Vice-Chancellor and President's Awards for Excellence | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Vice-Chancellor and President's Awards for Excellence

Each year, through the Vice-Chancellor and President’s Awards for Excellence, exceptional achievements are recognised and rewarded in the key areas of:

In 2022, there were six recipients of the Vice-Chancellor and President’s Awards for Excellence and eight commendations.

Award For Excellence in Learning & Teaching
(Student Opportunity and Employability)
The Embedded Technology Industry Credential Project Team

Dr Rania Shibl, Dr Erica Mealy, Andrew Lang, Nayson Machin & Paulo Petersen.

The team has been recognised for successfully implementing embedded industry certifications, that are industry aligned and supported, into technology programs. The initiative has improved student outcomes and job readiness and is a unique value proposition for attracting student enrolments.

The team’s innovation has set a precedent and standard not only for our University, but also for other universities and has highlighted UniSC’s leadership in this space.

​​​Award For Excellence in Research Impact
Professor Jeanine Young

Professor of Nursing, School of Health 

Professor Jeanine Young has been recognised for her research which has a major impact to society through the reduction in infant mortality rates. The research has generated considerable positive publicity for UniSC. Jeanine also manages a strong publication record and PhD supervision.

Jeanine's research, innovation and her involvement with government and committees are having a direct and clear impact on the community.

​​Award For Excellence in Research
(Early Career Researcher)
Dr Martina Jelocnik

Research Fellow, Centre for Bioinnovation

Dr Martina Jelocnik is recognised for rapidly establishing herself as one of Australia's leading experts on animal chlamydiosis and veterinary microbiology, as evidenced by outstanding and diverse collaborations with government, industry and researchers worldwide. With an exceptional publication record, Martina is recognised for grant success, commercialisation and substantial leadership.

She is acknowledged by her peers and colleagues for her professionalism and ethical, collaborative approach, making Martina a collaborator of choice for academics and industry.

Award For Excellence in Engagement 
​​​(Community Engagement and Impact)
High-Performance Sports Team 

Prof Brendan Burkett OAM, A/Prof Mark Sayers, Tania Stevenson, Kristy Munroe, Dr Aaron Turner, Dr Mark McKean, Jocelyn Elliot.

The team is recognised for successfully establishing and expanding programs important to UniSC and the community. The team has contributed significantly to the paralympic sporting community, connected with industry and created strategic and productive partnerships. The programs connect with several UniSC priorities and have attracted external funding.

The long term engagement and commitment of this small team has resulted in sustained impact for multiple community businesses, schools and councils and, in turn, the impact on student success is immense.

Award For Excellence in Service
(Leadership and Transformational Change)
International Student and Recruitment System project team

Mandy Cilento, Ilana Boon, Ky Jones, Peter Henderson, Nikki Hinshelwood, Rana Lyon, Kirsten Mitchell, Bradley Langford, Georgia Hooper, Jason McIntyre, Katie Walker, Laura Flanagan, Oliver Gillingham, Peta Bourke, Rafa Cubino, Russell Craythorn, Sarah MacDonald, Sharon McDonald, Shayne Simpson, Lucy Holthusen, Swain Roberts.​​​​​​​

The team is recognised for successfully launching the StudyLink software and completely revising existing processes. This comprehensive project required extraordinary teamwork, relationship-building and commitment to go above and beyond. This team is an exemplar of how a diverse group of staff members can successfully work together in collaboration on an inter-disciplinary project.

The team culture that was created and the relationships formed as part of this project are inspiring. The team members' dedication from multiple work areas has resulted in an outstanding outcome with an impact across the University. The Studylink project is now a benchmark for project management at UniSC.

Award For Excellence in Service
(Diversity and Inclusion)
Student Success Team, Student Services and Engagement

Deb Murray, Katie Gemmell-Smith, Dr Danay Baker-Andresen, Dr Christy Macnish, Dr Sara Hutchinson, Hayley Ryan, Kirsty Bigaila, Camilla Strom, Natalie Mourant, Becca McBride, Nina Bring, Dr Daniel Meloncelli, Peter Cahill, Marama Liebergreen.

The team is recognised for its solutions-focused approach and collaborations within and across teams. The team embodies the UniSC values and goes above and beyond to assist and support students and colleagues.

Through the exceptional service, initiatives and resources provided by the team, our diverse cohort of students are supported to reach their goals and develop a sense of connection and belonging.

Commendation For Learning and Teaching
(Student Opportunity and Employability) 
School of Business and Creative Industries WIL Review team

A/Prof Gail Crimmins, Dr Lynlea Small, Dr Andy Ward.

The team is recognised for creating a Work Integrated Learning strategy that is flexible, inclusive, field-relevant, and research-informed and facilitates student collaborations with industry and community.

The highly regarded team has profoundly impacted the school and student experience and employability. The team’s focus on diversity and inclusion and the commitment to go above and beyond is to be commended.

Commendation for Learning and Teaching
(Student Opportunity and Employability)

Dr Jacqueline Burgess
​​​​​​​Lecturer in International Business, School of Business and Creative Industries

Dr Jacqueline Burgess is recognised for her student-centred approach and learning and teaching innovations, such as GradChat, that have had an impact and reach within and beyond her discipline.

GradChat and Jacqueline's other initiatives have enhanced the student experience and improved student employability and satisfaction.

Jacqueline's commitment to learning and teaching initiatives and dedication to excellence and innovation has been acknowledged internally and externally.

Commendation for Research Impact
(Early Career Academic) 
Dr Verity Truelove 

Senior Research Fellow, USC Road Safety Research Collaboration, School of Law and Society

Dr Verity Truelove has been recognised for the significant impact her research has had in the road safety field. Her strong research profile, including an outstanding publication record in quality journals, research leadership and mentoring of early career researchers is impressive.

Verity is considered a significant emerging national researcher in this field.

Commendation for Engagement (Community Engagement and Impact)

Dr Dennis Desmond
Lecturer in Cyber Intelligence, School of Science, Technology and Engineering


Dr Dennis Desmond is recognised for his extensive, high-impact engagement across the region and for exceeding his responsibilities at UniSC. His engagement in delivering interviews and involvement in radio has increased exposure for our University, promoting the UniSC as a brand.

Dennis has significantly influenced the international community through professional commentary on issues of general public interest, and is recognised as an expert in the topical field of cybersecurity.

Commendation for Engagement
(Community Engagement and Impact)

Ms Megan Williams 
Manager, UniSC Art Gallery, Community Engagement

Megan Williams has shown real initiative to take the Art Gallery to an incredibly high standing, which is significant for a regional university. Her commitment to diversity and showcasing First Nations artwork provides a cultural and educational service to the community and our students.

Achieving 10,000 visitors through the gallery in 2022 to enjoy the high-quality exhibition programs is a significant accomplishment.

Megan's achievements align with the UniSC strategic drivers and she has delivered an outstanding cultural facility for the region.

Commendation for Engagement
(Community Engagement and Impact)
Ms Deborah Fisher 

Lecturer in Design, School of Business and Creative Industries

Deborah Fisher is recognised for her sustained impact and considerable regional engagement with government, community, industry and educators. Her influence and community engagement initiatives have provided educational pathways, important collaborations and partnerships. Deborah's passion and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and sustainability are driving social change.


Commendation for Service
(Leadership and Transformational Change)
Research Performance Dashboard Project Team 

Dr Lei Zhao, Ms Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Mr Michael Hauber.
​​​​​​​Office of Research

The team is recognised for creating the MyResearch and USC Research dashboards. The leadership and independence displayed by the small group are commendable, and the project outcomes have positively impacted the University and enhanced a number of internal processes through access to research data and reporting. It is unique in the sector to have the skills to create these tools internally, and it is a testament to the talent within this team to be able to achieve this in-house.

Commendation for Service
(Leadership and Transformational Change)
Mr Dean Collins 

Manager, Planning and Business Performance,
Facilities Management ​​​​​​​

Dean Collins is recognised for his corporate citizenship, demonstrating the UniSC values and promoting diversity and inclusion and sustainability. His strong leadership and dedication have seen the completion of activities not previously undertaken at UniSC, and his strategic guidance and insights are enabling the growth of Facilities Management and UniSC into the future.