Four new Alfred Deakin Professors named

19 March 2012

Professors Jill Blackmore, Mari Botti, Paresh Narayan and David Walker awarded highest honour.

Deakin University has appointed four new Alfred Deakin Professors.

"The title of Alfred Deakin Professor is the highest honour that Deakin (via its Council) can bestow upon its academic staff members and it is testament to the calibre of our staff that four Alfred Deakin Professors have been conferred in a single year. 

The new recipients are:

  • Professor Jill Blackmore, Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation in the Faculty of Arts and Education.
  • Professor Mari Botti, Chair in Nursing (a joint appointment between Deakin University and Epworth Healthcare) and Director of the Alfred/Deakin Nursing Research Centre at the Alfred Hospital.
  • Professor Paresh Narayan, Chair in Finance in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance in the Faculty of Business and Law.
  • Professor David Walker, Chair in Australian Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Education

"Each of these staff members have made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the University and additional details regarding their careers and contributions are set out in the attached document," said Deakin University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander.

"I congratulate Jill, Mari, Paresh and David on their achievements."


Professor Jillian Blackmore joined Deakin University in 1987 as a Lecturer in Education. She was appointed to a Personal Chair in 2002 and to the position of Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation in the School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Education, in 2009. The Centre aims to become the preeminent centre for educational research in the Asia Pacific region and is committed to theoretically informed, and practice oriented, research that informs educational policy and practice.

Professor Blackmore’s current work focuses on global restructuring and how it articulates locally in terms of organisational change and the production of teacher, academic and student identities.
The dominant research question throughout all her work is; “What do changing relations between structures, organisations and identities mean for more equitable education systems and a more equitable society?”  She currently holds three Australian Research Council (ARC) grants and two category 2 grants to support this work which involves teams across different faculties and universities. Professor Blackmore has a long history of successfully gaining external competitive grants to support her research.

Throughout her research career, promoting equity has been a constant, producing works such as Performing and Re-forming Leaders: gender, educational restructuring and organisational change (with Judyth Sachs 2007, SUNY Press) which won the Critics Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association in the year it was published. From her earliest publications, Professor Blackmore has used feminist theory to inform the field of leadership and educational administration, and now edits a Routledge book series with Professor Pat Thomson (University of Nottingham) and Professor Helen Gunter (University of Manchester) on Critical Theories and Educational Leadership.

As Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation, Professor Blackmore has provided strong leadership in building an education research profile at Deakin by leading teams that have successfully built a research grant profile as well as a publication and impact profile. In addition, she has also been very successful in building future capacity by working closely with early career researchers and successfully supervising a large cohort of PhD students who consistently seek out Professor Blackmore to be the supervisor of their doctoral work. She carries a large load in PhD supervision and to date 24 of her doctoral students have successfully graduated. Many are now in successful academic positions across Australia and internationally.

Professor Mari Botti holds a Chair in Nursing, a joint appointment between Deakin University and Epworth Healthcare that she has held since 2004. She is also the Director of the Alfred/Deakin Nursing Research Centre at the Alfred Hospital. Professor Botti joined Deakin University in 1997 as a Research Assistant before being promoted to Associate Professor in 1998.

Professor Botti’s nursing career has combined nursing education, clinical practice in acute cardiac nursing, and clinical research. Her specific research and clinical interests are in postoperative pain management, investigation of models of care that encourage patient engagement in their care, safety and wellbeing, and the use of data to improve quality and safety in healthcare. Throughout her career Professor Botti has demonstrated clinical leadership and research excellence.

As well as her contribution to Epworth Healthcare and coordinating the Bachelor of Nursing (Clinical Honours) program at Deakin University Professor Botti has supervised many PhD and Masters students to completion.

In further service to the profession, Professor Botti is also a member of the Alfred Ethics Committee, the Epworth Healthcare Human Research and Ethics Committee, and she is Chair of the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee.

Professor Paresh Narayan is a prolific researcher who publishes on average 20 refereed journal articles per year, predominantly in the highest ERA ranked journals; he has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to furthering the research aims of Deakin University since his commencement in 2007 as Chair in Finance in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Faculty of Business and Law.

Professor Narayan’s passion and talent for Financial Econometrics has translated into a meteoric career path: whilst completing his PhD in Economics and Econometrics at Monash University in 2004 he commenced at Griffith University as Lecturer in Economics; 12 months later he was promoted to Senior Lecturer, and after a further twelve months to Associate Professor. Just three months later he was appointed as Chair in Finance at Deakin University, and in 2011 he was also appointed Head of the Financial Econometrics Group in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.

Professor Narayan’s work has been recognised with numerous awards since his Masters and PhD theses were accepted without amendment at their respective universities. He completed his Masters at the University of the South Pacific in 1999 where his thesis was awarded the most outstanding Masters thesis in the School of Social and Economic Development, and in 2004 his PhD thesis was awarded the most outstanding PhD thesis in the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University. In 2005 he received the EMERALD Citation of Excellence in Research Award; in 2006 he was listed in Who’s Who in the World; in 2009 he was ranked number 10 in the top authors in Australia by RePEc (Research Papers in Economics); and in 2010 he received the Vice Chancellor’s award for Distinguished Research and the Deakin University Award for Research Excellence.

Professor Narayan currently supervises some PhD students and has supervised a number who have successfully completed their PhD. He has published with PhD students as well as colleagues within Deakin and at other universities. Understandably, he has an outstanding national and international reputation and often receives invitations to present at international conferences.

Professor David Walker started at Deakin University in 1991 as Chair in Australian Studies. He is widely published, specialising in the historical examination of Australian responses to Asia. He has long been recognised, in Australia and internationally, as a leading cultural historian and has contributed to the development of Australian Studies programs in universities in Indonesia, China and Japan.

Prior to joining Deakin University Professor Walker graduated from Adelaide University with an honours degree in History. He completed his PhD in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University in 1972. He lectured in History at Auckland University before moving to the History Department at the University of New South Wales in 1977, serving as Head of the School of History in 1990.

In 1997/98 Professor Walker held the Monash Visiting Chair of Australian Studies at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. In 2001 he was elected as Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and in 2005 he was elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Since 2005 he has been a Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Studies at Renmin University, Beijing.

In 2010 Professor Walker held the ‘Distinguished Visiting Chair of Australian Studies’ at the University of Copenhagen and he received the Deakin University Award for Research Excellence.

As Professor of Australian Studies at Deakin University, Professor Walker has taught a wide range of subjects from survey courses to specialist seminars. He regularly teaches large first year units with enrolments of between 150 and 250 students and he consistently achieves high student evaluations. Professor Walker has supervised and examined many PhD theses and he is the primary external supervisor of MA theses written by students in the Australian Studies Centre. In a three-year program there are now six final year students each year.

Professor Walker’s book, Anxious Nation: Australia and the Rise of Asia, 1850-1939, has received much attention and recognition since its publication in 1999; it was awarded the Ernest Scott prize for the best history of Australia or New Zealand published in 1999/2000 and Professor Walker has subsequently been awarded two ARC Discovery Grants for two further volumes of this study.

In 2011 Professor Walker’s latest book, Not Dark Yet: A Personal History, was published; it is a memoir about the history of his family from the time of their settlement in South Australia in the late nineteenth century. He has also signed a contract for a new co-edited publication to appear later this year.

He also likes it known that he barracks for Geelong.

Alfred Deakin Alfred Deakin, Australia's second prime minister and the man after whom the University, and the prestigious professorial awards, are named.

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