Deakin scoops pool at AFR Higher Education Awards

Deakin has scooped the pool at the prestigious Australian Financial Review (AFR) Higher Education Awards, winning the Community Engagement and Equity and Opportunity accolades, while former Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Professor Jane den Hollander AO was honoured with the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Deakin won the Community Engagement award for its AllPlay Learn program, which creates new pathways for school and community inclusion for children with disabilities, and the Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education (CREATE) received the Equity and Opportunity award for its support of people from refugee backgrounds to rebuild their careers.

Professor den Hollander’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognised “a person who has advanced and improved practices in higher education and embodied the sector’s values of innovation, reason, curiosity, humility and passion for creating, transmitting and receiving knowledge”.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said Deakin’s shortlisting and wins across multiple award categories was recognition of the depth of talent and innovation in its research teams and programs.

“I warmly congratulate each of Deakin’s award winners, nominees and, of course, the incredible teams behind AllPlay Learn and CREATE, who bring such innovative programs to life. Their work is industry- and world-leading and shows great promise for addressing current and future challenges,” Professor Martin said.

“On behalf of the Deakin community, I extend my congratulations to Jane on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. This is recognition of Jane’s dedication to Deakin, and for working so hard to ensure the brightest of futures for all of our students, communities, partners and friends.

“Jane had the vision and leadership skills to respond to many significant challenges, and to transform the prospects of Deakin and also of Geelong radically.”

In accepting the Community Engagement award, Director of the Deakin Child Study Centre and AllPlay Learn founder Professor Nicole Rinehart paid tribute to the role many supporters have played in bringing the program to life.

“The Victorian Department of Education has provided unparalleled support and scale for AllPlay Learn,” Professor Rinehart said.

“However, the Learn program is the culmination of many years of hard work that would not have been possible without long-term partners such as the AFL and Queensland Ballet, and philanthropic support from friends of AllPlay such as Moose Toys. This award will help us continue to build a program that is already changing the lives of so many children with disabilities.”

CREATE co-founders Associate Dean (International) Professor Alexander Newman, and Deakin Business School research fellow Dr Karen Dunwoodie, said the award was a testament to the passion and hard work of the project team.

“CREATE assists people from a refugee background to access higher education and obtain employment, supported by our innovative research-based employment programs and career clinics. We help produce much of the material that helps refugees on their employment journey,” Professor Newman said.

“This is the first AFR award for the Faculty of Business and Law, and on behalf of our many colleagues involved, we’d like to thank the many donors who have supported CREATE, including the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, the Bennelong Foundation and numerous individual donors.”

The annual AFR Higher Education Awards celebrate the contribution of higher education to Australian prosperity and quality of life in ten categories. The judging panel includes the editor of the AFR, current and former vice-chancellors and chancellors and other experts in higher education.

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