Deakin celebrates rise in rankings

Deakin continues to rise among the world’s universities, with the latest prestigious QS World University Rankings placing us at number 271 in the world after entering the top 300 two years ago.

Released on 19 June 2019, this ranking places Deakin in the top 1.1 per cent of universities in the world.

It also cements Deakin in the top two per cent of universities in each of the three major global rankings, the other two being the ARWU and Times Higher Education (THE).

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander AO congratulated the Deakin community on its achievement.

“Deakin is committed to supporting the communities we serve through providing the best teaching and research possible, and today’s rankings show that if you value staff and build a clear and comprehensive strategy towards your goals, the results follow,” Professor den Hollander said.

“The QS rankings have further enhanced Deakin’s reputation as focussed on excellence, providing the jobs of the future and supporting our students to provide the best experience possible.”


Farewell and thank you from Vice-Chancellor den Hollander

After nine years at the helm of one of Australia’s youngest and most innovative universities, Professor Jane den Hollander AO reflects on the importance of philanthropy at Deakin University.

A generous donor herself, Professor den Hollander and her husband, Dr Jeroen den Hollander, are proud to have supported students through the den Hollander Scholarship Fund for students since 2014.

Professor den Hollander looks forward to continuing to watch philanthropy at Deakin grow from strength to strength following her retirement at the end of June.


Engineering greater gender balance

The annual School of Engineering Student Awards, held this year on 30 May, are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our engineers of the future.

This year, the awards also revealed Deakin’s progress towards gender equity in this traditionally male-dominated field, with women taking home the majority of honours for the first time.

Professor Aman Oo, Head of the School of Engineering, said the School is committed to increasing the number of female engineering students at Deakin by offering support in as many ways as possible.

“In Australia, only 16 per cent of STEM graduates are women,” Professor Oo explained.

“Engineering is traditionally a heavily male-dominated industry and this is something we at Deakin are keen to change.”

The provision of scholarships for women is one of the School’s key programs aimed at boosting the number of women in its student ranks.

“The School is very fortunate to have the support of generous partners and donors like AusNet Services, Barwon Water, and Ford Australia,” Professor Oo said.

“These organisations share our vision for a greater gender balance in engineering; providing financial, motivational and career-boosting scholarship support for our high-achieving female students.

“It was my pleasure to present these scholarships, plus our achievement awards, to students at the Awards night.”

Another important initiative is the School’s Outreach Program, which received a significant boost with the appointment of a School Outreach Coordinator, Jess Sautner, in 2017.

One of Jess’ first priorities was engaging with girls in Victoria through initiatives like the Power of Engineering events and Girls in Physics breakfasts.

“We’ve had some very inspiring speakers along to our events, including Dr Amanda Caples, Victoria’s Lead Scientist, and Dr Collette Burke, the Victorian Chief Engineer,” Jess said.

“We also bring hundreds of students to CADET for hands-on activities and a glimpse at the exciting world that awaits if they choose to study Engineering at Deakin.

“More recently, we have broadened the age of students we reach, targeting students as early as Year Seven rather than in their VCE years, when their study and career paths may already be set.”

Other successful initiatives in 2019 included the launch of a Ladies in Engineering at Deakin (LEAD) group for female engineering students and a membership program specifically targeted at female students in the School of Engineering.

Future initiatives that aim to provide more gender equity in the School of Engineering include the introduction of new engineering courses that attract more interest from women and a mentoring program that encourages more women to pursue engineering studies and become ambassadors. 

The mentoring program is of particular interest to Mackinley Collins, a first year Bachelor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (Honours) student and one of two recipients of an AusNet Services Women in Engineering Scholarship in 2019.

“I want to work towards encouraging young women to pursue their interests in areas where they don’t see themselves represented,” Mackinley said.

“In 2018, I was one of two girls in my Physics and Specialist Maths classes at school and I often felt like an outsider, like I wasn’t represented in my class discussions.

“I hope that receiving the AusNet Services Women in Engineering Scholarship will help me to work harder in my community and in my career to achieve my goal of being able to help other young women.”

AusNet Services Executive General Manager Alistair Parker and AusNet Services Women in Power Engineering Scholarship recipient Mackinley Collins

According to Professor Oo, while there is still work to do in improving gender equality, the School’s progress to date has been encouraging.

“Just four years ago, there were only three women on staff in the School,” Professor Oo said.

“I’m proud to say that today, that number has increased to 20.

“And only five years ago, just four percent of our students – around 30 – were women. Today, that number sits around the 12 per cent mark, with 250 women among our 2,000 engineering students.

“This places us on par with the national average at Australian universities – a great outcome for all involved.”

The School of Engineering would like to thank its industry partners and sponsors for their support of the 2019 Student Awards:

  • AusNet Services
  • Barwon Water
  • Des Munday & Son
  • Engineers Australia
  • Ford Australia
  • Godfrey Hirst Australia
  • IMechE Frederick Barnes Waldon
  • Incitec Pivot Ltd
  • Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Institution of Structural Engineers Australia
  • IStructE
  • SEW-Eurodrive
  • The Steel Reinforcement Institute of Australia (SRIA)
  • VIVA Energy Australia
  • Worley Parsons

Deakin GIVEs Sanctuary

Deakin Sanctuary Scholarship recipient Kavery Jeyakumar and Deakin staff member Jane Finlay meet at the Burwood campus

There were hugs all round when Kavery Jeyakumar, one of 14 Deakin Sanctuary Scholarship recipients, met staff member Jane Finlay, a long-time donor to student scholarships through Deakin’s workplace giving program.

The timing was perfect as Deakin celebrates Workplace Giving Month across Australia during June. 

“It’s amazing to think that people like Jane, people I’ve never met, believe in me and want to see me succeed in my studies.” Kavery said. 

“The support from people like Jane not only helps me study, but has reduced so much pressure and sadness in each and every member of my family.”

For Jane, Deakin’s Manager for Access and Equity Partnerships, the workplace giving program – known as Deakin GIVE – allows her to ‘chip away’ at the growing inequality she witnesses every day working with students facing a range of barriers.

“Higher education continues to be a place for medium to high-socioeconomic people and families who have invested in education and are able to reap the benefits,” Jane said.

“Unfortunately, with current policies, some of the most disadvantaged students are excluded. Sadly, it has sometimes meant that disadvantaged students who were willing, capable, committed – everything that Deakin stands for – are not afforded the same access opportunities.”

“I do sometimes get to hear about how difficult some of those student’s circumstances have been and it’s nothing that you would want your own children to go through.

“It’s really nice to know that once a fortnight I can make my contribution and I know very personally how that help has impacted some individuals in really hard times. It’s the right place for my money to go and I absolutely believe everyone can give something.”

Deakin staff are certainly walking the walk when it comes to supporting students through scholarships.

Many staff have been taking happy snaps of themselves proudly showing off their striking light blue Deakin GIVE lanyards as a way of raising awareness and starting conversations with colleagues.

The unwavering support of our staff has resulted in Deakin providing four additional Sanctuary Scholarships in 2019.

A commitment to breaking down the barriers of educational disadvantage has been central to Deakin’s purpose since the beginning. The Sanctuary Scholarship program for people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary protection has been selected as our flagship workplace giving fundraising cause through to 2020. 

In 2018, of the 30,000 or so people currently seeking asylum in Australia, only about 200 have been able to study at university thanks to scholarships and other support. To date, we’ve offered sanctuary at Deakin to 14 people seeking asylum and we’re working together with alumni and other generous donors to support more talented students next year.   

Deakin GIVE staff members together with Deakin Sanctuary Scholarship recipient Kavery Jeyakumar



Meet Jimmy Buck

The opportunity to shape Deakin’s philanthropic future proved a powerful incentive for Jimmy Buck, Deakin’s new Chief Advancement Officer, to pack up and move from Sydney to Melbourne.

With extensive experience in Advancement disciplines after nine years at the University of Sydney – most recently as Director of Development during the university’s $1 billion INSPIRED fundraising campaign – Jimmy was ready for new challenges in a new city.

“One of the most attractive things about Deakin is that we are growing and ambitious,” Jimmy explained.

“Deakin is such a comparatively young university and this means we’re all about looking forward, about shaping stories and histories.”

For Jimmy, a career in fundraising in universities has provided an opportunity to combine his love of learning with his desire to make a real difference.

“Universities are the most inspirational places,” Jimmy said.

“Being surrounded by thousands of really smart, enquiring minds is a privilege because you have ideas being thrown around all the time. At universities, the possibilities are endless and I find that really exciting.”

One of the joys during Jimmy’s career has been the opportunity to discuss the concept of philanthropy with others.

“Working with people to affect impact in areas they are passionate about is something that I’ve enjoyed doing my whole life,” Jimmy explained.

“It’s always a true delight to provide people with stories of philanthropy. It is through stories that people can appreciate the power of giving. Both for the cause and themselves.

“I think that with so many worthy causes out there, it’s important to remind people that when you give through a university – when you invest in an area that you care about – you’re investing in the research and teaching that can actually solve a lot of problems and change lives for the better.”

Jimmy is a firm believer in the role of Advancement in providing opportunities for people to make an impact on the things that matter most to them.

“It’s a real honour and a privilege to be able to provide people with those opportunities because they’re changing lives in some of the most incredible ways, whether they’re getting people into education, advancing research or making art accessible,” Jimmy explained. 

“Some people just don’t realise that they can do that and I think it’s really a special thing to be able to provide those opportunities.”

American-born and a proud graduate of Boston University, Jimmy’s accent often draws comments from others about the culture of philanthropy in Australia compared with other countries.

“I’m often faced with the outdated myth that Australians don’t have a culture of philanthropy,” Jimmy said.

“I firmly believe there is a culture of giving in this country, but it’s unique and I think that’s part of what makes it so special. Just go to Bunnings on a Saturday.”

For Jimmy, the notion of sustainability in philanthropy is becoming more and more important for both donors and recipients.

“Through the process of building my Deakin knowledge, the notion of ‘sustainability’ as a key Deakin value has really stood out to me,” Jimmy said.

“At Deakin, sustainability is not just about being environmentally conscious. It’s a way of thinking that affects every area, including Advancement.

“For our generous donors, sustainability means that we’re planning to be around for a long time.

“Even though we have a comparatively short track record, we have really long-term ambitions, and that was really appealing to me.”

In the meantime, not even a very chilly start to a Melbourne winter can dampen Jimmy’s enthusiasm for embracing life as a Melburnian.

“I really enjoy living in Melbourne!” Jimmy said.

“I’m so thrilled that I get to explore the different campuses and see more of Victoria, places like Warrnambool and Geelong.

“Another thing that I find really exciting about Deakin is the fact that we serve very distinct communities and I’m looking forward to getting to know more about those communities in the months and years to come.”

During nine years at the University of Sydney, Jimmy worked across Advancement, leading advancement services, alumni relations and development teams in both higher education and medical philanthropy. He most recently held the Director of Development position, a leadership role generating philanthropic income towards the $1 billion INSPIRED campaign, the largest philanthropic campaign in Australian higher education. He is a CASE volunteer and speaker and serves on the Foundation Board of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Hospital and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Education Advancement and Marketing.

Jimmy brings international experience from earlier roles and studies at Boston University, the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and the University of Sydney.


Lawry and Pam St. Leger

Education has provided more than just careers for long-time teachers and dynamic husband and wife duo Professor Lawrence (Lawry) St. Leger and Dr Pamela (Pam) St. Leger.

It has also provided them with a lifelong passion and belief that education provides a way forward for making the world a better place where people are more thoughtful, critical and reflective.

This passion has led Lawry and Pam to confirm a gift in their wills that will fund the Lawrence and Pamela St. Leger PhD Scholarship in Deakin’s Faculty of Health.

Following this important decision, Lawry and Pam got thinking about the impact of their gift and realised they would love the opportunity to see their gift in action.

And so an additional living gift was born, one that will see the very first Lawrence and Pamela St. Leger PhD Scholarship recipient selected in 2020 and financially supported until 2023.

“We believe that while you may not change the whole world, you can make a difference to someone’s world in a very small way,” Pam explained.

“Both of us have worked with graduate students and we’ve seen the difference that they’ve made to their communities and we thought, well, this might be a useful way for us to make a difference.

“We’ve seen how life can easily catch up with post graduate students – whether it’s kids or ageing parents or not having an income.

“If you can just free up some of those stressors for people – by helping them pay rent, or childcare, or whatever it may be – you’re giving them every chance to complete their PhD.”

While Pam’s expertise as a qualitative evaluator led her from a career in fashion design to teaching in secondary schools to teacher education and later as a Senior Lecturer in Program Evaluation at The University of Melbourne, Lawry’s journey from school teacher to Deakin University was less straightforward.

Lawry’s expertise as a health promotion educator, researcher and consultant led to leadership roles in the Ministries of Education and Health before he arrived at Deakin University in 1988.

Lawry speaks fondly of his time at Deakin, particularly his role as Dean of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Behavioural Sciences from 1995 to 2002 where he was a driving force behind the development of Deakin’s Faculty of Health.

“I had a lot of trust placed in me by the then Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and I had a lot of freedom, which I really valued, and good people around me who I trusted,” Lawry said.

“I also really appreciated the expectation to be creative – that’s one of the best things about Deakin, that culture of innovation among both students and staff is fabulous.” 

A unique component of the PhD scholarship is the potential for the recipient to benefit from Pam and Lawry’s 53 years of combined experience in tertiary education and research through informal mentoring.

“Both of us have spent considerable time supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students,” Lawry explained.

“It was something we really enjoyed. Sometimes when I’ve mentored, I’m not familiar with the details but it doesn’t matter – I can ask the questions and be what we call a ‘critical friend’, someone the student can talk things out with.

“We learn so much that way and if we can offer another perspective – not as official supervisors but more as an interested party – then that’s great.”

Pam and Lawry at their home in Breamlea

After lots of conversation and research, Pam and Lawry believe they have chosen the right place for their gift.

“Number one, Deakin is credible and it’s got all the infrastructure; we know the money isn’t in a fly-by-night operation,” Lawry explained.

“We also know that what sets Deakin apart from a number of other universities – and Deakin isn’t down the novice end of the pack, Deakin is moving rapidly up and with its size – is that it’s incredibly innovative.

“The place is good and the research is exciting and we can definitely see how that gives the opportunity for the gift in our wills to be used very wisely and with a lot of opportunities for growth that wouldn’t have happened without it.”

Pam and Lawry believe that conversations are key when it comes to planning for the future.

“When you put it in a positive light, people are really interested,” Pam explained.

“A number of people have said to me, ‘Oh, can you send me the information about that? I must get onto that’ because they can see the value in making a decision now rather than leaving it to somebody else.

“Having conversations with people opens up different ideas, different ways of thinking about what you might do and then you go away, and you think about it. I think that would be a really good first step – to just find out what excites you, what you’re interested in, and what might be possible.”

At Deakin, we believe that leaving a gift in your will is an investment in the future of your community that affects far-reaching change for generations to come.

If you would like to find out more about including Deakin in your will, please contact the Bequests Coordinator on 03 9244 5150 or [email protected].

Investing in rural medicine

When Alcoa of Australia set up shop in the small coastal town of Portland in 1986, the health and safety of its 600+ workers was paramount.

With a large workforce in a number of rural areas, the organisation understood the importance of quality healthcare, particularly the provision of excellent injury management, rehabilitation and medical surveillance services for its employees.

The solution was rather novel – a partnership between Alcoa of Australia and Deakin’s School of Medicine which lead to the creation of the Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine (CREM) in 2009.

Thanks to the generosity of Alcoa of Australia, this collaborative partnership has made important progress in delivering valuable emergency medical services to not just Alcoa employees, but also communities in rural and south-west Victoria.

Since its inception, CREM has rolled out a number of successful programs that aim to expand rural emergency care capabilities not just locally, but across Australia. Accredited Registrar Training Posts established by CREM in partnership with regional hospitals have seen practitioners gain further qualifications in emergency medicine, including the capacity to respond to major incidents in rural areas like bushfires and industrial accidents.

CREM is also a significant contributor to research, with a specific focus on the disparity between clinical outcomes in rural and metropolitan areas. The Centre also provides quality emergency medical training to regional medical staff, doctors and GPs, helping them stay abreast of new principles and techniques in the field.   

Ten years on, CREM continues to make great strides for emergency medicine practice in the country, with growing demand for its uniquely tailored services.

To celebrate the partnership between Deakin, Alcoa of Australia and CREM, Associate Professor Tim Baker, the driving force behind the Centre, welcomed local Deakin alumni and Alcoa representatives to an event on Thursday 21 March at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus.

Deakin alumnus Anne Wallis, former staff member Dr Pat Varley and Professor Robert Wallis enjoy the 10 year celebration event at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus

Professor Baker delivered a thought-provoking presentation about why rural health services are negatively affected by ‘geographical narcissism’ and what CREM is doing to raise community understanding of the issue and combat the idea that ‘urban doctors are more qualified than country clinicians.’ 

“Rural discrimination has a real bite,” Professor Baker said.

“Rural areas have less education and less wealth and certainly less health. Every day in Australia, about 11 rural Australians die from diseases that would have been prevented if they had the same care in the city.

“Thanks to Alcoa’s support, the Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine has been able to directly tackle these problems, working with local emergency departments, researchers and other stakeholders to provide rural Australians with the medical services they deserve.”

Alcoa Alumina Global Medical Director Dr Michael Donoghue congratulated Associate Professor Baker and the team on their successful 10-year partnership. 

“Alcoa’s partnership with the Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine has produced tangible outcomes for regional communities, including Portland, where many of our employees live and work,” Dr Donoghue said.

“It has been a pleasure to see the Centre mature under Tim’s leadership.”

Director of CREM Associate Professor Tim Baker and Alcoa Alumina Global Medical Director Dr Michael Donoghue at the 10-year celebration event at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus