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ACU welcomes new Vice-Chancellor

In his first week at ACU, the University’s third Vice-Chancellor in 17 years, Professor Greg Craven, has addressed staff at the Strathfield (Mount Saint Mary) and North Sydney (MacKillop) campuses, expressing his strong belief in the importance and place of Catholic universities and the value they bring to communities and higher education.

“Australian Catholic University can stand alongside the world’s great Catholic universities and reference a rich intellectual tradition spanning 2,000 years,” Professor Craven said.

“I look forward to leading an institution that draws on the best of rigorous academic and intellectual foundations, and from core Catholic values.  I look forward to building on our considerable standing in quality teaching and learning, and on our community engagement activities, driven by our faith and commitment to the University’s Mission. I look forward to further developing a unique and relevant research profile for the University and to strengthening our links and activities in the international arena.

“I believe it’s important for ACU to have a strong voice across a wide range of issues, so it will be my intention to engage on matters of public significance, certainly including but not limited to education policy, matters of faith, and important social issues.

“One of my immediate tasks will be to meet and speak with University staff, who I know by reputation are dedicated, talented and exceptionally well-qualified. I also welcome interaction with many of our richly diverse and engaged student population” said Professor Craven. “Over my first few months, it is my priority to engage and work closely with the University’s partners in the Church, in government, in the community and in the higher education sector.”

Professor Craven will address staff at other campuses as follows:  

•    Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo) at 12.30pm on Monday 11 February
•    Ballarat Campus (Aquinas) at 10.00am on Monday 18 February
•    Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s) at 2.30pm on Monday 18 February
•    Canberra Campus (Signadou) at 10.00am on Friday 22 February.

Visit,_professor_greg_craven/ for more information on Professor Greg Craven.

Professor Greg Craven

Award for Outstanding Community Engagement

Participants in the Clemente Australia program for people who are homeless and disadvantaged gathered at the Strathfield Campus (Mount Saint Mary) to receive the Vice-Chancellor’s inaugural Award for Outstanding Community Engagement, along with learning partners and representatives of Mission Australia, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and the University.

Outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO presented the award to Associate Professor Peter Howard from the University, Mission Australia program coordinators Dr Astra and coordinator Ms Jae Newell, St Vincent de Paul Society executive officer of special works Mr Greg Hogan. Mission Australia, a partner institution, refers to the program as Catalyst-Clemente.

As Prime Minister Kevin Rudd expressed his commitment to social inclusion and reducing homelessness, the award acknowledged publicly the outstanding way collaboration and engagement have offered new hope and opportunities to participants, who gave testimony to the positive impact of the program and their eagerness for it to be accessible nationally.
Yalbalinga Indigenous Education Unit Manager Ken Ralph and Communication Officer, Institute for Advancing Community Engagement Anne-Marie Bennett who both attended the presentation

Professor Sheehan (left) with award recipients Mission Australia Brisbane Coordinator Jae Newell, Mission Australia Sydney Coordinator Astra Howard, School of Education (NSW) Senior Lecturer Associate Professor Peter Howard and St Vincent de Paul Society Executive Officer of Special Works Greg Hogan

Professor Sheehan with Clemente Australia lecturers and participants

Dean of Students’ farewell

Outgoing Dean of Students Professor Tim O'Hearn was farewelled by more than 100 colleagues, friends and family at the North Sydney Campus (MacKillop) recently after serving the University and predecessor colleges for 34 years in a range of roles.

Mission Engagement Manager Ms Anne Ferguson spoke on behalf of the Student Services staff; School of Education (NSW) Lecturer Mick Ryan retold some stories about Professor O’Hearn’s time at the former Castle Hill Campus; his son Matthew gave a family perspective; former student senator and 2007 Chair of the ACU Student Association (ACUNSA) Teresa Georges gave thanks on behalf of the students, and Dean of Students Administrative Officer Mary Evripidou presented a gift from the University.

Outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) Professor Peter Wilson added their thanks and congratulations.

School of Education (NSW) Lecturer Mick Ryan (left), Professor O'Hearn, former staff members John McNeil and Ken Seymour and School of Arts and Sciences (NSW) Associate Professor Michael Griffith

Former student senators Francis Voon (2004), Teresa Georges (2007) and Aaron Oulton (2006)

Mrs Margaret O'Hearn with the outgoing Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO

Farewell Mass for outgoing Vice-Chancellor

A Mass on 29 January, celebrated in the Chapel of the Strathfield Campus (Mount Saint Mary) Campus, gave thanks for the leadership of outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Sheehan AO.

The entrance procession gave a representation of facets of research, teaching and engagement, with staff placing symbols of their work on a stand at the front of the Chapel. Students Luke Licardello and Crystal Woolcock provided beautiful musical accompaniment to the congregational singing, and staff members Anne-Marie Bennett and Laurie Woods lifted spirits singing On eagle's wings and Ave verum.

The Mass was followed by words of appreciation by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) Professor Peter Wilson and Brother Athanasius McGlade CFC OBE and candle of remembrance was presented to Professor Sheehan by student leaders Teresa Georges, Erin McCluskey and Joshua Ang.
Father Jack Evans

Professor Sheehan with School of Education (NSW) Administrative Officer Damascene Byimira

Br Athanasius McGlade CFC OBE addresses the congregation at the Vice-Chancellor's farewell mass

Graduate Association launched in Hong Kong

ACU has launched a Hong Kong chapter of the Graduate Association. Staff and graduates from Caritas Francis Hsu College joined with visiting staff from the University to celebrate the launch, which was followed by a graduation ceremony for 36 students in Hong Kong, at which the University’s one thousandth graduate in Hong Kong, Lo Kai Cheong, received his degree. He was presented with a small gift from the University by the Chancellor Brother Julian McDonald CFC AO who presided over the ceremony.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs)Professor Gabrielle McMullen delivered the occasional address. Reverend Ming-Cheung (Michael) Yeung, who holds an honorary doctorate from ACU, also addressed the graduates.


ACU to host Socratic Forum

Vice Chancellor Professor Greg Craven will join other notable public figures to debate Commonwealth-State relations in a Socratic Forum event on Thursday 21 February, at the Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s).

The Socratic Forum is a part of a national discussion series aimed at encouraging frank, non-partisan and open debate of issues of importance to the Australian community.

In the discussion That Canberra is taking too much power from the states, Professor Craven will represent the affirmative voice, with former Deputy Prime Minister Reverend Professor Brian Howe in the negative. University of Melbourne Centre for Public Policy Director Professor Brian Galligan, Griffith University Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law Director Professor Charles Stamford and Australian Democrats Leader Senator Lynn Allison have also confirmed their participation in the forum.

The forum will held on Thursday 21 February 2008 at 6:30 pm in the Mercy Theatre at 115 Victoria Pde, Fitzroy 3065. For details, please contact or on (03) 9953 3851.

Centre for Early Christian Studies celebrates 10 years

A state reception recently hosted in Sydney by NSW Minister for Racing and Gaming The Hon Graeme West celebrated the 10th anniversary of the founding of the University’s Centre for Early Christian Studies, directed by Professor Pauline Allen, and involving some 17 lecturers and researchers from a number of ACU campuses, working in the fields of New Testament studies, early Christianity and Late Antiquity up to the eighth Century.

The host, quoting from the New Testament, spoke of the importance and relevance of an appreciation of early church history for understanding current events. Director of NSW Catholic Education Commission Director Dr Brian Croke also referred to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent addresses on the importance of studying the early church fathers, the New Testament, Latin and Greek, for contemporary theology. Dr Croke praised the prolific publication output of the Centre and Professor Allen which has earned it a leading international profile and secured continuous government funding. 29 November

The event was attended by Chancellor Br Julian McDonald CFC AO, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Professor Gabrielle McMullen and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) Professor Peter Wilson, staff, members of Senate, academics and representatives of various churches, universities and theologates.

Poverty and early Christian studies

Eminent scholars from around the world gathered at the Melbourne Campus (St Patrick’s) in January to discuss how the first Christians dealt with poverty, at the fifth international conference on early Christian studies, sponsored by the University’s Centre for Early Christian Studies.

“The theme of the conference, poverty and riches, is the biggest theme in the New Testament," said the conference chair Reverend Archpriest BJ Lawrence Cross OAM. "As a central issue of the gospel, and of early Christianity, the theme of the conference reflects a question which is still topical in today's world. How do we, as humans and Christians, address poverty?"

"One of the themes of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy has been that world leaders and citizens must use their power to aid the poor," said Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Professor Gabrielle McMullen. "The conference has brought insights related to poverty and riches to our institutes of higher learning, to our churches and to the global community."

Other topics in the conference included the economic and social status of women in early Christianity, “poverty as riches”, Constantine's call for a “clergy of the poor”, the origins of the hospital, and a comparison of the “good news for the poor” between early Christianity and today. The Conference is held once every three years and draws many notable early Christian studies scholars, including the members of the Western Pacific Rim Patristics Society.

Keynote addresses were presented by Professor Miyako Demura of Tohoku Gakuin University in Japan, Reverend Professor William Loader FAHA of Murdoch University, and Professor Samuel Rubenson of Lund University in Sweden. Visit for more information.

New Director for Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (IATL)

ACU has appointed Professor Yoni Ryan BA (Hons), DipEd, MA (UQ); MEd (Melb); PhD (UQ) as the new Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (IATL).

Professor Ryan is currently Director of the Centre for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and Scholarship at the University of Canberra.  She has extensive experience in international education, staff development, and educational design and development with new technologies, at various universities in Australia and the Pacific. Her current research interests span the challenges of teaching new generation students, and using social technologies. She is on project teams for three major grants funded by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, a University of Canberra initiative on social networking, a UNSW project on sessional staff, and another, in conjunction with the University of New England, on developing a national Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education, modelled at eight participating universities.

Professor Ryan has a significant publication record in the area of professional development for academic staff.

She is due to commence at the University on 10 March 2008 and will be based at the Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo).

Leadership flagship hosts Carrick Seminar

A second Institutional Leadership Paradigm (ILP) seminar was held recently at the Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo), funded by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

The project is aimed at strengthening institutional leadership capacity to develop and deliver culturally appropriate and relevant Indigenous teaching and learning programs. The project is led by ACU’s Flagship for Creative and Authentic Leadership and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, with participants from invited Australian and international institutions. ACU was represented by Weemala Indigenous Education Unit Coordinator Dr Nereda White and Research Support Officer Stephanie Jacob, Yalbalinga Indigenous Education Unit Manager Ken Ralph, and School of Educational Leadership Professor Tony d’Arbon and Yalbalinga Lecturer Dr Jack Frawley, also from the Flagship.

ACU fights substance abuse with FebFast

School of Business and Informatics (Victoria) Head of School Marcia O’Neill has helped create a new fundraiser called FebFast, where participants raise funds by pledging an alcohol-free February to support young people battling substance abuse

“With so many celebrations during the summer, it is not uncommon for people to go overboard with their alcohol consumption,” said Ms O’Neill, who is also the FebFast Director.

Of the funds raised, 40% will benefit the Youth Substance Abuse Service of Victoria, 10% will be given to the Australian Drug Foundation for educational purposes and the remaining contributions will be distributed by the FebFast Gift Fund Management Committee to the Australian Alcohol and Other Drugs sector based on grant applications from individual organisations.

FebFast offers participants the opportunity to purchase a Time Out card that operates as a date-stamped leave pass from FebFast to enjoy alcohol at special events such as birthdays, Valentine’s day and weddings. However, participants must resume their participation in FebFast the next day.

For more information, visit the FebFast website,, which includes registration details, personal blogs and details on making online donations.

Orientation week

2008 Orientation kicks off across all campuses on Monday 11 February as commencing students have the chance to explore their campus, learn about facilities on offer, hear from their lecturers and course coordinators and meet fellow students.

Shawn Walker, National Coordinator of Student Recruitment, believes that attendance at Orientation is essential for new students.

"Orientation provides a fantastic opportunity for students starting at ACU in 2008 to learn about the way the University works ", said Mr Walker. "They'll be able to participate in a range of seminars and workshops to further their skills and receive more information about their study programs". 

Orientation Programs can be found online at

Brisbane Campus (McAuley at Banyo) student association mascot, the McAuley Mongrel, will  be on hand to meet students during Orientation

Professor Gibbons gets Goofy

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) Academic Advisor Professor Pam Gibbons successfully competed in the Walt Disney World Marathon-and-a-Half Challenge in Florida on 12 and 13 January. This involved completing within race cut-off times, a half-marathon (21.1 km) on one day and a full marathon (42.2 km) on the next. Professor Gibbons was awarded a Donald Duck medal for the Half, a Mickey Mouse medal for the marathon, and the most highly prized of all, a Goofy medal for completing the double!

Lenten Lecture and modern life

The 2008 Lenten Lecture, open to the public, will be delivered tonight by Reverend Dr Gerard Kelly in the Leone Ryan Auditorium at the North Sydney Campus (MacKillop) at 6.30pm.

Dr Kelly, President of the Catholic Institute of Sydney, Deputy President of the Sydney College of Divinity, and a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney, will speak on how To keep a true Lent: Finding a place for an ancient practice in contemporary society. Dr Kelly will discuss the origins and meanings of Lent as Easter approaches. For more information, please telephone (02) 9739 2943.

Launch of climate change CD

ACU Ballarat Campus (Aquinas) Rector Associate Professor Anne Hunt has won this year’s Australian Theological Forum (ATF) Book Prize.

The Pacific Calling Partnership invites staff, students and friends of ACU to the national launch of Turn down the heat, a new music CD recorded to raise awareness of the effects of climate change on Australia’s low-lying Pacific neighbours. It will be held on Friday 15 February at 7pm at Revesby Workers’ Club, next to Revesby railway station.

The CD featuring original songs, was produced by well-known social justice composers Mark Raue and Louise Robards with the support of the Catholic Education Office Wollongong and the Edmund Rice Centre Sydney on behalf of the Pacific Calling Partnership (PCP).

There will be live performances from contributing artists John Littrich, Bede Ritchie, Deborah Dare and the Riquelmes. The MC will be ERC Director Dr Phil Glendenning who holds an honorary doctorate from ACU. The University is a PCP collaborator.

Entry is free, with donations to the Pacific Calling Partnership accepted on the night. For more information, contact Louise Robards at or on (0403) 027 098, or Jill Finnane at or on (02) 9745 9700.

Upcoming Events

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