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Professor Anne Graham AO named Distinguished Professor

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Lee Adendorff
Published
22 March 2024

Professor Anne Graham AO has been named Southern Cross University’s second-ever Distinguished Professor, in honour of her significant contributions to research and academic endeavour.

A sociologist and Professor of Childhood Studies, with a background in primary teaching and teacher education, Anne has spent years working for children's rights and wellbeing, leading the renowned Centre for Children and Young People (CCYP) at the University, where she has also mentored many early and mid-career researchers.

“The title of Distinguished Professor is reserved for the recognition of genuinely outstanding leadership and service to our University over the span of many years. It is the highest academic honour within our University and as such, is conferred only in very exceptional circumstances," said Vice-Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin.

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A leader and mentor

Professor Graham leads the renowned Centre for Children and Young People (CCYP) at the University, where she has also mentored many early and mid-career researchers.

“In announcing Anne’s appointment, I reflected on her focus on doing and leading the highest quality work that has real impact, her leadership through mentorship and in particular on her humility as a person and her deep dedication to our University and to our region.

“Anne is a role model for all of us both as regards what she has accomplished and how she has adopted a very purpose and values led approach to her work and community engagement. We are deeply fortunate to have her as our colleague,” he said.

Distinguished Professor Anne Graham AO said she was delighted and surprised to receive the honour.

“I feel very privileged to have worked with colleagues and collaborators here at Southern Cross University, and beyond, who completely understand that children’s lives and circumstances matter and that policies and practice intended to improve them must be informed by sound evidence that actually reflects what young people know and need.

“Being appointed as Distinguished Professor is an honour for so many reasons, not least because it raises the status of the distinctive research we lead at Southern Cross University that is firmly committed to engagement and impact.”

“Young people do want to change the world for the better. That is why we need to hear from them, listen to them and work with them. If we do, that will be a momentous shift for good.”

A woman in a pink dress on a grey background

Launched in 2004, the CCYP focuses on research that is ethical, robust, relevant and, most of all, participatory. “By capturing the perspectives of young people, together with key adults who support them, we can better understand what they know and need and work more collaboratively towards evidence-informed strategies and solutions," said Distinguished Professor Graham.

Professor Graham has published widely and authored several award-winning programs, based on the research she leads, to help children and young people understand and navigate experiences of change, loss and grief in their lives.

A not-for-profit initiative, under the auspices of the MacKillop Family Services, the Seasons for Growth and Stormbirds programs are implemented across five countries and have been adapted for use in communities following natural disasters (floods, bushfires and earthquakes), for refugee children, for post-suicide intervention work in schools, and in juvenile justice and prison settings.

"Helping children and young people understand that change and loss are part of life and there are things they can do that will help them through difficult times is central to the program’s success and longevity”, says Anne.

“Importantly, they leave the program knowing their reactions are normal, they will be OK, and that ‘I am not the only one’”.

Unfailingly optimistic, Anne says the world is in good hands with today's young.

"Young people do want to change the world for the better. That is why we need research that hears from them, takes seriously what they have to say, and translates this into sound policy and programs that work for them. If we do, that will be a momentous shift for good."

Media contact

Lee Adendorff, Head of Content at Southern Cross University +61 429 661 349 or [email protected]