Leading-edge professional performance

Congratulations to Tori Hocking, John Durbridge, the Library Rapid Improvement Event team and the Faculty of Arts Office Research team on being awarded Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards at a special ceremony last Tuesday 17 November.

“I commend each and every one of you for your hard work. You are at the top end of the leading edge of the performance of this University and it’s a great privilege for me to acknowledge each and every one of you,” said the Vice-Chancellor, Professor S Bruce Dowton, as he congratulated all the recipients.

With more than 100 nominations made, Nicole Gower, Director, Human Resources says “It was pleasing to see the high number of nominations across all parts of the University, and the acknowledgement from those nominating their colleagues for the outstanding work done by professional staff.”

Below, our winning individuals and teams who will receive $4000 individually and collectively, to spend on professional development.


Tori Hocking, Executive Officer, Research, for her commitment to building connections and actively collaborating across the University during the planning and delivery of the Strategic Research Framework.

Quote from Tori’s nomination
It is through her patience, attention to detail, strategic thinking, and understanding of Macquarie’s overall research vision, coupled with her collaborative and connective style of working that Tori was able to deliver a framework that has been so widely and positively embraced by the University community.

On winning the award, Tori says:
I feel very humbled Sakkie nominated me for this award and that the University holds my work in high esteem. The development of the Strategic Research Framework was very much a team effort with stakeholders from the Faculties and the Research Portfolio all generously sharing their expertise and offering invaluable insights and guidance. I couldn’t have done it without them and I can’t thank everyone enough for their patience and generosity. Special thanks needs to go out to Erin Semon who provided a continuous stream of practical, encouraging and calming support throughout the process.

I hope everything I do supports the achievement of the University’s research objectives and targets. The breadth, depth and ingenuity of the research undertaken here is truly inspirational and I can’t help but be impressed, excited and honoured to be a small part of it. I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go and listen to a research presentation on campus – it really puts into perspective the very high calibre of the research our researchers are involved in and how they are making a difference to our understanding of the world around us.


John Durbridge, Campus Security Manager, for his commitment to creating a culture of service and engagement in his leadership of the Security team.

Quotes from John’s nomination
John has been a great mentor and leader throughout his role as Campus Security Manager. As a security guard I have been very fortunate to work under a person like him…He has vision and I am nominating him for that vision.

John has changed the face of University Security by ensuring all staff members including the contractors take on a customer service approach.

On winning the award, John says:
The award is the pinnacle of all the work done by the Security Services team over the four and a half years I’ve been here. When I first arrived, there were lots of challenges my team faced in terms of performance and customer service, but with hard work and a great team attitude I feel we have been able to produce what I consider to be a great service to the University community.

With security and people’s safety becoming a greater challenge every day, my team has an important responsibility to our University community to help maintain our campus as a safe environment. In turn, that allows staff, students, and visitors to go about their tasks and achieve both their goals, and the University’s.


The Faculty of Arts Research Office team for their commitment to delivering outstanding service to the Faculty on all aspects of research management.

Quote from the team’s nomination
The Arts Research Office is widely respected and admired by academic and professional staff across the Faculty, due to its outstanding service, strong client focus, and exemplary work ethic.

Gill Ellis on behalf of the team, says:
It is a great feeling, we were all delighted when we read the nomination, to realise our Associate Dean Research and our colleagues valued what we do so highly.  We’ve had more than a hundred ‘congratulations’ emails, it’s wonderful.

Our core activity and focus is to support the Faculty’s researchers and what we do is directly linked to achieving the goals in the University’s Strategic Research Framework.


The Library Rapid Improvement Event team for their commitment and active contribution to process improvement across a number of the Library’s key operations.

Quote from the team’s nomination
The Library has made a significant contribution this year to the Macquarie Business Process Improvement operations. Library-focussed Rapid Improvement Events have involved whole teams of Library staff. This work has impacted both staff and processes in significant ways, resulting in measurable improvements to processes in important but troublesome areas across Library operations.

Jenny Bremner on behalf the team, says:
It is wonderful to have the whole team recognised for their teamwork and accomplishments.  It has been a whole-of-Library effort and we were very proud to have received the award. Our work is about improving support services to provide quality client-centred service with continuous improvement.

Our Highly Commended staffHighlyCommended_FEATURE

Highly Commended [L-R with the Vice-Chancellor Professor S Bruce Dowton]

Outstanding Service: Lachlan McPhail, Health and Safety Coordinator, Risk and Assurance

Outstanding Service: Maria Brittain, Receptionist, Human Sciences

Leadership Excellence: Lilia Draganov, Student Support Coordinator, Faculty of Business and Economics

Innovation and Process Improvement: Suchitra Patki, Research Reporting Accountant, Finance

Collaboration and Connection: Leigh Staas, Executive Officer, Climate Futures and Biodiversity Node, Science and Engineering

Congratulations to all our winners, and well done to all who were nominated for their hard work.