This page lists the staff recognised in the 2018 Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence. The  Awards provide an opportunity for the University to recognise and celebrate exceptional practice and outstanding contributions of individuals and teams to Victoria University, and beyond.

VU’s future is bold and exciting. We are breaking from tradition so we can transform lives and transform our community. It is important that we acknowledge the wonderful achievements that have been made so far in our journey.

Career Achievement Award

The Vice-Chancellor’s Career Achievement Award formally recognises a recipient’s outstanding leadership, significant contributions, and sustained excellence in learning and teaching, research, mentorship and/or service at Victoria University and the communities we serve. This may be a new innovation, new knowledge, or ways to improve professional practice deemed to be above and beyond the everyday with a long lasting impact.

Susan began her career at VU in August 2007 inaugural Dean of the newly established Victoria University College, following a significant career in education over the previous 30 years in Secondary, TAFE, Higher Education and Government settings.

Susan’s first role was to establish a new College structure within VU to provide students from diverse backgrounds with a supported transition into tertiary studies, along with delivery of accredited courses over the three sectors.

One of Susan’s major achievement’s was to position the VU College as a legitimate and fully functioning College (Faculty) structure and to have this College recognised by colleagues and students as a critically important foundation and transition portal and as a logical link between the TAFE and the Higher Education Faculties.

Susan took on the role of Dean of Students role in 2013, to focus on student retention and success. Her strategic application of HEPPP funding through a whole of university approach to the programs to support widening participation, pathways and transition and partnerships with low socio economic status schools and other providers.

Most recently, Susan managed the Students in Focus project, leading to the recruitment of the new role PVC (Students) as a component of the Towards Success 2 project under the University White Paper. This work will create the directions for continuing to enhance the student experience at VU and Susan’s contribution will continue to have an impact.

Susan has had a distinguished career in educational leadership, where she has remained committed to the power of education to transform lives and communities. Susan has shown herself to be an innovative leader, able to make difficult decisions for the greater good of our students and the institution. Her consistent deeply held commitment to our students has been a hallmark of her time at VU.

Warren’s career began over 40 years ago upon his graduation from our predecessor institution, the Footscray institute of Technology. Over his career, his research has been cited over 4000 times by researchers across the world and he is one of the worlds most cited sport researchers. His industry and community-focused research has resulted in over $6m in research income and over 250 peer reviewed journal publications, refereed abstracts and major industry reports.

In a senior management role, Warren has served VU for the last eight years, firstly as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training) and most recently was Vice-President (Research).

During his tenure and leadership at VU the University’s research has gone from strength to strength as illustrated by significant increases in research income and the quality of research. Warren has also overseen the implementation of PhD (Integrated); a program specifically designed to provide an opportunity for professionals who otherwise would not be able to access doctoral studies.

Warren has overseen the development of two research plans and contributed to the development of two University strategic plans. One of his most significant achievements has been to lead the establishment of VU Research. Key to the success of this process was an extensive consultation process designed to explain the need for the University to focus its research and to establish a more efficient system of research Institutes and Centres. A further highlight during Warren’s time at VU of the past eight has undoubtedly been his contribution to the University’s ranking in the top 2% of the world’s universities in the Times Higher Education Rankings.

He has also been the coordinator of the VU/Western Bulldogs Partnership. This is one of the University’s major partnership and has achieved many notable outcomes during this period, including contributing to the Bulldogs premiership in 2016. 

Susan Young

Susan Young 's consistent, deeply held commitment to our students has been a hallmark of her time at VU.

Professor Warren Payne

Warren Payne was recognised for providing outstanding leadership of research and research training at Victoria University.

Peak Award

This is awarded to an individual or a team that has displayed exemplary performance throughout the work year.  

The First Year College and the First Year Block Model Implementation Program Office has undertaken one of the most significant pieces of work that has happened at VU in the previous 12 months, and indeed in our history.

Being such a large, cross institutional program it would be difficult to name everyone who has played a role, because the contributions are so diverse and wide-ranging. All staff in the First Year College and the First Year Block Model Implementation Program Office are recognised by this Award.

Professor Andrew Smallridge, Dean of the First Year College, accepts the Peak Award.

Excellence in Engagement

This award recognises and celebrates the diverse contributions that individuals and/or teams make to facilitate engagement with industry, government and/or community that makes a real world impact.

Marie was recognised for leading the development of the Respect and Responsibility Preventing Violence Against Women Ten Point Plan, so we can work together to prevent gender-based violence.

Marie Cronin accepting the Excellence in Engagement Award.

Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Vocational Education and Training)

This award celebrate the diverse and outstanding contributions to the quality of learning and the quality of the student experience at VU (Vocational Education and Training).

Awarded for the development of a unique customised sport program designed for young people with learning or intellectual disabilities that are aspiring athletes who compete at State, National and International level, that allows them to train at VU while gaining the skills and knowledge to be able to work in the sport and recreation industry.

Cert 1 Work Education (Sport Academy) Team:

  • Chris De Figueiredo
  • Robyn Diviny
  • Monique FitzGerald
  • Koya Marney
  • Saskia Post.

This team is made up of staff from Victoria University Polytechnic.

Cert 1 Work Education (Sport Academy) Team from Victoria University Polytechnic accept the Excellence in Learning & Teaching (VET) Award.

Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Higher Education)

These awards celebrate the diverse and outstanding contributions to the quality of learning and the quality of the student experience at VU (Higher Education).

Awarded for delivering the world-class ELICOS program at four China transnational partnerships, that prepares students to meet our English language entry requirements for business and IT degrees in China and Melbourne, ensuring they are set up for success.

VU English Offshore Programs Team:

  • Donna Capistrano
  • Matt Charlton
  • Nadia Chighine
  • Sarah Clements
  • Hilda Cove
  • Khushboo Gandhi
  • Marisol Horne
  • Dianne McKeagney
  • Michael Ratcliff
  • Nathan Whittle
  • George Yue.

Nursing Peer Mentoring Project Team:

  • Dr Gayelene Boardman
  • Dr Karen Livesay
  • Clive Miller
  • Nichole Orwin
  • Ruby Walter.

Dr Elizabeth Verghese
College of Health and Biomedicine.

VU English Offshore Programs Team accept the Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Higher Education) Award.

Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Programs that Enhance Learning)

This awards celebrate the diverse and outstanding contributions to the quality of learning and the quality of the student experience at VU.

Awarded for leveraging the use of the technologically enhanced interactive learning tool H5P, allowing staff to create mobile friendly, interactive HTML5 learning content in units of study, to improve progression and retention of hundreds of commencing students across many health-related courses, while providing a deeper understanding of the anatomy and physiology content.

H5P Champions: Innovation in Anatomy and Physiology Teaching Team, First Year College and College of Health and Biomedicine:

  • Andrew Betik
  • Pranesh Bhoodhoo
  • Lauren Cornall
  • Kostas Kastis
  • Rachael Lahiff
  • Anna Pappazzo
  • Suneeti Rekhari
  • Angela Salcedo
  • Dr Puspha Sinnayah
  • Associate Professor Xiao Su
  • Melanie Sullivan-Gunn
  • Associate Professor Kathy Tangalakis.

3D Bones Project Team,  First Year College and Connected Learning:

  • Katherine Harkin
  • Dr Maja Husaric
  • Susan Johnston
  • Kate Kelly
  • Nicholas Tripodi
  • Dr Sonia Wilkie
  • Rebecca Wospil
  • Ghaith Zakaria.

H5P Champions: Innovation in Anatomy and Physiology Teaching Team, First Year College and College of Health & Biomedicine accepting the award Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Programs that Enhance Learning).

Excellence in Research & Research Training (Individual)

This award celebrates the diverse contributions that individuals make to facilitate high quality research and research training within VU.

Awarded to Nir Eynon for being the recipient of prestigious NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (2018-21) and the ARC DECRA (2014-16) Fellowship.

His impact in the field of research is measured by a high number of quality publications and an increasing number of citations. He has secured approximately $3.2 million in internal and external grant funding, including Category 1.

He is leading the field of “genetics, epigenetics and exercise”, and the development of a well-funded independent research program at VU and beyond, supervising outstanding post-docs, PhD and honours students.

He is an NHMRC Grant Review Panel (GRP) Member, and as an Associate Editor for two Q1 Journals (BMC Genomics, PlosOne), while co-leading a number of international consortium and large scale studies.

Dr Zeljko Pedisic
Institute for Health & Sport

Dr Hua Wang
Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities.

Associate Professor Nir Eynon accepting the Excellence in Research & Research Training (Individual) Award.

Excellence in Research & Research Training (Supervision)

This award celebrates the diverse contributions that supervisors make to facilitate high quality research and research training within VU.

Awarded to Christopher Sonn for his focus on elevating the voices of marginalised groups within the broader discipline of community and applied social psychology. Also, for providing students who are under-represented in psychology and academia the chance to pursue research within this agenda, shaping the approaches of others to research and research training.

Associate Professor Kulmira Nurgali
Institute for Health & Sport.

Dr Mark Vicars
College of Arts and Education.

Associate Professor Christopher Sonn accepting the Excellence in Research & Research Training (Supervision) Award.

Excellence in Research & Research Training (Early Career)

This award celebrates the diverse contributions that early career researchers make to facilitate high quality research and research training within Victoria University.

Dr Fiona MacDonald 
Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities.

Excellence in Professional Services & Innovation

This award recognises outstanding professional staff services and innovation that contribute to the vision and mission of the University.

This is awarded for the key role they have played in the innovative design, development and implementation of VU’s blended learning strategy and the First Year Model, an initiative that is central to our transformational agenda.

They have raised the profile of Learning and Teaching at VU by creating five HIVE studios on three campuses to support academics and showcase new digital learning innovations.

Connected Learning Team

  • Mona Al-Adham
  • Igor Asmaryan
  • Daniel Bates
  • Pranesh Bhoodhoo
  • Rosy Borland
  • Komal Chawla
  • Kaye Cleary
  • Stuart Clegg
  • Naomi Davis
  • Jessi Dillon
  • Dr Sally Gauci
  • Elaine Gillespie
  • Timsy Gupta
  • Lyn Hannah
  • Jambay Jambay
  • Mark Jenkinson
  • Tomas Krcho
  • Brenda Krenus
  • Rachael Lahiff
  • Simon Lismann
  • Charmian Lord
  • Trish McCluskey
  • Tania McDonald
  • Anselm Paul 
  • Lindsay Rattray
  • Dr Gayani Samarawickrema
  • Marko Sambol
  • Marianne Samulis
  • Janet Sawaya
  • Sarina Scacco
  • Anna Smith
  • Andrew Stapleton
  • Nicola Stevens
  • Michael Sturmey
  • Elizabeth Thomas
  • Bonny Westmore
  • Dr Sonia Wilkie
  • Ghaith Zakaria.

 This team is made up of staff from Connected Learning.

LibChat Library Online Chat Service Team:

  • Jenny Comley
  • Tracy Dexter-Ingram
  • Sally Hand
  • Lesley Nelson
  • LibChat Service Staff.

This team is made up of staff from the VU library.

Student Services Contact Centre Aegis Partnership Team:

  • Anna Calabro
  • Garth Devilee
  • Leon Kerr

This team is made up of staff from Student Services.

The Connected learning Team accepted the Excellence in Professional Services & Innovation Award.

Excellence in Student Engagement

This award recognises individuals and/or teams who demonstrate excellence in the provision of service to students, and outstanding contributions to the quality of the student experience at VU.

Awarded for developing the ‘digital student experience’, that improves and optimises the full VU experience that students encounter when engaging with our systems and processes through an integrated, simple, streamlined single user experience that helps set students up for success.

ITS and Student Services Collaboration Team

  • Louise Batchelor
  • Neville Caine
  • Ann-Margaret Carroll
  • Naomi Dempsey
  • Ranjith Gunda
  • Taryn Goering
  • Thiru Rajagopal
  • Samuel Ryan
  • Sandra Thompson
  • Elli Tsaloukis 
  • Kate Whitford
  • Ly Truong.

De-Stress Fest Team

  • Michael Agrotis
  • Jo-Anna Brandenburg
  • Shannyn Cain
  • Madeline Christofides
  • Belinda Gibson
  • Sarah Howe
  • Grant Meiksans
  • Cindy Mohammad
  • Garry Potter
  • Alexandra Tretiakova.

This team included staff from Library, Student Life & Leadership, VU Sport and Health, and Counselling & Accessibility.

Staff from Student Services, Student Administration and the ITS Project Management Office accept the Excellence in Student Engagement Award.