Griffith University Professor Emeritus Sue Spence AO has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2016 Australia Day Honours List.
The award is in recognition of Professor Spence’s distinguished service to mental health research, particularly to prevention and treatment in young people, to tertiary education, and as a mentor.
Professor Spence said she is excited and thrilled by the accolade.
A clinical psychologist, Professor Spence is a former Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Student Outcomes) at Griffith.
Griffith University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Ian O’Connor, said Professor Spence had provided strong and inspirational leadership in Griffith’s learning and teaching portfolio.
“In a long and distinguished career, Sue Spence has made significant contributions to research, scholarship and professional practice, and has demonstrated outstanding leadership in a number of senior academic appointments within the higher education sector,” said Professor O’Connor.
He said Professor Spence had also led a number of key programs of research which have had a major impact on clinical psychology practice in Australia and internationally.
Since stepping down from her senior management position at Griffith in 2014, Professor Spence’s work has focused on BRAVE-Online, a program for the treatment, early intervention and prevention of anxiety in children and adolescents.
“We know that, if left untreated, anxiety problems during childhood and adolescence are a major risk factor in the development of depression later in life,” said Professor Spence.
She co-founded this important partnership between Griffith, UQ and the University of Southern Queensland, which also includes support from beyondblue.
“With beyondblue, 18 months ago we launched our Brave4You self-help initiative and since then more than 10,000 people have signed up.
“That is a powerful demonstration of the community need for, and value of, online self-help therapy to help young people and their parents.”
Professor Spence said that as much as yesterday’s Australia Day announcement is cause for personal celebration, so too does it confirm appreciation for the fact such honours are never achieved alone.
“When you’ve worked hard over so many years, it is very pleasing to have people value what you have done. However, you cannot do these things on your own,” she said.
“I am indebted to so many, to family, friends and colleagues, and I accept this honour on behalf of all we have achieved together.”
Also recognised in the Australia Day Honours List was recently retired Queensland Conservatorium staff member, Dr Ralph Hultgren AM, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the arts, particularly music education, as an academic, composer and publisher, and to professional organisations.
Ms Tracey Moffatt AO was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the visual and performing arts as a photographer and film maker, and as a mentor and supporter of, and role model for, Indigenous artists.
She received her formal training in film and video at the Queensland College of Art and graduated in 1982 with a Diploma of Arts in Visual Communication. Ms Moffatt’s outstanding contributions to the arts were recognised by Griffith in 2004 when she was conferred an honorary Doctor of the University.
Griffith University Council member, Ms Ann Robilotta-Glenister OAM, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to aged care, and to the community.
The Vice Chancellor has warmly congratulated all the recipients.