Charles Sturt University
Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

Canberra honour for CSU Emeritus Professor

15 Jun 2017

Charles Sturt University (CSU) honoured former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Emeritus Professor Ross Chambers in recognition of his exceptional services to the University and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) in Canberra.

CSU Chancellor Dr Michele Allan announced the official name of the building whilst the Honourable Margaret Reid, AO, officially opened the newly-completed 'Chambers Pavilion' located on the CSU campus in Canberra on Wednesday 14 June.

CSU Chancellor Dr Michelle Allan said the naming of a facility in honour of an individual is one of the highest recognitions that the University can bestow.

"In bestowing this fitting honour, I would particularly like to acknowledge Professor Chambers' guidance and energy for the vision and development of the Centre and his dedication chairing of the Centre's board for ten years," she said.

Described below

Above: Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture Executive Director Rt Rev'd Professor Stephen Pickard, The Honourable Margaret Reid AO, Emeritus Professor Ross Chambers, Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Vann and Chancellor Dr Michele Allan.

Professor Chambers made many significant contributions and held numerous appointments at CSU, culminating as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for a decade, from 2002 to 2012.

The Executive Director of the ACC&C the Rt. Reverend Professor Stephen Pickard said, "This acknowledges his guidance and energy for the vision and development of the Centre and his dedicated chairing of the ACC&C Board for 10 years.

"Professor Chambers has strong and long-lasting links with the ACC&C having worked with the then Vice-Chancellor Professor Cliff Blake, AO, to negotiate with the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn to establish the ACC&C and to secure land leases.

"He served as the University's representative on the Board of the Centre from its inception, and from 2002 to 2015 served as Chair of the Board of the ACC&C. He has maintained close links with the programs of the Centre since he retired, especially programs with Indigenous communities and in Christian-Muslim dialogue.

"Professor Chambers continues to serve as an ambassador for the Centre," he said.

Some highlights of Professor Chambers time as Chair of the ACC&C include helping host the Global Network for Public Theology; the development of the Bible Garden and the construction of George Browning House; the development of the scholarly community based in George Browning House and the quality of their work; the Indigenous and inter-faith programs of the ACC&C; the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-sponsored programs with Indonesia; and the growth of the art, worship and public lecture programs at the Centre.

Professor Pickard explained that the ACC&C began in 1998 as an ecumenical venture for engagement with Australian culture and the issues of the day, and is unique in Australia. It was established through a partnership between CSU and the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn, and is situated at the eastern edge of the Parliamentary Triangle in Canberra.

"Following the completion of George Browning House in 2009, the Chambers Pavilion (pictured) is the latest stage of the development. It is a new multi-purpose meeting, hospitality and teaching centre available for use by the University and ACC&C personnel, as well as by community groups," Professor Pickard said.

The Chambers Pavilion incorporates a multi-purpose meeting room supported by a kitchenette and staff amenities, adjoined by an entry lobby to the gardens beyond. The facility is situated to take advantage of the natural beauty of the location and the view of the Great Cross, which is being refurbished as part of the construction works.

Career summary for Emeritus Professor Ross Chambers:

Commenced at Riverina CAE in 1979 as a lecturer in history and politics (following studies at University of Sydney and School of Slavonic Studies, London, in Russian history and history of political and social thought)

Taught political and social thought; Russian history; ethics; and social policy. Promoted to principal lecturer in 1988 (translated to Associate Professor on formation of CSU).

From 1990 to 2012 held senior leadership positions at CSU as:

Head, School of Humanities and Social Sciences 1990-1992, overseeing the introduction of social work programs at CSU

Dean, Faculty of Arts, 1992-2002

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) 2002-2012

Other achievements of Professor Chambers as a CSU Dean and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, in addition to the general growth of the University (from 20 000 to 40 000 students):

CSU's service to regional Australia, participation (especially low socio-economic status and Indigenous), and the professions;

Development of CSU's world-leading policing and security programs from 1992, including the successive contracts with NSW Police and CSU participation in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (to date CSU's only ARC Centre of Excellence);

The CSU Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), the first (and to date only) ARC Special Research Centre at CSU and the first established in a post-1989 university and the first established in a humanities discipline; and, more generally the development with Professor Seumas Miller of CSU's strength in ethics;

Establishment of the CSU School of Theology, and the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation;

CSU's Indigenous Education and Indigenous Employment Strategies, and the Wiradjuri language and heritage recovery programs developed at CSU with the Wiradjuri Council of Elders;

Pathway and participation programs, especially those directed to low socio-economic status and rural and remote communities and TAFE articulation;

Introduction of the CSU veterinary science program and the establishment of the National Life Sciences Hub (NaLSH) at CSU in Wagga Wagga in 2012;

The establishment of CSU in Port Macquarie;

Acted as Head of Campus for Port Macquarie on a part-time basis from 2013 to 2015 following retirement as DV-C in 2012.