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Thursday, 20 September 2012
Page: 11515

Ms BURKE (ChisholmDeputy Speaker) (11:47): I rise to speak about the achievements of seven inspiring academic and teaching professionals at Monash and Deakin universities in my electorate of Chisholm who this week received the prestigious citation award from the Gillard government for their contributions to enriching student learning. We are fortunate in Australia to be home to some of the world's leading universities. In my own electorate I am proud to represent the Melbourne campus of Deakin University, located in Burwood, and the central campus of Monash University in Clayton. These are very large facilities and are fantastic institutions.

These universities are fantastic institutions which not only provide an exceptionally high standard of education for tens of thousands of students each year but engage in the world-leading research and innovation that is vital to the future of our economy. Education is the key to unlocking the potential of young Australians as more and more Australians take up university education. The Gillard government is ensuring that the quality of student learning remains high and that every student's experience is rewarding.

A university education is about more than textbooks and exams. It is an opportunity to engage in a holistic learning experience, which is driven by dedicated and passionate professionals and has the power to inspire a lifelong love of learning and inquiry. The 2012 citation awards have recognised 152 academics in 38 universities across the country who are at the forefront of developing innovative programs and new teaching models which are improving students' experience and learning. It is a wonderful thing that we are actually recognising teaching within universities and not just how many publications an academic has, so these citations are a wonderful thing

From Monash University, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate Associate Professor Cristina Varasavsky, School of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science, whose sustained leadership has driven change at the faculty and institutional levels in the pursuit of a quality learning and teaching environment. I also congratulate experienced observational astronomer Dr Kevin Pimbblet, of the School of Physics, for risking active learning approaches in a content heavy discipline to achieve interested and engaged learners, resulting in more students pursuing physics. That is a really important thing.

Also, senior lecturer Dr Kellie Tuck for inspiring her students to a lifelong passion for chemistry through the use of innovative teaching practices. And while they are located at the Malaysia campus of Monash, I would also like to recognise Dr Arkendu Sen and Associate Professor Lakshmi Selvaratnam, at the Malaysia School of Medicine and Health Sciences, for their work translating Aristotle's philosophy that 'teaching is the highest form of understanding' into practice through novel, technology-enhanced collaborative learning and peer-teaching strategies in anatomy.

And at Deakin University it is an honour to congratulate Dr Tess Knight, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, for empowering self-reflective and independent learning, informing perspectival appreciation on ageing and future counselling roles. We know that ageing is a very important thing, particularly in electorates like mine with a high ageing population.

I congratulate School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Senior Lecturer, Dr Lynn Riddell, for leadership that has made a sustained positive contribution to developing professional competencies and advancing career outcomes for students in food and nutrition. Congratulations to Associate Professor Julie Considine, of the School of Nursing and Midwifery for her commitment to a teaching-evidence-practice nexus in specialist and advanced nursing courses to develop clinical excellence, enhanced quality and safety of health care.

And congratulations to Dr Jaclyn Broadbent, of the School of Psychology, for the sustained creation of motivation inspiring learning environments for over 1,600 students in a compulsory multimodal subject. All of these individuals are fantastic. I am immensely proud of all these professionals and the contribution they are each making to the lives of students.

I would also like to acknowledge the fact that they are joined by other colleagues from their prospective institutions working on campuses outside my electorate. They will each receive their hard-earned citations, worth $10,000 in front of families, friends and peers at a special ceremony in Melbourne on 2 October. We all know from our time at school, university or TAFE what a difference a good and inspiring teacher makes. Their influence lasts a lifetime. The benefit of their commitment to teaching and enhanced learning extend far beyond the individual student, as each of these students goes on to achieve and contribute more, benefiting everyone around them.

It is also with a great sense of pride that I stand here as a member of a Labor government which has proven its commitment to higher education ensuring that every Australian, no matter where they live or their background, should be able to go to university if they have the ability. Since coming to government, Labor has funded undergraduate places at public universities based on student demand, providing an additional $4.5 billion in demand driven places from 2012 to 2015 and over $3 billion in indexation changes from 2012 to 2015. I can certainly assure you that at both of the campuses in my electorate, at Deakin and at Monash, this has been greatly welcomed. I, again, congratulate all these individuals.