2021 Winners

Excellence Awards 2021

Community Engagement Award Winner

Amanda Johnson, Rhonda Wilson, Donna Hartz

COVID-19 Vaccination Nursing Team

An inspiring team from the School of Nursing and Midwifery has demonstrated excellence in community collaboration and engagement, partnering with Walgett Aboriginal Medical Services (WAMS) to provide support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Head of School and Dean of Nursing Professor Amanda Johnson, proud Wiradjuri woman Professor Rhonda Wilson, and proud Kamilaroi woman Associate Professor Donna Hartz were invited by WAMS to assist in vaccinating 500 predominantly Indigenous community members.


Global Engagement Award Winner

Shree Andrew, Warrick Glynn, Vivien McComb, Praveen Kuppan, James McCoy, Petrina Mosely, Neil Singh, Ted Stein, Leanne Vaughan

The Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings Team

The University of Newcastle achieved outstanding success in the influential 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, measured against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). With a strategic process to identify actions across all 17 goals, and also to drive activity in teaching, research and engagement, the project team collaborated broadly to achieve our first ever number one global ranking, and an overall ranking of 12th in the world.


Industry Engagement Award Winner

Dylan Cuskelly

College of Engineering, Science and Environment

As a University researcher, Dr Dylan Cuskelly works closely with the renewable energy industry and has commercialised his own research as a founding member of the successful energy storage start-up MGA Thermal. He maintains a symbiotic relationship between industry and the University, providing continual research funding while advancing the core technology. He also leverages his industry experience and connections to improve student experience, integrating real-world problem solving within undergraduate courses helping produce job-ready graduates.


Research Supervision Award Winner

Deb Loxton, Catherine Chojenta, Melissa Harris

Worldwide Wellness of Mothers and Babies

Dr Deb Loxton, Dr Catherine Chojenta and Dr Melissa Harris have fostered the development of work-ready graduates who have made real-world translational contributions to influence policy and practice through a community of praxis models. The Worldwide Wellness of Mothers and Babies (WWOMB) initiative, developed in 2016, has graduated 14 candidates (nine current), produced 73 publications, and influenced international health policies and practices framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Early Career Researcher Award Winner

Kcasey McLoughlin

College of Human and Social Futures

Dr Kcasey McLoughlin’s award-winning research highlights the extent to which Law can be used as a tool to achieve gender equality. She has helped shape important public and scholarly debates about the importance of diversity in public institutions, with policymakers, media outlets and community groups recognising her expertise. Kcasey’s research projects have attracted significant funding and seek to create better outcomes for women and other marginalised groups


Sessional Academic Teaching Award Winner

Daniel Bell

College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Daniel Bell has been a lecturer for SENG1120 (Data Structures) for three years. Students have consistently provided positive feedback on his teaching and commended how dedicated and supportive he is to their learning. Given that SENG1120 is arguably the most challenging and technical core course that Computer Science and Software Engineering students complete in their first year, and more than 200 students enrol in the course yearly, his impact is immeasurable.


Teaching Award Winner

Marie Hadley

College of Human and Social Futures

Dr Marie Hadley is transformational in supporting 'skills learning' through course and program-level interventions locally and globally. With multi-faceted creativity, Marie calibrates her teaching to reach different audiences and secure meaningful impacts in the classroom, University, and beyond. Strategically connecting the diverse strands of her teaching practice in a range of traditional and non-traditional forums, she transforms the skills learning of every student that comes through the Newcastle Law School and 33,000+ students globally.


Student Experience Excellence Award Winner

Alison Hillier, Andrew Steinbeck, Claire Pemberton, Emma Joel, Fran Baker, Jennifer Goh, Kylie Clarkson, Michael Paver , Nicole Gammie, Ruth Cameron , Sally Turbitt, Tracey Cox, Tracy Whitby , Zoe Mathers , Karla Brandstater Angus Hunt , Christy Farr-Forrest, Emma Drake, Hayden Russell, Keely Godwin, Rebecca Partridge, Sarah Jenkinson

SOS (Successful Online Study)

The Successful Online Study (SOS) team brought together staff from ITS, Library and Academic Learning Support to deliver ten online sessions for students in Semester 2. The program responded to students’ requests for support and connection. Sessions covered online study strategies, accessing support from home, online reading and note-making, connecting with other students and valuable IT tools and apps for study. The sessions provided a vital mechanism for students to remain connected to the University of Newcastle. Student participants valued the support offered in one "place” from the three contributing units.


Individual Award Winner

Bret Sutcliffe

Global Engagement and Partnerships Division

Students in China can now study with their peers and access campus facilities at no extra cost through the Overseas Learning Centre initiative, proposed and implemented by Bret Sutcliffe. What makes Bret’s contribution outstanding is that the project was delivered within three weeks after approval by Executive Committee. The initiative demonstrates the viability of innovative models for transnational delivery of University programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.


Professional Team Award Winner

Djoeke Van Loon, Jess Rokobaro, Amy Downing, Madeline Jubb, Paul Farina, Leeanne Palmer, Michelle Janout, Judy Lee, Breen Roberts, Toby Fox, Anthony Glover, Jade Hartigan, Jayne McCartney, Emma Liyanarachchi, Rebecca Hall, Cass Perkins, Joal Gray, Kai Suzuki, Jamie-Lee Costa, Alex Larsen Maya Borthwick, Abbey Barcham, Kristen McQualter

Student Living Team

During unprecedented times, the Student Living Team provided unwavering support for our residential student community and contained a COVID-19 outbreak through close collaboration with University colleagues. This included the development of detailed procedures including clear responsibilities for all stakeholders involved to ensure a succinct workflow of moving students into isolation in a supportive manner, support for wellbeing, ensuring catering and access to supplies, virtual engagement, and the eventual move out of isolation and associated cleaning of facilities.


Rising Star Award Winner

Tom Carey

College of Human and Social Futures

New to both the University and the field of education, Tom has hit the ground running. His capacity to produce outstanding work under enormous time pressures has resulted in significant media coverage of the Teachers and Teaching Priority Research Centre’s impact, producing frequent, high-level stakeholder engagement. Tom’s exceptional stakeholder management is central to our relationship with the Paul Ramsay Foundation and is a cornerstone of our international engagement with the Jacobs Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Leadership Excellence Award Winner

Karen Blackmore

College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Associate Professor Karen Blackmore has provided leadership to the Discipline of Computing and Information Technology (CIT) during very difficult times and overseen many strategic initiatives: updating the Bachelor of Information Technology Program and the creation of the Bachelor of Data Science, and she has expanded industry and community engagement


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award Winner

Lisa Ogle, Sally Turbitt, Jacqui Harris, Imogen Harris-McNeill, Tahlia Kelso, Angela Booth, Kua Swan, Michael Paver, Cynthia Brown, Aimee Herridge

Library Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice

The Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice champions and accelerates a culture of inclusivity. The group are all volunteers who research and disseminate information on emerging equity issues, practices, and opportunities in academic libraries. Focusing on ‘critical librarianship’, the CoP interrogates every element of our service, challenging the status quo and ensuring our libraries are a welcoming, safe space with inclusive services. The University Library already sees results from the team's work through increased staff engagement and participation.


Health, Safety and Wellbeing Award

Bronwyn McGrath, Cheryl Wilson, Hellen Cohen, Jayne McCartney, Lilly Rodger, Hugh Gordon, Owen Cross, Sarah Sylvester, Fiona Bastian, Tara Magnay, Georgia Killick, Vanessa O’Neill, Stav Barboutas, Jodie Higginson, Kylie Parker

Food Relief to Students in Quarantine Team

On 6 August 2021, our Vice-Chancellor announced that two on-campus Callaghan students had tested positive to COVID-19 and had been transferred off-campus by NSW Health. Close contacts needed to self-isolate and additional International House students were later asked to remain in lockdown. In less than 24 hours, following an emergency meeting of Infrastructure and Facilities Services and University of Newcastle Students Association, a collaborative effort that involved staff from all Divisions, as well as the Lions Club, Oz Harvest and Woolworths, provided food and relief packages to IH students.


Values Award Winner

Astrid Gearin

Academic Division

Astrid Gearin works tirelessly to promote and uphold the University’s values of Equity and Engagement, consistently working above and beyond her duties as the student-facing Coordinator of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to ensure sexually and gender diverse students flourish at the University. She has been pivotal to the gender-inclusive bathroom rollout, Pride Week, coordinating the ALLY Network, and generally supporting student health and wellbeing. The energy, passion, commitment, and authenticity that Astrid brings to these values is an inspiration to staff and students working across the University.


Inspiring Excellence Academic Award Winner

Erica Wanless

College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Professor Erica Wanless is an inspiring mentor with a wealth of knowledge and kindness. Erica has been generously sharing her time and extensive expertise to mentor hundreds of researchers - from early career researchers to more established career academics - going well beyond standard expectations for senior academics. Erica’s sustained guidance and her dedication to honest, respectful, and impactful mentoring fully deserves recognition.


Inspiring Excellence Professional Award Winner

Ann Stevenson

College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing

As a Mentor in the Professional Staff Mentoring Program, Ann has demonstrated an ongoing commitment and a passion for staff capability development and support. Utilising a non-judgemental approach and building psychological safety, she provides the space for mentees to explore and express their goals, ideas, and barriers; assists mentees to leverage their existing skills and experience, helping to expand thinking and grow confidence and provides guidance and accountability in relation to planned actions.


The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.