Citation for the conferral of a Doctor of the University (honoris causa)
In conferring the award of Doctor of the University (honoris causa) on Helen Smith, the University recognises a life devoted to the highest professional standards in education and to service to the community. It also recognises a unique contribution to the development of the University itself, particularly to the establishment of the collaborative policing programs at Goulburn. Without the work of Helen Smith in the early phases of the University's policing programs, it is unlikely that we would be gathered here today.
Helen Smith's leadership, her understanding of professional education and the needs of adult learners and her promotion of dialogue and liaison with police practitioners and educators have helped make possible the successful programs which we celebrate here today and which have become such an important part of modern policing.
Helen Smith began her career in education in physical education. Following graduation from the Sydney Teachers College, she taught in state high schools before appointment as a lecturer in physical education at Newcastle Teachers College. This was followed by appointments as a lecturer at the Wagga Wagga Teachers College and the Wollongong Teachers College and then appointment as a senior lecturer at Goulburn College of Advanced Education.
During this time Helen pursued further studies completing a masters degree in science at the University of Oregon, a leading institution in the United States in the field of physical education.
During this time also Helen Smith developed an interest in German and Scandinavian approaches to physical education, particularly because of their focus on the wellbeing of the whole person. She undertook studies in Germany in the course of which she became a fluent German speaker. Eventually her interest in this area led to a career change. Helen qualified as a teacher of German and developed a strong interest in intercultural communication. In 1980 she was appointed head of the department of cultural studies at Goulburn CAE.
Following the amalgamation of Goulburn CAE with Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education, Helen moved to that institution's Riverina campus at Wagga Wagga. She was appointed senior lecturer in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, and also served as Head of School. From 1987 to 1989 she served as director of the Language Centre on the Wagga Wagga Campus.
In 1990 Helen retired from Charles Sturt University. In 1992, however, she was asked by the University, to take on the role of senior lecturer and coordinator in the Constables Development Program, which was being introduced at that time jointly by the University and the NSW Police Service.
Having played a central role in the establishment of University programs for police Ms Smith retired from the University for a second time in 1995.
The University, however, had several more calls to make on her services. From 1996 until 1999 Ms Smith assisted the University in the Cooperative Research Centre in Viticulture, where she acted as program manager for the Education and Technology Transfer program of that Centre. She also acted as chair of the Education Committee of the Australian Council for Viticulture and was a member of the Wine Industry National Education and Training Advisory Council. During these years also, Ms Smith maintained a connection with policing, acting as an education consultant for the development of programs in investigations and as the coordinator of training programs in investigations provided by the University to the Defence Forces.
During these years also, Helen acted as an adviser to the University's newly formed School of Theology and served as a university nominee to the Interim Committee of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.
There can be few academic careers which have combined physical education, German, policing, wine making and theology to such good effect.
Several common threads run through this rich and diverse career of service. One is student centredness. Throughout her career Helen has been committed to the interests of students and to ensuring that educational processes recognise the needs of students. At Goulburn CAE she held the post of Dean of Students in addition to her other responsibilities. At CSU she established the first Learning Skills Centre.
A second thread is her ability to support the development of new academic staff. In all the academic leadership roles she has taken and in all her work as an educational consultant, she has shown outstanding gifts as a mentor to new staff, as a guide to academic life and its best values and as a wise counsel about teaching.
Perhaps the most important thread, however, has been work with emerging professions to assist them in developing educational programs and standards and in engaging with universities. In this Ms Smith has contributed not only to the development of the professions themselves, but also to the development of universities, especially this University.
The consolidation of policing, theology and wine science as part of the profile of this University owes much to Helen Smith. In working with those fields she also contributed to the identity of CSU as a university committed to openness to industry and the professions, collaborative educational programs, and service to students and the community.
Dated this Nineteenth day of May Two Thousand