25 May 2012

The University of Queensland acknowledged the significant contributions made by staff, students and alumni to equity and diversity at the Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Awards held on Thursday, 24 May 2012.

The evening involved a panel discussion on the topic: Unity in Diversity: Dream or Delusion The theme for Diversity Week this year was Unity in Diversity.

Panel members included Emeritus Professor Colin Power, Mrs Mary Graham and Dr James Jupp AM. The panel was facilitated by ABC personality Mr Richard Fidler.

The Equity and Diversity Awards were split into two categories, the Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Award and the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Award for Alumni.

These awards recognised UQ staff and students who had made a significant contribution in the area of equity and diversity.

Congratulations to all nominees whose contributions were of a very high standard. There were four nominees for the Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Award.

• Brother Robert Callen - The India Immersion Project
• Mr Ganesh Jegatheesan - The University of Queensland Law Society Equity Portfolio
• Dr Rob Pensalfini - The Shakespeare Prison Project
• Associate Professor Polly Parker - UQ’s Career Progression Program for academic women and for her work in women’s leadership development within the UQ Business School.

The Vice-Chancellor Equity and Diversity Award Winner was Dr Rob Pensalfini.

The Shakespeare Prison Project was formed in 2006, under the strong and enthusiastic leadership of Dr Rob Pensalfini.

The program involves a team of professional actors, working with twelve to twenty volunteer inmates in a high-security men’s prison.

Dr Pensalfini facilitates each program, which runs for three to four months.

The project introduces inmates to Shakespearean text and theatrical processes, allowing them to explore these themes in their own lives. This is the only project of its kind in Australia.

Associate Professor Polly Parker was awarded Second Place Winner in the Vice-Chancellor’s Equity and Diversity Awards.

Since 2008, Associate Prof Parker has been responsible for designing and delivering a program for women’s leadership within the Executive Education program in the UQ Business School.

Associate Prof Parker’s commitment to the program and its continued success exemplifies her willingness to go “above and beyond” normal expectations of service to equity and diversity at UQ.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Award for Alumni honours a UQ alumnus who has demonstrated a commitment to diversity and has made significant contributions to meeting contemporary challenges within society through professional or community endeavours.

There were seven nominees for the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Award for Alumni.

• Dr Jean Calder AC – programs of the Al-Amal City, Center of Ability Development of the Palestine Red Crescent Society
• Dr Sharon Dane – social inclusivity for sexual minorities
• Ms Mary D’Souza – Indigenous education and supporting young women in the fields of science, engineering and technology
• Dr Noel Hayman – recruiting and training Indigenous doctors and training future non-Indigenous doctors on issues facing Australian Indigenous communities
• Ms Katherine Hirschfeld – advocate for the advancement of women in science, engineering and technology
• Ms Margo Lydon – increasing awareness of mental illness and developing practices that can support the challenging lives of so many people
• Dr Timothy Purcell – international agricultural development and the development of the value-chain methodology

The winner of the 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Award for Alumni was Dr Jean Calder AC.

Dr Calder has established the many programs of the Al-Amal City, Center of Ability Development of the Palestine Red Crescent Society located in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip.

Dr Calder has been living there for over 30 years, helping disadvantaged Palestinians and Palestinians with a disability.

The second Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Award for Alumni winner was Dr Timothy Purcell. This Award was awarded posthumously to Dr Timothy Purcell.

Dr Purcell’s achievements exemplify the spirit of taking knowledge and experience gained at UQ and using it to the best of his ability to promote equity for the disadvantaged in our society.

Dr Purcell’s professional career focused on international agricultural development as well as the implementation of the value-chain methodology, which is now used by organisations across the globe as a tool for intervention and to support the rural poor.

Media: Ingrid Rubie (07) 3365 2619, i.rubie@uq.edu.au