By Eric Martin
Pomp and ceremony accompanied the celebration of brilliant minds at all stages of their educational journey, as the staff and students of The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus were honoured recently at the University’s annual Awards Ceremony.
More than 220 people filled the Drill Hall on Thursday 21 March for the ceremony, including the University’s Board of Governors, scholarship and award donors, Academics, distinguished alumni and families of staff and students.
The first of the evening’s activities was dedicated to the future of the University, with a range of scholarships awarded to commencing students, recognising not only their academic excellence but also their exceptional personal qualities and dedication to their communities.
Many of the scholarships have been sponsored by families, private individuals or Catholic organisations who are dedicated to ensuring that the latest and greatest of educational facilities are always available to those students whose ability and attitude deserve support in the face of financial obstacles to further study.
For example, the Sacred Heart Parish Sponsorship covers the first year of tuition fees for a student enrolled in an Undergraduate Degree in the School of Education ($7500), The Willetton Parish Scholarship provides the same benefits for a student enrolled in an Undergraduate Degree in the School of Arts and Sciences and The Prendiville Scholarship provides first year assistance to a student from Aquinas College.
Notre Dame students and graduates across eight of the Schools were then presented with awards highlighting their dedication to their chosen field, volunteer service and commitment to the Catholic goals of the University.
The highest academic award, The University Medal, was presented to Nursing student Alexandra Brindley, recognising her as the highest achieving graduate of 2018.
In order to qualify, Alexandra had to be the undergraduate student with the highest average weighted percentage mark, using all of the grades from their completed course.
In addition to her professionalism and dedication, Alexandra was commended by patients and colleagues for her compassionate and caring manner.
Research Fellow Anna Dwyer and Aboriginal Studies Coordinator Gillian Kennedy became the first academics from Notre Dame’s Nulungu Research Institute to receive The Vice Chancellor’s Award for Initiatives That Enhance Student Learning.
The Nulungu Research Institute is based at the Broome (Yawuru Buru) Campus in the Kimberley region and focuses on culturally-appropriate research, outreach and training across the region.
Since its inception in 2008, Nulungu has been highly regarded as a centre of Indigenous research excellence with an underlying approach of ‘right country, right people, right way’, which positions Indigenous people and communities at the centre of research endeavours and ensures that the value of community-based Indigenous knowledge is recognised and applied to meet the objectives of clients.
Last week also saw another prestigious recognition for Notre Dame, the University winning its own awards, once again dominating the rankings in the latest nationwide student survey, coming out on top of the list in Western Australia in five of the six quality indicators.
Findings from the 2018 Student Experience Survey (SES), released last week (10 April, 2019) see Notre Dame achieving the leading State results for ‘Overall Quality of Educational Experience ‘Teaching Quality’, ‘Skills Development’, ‘Learner Engagement’ and ‘Student Support’.
The SES is unique in that it draws feedback from students with the aim of helping students to make informed decisions about future study by enabling them to compare universities across States and disciplines.
More than 510,000 students from around Australia responded to the SES, including almost 5,000 students from Notre Dame’s Fremantle, Broome and Sydney Campuses.
The survey builds on Notre Dame’s success in graduate employment outcomes. In the 2018 Employer Satisfaction Survey published on the QILT website in January this year, Notre Dame achieved first in WA for ‘Overall Employer Satisfaction’ and first in WA and NSW for graduate Employability and Adaptability.
Results from the 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey, released in January this year, show Notre Dame achieved first in WA for ‘Overall Graduate Satisfaction’, ‘Teaching Scale’, ‘Skills Scale’, ‘Full-time Employment’, ‘Overall Employment’ and ‘Median Salary.’
“These results are testament to our distinctive approach to higher education which draws on draws on centuries of teaching, scholarship and research tradition, resulting in academic excellence, and balanced with the strongest pastoral care and student support,” Acting Vice Chancellor, Peter Tranter said.
“We educate students to be critical, creative and compassionate thinkers and we are delighted that our students say their student experience is the best in WA.”
The survey findings are published on the Government’s Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) website (www.qilt.edu.au).