Engaging Communities 2011

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The University of Newcastle is committed to fostering partnerships that enrich and develop our communities in mutually beneficial ways.

Transcript of Engaging Communities 2011










    Like minds lead alike

    Connecting with schools

    Hearts of Lions

    Degrees of hope

    A brave new world

    Fathers take the lead



    02 A message

    04 Its a small world after all

    05 Like minds lead alike

    06 Connecting with schools

    08 Connecting across continents

    10 Awards honour alumni achievers

    11 Alumni advantages

    12 Saltwater in her blood

    13 Hearts of lions

    14 Overcoming the tyranny of distance

    16 The heart of history

    18 Degrees of hope

    19 Life lessons lead to scholarship

    20 Paying it forward

    21 Holidays that make a difference

    22 Fathers take the lead

    23 Making the connection

    24 A brave new world


    A message from the Vice-Chancellor and

    Pro Vice-ChancellorExternal Relations


    Spearheading our effort is the Office of External Relations (formerly Corporate Development and Community Partnerships), which was established to develop and strengthen the Universitys relationships with alumni and local, regional and national communities.

    External Relations identifies and supports mutually beneficial activities with a focus on building skills, capacity and knowledge in the community across five key areas: teaching and learning, research, commercial engagement, leadership and philanthropy.

    The University promotes engaged teaching and learning that meets the needs of both our communities and our students. Our efforts aim to produce graduates who are knowledgeable, work-ready, society-ready and active global citizens. The University of Newcastles Industry Scholarships are one example of our work in this area. You can read about one of its scholars, Angela Parfitt and her extraordinary journey on page 19 of this edition of Engaging Communities. Volunteering work through the Lions Club is another example of preparing our students to be active global citizens. Read this story on page 13.

    As the most research intensive university outside of an Australian capital city, our partnerships with industry, government and the community are vital. Delivering quality research that provides results for our regions is an important driver of our research program. The University has a strong track record of research collaboration: as one example, read about Professor Paul Dastoor and his groundbreaking solar paint on page 24. Newcastle Innovation, the Universitys commercial arm, plays a pivotal role in connecting our researchers with business, industry and commercial partners. Their work is described on page 23.

    Linking our students to leadership opportunities in the community and the University is a central role for the Office of External Relations. The 2010 winner of the Leadership Award presented by the University of Newcastle, Shayne Connell, is one of Newcastles youngest politicians. You can read more about Shayne and the Leadership Award on page 5.

    One of the most important assets of a university is its alumni. We are no exception with thousands of graduates spread across the world who contribute generously to the University in many different ways. Read about the impact they have had on the University from page 8.

    Philanthropic engagement is an important point of connection between the University and its staff and students, as well as the wider community. The many acts of selfless giving time, talent as well as gifts to the University are remarkable. The following pages offer a glimpse of our supporters generous gifts.

    We hope you enjoy reading this edition of Engaging Communities and the stories that illustrate the Universitys diverse connections and the many mutual benefits they deliver.

    The University of Newcastle is recognised by our counterparts in Australia and overseas as an engaged university.

    Professor Nicholas SaundersVice-Chancellor and President

    Professor Stephen CrumpPro Vice-ChancellorExternal Relations


    The world is becoming a smaller place for University of Newcastle students thanks to an international initiative making civic opportunities across oceans as attainable as those across cities closer to home.With high numbers of students seeking opportunities to become conscientious leaders, the University is equipping them for future global challenges by stepping up and creating civic engagement programs in four corners of the world.

    Newcastle is one of a group of universities across five continents working together to help shrink the world into a community in which students and staff can engage as citizens beyond the borders of their own countries.

    In early 2010, leaders from more than 100 international universities came together at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy to develop a vision for worldwide mentoring, knowledge exchange, professional development and international partnership opportunities.

    It is a vision that would build on the University of Newcastles established staff and student exchange agreements with more than 300 international universities by taking similar programs into the realm of civic engagement.

    Former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Corporate Development and Community Partnerships Associate Professor Martin Fitzgerald says it is vital University of Newcastle students are given the opportunity to engage with the global community.

    Unlocking the world to students is a constructive way of building leadership and it is the Universitys role to facilitate that, he says.

    Fitzgerald, who is also the immediate past President of the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance, attended the inaugural Talloires Network Convention at the Bellagio Center and was inspired by the diversity of initiatives presented.

    The Talloires Network was established in 2005 to ignite civic engagement in higher education institutions. It now represents 170 universities in 56 countries.

    Under the banner Higher Education Responding to Social Needs, the conference enabled leaders in higher education and civic engagement to exchange ideas and chart a course for the Talloires Network.

    Universities and colleges house enormous potential to respond to the most pressing needs of communities around the world, Fitzgerald says. Students have shown their desire to take that responsibility on and Bellagio was about making it happen.

    In June 2011 members of the Talloires Network will gather in Spain for the Leaders Conference. With a theme of Building the engaged university, moving beyond the ivory tower, the conference will bring together leaders in the higher education sector to focus on the future of civic engagement, community outreach and social responsibility.

    University Presidents, Vice-Chancellors and rectors from across the globe will: develop proposals for new projects; assess the current state of civic engagements and social responsibility in higher education; and share knowledge about implementing policies and programs that advance human and social development.

    Another important focus of the conference will be to develop programs and policies to increase partnerships between universities and communities. It will also celebrate the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Tallories Network.



    Stepping up as Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle in late 2010 came a bit more naturally to 30-year-old Shayne Connell than it would for most people.After all, Connell has been representing ward four of Newcastle as an independent councillor since 2008, making him one of the citys youngest politicians.

    Falling so easily into such a prestigious role is typical of Connell, winner of the 2010 Leadership Award, presented by the University of Newcastle. The annual award encourages and recognises emerging leaders under the age of 35 in the Hunter, Central Coast and Mid-North Coast regions.

    The award recipient receives a package of prizes including participation in a mentored leadership program and a $10,000 leadership development scholarship nominated by the University.

    This was a huge honour for me, says Connell. To be given validation that the road I am on is worthwhile and considered valuable is very encouraging.

    The opportunities the Leadership Award has already given me in terms of mentoring and networking have been enormous.

    After graduating from the University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Connell paved a career in the not-for-profit sector, working for Kaiyu Enterprises coordinating its mental health drop-in centre at Argenton.

    Today, he is the Regional Operations Coordinator at the Cancer Council NSW and team leader (training) for Lifeline Australia, a role leading on from five years as a volunteer telephone counsellor.

    Quick to point out the calibre of his fellow nominees, Connell says that common among them is the knowledge that striving for leadership and holding steadfast to your convictions can be a lonely and doubt-filled journey.

    Getting to know the other nominees and building supportive networks from the experience of the Award has been a reward in itself.

    Like Connell, the recipient of the Encouragement Award, Lee Shields, says the Leadership Award experience has been invaluable in giving him access to similarly motivated minds.

    As Newcastle Police and Community Youth Club (PCYC) Manager, Shields passion for working with young people and helping them find their place in the community is inspiring.

    His focus is youth leadership, sports programs and reducing youth