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Vice-Chancellor speaks on Australian universities and Catholic tradition

Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven recently presented at the St Thomas More Forum in Canberra on the topic Australian Universities and the Catholic Tradition: Intellectual, Educational and Cultural Connections.

The St Thomas More Forum was established to promote thought, discussion and debate on the challenges of faith in the workplace, family and public life in the modern world.

Prominent speakers and leaders are invited to address important topics and bring the Parish, School and Military community together as a tribute to the life and example of St Thomas More, Patron of Statesman and Politicians.

The forum, held at the St Thomas More primary school, was well attended and provoked insightful discussion about the future of Catholic universities in Australia, and the introduction of the Public Policy Institute to ACU’s Canberra Campus (Signadou).

VC at forum Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven speaks at the St Thomas More Forum

Olympian reception

Exercise Science students had the opportunity to discuss first hand the Olympic experience and training schedules when a welcome home reception was held at the Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s) for ACU Olympians returning from Beijing.

Visual arts student Carmen Marton from the Taekwondo team, exercise science graduate Coral Bentley and Bethany Walsh from the Synchronized Swimming team competed in the Beijing Olympics, along with Krystal Weir from the sailing team, who completed a Bachelor of Exercise Science degree at ACU in 2007.

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Professor Gabrielle McMullen congratulated the Olympians on their efforts in Beijing and praised them for their commitment to their sports.

“What a moment!” Carmen Marton said of the opening ceremony. “It was amazing to see athletes from every single country imaginable, so strong and fit. You can’t help but appreciate the greatness sport has in its ability to bring so many people together.”

Olympic reception ACU’s Olympians Carmen Marton, Bethany Walsh and Coral Bently with ACU Coordinator of the Elite Athlete Friendly University Program John Saunders.

Athletes perform at University Games

ACU’s team of athletes are currently performing strongly at the Australian University Games in Melbourne.

Exercise Science student and Taekwondo athlete Teresa Branca has won the University’s first medals of the Games, by claiming a gold medal in her own weight division on top of a silver medal in the class above her.

Congratulations to Teresa, and good luck to the rest of the team for the remainder of the competition.

Uni Games ACU medallist Teresa Branca (right) with fellow competitor from RMIT

25 years of service recognised

Staff at the Canberra Campus (Signadou) recently gathered to celebrate Dr Carolyn Broadbent’s 25 years of service at ACU and its predecessor, Signadou Dominican College of Education.

Dr Broadbent began at Signadou as a Senior Lecturer in 1983 and has made a significant contribution to the academic integrity of the University, the campus community, and the local community at large during her service.

Her belief in the transformative power and communal nature of education prompted her to go beyond the formal scope of her lecturing with ACU to set up the Adult, Recreation and Training Services (ARTS) Factory more than a decade ago.

Since then, the ARTS Factory has hosted more than a dozen major art exhibitions and carried out diverse community education projects, enriching the experiences of the University’s education students and drawing in new collaborators along the way.

Last year, Dr Broadbent received a Carrick Institute award for Australian University Teaching for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning “for inspiring teacher education students to build sustainable communities of learning through the ARTS Factory initiative”.

Among other responsibilities, Dr Broadbent serves on the ACT Advisory Group for Adult and Community Education Services, and collaborates with the St Vincent de Paul Society to coordinate the University’s Clemente Australia program in Canberra.

“I enjoy the opportunity to be able to assist the learning process, and to see individuals reach their potential through learning,” she said. This month, Dr Broadbent will be awarded fellowship with the Australian Council for Educational Leaders for her leadership and contribution to tertiary teaching.

Carolyn Broadbent Professor Raymond Canning, Professor Mike Gaffney, Dr Carolyn Broadbent and Professor Marie Emmitt

Karen refugees graduate

Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Professor Gail Crossley recently officiated at a unique graduation ceremony on the border of Thailand and Burma, awarding five students of the Karen ethnic group a Certificate in Theology.

The students, refugees who live in camps on the Thai side of the border, are part of ACU’s Karen Refugee Program, run by former Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Duncan MacLaren.

The students learn through online and distance learning modes, becoming teachers and leaders within their communities. In 2006, 16 students graduated in a Diploma in Business and one with a Certificate in Business. Plans are under way to introduce a new Diploma in Liberal Studies in collaboration with a number of Jesuit universities in the United States.

Mr MacLaren believes by offering the program to one of the most marginalised groups in the world, ACU is living out its mission of being “guided by a fundamental concern for justice and equity and for the dignity of all human beings”.

Thai Burma grad Graduating students with Duncan MacLaren.
Thai Burma dancing Karen students perform at the graduation ceremony.

Catholic social justice explored

In related news, the work of Karen Project Coordinator Duncan MacLaren has been featured in a publication by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) in their Catholic Social Justice series.

Mr MacLaren’s entry, Towards a More Just World: The Social Mission of the Church and new Catholic Approaches, details some of the themes he outlined in several lectures he presented last year during his time as a Visiting Professor at ACU, after finishing his role as Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis.

His work emphasises that the social mission is essential to the life of the Church and shows how it has been used to tackle global issues in the past from practical examples. In the light of the Pope's forthcoming social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), it shows how the social teaching of the Church must be expanded to take in new global challenges such as peace-building initiatives and advocacy.

Contact to purchase a copy of the publication.

Focus on justice and child protection

The creation of a partnership between ACU and govern¬ment agencies to develop specialised degrees which will help retain corrective services and child protection practitioners in their profession by building their skills has been applauded in the latest edition of Communique, the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) news publication.

The Bachelor of Social Science (Justice Studies) degree and postgraduate Certificate in Human Services (Child Protection) were created to provide train¬ing for human services workers and to help combat high stress levels and towering turnover rates in the field.

Communique also acknowledged Dr Joanna Zubryzcki , Professor Peter Camilleri and Associate Professor Morag MacArthur who recently received an ALTC Citation for their efforts in developing specialised programs to tackle the need for educated government workers in these demanding areas.

ACU and St Vincent’s Health team up to fight depression and heart disease

ACU and St Vincent’s Health (Melbourne) have been awarded competitive research funds to study multidisciplinary ways of alleviating depression and anxiety among patients with heart disease.

The joint project, Improving depression and anxiety screening of patients with heart disease: implementing a multidisciplinary clinical pathway, has been granted $78,365 by beyondblue, the national depression and anxiety awareness organisation.

“It is imperative that we explore different models of health care delivery to address the fact that depression and heart disease are major concerns for Australians,” said chief investigator Professor Linda Worrell-Carter, the Director of St Vincent’s (Melbourne)/ACU Centre for Nursing Research.

In keeping with the strategic goals of beyondblue, the project aims to improve screening practices for depression in addition to identifying depression in those admitted to hospital with a heart attack.

The study will link hospital and community care by involving nurses, general practitioners, cardiologists, mental health service professionals and consumers.

“A key target will be the development of a seamless pathway, that will potentially improve outcomes through the early identification and management of depression in those with heart disease,” said Dr Worrell-Carter.

ACU appoints ‘theological economist’

Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Professor Gail Crossley has welcomed the appointment of Professor Paul Oslington to the position of Professor of Economics, in a joint initiative between the national schools of Business and Theology.

Professor Oslington holds a PhD in Economics and a Master of Economics/Econometrics with Honours from the University of Sydney, as well as a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Melbourne College of Divinity.

Exploring economics and religions, he will bring to the University a considerable grant from the Templeton Foundation in the US to support his research on the theological dimensions of economics, which will be the major focus of his work in the initial two years of his appointment.

Professor Oslington, based at the North Sydney Campus (MacKillop), commenced at the University last month.

Local newspaper study

Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo) business lecturers Associate Professor Nasir Butrous and Timothy Davis collaborated in a research project in conjunction with Quest Newspapers, QUT and UQ to examine community issues covered in local papers over a three-year period.

Associate Professor Butrous said the Regional Level Community Engagement project was designed to examine the interaction between society and the media and how issues which began at a grassroots level often become issues of political awareness.

“Themes for the local papers included power, water, children, sport, real estate, cars, crime, justice and community,” he said. "The research shows that local issues are important and there needs to be a forum for making sure they are adequately reported, discussed and given priority politically when appropriate.”

Newspaper study ACU’s project leaders Associate Professor Nasir Butrous (left) and Timothy Davis with Wayne Delaforce, formerly of QUT (centre)

Leunig exhibition on appreciating the little things in life

An exhibition of 64 works by ACU Honorary Doctorate recipient and renowned cartoonist Michael Leunig will be on display at Martin Place in Sydney on 8 October as part of Mental Health Week.

The exhibition, Celebrations, will be curated by North Sydney Campus (MacKillop) business and informatics lecturer Girija Krishnaswamy, in collaboration with cartoon researchers Sundar Ramanathaiyer and Jim Bridges.

Ms Krishnaswamy believes Dr Leunig “motivates us to be grateful for everything we have, for day, night, trees, ducks, dogs, cats, tomatoes, asparagus, sun, moon, seasons, prophets, rain and all those we take for granted”. He prays for the fragile ecology of the heart and the mind,” Ms Krishnaswamy said.

Leunig A Leunig cartoon set to be on display at Martin Place.

Best photo in show

Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s) education student Elizabeth Murray has won the best colour photograph prize at this year’s Royal Melbourne Show.

Elizabeth’s image, Jeffrey, won first place in the portrait category. It was then entered into the general photography pool, competing again the other first place photos across all categories. The image again won first place, making it the best single colour image in the entire competition.

“Photography is just a hobby for me,” Elizabeth said. “While I was travelling in Indonesia last year, I met a warm and generous man who acted as my tour guide. On the last day of our tour, I realised I hadn’t taken a photo of him. Everything worked perfectly to capture the moment for the photo.”

For her first place prize in the portrait category, Elizabeth was awarded $50, followed by another $150 for the best in the first place pool. In addition to her photography skills, Elizabeth is an excellent student, winning a Dean’s award for being in the top 10 per cent of her year level.

She describes herself as a “grounded” teacher-in-training, focusing on the primary school level, and aspiring to be someone her students can relate to.

“I think teaching is creative, just like photography,” she said. Both required the ability to change and adapt to the needs of individuals. “In both jobs, you have to always be observant.”


Education student Elizabeth Murray with her prize winning photograph, Jeffrey.

ACU Style Guide available online

University Relations has developed the ACU Style Guide to promote consistency, quality and professionalism in the University’s web and print publications and other communications.

Visit to view the style guide. It has been designed to be easy to access, organised with common queries listed alphabetically.

Language is dynamic, and “correct” usage depends on the context and the audience. University Relations welcomes suggestions. Email with any comments.

Funds for East Timor

Strathfield Campus (Mount Saint Mary) Student Association Engagement Team members Bianca Parker, Dilek Bayran, and Melissa Cameron, with the support of Mission Engagement staff Colleen Malone and Lisa Boys, recently raised more than $850 to support students at the Catholic Teachers’ College in Baucau, East Timor.

Bianca, Dilek and Melissa initially spent some time researching the history, conditions and work of the College so that they could confidently raise awareness about the hardships its students face.

They spoke to staff members who had visited the poverty-stricken country then set about organising a series of fundraising events, which included a second-hand book stall, a barbeque and a collection at Open Day.

They were overwhelmed by the generosity of staff and fellow students, who have now given more than $1,629 this year for this cause.

Each $1,000 scholarship covers a year’s worth of educational and living expenses for one student attending the college. Melissa, Dilek and Bianca are determined to find the final $371 that will enable the Strathfield Campus to sponsor scholarships for two students.

Donations can be made to the Mission Engagement Office, Strathfield. Contact Lisa on (02) 9701 4366 or for more information on how to donate.

Bacau Fundraising 1 Students Dilek Bayran and Melissa Cameron collect donations at the Strathfield Open Day
Bacau Fundraising 2 Students find bargain books at the book stall.

Teaching Indigenous history

Ahead of SBS television series First Australians: Teaching Indigenous History, which begins on 12 October, Associate Professor Peter Howard was recently joined by colleagues from Newcastle University and the University of Sydney in leading a forum on the topic.

The forum was broadcast on SBS radio, and raised points concerning the dispossession of Australians, enriching strategies used in teaching history, and both cultural and institutional bias.

Please visit to hear the broadcast in full.

Romance important to men’s self-esteem

A study by PhD student Simon Rice has found that relationships are a key component of the self esteem of young men aged 18 to 25.

When the relationship needs of young men were arranged in a hierarchy, romantic relationships with women topped the list. Platonic female friendships came in second, followed by male friendships.

The findings come from Mr Rice’s preliminary study of more than 300 young people, and will feed into his doctoral research into gender differences in depression.

"We know that men tend to feel better about themselves when their place in the social hierarchy is bolstered," he said. "Men are naturally competitive, and being in a relationship comes with a sense of social achievement. A romantic partnership for men may also fulfil unmet intimacy needs."

The study also found that young women's self-esteem was not significantly impacted by romantic relationships, as their intimacy needs were often met through their friendships with other women.

"Females will tend to have good social networks and good friendships where they can talk and feel supported," he said. "Some males can't and won't ever have that because of this harsh, masculine stereotype."

Mr Rice presented the findings from his study at the recent Australian Psychological Society's annual conference. His results highlighted the need for young people, especially men, to develop strategies to deal with rejection and relationship breakdown.

The story can be viewed online at on The Sydney Morning Herald website.

International opportunities for students and staff

All students are invited to consider completing part of their degree overseas, on exchange. Local and international undergradute and postgraduate students who have completed a year or semester of study at ACU are eligible to apply, as long as they have a credit average and can undertake a full-time course load of three or four units.

ACU contributes up to $2,500 towards travel costs, and there are no extra tuition fees as long as students continue to pay fees for their enrolment locally. Students also continue to receive Centrelink payments, and undergraduate local students are eligible for a $5,299 overseas help loan from the Federal Government.

Exchange and Study Abroad Coordinator Herta Derrij would also like to hear from staff who are interested in forming any new exchange agreements which would enhance opportunities for their students, or who would like to visit exchange partners while overseas.

Email or visit for more information.

Flower show to rediscover lost paradise

Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s) visual arts lecturer Dr Catherine Bell has won a $12,000 grant from the City of Melbourne for a garden exhibition.

The display, titled Paradise Lost, will be on show at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in April 2009.

The show will be held in the Carlton Gardens, near the Melbourne Campus, allowing students and staff the opportunity to view the exhibition first hand.

Please visit for further information.

Seeking climate justice in the Pacific

The Strathfield Campus (Mount Saint Mary) will host the Pacific Calling for Climate Justice: A human rights framework? forum on Saturday 25 October.

The forum will explore how an effective human rights framework can respond to calls for climate justice from our Pacific neighbours.

Recommendations from the forum, which is being jointly organised by ACU’s Institute for Advancing Community Engagement (IACE), will be taken to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Poland at the end of the year.

The forum will be held at the Gleeson Auditorium from 9am to 5pm. For further information please phone (02) 8762 4200.

Upcoming Events

- University Experience: Monday 30 June – Thursday 2 October.

- Words Images Voices discussion at Strathfield: Thursday 2 October.

- Public Forum: Conscientious objection: A right for all health professionals: Monday 6 October

Details on this and other upcoming events can be found at

Upcoming Events

  • University Experience: Monday 30 June – Thursday 2 October.
  • Words Images Voices discussion at Strathfield – Thursday 2 October.
  • Public Forum: Conscientious objection: A right for all health professionals – Monday 6 October

Details on this and other upcoming events can be found at Promote your event by listing it on the myACU events section and by emailing details to