2021 winners: Dean's awards for professional staff

2021 winners: Dean’s awards for professional staff
2021 winners: Dean's awards for professional staff

At the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), our professional staff members and teams perform an important role in delivering the College priorities to students, academics, the ANU, and each other. While operating to a high standard, some individuals and teams demonstrate a level of performance, relative to opportunity, that inspires their colleagues. This deserves to be recognised and celebrated by the entire College community.

The Dean’s Awards for Professional Staff acknowledge these professional staff members. We welcome this opportunity to recognise and celebrate these exceptional people for all that they do. 

We are pleased to announce the following individuals and teams have been awarded an ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) Dean’s Award for Professional Staff for building a strong community aligned with our College Strategic Intent.

Here is a full list of awardees and citations.


Award for outstanding individual performance

This award recognises an outstanding level of contribution and commitment to the work of the College by a professional staff member who has provided a level of excellence in support services and work outputs that clearly exceed expectations and constitute sustained excellence.


James Cotsell, Technical Officer, School of Engineering

James is at the heart of the solar photovoltaic (PV) group, maintaining laboratories used by more than 60 College staff and students. He is widely recognised for his excellence and commitment to keeping these facilities running. “James is the glue that keeps the laboratories together” [nominator]. James has been outstanding in delivering technical support for the PV labs through an extremely challenging period. “He skilfully and energetically navigated bushfire smoke, severe hail damage to the facilities, and COVID-19” [nominator]. He provides timely responses to emergencies and is extraordinarily flexible to ensure the continued availability of equipment for critical research. “He is the go-to person whenever something goes wrong. His dedication goes well beyond 9-5” [nominator].

James demonstrates positive leadership behaviours, is focused on his customers and is known by College staff and students for his dedication, skill, professionalism, flexibility, communication, and smile. “His positive attitude and willingness to go above and beyond are critically important for our research” [nominator]. In addition, “James is de-facto social coordinator for the PV group” [nominator], organising social activities that add to the sense of community and group cohesion.

Jane Friel, Service Coordinator – Education Development

Jane is recognised by colleagues for her outstanding contribution to the College’s education services. Jane is a champion of a positive and supportive culture, enabling transformative educational experiences. She has “strong leadership skills, including a nuanced social awareness” [nominator]. Jane works to ensure that Wattle is functioning effectively and provides our students with the information they need. She also produces valuable training material on using the Wattle platform. “Jane is the behind the scenes reason why our courses are able to keep running online… We can’t see all the fires she has prevented by providing such consistent immediate and relevant support” [nominator].

Runner up

Amy Smith, Senior Service Consultant – Marketing Communications

Amy provides comprehensive support and advice on marketing, communications, digital media, student recruitment and outreach initiatives for the College. “Amy’s deep knowledge of ANU and enthusiasm empowers her to create engaging content, produce marketing collateral, and tell the story of the College” [nominator]. Amy contributes positively to organisational culture. “She’s been core at keeping the Marketing team going, and together in the transition” [nominator]. Amy is recognised for her excellent customer service and user-centred approach to communications. “You know that when you go to her with a request or issue that Amy will provide good advice, do her best to get things done for mutual benefit, and also keep you informed.” “Amy is an amazing team player who provides professional marketing support with friendliness, patience, and helpfulness… She is always willing to help and try her best to achieve the best outcome for the clients.” [nominator].

Award for outstanding team performance

This award recognises an outstanding level of contribution and commitment to the work of the College by a team of professional staff who have provided transformative and innovative work outputs and a level of excellence in support services that clearly exceed expectations.


School of Computing Administration team: Jasmine Jury, Alexandra Dal Cortivo, Christie Liu, Melissa Hawke, Suzanne Johnson, and Carina Da Silva Casaca

The School of Computing Admin team – Ally, Jasmine, Christie, Melissa, Suzanne, and Carina – received numerous nominations for their excellent professional services. “They are the most efficient and effective admin team in Australian universities that I know” [nominator].

The team proved to be a great support in helping the College transition to online teaching and learning. “Computing Admin embodies creative problem solving. Always with a smile, even under tight time pressures” [nominator]. In addition, the team deliver a number of successful social events and activities. “They put people first – students, staff, adjuncts, and visitors – in everything that they do” [nominator].

Jasmine is our guru when it comes to space planning, enrolments, and finances. Jasmine is incredibly generous with her time, offering to help individual staff with financial administration. Jasmine personally arranged and advocated for academics to undertake Mental Health First Aid training, demonstrating her commitment to health and wellbeing.

Ally has been a friendly contact point for recent new starters, who commenced when many colleagues were working remotely. Ally helped to coordinate orientations, office space and equipment, training, and paperwork. She also personally organised to mail hardware overseas to remote students for COMP2300.

Christie has a wealth of knowledge about everything administrative and instigated our COVID-19 policies and contingency plans. Christie has been tremendously helpful in navigating complex fieldwork travel arrangements. Christie always shows warmth and collegiality.

Melissa has superbly managed tutor recruitment and background checking, keeping course conveners up-to-date throughout the process.

Suzanne and Carina are brilliantly assisting with logistics, including communications, room bookings, finance, for the Logic Summer School, which falls outside of their usual responsibilities.

Congratulations to the whole Computing Admin team for their contributions. “Our teaching, research, and life in the school wouldn’t function without all of you!” [nominator]

Runner up:

School of Engineering Administration team: Jeanette Meyer-Coyte, Matthew Boyd, and Wilson Liu

The School of Engineering Administration team have “powered through a period of change this year” [nominator]. Jeanette, Matt, and Wilson have designed and implemented a number of service delivery enhancements. This includes improvements in chemical purchasing and tracking; major purchase process mapping; desk occupancy and placement reporting; maintaining consumable supplies; running COVID inspections; and streamlining purchase orders and reimbursements. “This focus on improving services in addition to BAU during a challenging period demonstrates a strong work ethic and has always been delivered with a positive and constructive disposition” [nominator].

‘Rising Star’ award for a new College professional staff member

This award recognises an outstanding level of contribution and commitment to the work of the College by an early career member of staff who has demonstrated a potential for excellence through the delivery of support services and work outputs that clearly exceed expectations.


Gia Cheng, Service Officer – Marketing and Communications

Gia received numerous unique but complementary nominations as a rising star in the College. She has a broad range of marketing and communication skills, with a particular strength and excellence in graphic design. “Gia is one of the most creative and skilful designers I’ve ever had the chance to work with” [nominator]. Gia produces numerous high-quality marketing materials for our staff, students, alumni, and stakeholders. “She provides sound marketing advice, and is skilled at working with clients to understand and interpret their communication needs” [nominator]. Gia’s creations are highly visible across the University and broader community, and are used widely to effectively promote the College and our Reimagine strategic vision.

Gia has shown incredible adaptability and growth during her time with the College. Her outstanding work exemplifies the service-oriented attitude being built across the Professional Services Group with “a strong focus on the client’s needs” [nominator]. Gia has consistently shown that she is a team player, who is “universally respected and appreciated” and “a pleasure to work with!” [nominators]. She works across tight deadlines, complex briefs, multiple stakeholders, and retains a focus on delivering quality content. Gia diligently ensures that appropriate communication and approvals take place and that stakeholders are consulted and informed throughout the design process. “She has always maintained a professional and results/outcome focus, and has on many occasions gone over and above in terms of commitment and time” [nominator].

Runner up

Rosa Gray, Service Coordinator – Industry and Grants

Rosa is valued and acknowledged by peers and clients for her outstanding commitment and contribution to the College’s grant outcomes, research funding and opportunity. “Rosa has provided high-quality support for our academics to succeed in grants” [nominator]. She has made great contributions to creating an enabling culture in the College, supporting research opportunity, meaningful engagement and successful funding applications. “Her advice for our application was outstanding and important for the success of the grant” [nominator].

Special award for outstanding performance caused by 2020 disruptions (in 2021 only)

Recognising the particular difficulties experienced during 2020 as a result of COVID-19 and remote working, the special award recognises an individual who has through words or actions assisted others through these difficult times.


Erin Maplesden, Senior Service Consultant – Student Services, Employability, and Experience

Erin is a champion for student experience, wellbeing, and opportunity – particularly demonstrated through her ongoing support of the College’s Higher Degree by Research (HDR) cohort during a time of significant disruption. Erin managed the recent HDR scholarship round, which includes many facets from selection, to customer care, and the on-boarding of scholarship recipients. With the backdrop of COVID-19, this whole process was complex and entirely ‘custom’, requiring dedicated input, stakeholder care and management to be successfully executed. “Erin was absolutely critical to a successful Q1/Q2 scholarship round in 2021. She was receptive to new ways of working, and put in an over-and-above effort to ensure that the College’s strategic needs were met” [nominator].

Erin stepped up, and worked with College and School Executives in a proactive and mission-oriented way. She took on additional, and often manual, tasks to conduct an effective and transparent scholarship selection process outside of the norms. “Overall, the round was a success, and this was due to Erin” [nominator].

Runner up

Jeanette Meyer-Coyte, School Administrator, School of Engineering

Jeanette recently stepped into the role of School Administrator, which was new to her in its function, extent of client-facing activity, and volume and variety of work. She did so with an open mind and a positive view to contributing to a stronger College and School. “Freshly in her role, Jeanette was very quickly flooded with the selection, recruitment, registering and on-boarding a large number of tutors and staff for Semester 1. Jeanette worked day and night to on-board approximately 70 people in a short amount of time, allowing the Semester to proceed smoothly. She did this with little assistance, and to a high level of satisfaction for all stakeholders” [nominator]. Jeanette has also been instrumental in the management of HDR students.

All in all, Jeanette has been “a star and a rock”, who has adapted to a service-focused role and proven to be a major asset to the School and College. “To say that Jeanette has made a major impact in her role is an understatement” [nominator].

  Congratulations to all on this achievement; and thank you for your outstanding contributions.

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