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Curtin Department of Education awards outstanding teachers

Media release

C120/08

Outstanding education graduates from Curtin University of Technology were awarded for their excellence in classroom teaching and university studies at the University’s Department of Education Annual Awards Ceremony today.

Head of Curtin’s Department of Education Associate Professor Len Sparrow said the awards recognise the amazing work of new graduates and is a way of celebrating their transition into the classroom.

“The awards are presented to a number of our outstanding former students, some of whom are new teachers working in classrooms and others who hold important positions in education in WA,”Associate Professor Sparrow said.

“Celebrating the success of our outstanding graduates is an important aspect of our program, and the ceremony is another way we try to stay in contact with our graduates once they are out in the education workforce,”he said.

This year’s major award the 2008 Miles Medal Award for Excellence in Education was presented to Sharon Davies who graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) with Honours recently.

The Miles Medal Award recognises the Curtin graduate considered to have achieved the highest excellence in overall academic performance during the Bachelor of Education course. During the course Ms Davies averaged 89.9 and she received 100 out of 100 for her Assistant Teacher Program (ATP) or teaching practice at the South East Metropolitan Language Development Centre where she now works as an early childhood teacher.

The Miles Medal Award for Excellence in Education honours the work of Mrs Joan Miles a founding member of the Department of Education at Curtin who inspired her students towards excellence.

At the ceremony Sharon Davies said she was delighted to be the winner of the 2008 Miles Medal Award for Excellence in Education.

“I am honoured to be presented with this award,”Ms Davies said.

“My Honours research focused on the ongoing support that children at the South East Metropolitan Language Development Centre need so they can be effectively integrated into mainstream schools,”she said.

“I was delighted when some of my Honours recommendations were taken up by the South East Metropolitan District.

“Now I am enjoying working at the Centre as an early childhood teacher – a position I took up at the beginning of this year.”

In addition to the Miles Medal Award for Excellence in Education – these awards were presented:
• The Early Childhood Teachers’ Association Graduate Award: Jemma Myers, Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood);
• The Pat Duffy Medal for Excellence in Art Education: Emma Havard, Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary);
• The Australian College of Educators (WA Chapter) Award: Lee Scott, Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary);
• The Police & Nurses Credit Society Award for Excellence, Perseverance and Integrity: Justin Buttery, Bachelor of Education (Primary);
• The John Lake Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Master of Education: Glenda Cain, Master of Educational Studies;
• The Walter D Neal Award for Excellence in Educational Research: Dr Neil MacNeill, Doctoral Studies (PhD);
• Western Australian Secondary School Executives Association Award: Sian Morgan, Bachelor of Education (Secondary);
• The Clare McBeath Award for Excellence in Training and Development: Pamela Vlajsavljevich, Graduate Diploma in Training & Development;
• The Nathan Winnett Memorial Bursary: Marie D’Argent, Bachelor of Education (Primary).

All awards were donated and presented by former Curtin staff members or sponsored and presented by partners in the school system.

Attention Editor/COS: Below is a list with more details of the Curtin Department of Education Awards and recipients. Photographs are available on request.

The 2008 Miles Medal Award for Excellence in Education: This award is presented to a Department of Education pre-service graduate considered to have achieved the highest excellence in overall academic performance during the course. The award honours the work of Mrs Joan Miles, long serving member of the Department of Education, who gave to her students the goal of excellence in their professional careers. Mrs Miles is the former Head of the Western Australian Kindergarten Teachers College and Foundation member of the staff of Curtin School of Education. This year the award was presented to Sharon Davies Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood). Sharon graduated with her Honours Degree and a Course Weighted Average of 89.9 and an ATP mark of 100. Her Honours research focused on the ongoing support children at the South East Metropolitan Language Development Centre require to be effectively integrated into their subsequent neighbouring mainstream schools, with some recommendations acted upon by the South East Metropolitan District. Sharon then did her ATP at the Centre and gained a “merit select”full-time position there from the beginning of this year.

The 2008 Early Childhood Teachers’ Association Graduate Award: This award is presented to a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) graduate in recognition of academic achievement and outstanding professional conduct during the course. This award is sponsored by the Early Childhood Teachers’ Association. The 2008 Early Childhood Teachers’ Association Graduate Award was awarded to Jemma Myers Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood). Jemma transferred from Psychology/Nursing into Primary Education and then finally to Early Childhood where she excelled over the last three years of her degree. She was invited into the Honours Program but after completing the introductory unit with high distinction decided to choose the mainstream coursework to complete her degree.

The Pat Duffy Medal for Excellence in Art Education: This award is presented to a Bachelor of Education (Secondary – Art Education) or a Graduate Diploma in Education (Art Major) graduate who has achieved the highest mark in the Assistant Teacher Program (ATP) or long practice in the final semester of the course. This award is sponsored by the Department of Education, the Schools of Arts, the Australian Women’s Coalition (WA Branch) and the Art Teachers Association of Western Australia. The 2008 Pat Duffy Medal for Excellence in Art Education was awarded to Emma Havard, Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary). During her final teaching placement, Emma was commended for her thoughtful and nurturing approach to teaching art.

The Australian College of Educators (WA Chapter) Award: This award is presented to a student in a pre-service primary or secondary teacher education program who best fulfils the College expectations of academic and professional excellence. This award is made available to the Department of Education by the WA Chapter of the Australian College of Educators. The 2008 Australian College of Educators Award was awarded to Lee Scott, Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary). The one year Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary) challenges many students. Lee has excelled in this course demonstrating consistent effort paired with an innovative and enthusiastic attitude towards teaching. She has achieved outstanding results for both, her academic work and for her teaching placements.

The Police & Nurses Credit Society Award for Excellence, Perseverance and Integrity: This award is presented to a pre-service graduate who has achieved excellent results, in addition to managing a variety of external obligations. This award is generously donated to the Department of Education by the Police & Nurses Credit Society. The 2008 Police & Nurses Credit Society Award for Excellence, Perseverance and Integrity Award was awarded to Justin Buttery, Bachelor of Education (Primary). Justin undertook 26 units in Education and received a high distinction in all. He received a course-weighted average of 86.06 – the highest of all graduating Primary education students and also graduated with First Class Honours.

The John Lake Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Master of Education: This award is presented to a Master of Educational Studies student for recognition of excellent achievement in the Master of Education Studies Coursework and Research Project. This award was generously donated to the Department of Education by Dr John Lake. Dr Lake was a Foundation member of the staff and Dean of the Faculty (1982-1987). The 2008 John Lake Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Master of Education was awarded to Glenda Cain, Master of Educational Studies. Over the past decade, one of the crucial focus areas of early childhood education internationally has been the effects of mental health and wellbeing on development – particularly the effects of mental wellbeing on academic outcomes and overall development of young children.

The Walter D Neal Award for Excellence in Educational Research: This award seeks to encourage educational research at the Master of Education and Doctor of Philosophy levels and is presented for an outstanding thesis in the preceding year. This award was generously donated to the Department of Education by Dr Walter D Neal and Mrs Neal. Dr Neal is a distinguished Western Australian educator, former Vice President for Planning for the University of Alberta; Chairman of the Western Australian Post Secondary Education Commission and the Founding Dean. The 2008 Walter D Neal Award was awarded to Dr Neil MacNeill, Doctoral Studies (PhD). Dr MacNeill’s timely research argued that the core business of schools is teaching and learning, and principals, all of whom were originally promoted for their pedagogic expertise, need to stay engaged in teaching and learning to remain credible and relevant school leaders. He is principal at Ellenbrook Primary School.

Western Australian Secondary School Executives Association Award: This award is presented to a graduate from the Bachelor of Education (Secondary) course who has demonstrated the highest level of academic performance and teaching competency. Sponsored by the Western Australian Secondary School Executives’ Association – the 2008 award was awarded to Sian Morgan, Bachelor of Education (Secondary). Sian Morgan completed a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) as a teacher of Geography and English, with high marks on all her units in Education, Social Science and English. Sian was a voluntary peer tutor in the Sir Charles Court Young Leaders Program at Curtin for two years and then was appointed as assistant administrator.

The Clare McBeath Award for Excellence in Training and Development: This award is presented to a Training and Development graduate who has achieved the highest excellence in overall academic performance during the years. The award recognises the recipients’ professionalism as a teacher and trainer. Generously sponsored by Dr Clare McBeath, a former member of the Department of Education – the 2008 Award was awarded to Pamela Vlajsavljevich, Graduate Diploma in Training & Development. Pam Vlajsavljevich came to Curtin University in 2005 after a stint as president of the WA Chamber of Commerce. She enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Education (Training and Development) . She completed her studies at the end of 2007 with the excellent course weighted average of 86.40%. Pam has now taken up the distinguished role as Manager, Teaching and Learning, at Challenger TAFE.

The Nathan Winnett Memorial Bursary: This annual bursary is awarded to a student studying in the Department of Education. The bursary was established by the Winnett family and is dedicated to the memory of Nathan Winnett – a former Department of Education student. The 2008 Nathan Winnett Memorial Bursary was awarded to Marie D’Argent, Bachelor of Education (Primary).