Each year, through the Vice-Chancellor and President’s Awards for Excellence, exceptional achievements are recognised and rewarded in the key areas of:
- learning and teaching
For each Award category, $5000 is made available to the recipients to support their professional development.
In 2015, eight staff received Vice-Chancellor and President’s Awards for Excellence.
For Excellence in Learning and Teaching
The Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Excellence for Learning and Teaching is an annual award presented to a member of University staff in recognition of demonstrated excellence in learning and teaching.
- Dr Selvan Pather, Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering
Selvan has made an immense contribution to Engineering. He has led the development of the Mechanical Engineering program, delivered specialist courses in mechanical engineering to the highest standard, and played a leadership role in the acquisition and commissioning of USC’s world class visualisation facilities.
Selvan has managed the team of programmers and instructional advisors as they liaise with engineering academics, develop teaching content and refine processes that ensure students’ projects are better supported and managed.
From this work, USC will be the first university in the world to integrate high end immersive visualisation content into its Engineering programs. The Engineering Learning Hub has already increased student engagement and success with difficult first year course content.
Selvan has also led the development of a robotic teaching laboratory that will work with the visualisation and manufacturing facilities to prepare our students for future employment in smart manufacturing industries.
Selvan has also inspired the team of engineering technicians in the workshops and laboratories to engage effectively with students in their research projects and assist with instrumentation and prototyping.
Selvan is well-known for his outstanding contributions to USC in developing and leading new educational paradigms which continue to enhance our students’ experiences and potential.
- Dr Nicole Masters, Associate Lecturer in Bioscience, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering
Nicole is an early career academic who has consistently demonstrated exceptional commitment to student engagement and the first year experience across first year bioscience, biology and physiology courses.
Nicole plays an integral role in the delivery of some of USC’s largest first year science courses.
She has worked closely with other academic staff to refine content, improve assessment and introduce innovative methods of delivery to stimulate student interest and develop key skills and knowledge. Her involvement has been linked directly to increased student retention and improved grade outcomes.
Student feedback indicates that Nicole is highly regarded for her learner-centred teaching and her enthusiasm for the subject matter.
She creates a classroom environment in which students feel confident to participate actively and her professional approach and collegiality contribute to effective and productive team teaching.
Nicole is an exemplary academic who works conscientiously at translating complex material into meaningful learning activities.
She is both innovative and scholarly in her teaching practice and works hard to improve students’ engagement and outcomes.
For Excellence in Learning and Teaching (Sessional)
A learning and teaching award is also presented to a member of University sessional staff.
- Ms Amanda Miller, Sessional Staff Member, Faculty of Arts, Business and Law
Mandie has made an outstanding contribution to learning and teaching as a sessional staff member.
She has taught into the Geography and Development Studies majors in the Bachelor of Social Sciences program for the past 6 years, including the planning and development of a field trip for 17 undergraduate students to Cambodia in 2014.
She is an outstanding educator and her passion, enthusiasm and genuine desire for high quality student engagement is clear. She is innovative and collaborative in her teaching practice.
Mandie supports first year students as they transition into University life and provides authentic learning experiences which influence our students’ success and can have a positive impact on their lives more broadly.
For Excellence in Research
The Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Excellence for Research is an annual award presented to a member of University staff in recognition of demonstrated excellence in research.
- Dr Terry Lucke, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering, School of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering
When Terry commenced at USC in 2010, USC’s research culture, especially within the Engineering discipline, was evolving.
In response, Terry adopted innovative and strategic approaches to his research.
His research activities focus in two main areas: Stormwater Management and Water Sensitive Urban Design and secondly, Engineering Education.
He has established and leads the Stormwater Research Group (SWRG) and Terry is the principal supervisor for all SWRG researchers.
Terry has also developed a strong publication track record.
He has published extensively in quality international journals and many of his papers have resulted from collaborative research with leading international researchers from Delft University of Technology, Munich University of Technology and Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences.
He has successfully managed a significant number of innovative research projects and generated more than $3.3M in external research grant income in Categories 1, 2 and 3.
He is lead Chief Investigator on USC Engineering’s first successful ARC Linkage grant project which is the first major award that USC has won with the Sunshine Coast Council as partners.
Terry also continues to work on innovative practices in his teaching and participates in extensive engagement activities.
Terry has been a pioneer in research within the Engineering discipline at USC. He is an excellent corporate citizen and a dedicated researcher who is having significant impact within his School, his discipline and beyond the University.
For Excellence in Research (Early Career Researcher)
- Dr Tristan Pearce, USC Research Fellow, Sustainability Research Centre, Faculty of Arts, Business and Law
Tristan is a human geographer specialising in social and cultural geography, with an international research profile in the human dimensions of global environmental change, and in particular, the integration of Indigenous knowledge in climate change adaptation research.
He pioneered the refinement and application of a vulnerability approach to climate change adaptation research in northern Canada and developed methods for climate change adaptation planning in remote and resource-dependent communities.
His research has informed directions for future climate change adaptation research.
Tristan’s research is world renowned for its meaningful involvement of Indigenous peoples and the integration of traditional knowledge with other sources of information to understand climate change impacts and adaptations.
His research is both innovative and exciting in terms of the potential collaborations and comparative studies across various regions and people groups.
Whilst Tristan is an up and comer at the start of his research career, he has already forged an impressive and enviable academic track record with high impact publications and influential grant income.
His international collaborations are significant and his dedication has impacted directly on USC’s international research profile.
Tristan’s research trajectory is not only impressive for an Early Career Researcher but is exemplary for all academic staff.
- Dr Bridie Scott-Parker, Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Business and Law
For Excellence in Engagement
The Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Engagement is an annual award presented to a member of the University's teaching and research staff in recognition of demonstrated excellence in engagement with the community.
- Dr Retha Scheepers, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, School of Business Faculty of Arts, Business and Law
As Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management in the School of Business, Retha has made several exceptional contributions in engagement that have benefitted the University and the broader community.
Retha was a lead organiser of the Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast over the last two years.
She has also volunteered as a facilitator of #SiliconCoast which is a non-profit entrepreneurial community group that aims to maintain the momentum of the Startup Weekends throughout the year. She is involved with the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network ‘Women in Entrepreneurship’ program; and volunteers with the local Spark Bureau which is a not-for-profit community of people engaged in seeing ideas come to fruition.
Retha is a proactive, engaged and passionate academic who is dedicated to her students and their success.
She helps her students bridge the gap between the lecture theatre and the world of startup business by creating numerous opportunities for entrepreneurial students to extend their business and professional networks.
For Excellence in Service
The Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Service is an annual award presented to a member of the University's administrative, professional and technical staff in recognition of demonstrated excellence in service to the University.
- Ms Amanda Boyes, Personal Assistant to Heads, USC Law School
Amanda has played a major role in the establishment and development of the USC Law School which has earned her the respect of the staff, students and many members of the legal profession.
Although she had not previously worked in university administration or the law, Amanda demonstrated a willingness to learn and was a vital contributor to the School’s preparedness to accept students for first semester in 2014.
She continues to provide exceptional professional and administrative support in a broad range of areas.
She is a principal point of contact for prospective students and has proven to be a reliable source of advice and re-assurance as students familiarise themselves with the University’s newest professional program.
She is an exemplary University citizen who conscientiously and explicitly fosters and impacts success for the students and staff of the USC Law School.
She is a great asset to the University and will continue to make significant contributions in the years to come.