Thought Leadership Event Series

Western Sydney University was placed first in the world in the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact rankings, the only global performance measure that assesses universities against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event series aims to celebrate and promote this #1 ranking, complementing work being undertaken across the University as part of its Sustainability and Resilience Decadal Strategy 2030.

For more information or to get involved,  please contact: Emma Boddington or Bhadra Chandran

Upcoming events

14 February 2023: From Hot Suburbs to Cool Towns - Dr Sebastian Pfautsch

Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, where nearly 90% of the population lives in towns and metropolitan areas. The trend in Australia and elsewhere in the world is towards larger and denser cities. Both processes, expansion of cities at their fringe zones and densifying within, make cities hotter. This is counterproductive in a time where our summers become hotter. We must do the opposite – develop urban spaces so they keep cool.

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch is an Associate Professor at the Urban Transformations Research Centre of Western Sydney University where he develops strategies to keep cities cool. He is an advocate for change who regularly features in the media. His work has changed government policies and practices and he has won state and national awards for his projects.

In this talk, he explains why it is necessary to pivot urban design and development from business-as-usual to cool. He uses practical examples to demonstrate the wide range of possibilities available today to create heat-smart towns and cities for tomorrow – from simple changes around residential homes to turning public parks into large air conditioners.

If you want, you can find out about his work on car parks, playgrounds and schools right now. Hardcopies of Sebastian’s reports will be available at the event venue

Date & time: Tuesday 14 February 2023, 12pm - 1:00pm
Location: Parramatta City Campus, Peter Shergold Building, Level 9, Conference Room 2 (PC-1-9-16) and online

Booking for this event

28 February 2023: Life after school for young people with intellectual disabilities - Dr Lise Mogensen

Dr Lise Mogensen is an Associate Professor at School of Medicine Western Sydney University, with demonstrated teaching excellence in project based learning. Lise’s areas of expertise include Research Design and Supervision, Lecturing, Medical Education, Medical Sociology, Childhood and Disability Studies. Dr Mogensen holds a PhD in Social Justice and Social Change from Western Sydney University.

Life after school for young people with intellectual disability: “I want to be more than a disability person’’

This session is presented by Associate Professor Lise Mogensen, School of Medicine, Professor Gabrielle Drake, School of Social Sciences, Dr Jenny McDonald, School of Medicine and Dr Nicole Sharp, School of Health Sciences, and Director of Believe and Become Occupational Therapy.

The researchers present findings from a recent study exploring the transition from school to adult life as experienced by young people with intellectual disability in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria. The project also explored whether the change from a social welfare model of disability support to a consumer-focused market-based system, funded by the NDIS, better enable consumer ‘choice and control’ as intended. Findings from interviews with parents, educators, health, and disability services providers will also be presented, questions and discussion will be invited from the audience.

Date & time: Tuesday 28 February 2023, 12 noon to 1pm
Location: The Ngara Ngura Building, Liverpool City Campus, Level 4, Room 1 and online

Booking for this event

8 March 2023: Women in Science Panel, Celebrating Female Scientists

Join us as we host a panel of scientists from fields such as biology, human anatomy, forensic anthropology, ecology and environmental science. Learn how they got into science, their current research, what challenges they have faced as females in the scientific community and celebrate the rise of women in the industry.

Proudly bought to you by Western Sydney University Library, Science @ The Local and Penrith City Library

Date & time: Wednesday 8 March - 6.30pm
Location: Penrith City Library - Peter Goodfellow Theatrette

Booking for this online event

14 March 2023: What did Australia learn about Country after the 2020-21 catastrophic bushfires? - Dr Jessica Weir

Dr Jessica Weir discusses what Australia learnt about Country in response to the catastrophic bushfires of 2021-22 and invite discussion from the audience.

What did Australia learn about Country after the 2020-21 catastrophic bushfires?

Australia’s 2020-21 catastrophic bushfires were shocking – the long stretch of burnt out eastern-seaboard localities, the capital cities blanketed in smoke, and particles from this continent circling the globe. There was national and international interest in Indigenous peoples’ burning practices as ‘the answer’. But are they? And, hey, what is the question? This presentation brings together decades of learning from Indigenous leaders about Country and comparing that with the priorities of Australian governments to reveal what is before us and what might be done next.

Date & time: Tuesday 14 March 2023, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: Online

Booking for this online event

26 April 2023: Gender Matters - Professor Susanne Gannon

Professor Susanne Gannon is an expert in educational research across a range of domains and methodologies. Much of her research focuses on equity issues in educational policy and practices.

Her current ARC Discovery grant 'Gender Matters: Changing Gender Equity Policies and Practices in Australian Secondary Schooling' examines how young people, teachers and policy actors understand and experience gender in the present, and how this has changed since earlier approaches. Other recent research projects include investigations of the impact of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) on the teaching of writing in secondary school English, young people's experiences of school closures due to COVID-19 in 2020, and vocational education for students from refugee backgrounds in New South Wales schools.

Date & time: Wednesday 28 April 2023, Time TBD
Location: Online

Booking for this event made available shortly.


Past events

7 November 2022: Climate action and carbon transitions – Dr. Roger Attwater

Dr. Roger Attwater discussed operational sustainability at Western Sydney University, and invited discussion from the audience.

WSU’s commitment to the UN-led ‘Race to Zero for Colleges and Universities’ is for Carbon Neutral 2023 and Climate Positive 2029.

The presentation outlined our journey during 2022 towards Climate Active accreditation of carbon neutrality, and our developing Carbon Transition Plan to progress towards being a low carbon organisation and our Climate Positive aspirations.

22 November 2022: Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra: Partnerships for sustainable regional futures – Associate Professors Louise Crabtree-Hayes and Neil Perry

Associate Professor Louise Crabtree-Hayes and Associate Professor Neil Perry discussed regional collaboration and invited discussion from the audience.

In 2021 after two years of closure, the University's Lithgow building re-opened as Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra - the Lithgow Transformation Hub. The name translates as 'working together, side by side'.

The name was provided by Wiradjuri language holder Sharon Riley to uphold the vision developed by local stakeholders, which is for Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra to act as a catalyst for regional collaboration towards sustainable futures.

Framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra is now a thriving centre of regional innovation with a program of intertwined capacity-building activities that continues to expand and deepen.