Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts
The Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts celebrated its 50 year anniversary in 2015 with a major forum for alumni and students, and a respective exhibition of the Faculty's work.
A new strategic plan was developed for 2015–2021 which focuses on increasing research outputs and incomes. Student enrolments for the year continued to be strong at 899, above the projected number.
In international collaboration, the Faculty had a successful year, continuing its international in-country teaching programs. UWA offered student placements in Denpasar, Hangzhou, Athens, Milan, Rome, Reunion, and Olot, and 128 students enrolled in International Studies. There was a healthy increase in publications with 125 papers published throughout the year – almost a 50 per cent increase from the previous year.
The Faculty experienced a number of international research achievements. A team headed by Associate Professor Fernando Jerez made the shortlist of six from 1715 entries for the international Architectural Guggenheim Design Competition and a new book, The Katrina Effect on the New Orleans floods disaster, co-edited by Professor William Taylor was launched. Associate Professor Christopher Vernon released a paper that studied the development of urban infrastructure over time in Canberra, Pretoria and New Delhi which received global interest. The Faculty also hosted visits from China Scholarship Council scholars.
The flagship Master of Architecture program secured new accommodation during 2015, moving into the Education building on campus, and the space was adapted to provide a new studio, office and meeting rooms.
In student successes, a team of 12 students from UWA came first, second, and third in the State Government's inaugural Affordable Housing Design Competition. The competition called on students to design a housing proposal for a site in Fremantle.
Changing learning technologies to meet teaching requirements and updating infrastructure remained a strong focus for the Faculty in 2015, which integrated Building Information Modelling (BIM) into both undergraduate and Master's level teaching and used augmented reality and 3D modelling. Focus on building innovative technologies will also remain a key focus in 2016.
Faculty of Arts
2015 was a year of evolution and development for the Faculty of Arts. The Master's programs saw an increase of 75 per cent in enrolments from 2014, and there was a focus on improving the quality of experience for research training school students. Retention rates into second and third year courses were substantially higher than in 2014 and honours level 4 units showed a positive increase of 14 per cent.
The Faculty embraced developments in teaching modes with our first Massive Open Online Course, 'Australian Literature: a rough guide' an outstanding success, attracting 7000 students.
The number of publications by staff members remained steady and the Faculty's focus on diversifying sources of research income started to bear positive results.
Several research processes were initiated in 2015 including the creation of new research clusters which focus on collaboration. A new Africa Research Cluster was launched that will bring together UWA expertise on issues relevant to Africa such as climate change, heritage and agriculture. The Mobilities and Belonging Initiative (MoB) built national and international partnerships to produce jointly authored publications.
The Faculty has never been in a better position to connect its research with two of the most significant universities in the world, Harvard and Peking. The prestigious Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University is held by UWA English and Cultural Studies Professor Philip Mead. UWA Professor Greg McCarthy was appointed BHP Billiton Chair in Australian Studies at Peking University and will concurrently hold a Chair in Australian Politics at UWA.
Music students in particular continued to excel with UWA graduate and staff member Ashley Smith winning the Australian Performing Rights Association/Australian Music Copyright Owners Society Performance of the Year. In 2015, current music students performed in New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles and Vienna, and more than 35 were admitted to programs of the Australian Youth Orchestra.
The Faculty continued to strengthen links with the community, through the significant role played by the School of Music. The 2015 concert program 'The Way', featured more than 180 performances, recitals, masterclasses and workshops.
Business (UWA Business School)
In 2015, the Business School enjoyed outstanding success. Economics PhD student Rumayya was one of only two students Australia-wide to be awarded a 2015 Australia Awards Hadi Soesastro Prize. A team of UWA undergraduate students placed second nationally in the UBS Investment Banking Challenge and students excelled in the Enactus National Championships.
In research, UWA was rated 'well above world standard' for its research in business and management. The rating, delivered by the Australian Research Council's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) results, accompanies ratings of 'at world standard' or 'above world standard' that UWA received for all eligible business categories. Complementing this, researchers received funding of more than $2.2 million from external organisations.
Staff were elected to a number of high-profile positions. Millie Change was elected President-Elect (Australia) 2015–2017 for the Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, Peter Robertson became a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts, Ann Tarca was appointed to chair the Australian Accounting Standards Board's Academic Advisory Panel, and Geoff Soutar was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.
UWA's undergraduate Finance Major was accepted into the CFA Institute University Recognition Program and the Master of Human Resources and Employment Relations received accreditation from the Australian Human Resources Institute. Four units were offered fully online for the first time and the school introduced two new postgraduate courses – the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the MBA Full Time.
The School co-hosted public lectures from the Reserve Bank's Deputy Governor Philip Lowe and the Hon. Christian Porter MP, Minister for Social Services, while the UWA Centre for Social Impact hosted the 2015 WA Social Impact Festival.
Private donors and organisations provided in-kind support and donations amounting to more than $1.8 million. The School engaged with UWA graduates and the wider community through the expansion of the Young Alumni Network, the Ambassadorial Council (based in the UK, US, Singapore and Australia), and through reunion events.
Faculty of Education
In 2015, the Faculty of Education experienced a record number of student enrolments – a 31 per cent increase from the previous year.
The Teachers Registration Board of WA accredited the Master of Teaching as an initial teacher education program for five years. The Master of Teaching (Early Childhood) which prepares students to teach children up to eight years of age also achieved accreditation from the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority. The accreditations complete the Faculty's suite of courses that prepare teachers of young people up to 18 years of age.
The quality of current and past education students was recognised at the Faculty's annual prize-giving ceremony with 16 prizes awarded in 2015. The Faculty also awarded 10 scholarships with the number set to grow to 17 in 2016.
New competitive grants from the Australian Research Council, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Healthway and the Office of Learning and Teaching, enabled the Faculty to boost its research capability.
In a world first, Professor Stephen Houghton, along with other specialists, completed a three-year study on screen-based media. The study found adverse mental health outcomes in excessive screen-based media use by children and teenagers.
UWA Professors Stephen Humphry and David Andrich continued researching the improvement of the writing performance assessment component of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), one of only eight education research projects Australia-wide funded in the 2015 ARC Linkage grants.
In student successes, Dr Mark Fielding won an award for his thesis about international education in Australia from the International Educational Association of Australia. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate Sashya Gunasekera together with Professors Stephen Houghton and Ken Glasgow were invited to present their five-year study on African students schooling in Australia at the Australian National School Psychologists Conference in Adelaide. The research captured global attention.
In the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Education results, UWA was rated above world-class for its research output. The Faculty also announced the appointment of Professors Stephen Zubrick, David Lawrence and Catherine Taylor from the Telethon Kids Institute. They will join the Faculty in 2016, further boosting its research capability in early childhood development.
Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics
2015 was a successful year for the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics. Two of the Faculty's research groups were among nine recipients of grants from the nation's peak research funding body, the Australian Research Council (ARC), securing nearly $10 million in funding for the ARC Research Hub for Offshore Floating Facilities and the ARC Training Centre for Liquefied Natural Gas Futures.
The achievements of research staff were recognised with Professor Mark Cassidy named Scientist of the Year in the 2015 Premier's Science Awards. Professor Cheryl Praeger was inducted into the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame and Professor David White was elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences. Professors Robert McLaughlin and David Sampson won The Australian newspaper's Innovation Challenge for their invention of a microscope in a needle used for breast cancer detection.
The Faculty's research initiative, Engineering for Remote Operations, resulted in eight teams addressing complex research projects. The initiatives saw the establishment of three research leadership positions and will result in a further nine research positions and 10 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) opportunities for 2016. Outstanding student achievements were recognised at the annual Prizes Breakfast and the Alumni Achievement Awards.
Community engagement was a key focus of 2015 with events such as the Kimberley Cup, where students travelled to Broome to promote engineering, computing and mathematics to local children. The Girls in Engineering program engaged secondary school girls in the science and engineering field and saw successful outreach events in 2015.
The EZONE project, the largest single infrastructure investment UWA has undertaken, is progressing quickly with approval granted to design the $80 million student-focused hub which will be located on the University's Crawley campus. Once complete, the facility will provide flexible teaching, research and industry engagement spaces to benefit staff and students for years to come.
School of Indigenous Studies
In 2015, the School of Indigenous Studies continued to implement strategies to develop research capacity and leadership in Indigenous knowledge. There was an increase in research grants and income, with $1.1 million in funding secured for key health research projects.
A new project to create the world's first Aboriginal online encyclopedia to preserve the Noongar language was launched – made possible by $610,000 funding from the Australian Research Council. The Poche Centre for Indigenous Health appointed three research Fellows in the areas of culture and mental health, Aboriginal children's health and chronic disease. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project convened a significant roundtable at UWA to discuss Indigenous suicide, with 40 delegates in attendance including the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion.
Indigenous student access to UWA courses continued to increase, with high student retention and success rates. A number of highly competitive awards and scholarships were awarded to Indigenous students and graduates including the Smithsonian Curatorial Internship program in New York City, the UK Chevening/Charlie Perkins Scholarships and the Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour in 2015.
A key focus of 2015 was engaging Indigenous students internationally. The School was successful in securing national funding for a short-term mobility program to Bali, enabling 10 students to undertake a 10-day study program in Bali with community partners at Udayana University.
Enrolments increased in Level 1 broadening units, with 570 enrolments in the 'Aboriginal Encounters: Strangers in our Backyard' unit in 2015, compared to 238 the previous year, and 438 students enrolled in the 'Boodjar Moort Katitjin: Introduction to Indigenous Heritage and Knowledge' unit, offered for the first time in 2015.
The School hosted two national conferences – the Poche National Network Meeting and the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium meeting which attracted senior Aboriginal academic leaders from approximately 20 Australian universities.
The teaching program expanded through a partnership with the Faculty of Arts to offer the Master of Heritage Studies. The two-year course is the School's first postgraduate course and its specialisation in Indigenous Australian Heritage is the first of its kind in Australia.
Faculty of Law
2015 saw increased grants, new postgraduate programs and the development of enhanced teaching and research capacity for the Faculty of Law. The Faculty continued to focus on internationalisation, diversification and innovation. It also continued to enhance its research profile to improve ranking, research capacity and ability to build stronger research teams.
A strong track record in graduate recruitment was maintained. Student recruitment has remained strong for the two undergraduate majors, and the Faculty launched seven new specialist postgraduate degrees, each of which has attracted a high number of enrolments in the first year.
The Faculty worked on a number of engagement activities both nationally and internationally. A memorandum of understanding was entered into with several Chinese and Japanese universities. On campus, a highlight was the start of the Law Society's 'Law Access' program. This involved law students working with law access solicitors to assess applicant matters and refer them to pro bono legal service providers. The initiative helped to build further opportunities for students studying law at UWA and complements the Legal Internship Clinical Legal Education unit at the University.
The Faculty had a large number of student achievements including success in the international Jessup Moot competition where students reached the international semi-finals. UWA graduates Luke Villiers and Emily Gordon were selected for scholarships to study at Cambridge University, and Law/Economics graduate Ilona Quahe won one of three prestigious Australiaat- Large Rhodes Scholarships for 2016.
Staff in the faculty received many awards including John Fiocco who was awarded the Law Council of Australia '2015 Lawyer of the Year' and Kate Offer who was awarded an Office for Learning and Teaching 2015 citation for 'Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning'. UWA graduate Sarah Beshar was awarded an honorary doctorate and graduate Justice Michelle Gordon was appointed to the High Court of Australia.
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
In 2015, the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences welcomed more than 3,700 student enrolments in undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Several new postgraduate courses commenced, including the Master of Clinical Pathology, Master of Child Health Research, Graduate Certificate in Emergency Medicine Research and Master of Health Science.
In the field of research, the Faculty had a strong year with 13 assessed areas of activity rated 'above' or 'well above' the world standard in the Excellence in Research for Australia results.
The Faculty played a significant role in the establishment of the Western Australian Health Translation Network, a statewide health translation centre that works to maximise collaboration in Western Australian medical research. The project will see UWA work closely with a variety of research bodies to enhance health care research and improve health outcomes in Western Australia.
Faculty staff actively engaged in teaching and research at the newly opened Fiona Stanley Hospital and Harry Perkins Institute building, located on the Fiona Stanley Hospital campus at Murdoch. Eleven senior academics were inducted as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. Those elected demonstrated their distinguished professional achievement in health and medicine, as well as strong leadership.
In addition, the National Health and Medical Research Council in 2016 allocated almost $19 million for research project grants, $1.5 million for Fellowships, and two centres for research excellence to the value of $5 million.
The Faculty had many student successes including Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery graduate Andrés Noé being awarded a highly prestigious 2016 Rhodes Scholarship.
The Raine Study Group moved to the main UWA campus and was realigned under the School of Population Health. The Population Health Research Network also officially joined the Faculty which moved from the Telethon Kids Institute.
2015 also saw the WA Preterm Birth Prevention Initiative launched which is led by the School of Women's and Infants' Health. It is a world-first program aiming to safely lower the rate of preterm birth in WA.
Faculty of Science
During 2015, the Faculty of Science continued to strengthen its global research and teaching links.
As part of its ongoing internationalisation strategy, the Faculty identified partnerships and collaborations to develop staff and student exchanges. A key initiative of 2015 was the Brazilian government's 'Science Without Borders' program. This provided more than 420 Brazilian students with the opportunity to study at UWA, with 50 per cent of those students based in the Faculty of Science.
Significant progress was made in research collaboration and the student exchange programs in South America, Southeast Asia and China. One of the programs under way is the undergraduate Vietnam student exchange program with Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA) under a new unit 'International Fieldwork in Agribusiness'.
The Faculty continued to expand its courses, launching its first Massive Open Online Course on 'Agriculture Economics and Nature' in 2015. The course was well received with more than 3200 participants registering.
In student achievements, Science students Afira Zulkifli and Madison Roberts received a Paul Turner Science Scholarship for their work in environmental research. Researcher and Chemistry student Callum Ormonde was part of a team that won an Ig Nobel Prize for discovering how to unboil an egg.
In research, the School of Psychology made available online a new 'Mental Health Thermometer' that allows individuals to track their own mental health. The 'thermometer' is based on work done on an Australian Research Council linkage grant. Direct benefits of its application were seen at the Perth Clinic, where the researchers' work was converted into practical application.
Science researchers enjoyed success with four selected among 78 women across the world to take part in 'Homeward Bound', a world-class leadership program where a 21-day expedition to Antarctica enabled the scientists to build a 1000-strong global collaboration for women in science. The University also supported its researchers through partnering with Science in Australia Gender Equity to develop its application for the Athena SWAN Charter Awards in Australia.