Vice-Chancellor and President's Awards for Excellence - 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:

  • learning and teaching
  • research
  • engagement
  • service

In 2019, there were nine Vice-Chancellor and President’s Awards for Excellence presented.

For Excellence in Learning & Teaching

Bachelor of Criminology and Justice Teaching Team
Dr Lara Christensen, Dr Nadine McKillop, Dr Susan Rayment-McHugh, Ms Mary Riley, Prof Tim Prenzler
School of Law and Criminology

The Bachelor of Criminology and Justice Teaching team is recognised for their use of collaborative and innovative teaching practices and supportive ethos in order to give students an engaging and successful USC experience. The team’s teaching practices have resulted in high student satisfaction results, an increase in course enrolments and reduction in course withdrawals for criminology and justice courses.

The team has built strong​ relationships with the profession and non-academics to provide regional engagement and employment opportunities for students and to make clear connections between learning and employment. The introduction of new programs indicates the success of t​he team’s approach to teaching and learning.

For Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Sessional)

Dr Peter Curtis
School of Education

Dr Curtis has received this award for his outstanding teaching practice and the guidance, knowledge and expertise he has provided to many USC students. Dr Curtis receives excellent student feedback for his enjoyable, engaging and inspiring lectures and tutorials and his dedication to student success.

The ability to employ a range of pedagogical approaches in teaching, and engage students through a variety of pathways has impacted positively on learning and graduate outcomes. Dr Curtis is recognised not only as an exceptional teacher, but also an exemplary role model, mentor and teacher educator.

For Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Sessional)

Dr Jacqueline Burgess
USC Business School

Dr Burgess has been acknowledged for commitment to providing an engaging learning experience to students through carefully designed tutorials and the use of unique and engaging content which has resulted in positive student feedback.

Dr Burgess has made contributions that have shaped learning and teaching across the University through involvement with numerous projects and her corporate citizenship. The passion and enthusiasm that Dr Burgess displays for teaching, dedication to engaging students, and willingness to support students and act as a role model has been of significant benefit to students and to USC.

​​​For Excellence in Research

Professor Jim Lagopoulos
Director, Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience Thompson Institute

Professor Lagopoulos has been recognised for his success in spearheading the development of the Thompson Institute. In a very short time Professor Lagopoulos has secured significant external funding,  including the procurement of philanthropic funding.

Professor Lagopoulos’s team is an exemplar of an excellent research team with high quality people and top-class publications. The “leadership by example” demonstrated by Professor Lagopoulos, together with his exceptional personal research contributions have led to USC being rated as “well above world standard” in Neurosciences with an ERA rating of 5. Furthermore, the outstanding work of the Thompson Institute in undertaking mental health research, providing clinical services and advocacy and connecting with the local community has been to the significant benefit of the Sunshine Coast.

For Excellence in Research 

Professor Brendan Burkett
Professor of Biomechanics and Director of High Performance Sport

Under Professor Burkett’s leadership, High Performance Sport at USC has excelled. Professor Burkett’s efforts have contributed to USC receiving an “at world standard” ERA rating of 3 in the field of Human Movement and Sports Science in 2015 and again in 2018. Additionally, USC has been ranked 101-150 in 2017 & 2018 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities of Sport Science Schools and Departments.

Professor Burkett has been a stalwart of Sport Science over a large number of years and has strong research engagement with State and National Sport Academies, along with other peak bodies in Sport and Local, State and National elite sport teams.

​​For Excellence in Research (Early Career Researcher)

Dr Bindi Bennett
Senior Lecturer in Social Work
School of Social Sciences

Dr Bennett is a “rising star” in the indigenous research field in Australia and is widely recognised for undertaking innovative research in the field. Dr Bennett has an outstanding publication profile with top-class publications that contribute substantially to USC’s strategic imperatives of growing research capacity and excellence at the University.

​In a very short time at USC, Dr Bennett has submitted a number of exceptional projects to fiercely competitive national grant schemes and her ability to procure nationally competitive grants bodes well for USC and its future ERA rankings in the domain of indigenous research.

For Excellence in Engagement

Detection Dogs for Conservation Team
Dr Romane Cristescu, Dr Celine Frere and Baxter
School of Science and Engineering

Dr Frere and Dr Cristescu received this award for the establishment and maintenance of research and consultancy partnerships and their engagement within the community in order to protect koala populations. Their engagement with various councils, not-for-profit organisations and industry, both locally and further afield, is impressive and they have gained far reaching support and publicity for their research.

Dr Frere and Dr Cristescu are recognised as undertaking modern research with impact and utility in the real world on an issue of general public interest and of benefit to the community. The funding that they have been able to secure, including non-research funding, is significant and the unique work they are doing is a great example of how research can be done in the community.

The detection dogs, Maya, Baxter, Billie and Bear are also recognised for their energy and their commitment to assisting conservationists and researchers to study and protect native fauna and flora.

For Excellence in Service

Danielle Cathcart
School Administration Officer
School of Social Sciences

Ms Cathcart has been acknowledged for her exemplary performance and energy, enthusiasm and ‘can-do’ attitude in a time of considerable change. Danielle is crucial to the functioning of the school and her extensive knowledge of the school and USC, along with her ability to consider implications for students is highly valuable.

Ms Cathcart has the ability to efficiently manage major tasks such as coordinating program changes and her contributions have been of substantial benefit to the School of Social Sciences. Ms Cathcart is considered a critical part of the social fabric of the school and a role model and mentor for other administrative staff.

For Excellence in Service

ERA Submission Team
Rebecca Cooke, Dr Lei Zhao, Michael Hauber, Kylie Sadler, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Office of Research and Library

The ERA Submission team has been recognised for their critical role in USC achieving outstanding results in successive Excellence in Research Australia assessments. The work done by the team is incredibly valuable in enabling USC to strategise its approach to rankings in order to gain the best recognition and to build the best reputation possible.

​It is acknowledged that USC’s ERA results are a testament to the diligence of this team and the professional way that they have handled the data. The team brought together thousands of USC research outputs for submission which required collaboration, continual improvements to both the project management and system design and has been a considerable workload for the team over a sustained period of time.