Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts
The Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts had a successful year in 2016, continuing its extensive overseas in-country teaching programs.
Student placements were offered over the summer and winter teaching periods in Lisbon, Barcelona, Athens, Rome and Bali, with 132 students enrolled in international studies through the programs. The Faculty also partnered with international architecture firm Woods Bagot to award internships to nine Master of Architecture students in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
There were a number of significant research achievements throughout the year. A team headed by Associate Professor Fernando Jerez together with seven students won first prize in the two-stage International Architecture Competition to design the National Science and Innovation Centre 'Science Island' in Kaunas, Lithuania. Master of Architecture student Abel Feleke was awarded the 2016 RIBA Sir Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship, presented to one student in a worldwide open competition, which took him to China, India, Ethiopia and Brazil to study cross-cultural settings in informal settlements.
Locally, Associate Professor Jennie Officer oversaw the opening of the Martumilli building complex, an arts facility and gallery in Newman, Western Australia. The Faculty also launched the first two issues of Future West, a publication that provides insight and commentary into urbanism in Western Australia.
Learning technologies and infrastructure were updated to advance teaching facilities. A specialised makerbot laboratory was created, containing computer technology that allows students to create models and prototypes. This strong focus on resourcing new technology will assist with the teaching of design, including the new Master of Building Information Modelling (MBIM) degree that specialises in collaborative software toolkits for the building industry.
The National Visiting Panel (NVP) representing the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) visited the Faculty in September to review the undergraduate and postgraduate Architecture programs. The outcome of the visit was a successful unconditional accreditation of the professional Architecture program for five years from 2016-2021.
Faculty of Arts
In line with the direction of the University, in 2016 the Faculty of Arts continued to grow its postgraduate and international student numbers.
New staff were recruited to teach Spanish for the summer of 2017. Two beginners' units were created for introduction in 2017 with a view to expanding the offerings to enable a Spanish Language and Culture major to be created over the next two to three years. The initiative has been made possible through the financial support of the Government of Spain.
A number of disciplines in the Faculty improved their research rankings, with English in the top 50 and History, Music, Classics and European/Modern languages all in the top 100. More broadly UWA rose 40 places to number 74 in the QS Social Sciences and Management Faculty rankings and went up 72 places to number 86 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities Social Sciences category.
Both the number and quality of publications produced in the Faculty continued to rise, as did the Faculty's presence in the creative and performing arts, with several new awards presented in music and creative writing. These included Lucy Dougans winning the Poetry Section of the 2016 Premier's Book Awards for The Guardian, and Louise Devenish being announced a State winner of Performance of the Year for her concert Electroacoustic Music for One Percussionist at the 2016 Art Music Awards.
Joseph Nolan (Honorary Fellow) was made a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters of France, Ashley Smith received a Churchill Fellowship and James Bradbury was the winner of the prestigious 2016 Schenberg Music Fellowship in Composition.
Business (UWA Business School)
The Business School enjoyed a year of outstanding success.
MBA students once again won the title at the global Schulich International Case Competition and made the top 20 for the Zurich Enterprise Challenge. Students were successful in receiving the HSBC Best Practice Business Advisory Board Award at the Enactus National Conference and Competition.
A number of staff received high-profile awards, including Cristina Gibson, who was awarded the Decade Award in international business, Sharon Parker, who received an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship, and Geoff Soutar, who took out the ANZMAC Lifetime Achievement Award.
Researchers successfully attracted more than $3.6 million in grants, with five researcher projects receiving grants worth more than $100,000.
The School welcomed a number of high-profile visitors through the BHP Billiton Visiting Professor Program. Meanwhile, as a result of the School’s new articulation programs with top Chinese universities, 500 international students began studying at the University.
The School launched a new Master of Applied Finance and established a new Master of Public Policy while expanding its online teaching, offering six MBA units and a postgraduate accounting unit fully online. The undergraduate broadening unit Changing the World: Social Innovation, Finance and Enterprise was also launched.
The School’s MBA programs continued to exhibit strong growth with the full-time equivalent load increasing by eight per cent between 2015 and 2016. Of those graduating from the MBA Full Time 2015 cohort, more than 90 per cent were employed in jobs in senior positions within three months of graduating.
Through the School’s corporate partnerships, more than $2.3 million was received to help fund more than 100 Business School-organised events. The Social Impact Festival featured 34 events, across 16 venues with more than 2000 attendees. The Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference 2016 played host to nearly 400 delegates, and the School launched its successful 'Lunch and Learn' events series in Perth.
Faculty of Education
In 2016 the Faculty of Education celebrated its centenary with a series of high-profile events.
In March the Faculty hosted The Changing World of Education Forum. The Premier, Leader of the Opposition and several ministers participated in a lively discussion about the past, present and future for education in Western Australia.
The Faculty experienced a record number of student enrolments, a 143 per cent increase from the previous year, and there was an increase in the number of students completing higher degrees in 2016 including PhDs, STEM specialisms and professional qualifications. In the 2016 Initial Teacher Education cohort there were 15 students with PhDs. Twenty-three scholarships and 20 prizes were awarded to students in recognition of their work, dedication and contribution to education; of these; 13 were new scholarships and four were new prizes.
New competitive grants allowed the Faculty to expand its research capability. Associate Professors Mark Pegrum and Grace Oakley received an Australia-Japan Foundation grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to help middle school students in Australia and Japan support their learning about each other's language and culture.
A government-sponsored project to mentor education students placed in disadvantaged schools was also announced as the inaugural People's Choice Award recipient of the UWA Alumni Grant Fund.
Professor Vaille Dawson, together with a team comprising Professor Grady Venville, Dean of Coursework Studies at UWA, Professor Anat Zohar from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor Michael Reiss from University College London, were awarded a UWA Research Collaboration grant ($23,000) for their research project titled Improving critical thinking skills in disadvantaged secondary school science students.
Chapple Professor David Andrich won the Benjamin Drake Wright Senior Scholar Award by the Rasch Measurement Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for his contribution to Rasch theory (a model to analyse categorical data). Professor Stephen Houghton was granted a Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Award for his contribution to research in education. At the University's Autumn Graduation Ceremony in March, graduate Kate Leeming was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for her work in education.
Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics
In 2016, the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics continued to develop its research, education, and community engagement.
During Research Week, the Faculty hosted a unique event where 48 members of research groups showcased their activities and held 15-minute networking meetings with 50 industry and government representatives. The Faculty also worked on diversifying research income channels and improving the efficiency of research grant applications.
The Faculty was successful in receiving full accreditation specialisations of Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Electronic and Mechanical Engineering from the Engineers Australia (EA) visit conducted at the end of 2015. Chemical Engineering also received full Master’s accreditation from the Institution of Chemical Engineering (IChemE).
In response to student feedback, the Faculty concentrated on improving the student learning experience. These efforts resulted in the highest ever average teaching assessment scores for the Faculty. In 2017 the Faculty will increase its postgraduate coursework offerings with the exciting new Master of Data Science and has made changes to increase the content in the Engineering Science major.
Teaching efforts of staff were recognised at the Faculty Teaching and Learning awards. Professor David Sampson was a finalist in the Scientist of the Year category of the 2015 Premier’s Science Awards, while Dr Scott Draper was awarded the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year. Dr Andrew Guzzomi was part of a team that won the top prize at the 2016 WA Innovator of the Year Awards. The Faculty also celebrated the achievements of its students, present and past, at the annual Prizes Breakfast in April and the Alumni Achievement Awards in August.
The schematic design for the student focused building hub of the EZONE UWA infrastructure project was completed. This hub will provide flexible teaching, research and industry engagement spaces. Design, development and documentation is ongoing for awarding main construction contracts before mid-2017 for new spaces and the refurbishment of existing buildings.
School of Indigenous Studies
In 2016 the School of Indigenous Studies continued to focus on its nationally renowned research and education programs.
A highlight was a private visit by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, who discussed groundbreaking research into Indigenous suicide carried out by UWA Research Fellow Professor Pat Dudgeon. The visit followed the School’s convened inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference in Alice Springs, held in May.
Research into Indigenous suicide prevention and Indigenous health continued through the funded ATSISPEP and NEP projects and through the valuable work of the POCHE Centre. In addition, Professor Len Collard’s ARC Noongarpedia project, the first Australian Aboriginal language site on Wikipedia, continued to gain momentum in the community and interest from the media.
International collaboration, engagement and learning continued through successful study programs with the Bali Institute for Global Renewal at Udyana University, funded through the New Colombo Plan, and the inaugural Matariki Network’s Indigenous Student Mobility Program at Otago University, New Zealand. A total of 15 Indigenous students participated in these study-abroad programs.
Student enrolment and success gained momentum through the School’s innovative teaching programs. Adrianne Houghton became the first Aboriginal Student Ambassador for Rural Health West, and Dr Daniel Hunt was named Scholar of the Year for Western Australia in the 2016 NAIDOC Awards. The School also secured $150,000 in funding from the WA Department of Health to support Indigenous health students in their studies and to promote careers in health.
The School’s level- one broadening units remained popular with students, with 535 students enrolling in Aboriginal Encounters (INDG1150), 382 students in Boodjar Moort Katitjin (INDG1160), and Perspectives in Aboriginal Education (EDUC5429) doubling its enrolment to 315 students in 2016.
The mandatory Indigenous Studies Essentials (ISE) INDG1000 unit for all undergraduate students continued to receive positive student feedback and this year was named as an Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards Finalist in the Learning Experience Category.
Faculty of Law
The Faculty of Law introduced new postgraduate programs and initiated several new research and engagement projects during 2016, as well as continuing to grow its flagship Juris Doctor program. A focus on internationalisation, diversification and innovation continued, resulting in increased student enrolments and the recruitment of new academic staff.
Several major projects commenced including the development of the UWA Professional Platform, an online service that provides access to professional development activities via subscription. The Faculty launched development campaigns to honour alumni including the Grant Robertson Memorial Fund with donations used to establish an endowed prize in International Commercial Arbitration. The Peter Johnston Memorial Fund was also launched, with strong support from the legal profession. The campaign resulted in donations with the funds helping support the UWA Jessup Moot team to advance student learning.
During the year the Faculty welcomed several UWA alumni back to campus including the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, who was appointed an Honorary Fellow, and the Chief Justice of Australia, the Honourable Robert French AC, who will take up a position as an Adjunct Professor on his retirement from the High Court. Justice Carmel McLure, Cheryl Edwardes and Carmelo Randazzo were recognised in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
The Faculty celebrated a number of student achievements, including the Blackstone Society winning the UWA Student Guild Best Faculty Society Award and Faculty Societies' Choice Award – the first time any Faculty Society has won both awards. UWA Law School students were successful in establishing a new UWA Student Guild International Law Club and launched a new student-run journal – the Perth International Law Journal.
Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
2016 was a significant milestone for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, marking the 70th anniversary of dentistry studies at UWA.
The development of an exciting new undergraduate major in Medical Science was a key focus throughout the year. The Faculty also enhanced its Direct Pathways program for school leavers into its professional courses.
Strong results were achieved in research outputs with every assessed area rated above or well above the world standard in the Excellence in Research for Australia results. This was a significant achievement in a highly competitive research-funding climate.
The UWA School of Dentistry undertook a significant refurbishment program with new digital technology installed to aid teaching and learning. Students in the Doctor of Dental Medicine are now gaining practical training using the most advanced modern technology.
Expanded clinical placements at Fiona Stanley Hospital and the creation of placements at the new Midland Hospital increased capacity for clinical teaching in the Doctor of Medicine program. Placements at all existing metropolitan and rural sites continue to be well supported.
The Faculty continues to be a major member of the Western Australian Health Translation Network (WAHTN). This collaborative State-wide health partnership focuses on enhancing health care research and improving health outcomes in Western Australia. As part of WAHTN in 2016 – and in an Australian-first – a community involvement initiative was launched that will allow the public to have direct input into medical research. The project is a collaboration between the State's five universities, hospitals and medical research institutions.
Faculty of Science
In 2016, the Faculty continued to deliver on our commitment to improving lives through science.
We doubled the breeding efficiency of cereal crops, unlocked the secrets of the Universe with precise atomic clocks, mitigated the long-term impact of spinal cord injuries and safely deterred sharks using biologically inspired technology.
Building upon our exceptional reputation for impactful and innovative scientific research, the Faculty improved our position across the rankings and research ratings in the higher education sector. The University's reputation for Life and Agricultural Sciences put it in the world's top 24 universities in 2016 (Academic Ranking of World Universities), and Earth and Marine Sciences climbed 14 places (QS Rankings by Subject). Furthermore, the University's science research was rated well above world standard or above world standard across 44 of the 47 science categories according to the Excellence in Research for Australia assessment.
The Faculty implemented a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program in response to rising industry demand for work-ready graduates for a competitive science workforce. The program has been developed to enhance the job prospects of our undergraduate students by providing high-quality educational experiences in work-based environments.
As part of our continuing commitment to internationalisation, the Faculty increased our presence across South East Asia, India, China and Latin America throughout 2016, culminating in a 66 per cent increase in postgraduate coursework acceptances and enrolments compared to the previous year. The first cohort of Chinese students enrolled in the Biotechnology/Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program as part of our commitment to the University's new joint undergraduate school (WESTA College) with Southwest University and the University of Tasmania.
Supporting the University's strategic plan to achieve success by attracting students with outstanding potential, the Faculty launched the Dean's Excellence in Science PhD Scholarship which attracted exceptional research candidates from around the world. The Faculty's inaugural award went to Jordan McDivitt, a Canadian scholar who will join the University in 2017.
In 2016, two of the three Fulbright Scholar awardees were from the Faculty of Science, and two academics, Professor Hans Lambers and Professor Richard J Hobbs, were recognised as Highly Cited Researchers by Thomson Reuters.