ACU Update is produced fortnightly for staff, students and friends of Australian Catholic University (ACU). To submit a news article or event, please email or call 02 9739 2514.

‘Indifference’ warning sounded by activist Glendenning

More than 190 students from ACU’s Canberra Campus (Signadou) graduated with degrees in education, social work, arts, theology and postgraduate and doctoral studies at Parliament House on 30 March.

Human rights activist Phil Glendenning made headlines in The Canberra Times when he was awarded an honorary doctorate at the graduation ceremony. The article relayed the message in his address to students that too many people opted for lives of “quiet suburban disappointment”, betraying others by ignoring their needs.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO said Mr Glendenning had “shaken the moral compass of Australian society” for his longstanding dedication to improving the lives of poor, Indigenous, politically dispossessed and suffering people both in Australia and worldwide.

Mr Glendenning is Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, a Sydney-based organisation that conducts research into the causes of poverty and inequity in Australia. He is also co-founder and former National President of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation and has worked to alert the Australian and worldwide community to the plight of refugees forcibly expelled from Australia.


Honorary doctorate recipient Phil Glendenning (centre) with his parents, Laurie and Anne.

Jimmy Little and Terry Sullivan honoured at Brisbane graduation

Jimmy Little and Terry Sullivan honoured at Brisbane graduation

More than 600 students will graduate from the Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo) on Wednesday 11 April, in two ceremonies at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Former teacher and Queensland Parliamentarian Terry Sullivan and acclaimed Indigenous singer Jimmy Little will be awarded honorary doctorates, at the Brisbane graduation ceremony.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO has praised Mr Sullivan’s unwavering commitment to social justice throughout his long and varied career in politics, education and community work.

Professor Sheehan commended Jimmy Little for his lasting contribution to Australian culture and his outstanding engagement with the Indigenous and wider Australian community.


Acclaimed Indigenous singer Jimmy Little

Preparing for AUQA quality audit

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Quality and Outreach) Professor John O’Gorman will address staff at each campus about what next years Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) audit of ACU is likely to entail.

“Some of you may recall the University's first quality audit in 2002” Professor O’Gorman said. “There will be some notable differences in the second cycle. These differences, and what we can expect more generally, will be discussed during my campus presentations.”

Presentation details for each campus are as follows:

• Strathfield Campus (Mount Saint Mary) – 12 pm on Tuesday 17 April, Gleeson Auditorium
• Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo) – 12 pm on Tuesday 24 April, Auditorium IB.12
• North Sydney Campus (MacKillop) – 12 pm on Friday 27 April, Room C3.2
• Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s) – 12 pm on Thursday 3 May, Room 2.81
• Ballarat Campus (Aquinas) – 10.30 am on Thursday 10 May,  Staffroom
• Canberra Campus (Signadou) – 12 pm on Friday 11 May, Room B8.

More information on the 2008 AUQA audit and on quality management at ACU can be found at


Professor John O’Gorman

Educational leadership in Asia Program

ACU has been awarded $423,500 by the Australian Government to help prepare Asia’s next generation of education leaders.

A total of 11 current and aspiring leaders from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and East Timor will converge on ACU’s Strathfield Campus (Mount Saint Mary) in July this year, to take part in a leadership development program and learn about issues and challenges facing the Asia-Pacific education sector.

The program – Mastering the new basics in education leadership – will be carried out by ACU’s Flagship for Creative and Authentic Leadership and is funded via AusAID’s Australian Leadership Awards fellowship program.

Visiting research fellowship opportunities

Flagship and Research Centre Directors and other ACU research leaders have until Tuesday 1 May to apply for funding to bring distinguished international researchers to the University for at least six weeks during 2008 and 2009.

The University Research and Research Training Management Committee (URRTMC) are calling for nominations for the fellowships, valued at $6,000.

ACU nominators must provide a letter from the interested researcher with the application form, outlining their desire to be honorary members of the ACU Institute for the Advancement of Research, the dates of their intended visit and what collaborative research activities they propose to undertake while at the University.

For more information, contact Dr Stewart J Sharlow on (03) 9953 3446 or at

New Director of Flexible Teaching and Learning

ACU’s Foundation Director of Flexible Teaching and Learning will be Ms Ann Applebee, formerly an Educational Designer with the University and Coordinator of the University’s online Graduate Certificate in Higher Education.

Ms Applebee’s appointment follows the amalgamation of ACUweb (Blackboard) and ACU Online (WebCT) in 2005 to form ACUonline which provides online and web-enhanced materials for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching units.

Ms Applebee will work within the Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (IATL) to promote innovative and sustainable practice in online teaching and learning and interdisciplinary excellence in applied, educational research.

Seminar focuses on prosperity and human rights

Social justice advocate Robert Fitzgerald, from the Australian Government Productivity Commission, spoke about the importance of social wellbeing as well as economic prosperity at the first of the Brigidine Bicentenary Seminars on Social Justice, held on 27 March at the North Sydney Campus (MacKillop).

The seminar, organised by the Brigidine Sisters to celebrate the Bicentenary of the founding of their Order, was also addressed by human rights advocate former Senator Susan Ryan AO, currently President of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees.

It was chaired by senior ABC reporter Philippa McDonald, who was recently awarded the United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award for her current affairs feature on the plight of the Karen refugees.

Flagging a welcome to international staff and students

Staff and students at the North Sydney Campus (MacKillop) have hung the flags of their countries of origin in the student common room. The popular initiative grew out of a study by social work students and ACU Counsellor Judy Wright into the needs of international students.

“It was a great success,” said second year nursing student and international student representative Yvette Burgess. “We are going to make it an annual event.”

In related news North Sydney Campus (MacKillop) Mission Engagement Officer Therese Rodway graduated in Canberra earlier this month with a Certificate in Interfaith and Ecumenical Dialogue from ACU’s Canberra Campus (Signadou).


ACU graduate and Mission Engagement Officer Therese Rodway

Public talk on Islam, gender and Asia

Writer and researcher Ms Shakira Hussein will speak on the topic I am Woman, Muslim, Australian, at a public talk in conjunction with the Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship at the Canberra Campus (Signadou) in B10 in the Blackfriars Building on Tuesday 17 April from 6pm to 7pm.

Ms Hussein, whose research focus is on Islam, gender and South Asia, is completing her PhD on encounters between Western women, at the Australian National University

For more information, please contact the Organisation for the Participation of Women at on (02) 6201 9867 or at  .

Exhibition of Japanese Australian History

The Australian-Japan Historical Photo Exhibition, showcasing relations between our two countries over time, will be on show in the atrium of the Strathfield Campus (Mount Saint Mary) daily between 9am and 5pm until Thursday 26 April, hosted by the School of Arts and Sciences (NSW).

The Consul-General of Japan Mr Tsukasa Kawada opened the exhibition, Partners in a new vision, Australia and Japan across time, commemorating 30 years since the Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was signed by the Prime Ministers of Australia and Japan in 1976.

Aspects of the history shared between Australia and Japan over the past century are displayed, along with commentary on how both countries have overcome difficult periods in their relationships.


Assistant Head of the School of Arts & Sciences Dr. Tony Stokes, Pro-Vice-Chancelor (Research International) Professor Peter Wilson, Japanese Consul-General of Japan, Sydney Mr Tsukasa Kawada and School of Arts and Sciences (NSW) Lecturer Haruko Asakura

Upcoming Events

• 1 - 30 April 2007 – CANON World Press Photo Exhibition (Strathfeild)
• Wednesday 4 – Thursday 26 April – Australian – Japan Historical Photo Exhibition “Partners in a new vision”
• Tuesday 17 April – Young Catholic Women’s Interfaith Fellowship public talk at Canberra Campus (Signadou)
• Wednesday 11 April - Brisbane Graduations 
• Thursday 12 - 15 April - ACU Games (Canberra) 
• Saturday 5 May - Ballarat Graduations 
• Tuesday 8 May - Sydney Graduations 
• Tuesday 17 April- AQUA Presentation (Strathfeild)
• Tuesday 24 April- AQUA Presentation (Brisbane)
• Friday 27 April - AQUA Presentation (North Sydney)
• Thursday 3 May - AQUA Presentation (Melbourne)
• Thursday 10 May - AQUA Presentation (Ballarat)
• Friday 11 May - AQUA Presentation (Canberra)
• Tuesday 28 - 29 May - Melbourne Graduations

Details on these and other upcoming events can be found at

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