A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle is one of three outstanding members of the University’s community recognised in the 2012 Queen’s birthday honours list.
Emeritus Professor Nicholas Saunders
Emeritus Professor Nicholas Saunders has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to medicine and to higher education through administration and clinical leadership roles. Professor Saunders was also recognised for his significant contributions to national academic and professional organisations.
During Professor Saunders’ time as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle from 2004 to October 2011, the University consistently maintained its ranking in Australia’s top 10 universities for research, enrolments grew to a record high of 35,500 in 2011 and Newcastle became a sector leader in providing access to higher education for disadvantaged groups.
Professor Saunders joined the University in 1978 as an early member of the Faculty of Medicine and in 1982 was appointed Professor of Medicine, a position he held until 1992. An internationally recognised pioneer in the field of sleep and breathing, Professor Saunders practised at the Royal Newcastle Hospital and then the John Hunter Hospital, where he was also Chair of the Department of Medicine. From Newcastle he became Head of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine at Flinders University and later the Head of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University.
Professor Saunders’ leadership in the education sector has been demonstrated by roles such as Chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council and Chair of the Committee of Deans of Australian Medical Schools; and membership of the Higher Education Council, the Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council, the Australian Research Council and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council.
Emeritus Professor John Hamilton
University of Newcastle Emeritus Professor John Hamilton, a medical educator of international renown, has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to medicine and tertiary education as an academic and administrator, through support for Indigenous students, and to professional associations.
Following a substantial role in establishing new medical schools in Canada and Nigeria and a period as public health physician with the World Bank, in 1984 Professor Hamilton was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Newcastle, a position he held for 14 years.
A former University of Newcastle Council member, Professor Hamilton was Foundation Chairman of the Australian Medical Council Accreditation Committee, which introduced accreditation of medical education in Australia. As Chair of the Commonwealth Rural Undergraduate Steering Committee, Professor Hamilton led the development of medical education for and within rural and remote regions.
With others, he was integral to developing the education of Indigenous medical students in Australia. He chaired the Quality of Australian Health Care Study, which stimulated new approaches to quality and safety of health care in Australia and overseas. Professor Hamilton chairs the clinical years of the medical curriculum in the University’s Joint Medical Program, a partnership with the University of New England.
Dr Jeanette Dixon
Dr Jeanette Dixon has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to education through roles in promoting space science, through contributions to the learning of science in schools, and as a teacher.
Prior to her role as a casual academic with the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Science and Information Technology and Faculty of Education and Arts in 2003, Dr Dixon’s teaching career in New South Wales high schools spanned more than three decades.
Dedicated to promoting space science in schools, Dr Dixon has served as Director and Vice-Chair of the National Space Society of Australia since 2009. She is founder and Principal of the New South Wales School of Space Science and a former Principal of the Australian International Space School. Dr Dixon currently works for the ‘Scientists in Schools’ program, an initiative of the Australian Government.