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Curtin distinguishes its best academics

Media release
Professor Syed Islam, Professor John Hartley, Vice Chancellor Janette Hacket and Professor Richard Oliver.

Curtin University this week recognised three outstanding academics by awarding them the prestigious title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor – one of the highest honours the University can award its academic staff.

This year the accolade has been bestowed upon Professor Islam Syed, Professor John Hartley and Professor Richard Oliver, for their outstanding contributions to Curtin’s research and learning outcomes.

Professor Jeanette Hacket, Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University, said the honour recognised the sustained contribution these senior academics had made to the University and to the wider community.

“Our new John Curtin Distinguished Professors have made significant academic achievements and shown an on-going dedication to the University,” Professor Hacket said.

“Their continued impact in the key areas of electrical power engineering, cultural science and disease resistant crop varieties –demonstrates Curtin’s commitment to solving real world problems.”

Professor Syed Islam, Director of Strategic Projects, in the Office of Research and Development, was acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to Curtin’s research and research training effort in electrical power engineering.

Professor Islam’s research leadership, including his position as chair of several pivotal national and international committees, has seen him oversee the transformation of the curriculum to ensure Curtin offers one of the best electrical power engineering course in the country.

Professor John Hartley, Curtin Faculty of Humanities, was recognised for his exceptional scholarly achievement and national and international reputation as a leader in the field of cultural science, which has seen him contribute to 24 influential books and publish 200 research papers.

Currently he is Director of Curtin’s Centre for Culture and  Technology; Leader of the Curtin node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation; Editor of the London-based International Journal of Cultural Studies; and Program Leader of the Cultural Science program of the CCI.

Professor Richard Oliver, Faculty of Science and Engineering, was awarded the title for his academic leadership in Australia in two areas of crop management – genetic control of major foliar fungal diseases of crop plants and in the science of fungicide use.

Professor Oliver has also served on several editorial boards and national and international committees. The direct outputs of his work help Australia’s plant growing entities to produce disease resistant crop varieties. The impact of this work – estimated at $25million – increased Australia’s yield in 2010 and this figure is expected to reach $150m by 2016.

Academics holding the title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor each receive an individually hand-crafted 9 carat gold lapel pin, featuring a brilliant cut white diamond. The lapel pins are the work of esteemed local designer and Curtin graduate, Barbara Cotter. 

John Curtin Distinguished Professors are academics with exceptional teaching or research skills, or scholarly, creative and artistic achievements; a significant record of public service; and an established national or international reputation, as evidenced by fellowships, memberships, awards, citations, publications or a substantial record of invited lectures. The title is awarded for five years, or until the Professor retires or resigns from Curtin.