertaking. Please join me in congratulating them.

Award for Excellence in Teaching

Winner: Senior Lecturer (Education) Dr Amanda Gutierrez for her sustained work in Professional Experience, Work Integrated Learning (WIL) and piloting partnership models to provide the best outcomes for pre-service teachers.

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Vice-Chancellor's Staff Excellence Awards

Mission Excellence and Medal for Excellence

Winner: The ACU Human Library project team in recognition of their effort to bring the ACU mission to life and create impact through empathy.

Team: Senior Library Technician Emma Buntowe, Student Veterans Services Manager Aaron Cornwall, Senior Library Coordinator Kelly Dann, Library Technician Karen Desfontaines, Senior Lecturer (Bioscience) Dr Isabelle Lys, Clemente Australia Program Advisor Janine Quine, Counsellor Maria Valastro

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Service Excellence

Winner: Curriculum Manager Vesna Stefanov for delivering two innovative programs that have enhanced access for pathways students.

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Excellence in Community Engagement

Winner: The Bushfire Recovery Grants working group in recognition of their work to develop several successful funding applications, totalling over $10 million, to enable Cobargo community organisations to support their community to ‘build back better’.

Team: Associate Research Fellow Dr Anh Nguyen Austen, Director, Research Services, Office of DVC Research Associate Professor Michael Baker, Research Fellow Dr Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Senior Research Grants Officer Madeleine Barton, Manager, Research Ethics and Integrity Sebastian Gimenez, Senior Research Grants Officer Martin Kelly, Senior Research Grants Officer Wendy Ng, Deputy Head, School of Behavioural and Health Sciences NSW/North Sydney Dr Jennifer Taylor, Research Executive Advisor Dr Julie Thorpe, David Tran, Legal Counsel Heidi Wolfenden, Professor Alexander Yeung

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Excellence in Student Experience

Winner: The ACU Life project team for launching and managing ACU’s co-curricular student engagement platform.

Team: Manager Sales, Marketing and Communications Sarah Bakic and Program Manager, Co-curricular Payment Systems Radhika Gregory

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Excellence in Research and Research Partnership

Winner: The Australian Principal Health and Wellbeing Research team for their work to improve school principals’ wellbeing.

Team: Research Fellow Dr Geetanjali Basarkod, Deputy Director, Institute for Positive Psychology and Education Dr Theresa Dicke, Senior Research Fellow Associate Professor Jiesi Guo, Mr Timothy Kent, Senior Lecturer, Education Leadership Dr Paul Kidson, Research Project Coordinator Dr HeeRa Ko, Professor Herbert Marsh, Professor Philip Parker, Research Fellow Dr Taren Sanders, Research Project Officer Sioau-mai See

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Spirit of Reconciliation

Winner: The Indigenous Nationals 2022 project team in recognition of their outstanding collaboration that led the ACU Indigenous Nationals student team to victory as the overall national title winners, while demonstrating ACU’s mission and values.

Team: ACU Sport Program Lead Melbourne and Ballarat Ben Groth, Indigenous Student Success Program Project Officer Leanne Long

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Excellence in Stewardship

Winner: The ACU Speech Pathology Speed Sessions team for their work coordinating a free, evidence-based and sustainable professional development program for practising speech pathologists, ACU alumni and students.

Team: Administrative Officer Anita Drakulic, Senior Lecturer (Speech Pathology) Dr Kieran Flanagan, Head of Discipline (Speech Pathology) and Deputy Head (Interim), School of Allied Health NSW Associate Professor Jane McCormack, Senior Lecturer (Speech Pathology) Dr Kerry Ttofari Eecen

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