Curtin University Update – August 2023


I am pleased to begin this new era of communication between Curtin and WASMA as Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Science and Engineering.

These are exciting times for WASM:MECE. We are entering a new era of Leadership for the School. Tanya Chambers has been appointed as the Director the Kalgoorlie Campus. Tanya knows the School well from her work as School Business Manager, and has deep networks across all areas of Curtin. Kyle’s and WASMA’s support in working with Tanya to build her relationships with industry partners is very much appreciated.

In addition, the process to appoint the new substantive Head of School is well underway. In the meantime, Professor Buntine will continue in the Interim role. Mark is an exceptionally experienced leader in the higher education sector and his strong focus on robust processes, staff development and student experience is already having an impact.

At our Kalgoorlie campus, WAMSA and Curtin are well-placed to work together on boosting staff– for example building opportunities to fund a Professorial Chair of Mining Excellence. This is just one possibility but is one of many ways we could work together to establish stable and high performing human capital that meets the needs of students and industry.

And there is every reason to expect that coming to work with WASM:MECE in this way will be atractive to prospective staff from around the world – as the numbers of mining graduates decline around Australia and the world, our numbers are climbing strongly. The biggest increase is in international students studying postgraduate degrees, but undergraduate domestic numbers are also increasing, and have done steadily over the past five years.

Of course, with the increase in student numbers, comes a rise in demand for accommodation. Housing is clearly a topic of concern for everyone in Western Australia, not only students. While Curtin has already invested in some short-term solutions, the first step of the mid- to long term accommodation plan for the Kalgoorlie campus is also underway- with a student demand analysis being carried out. This will enable us to make data-driven and evidence-based decisions.

I was really pleased to hear that WASMA supports diversification of the activities on the Kalgoorlie campus – I emphasise we are seeking to expand our Kalgoorlie footprint, not reduce it, or impact in any way on the vitality of the WASM Kalgoorlie experience.

Finally, a quick delve into rankings. The No. 2 QS subject ranking in Mineral and Mining Engineering is clearly a much-vaunted highlight for Curtin. To ensure we are putting our best foot forward here, there is an opportunity for us to again work together to boost our academic reputation. In addition to having a permanent donor-supported Professorial Chair of Mining Excellence travelling between Bentley and Kalgoorlie, a prestigious WASM or WASMA Visiting Professorship based at Kalgoorlie could also be awarded. Bringing an esteemed professor to work with Kalgoorlie-based students, staff, and industry partners for a couple of months each year would add value on all fronts.

While I have only mentioned a few examples here, the potential for further successful collaboration is clear and I look forward to exploring these new opportunities together to see both WASM:MECE and the Kalgoorlie campus thrive.

Professor Mark Ogden- Pro Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Science and Engineering

*From speech delivered by Professor Ogden delivered at WASMA President’s Lunch on 27 July 2023