This page lists the staff recognised in the 2019 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 the significant contributions of staff to Victoria University, and their field, over the course of their careers. The award is designed to acknowledge the enduring legacy of staff in all fields of endeavour. 

This is an occasional award and staff whose professional career is in excess of 20 years and who have a minimum of seven years’ service at VU, may be nominated for a Career Achievement Award by a member of the Senior Executive Group or a Dean.

Professor Peter Noonan has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian tertiary education sector over 32 years.

Widely recognised as a national and international expert in tertiary education, influential policymaker and powerful advocate to government, Peter has been a policy advisor, researcher, senior executive in, and consultant to, federal and state governments, universities, HE providers and TAFE institutes.

Peter has played a major role in shaping, advancing and improving policy in the sector. He was involved in many of the reforms that characterise our modern tertiary education framework, including the redesign of the higher education system when he was a Principal Advisor to government during the Dawkins Revolution. These innovative reforms turned an elite system into one for the masses and according to Peter, "meant that Western suburbs kids could have a non-traditional university like VU".

Peter also led the establishment of the former Australian National Training Authority, playing a leading role in the development of the VET system in Australia.

He was a member of the Expert Panel for the Review of Australian Higher Education (Bradley Review) in 2008, undertook a Review of Post-Secondary Education for the Queensland Government, led work on Schooling Resources Standard for the Gonski Review and spearheaded a major project to develop a model of the Australian tertiary education system.

Most recently, Peter was appointed by the Minister for Education and Training to Chair the Australian Qualifications Framework Review, which will ensure the framework continues to meet the needs of contemporary students, industry, community and education providers.

He feels deeply about ensuring access to the knowledge, insights and global connections afforded by participation in tertiary education. He has served the sector with great distinction and consistently demonstrated strong personal and moral integrity, ensuring his research is robust and evidence based.

Video of Vice-Chancellor's Career Achievement Award: Professor Peter Noonan

Excellence in Engagement

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

For designing and installing a full-scale structural fire tunnel test rig to meet the requirement of the Melbourne Metro Project.

The significant recognition by relevant statutory bodies of the vale of the rig has provided Maurice with a platform to develop VU's fire facility into an ARC Centre of Excellence.

  • The Applied Security Science Partnership Team: Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities:
    Dr Debra Smith, Professor Ramon Spaaij, Dr Muhammad Iqbal.
  • The Sir Zelman Cowen Centre Centenary Team:
    Professor Kathy Laster, Sophie Moore, Robin Astley, Hannah Moon, Greta Williams, Jennifer Paneth and Jacqueline Cohen.
  • The Victoria Police Diversity Recruitment Program Team: Engagement and Government Relations, VU Polytechnic and Sport and Health:
    Kerry O'Neill, Jennifer Lees, Karen Fitzsimons, Kate Savage, Nandika Kahaduwa, Samuel Sakama, Wilma Grant, Catherine Saunders, Mimi Craig and Nicole Comley.

Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Vocational Education and Training)

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching celebrates the diverse and outstanding contributions to the quality of learning and the quality of the student experience at VU.

For using his 15 years’ of experience as a lawyer to continually develop and enhance student experiences in VET legal courses. His contribution has helped increase student enrolments and place graduates in jobs. As part of this he helped design and implement a moot court for students so they could practice their skills in a court environment.

Excellence in Learning & Teaching (Higher Education)

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching celebrates the diverse and outstanding contributions to the quality of learning and the quality of the student experience at VU.

For crafting a well-balanced cluster of blended-learning activities that were designed to support our diverse students in their learning journeys. The application of carefully designed face-to-face activities masterfully linked with interactive H5P video presentations, open-access electronic textbooks, online simulations and practice-quizzes were shown not only to improve student academic performance but also learning gain.

  • The Anatomy Learning and Teaching Team, Library, Connected Learning and First Year College:
    Linda Forbes, Suzanne Poliness, Sarika Singh, Iwona Janius, Kirstin Scholz, Dr Michael Bourke, Dr Sonia Wilkie, Ghaith Zakaria, Dr Puspha Sinnayah, Dr Rudi Klien and Samuel Howe
  • Mary Grant, College of Sport and Exercise Science
  • Samuel Howe, First Year College

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.

For its continued provision of the excellent Student as Staff program. This provides:

  • the university with an avenue to hear and to utilise the student voice.
  • our students with
    • a flexible work opportunity where they can gain exposure to both the professional and academic areas of the University.
    • an avenue to build their skills, confidence, networks and knowledge.

The following staff are in the team: Charmian Lord, Miriam Bennett, Elizabeth Thomas, Sarina Scacco, Jared Goodwin-Wicks, Biplav Acharya, Maxim Zervos, Jodie Gibbons, Aleksandra Trifkovic, Marko Sambol, Divvya Sivarajah, Thelma Nascimento, Mario Beltran Castro, Wenjing Pan, Miriam Gelotte, Hazol Ngari, Rachael Lahiff, Giang Hoang, Aakash Pujare, Alison Ruth, Penny Manawaring, Trish McCluskey and Daniel Axnick.

  • The College of Sport and Exercise Science Study Tour Team:
    Dr Fabio Serpiello, Professor Hans Westerbeek, Dr Eric Schwarz and Dr Kevin Ball.
  • The Project Asia Engaged Intercultural Teaching and Learning Team: College of Arts and Education
    Dr Mark Vicars, Dr Marcelle Cacciatolo, Dr Ligia Pelosi, Mel Vella, Dr Peter Thomas and Dr Greg Aronson.

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.

  • Dr Thu-Huong Nguyen, Victoria University School of Business.

Excellence in Research & Research Training (Early Career)

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Research Training celebrates the diverse contributions that individuals and teams make to facilitate high quality research and research training within Victoria University.

Sarah is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow. With only three years since her PhD completion, she has produced an outstanding research track record. This is evidenced by her 33 peer-reviewed manuscripts in high-impact journals. She has been either first, second or senior author on over half of these papers. Along the way, she has:

  • generated $1.1 million dollars in grant funding,
  • accepted 11 invitations to speak at conferences and scientific meetings,
  • co-supervised four PhDs and five interns,
  • acted as an ARC Assessor for project grants and fellowships and  
  • acted as a reviewer for five journals.

  • Dr Elmira Jamei, College of Engineering and Science.

Excellence in Professional Services & Innovation

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Services and Innovation recognises individuals and/or teams who have given outstanding service to their work area, made a significant contribution to innovation, and displayed outstanding teamwork and leadership.

This may include innovative practice through improvements in their current work or perhaps through a successful project implementation.

For driving innovation to support Block Mode. By automating the creation of unit sites in VU Collaborate with content copied every 4 weeks, the team improved the VU experience for all users. Integration has been developed between the VU Collaborate gradebook and the student management system to release final grades to students two days after unit completion, and an in-house student-developed mobile app was developed to provide seamless learning and engagement for students.

The team is: Michael Sturmey, Simon Lismann, Sam Rickard and Kati Elizabeth.

For their ability to re-locate more than 100 First Year College multi-disciplinary staff across all campuses, with tight timelines and within budget. They set up new timetables and new databases for the appointment of more than 400 sessional staff and teaching allocation for more than 100 academic staff, all ready for Block 1 in 2018.

The team is: Rechelle Martinez, Monica Surace, Yildiz Djelal and Linda Hadchiti.

  • The VU EasyRef Project Team, Library:
    Jennifer Murphy, Pam Abalo, Linda Forbes, Murray Greenway, Lou Connell, Suzanne Poliness,Barbara Gutthann, Yimin Zeng, Cindy Mohammad, Kirstin Scholz, Meg Weller, Dana Kuljanin, Julie Gardner, Sarika Singh, Julie Handford, Debra Hutchinson, Vien Nguyen, Sally Hand and Emeka Anele
  • The VU International Team
  • Raymond Zheng, Information Technology Services.

Excellence in Student Engagement

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Student Engagement 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.

For providing an essential point of contact for Asylum Seeker and refugee students to help them navigate the unique barriers to education that arise from issues with settlement, experiences of trauma and displacement, isolation and community stigma.

By providing students with essential support, Julie has helped transform the lives of these students through education.

  • The Lunch Time Social Sport Team, Sport and Health:
    Grant Meiksans, Max Taylor, Micayla Laloifi, Will Pipe, Ellyse Gamble, Melissa Sambrooks and Michael Wilcox.
  • Elisse Baitz, Student Services.