Professor Eliathamby Ambikairajah wins UNSW President's 2019 People’s Choice Award
The UNSW President’s Awards recognise and celebrate individuals who excel by actively demonstrating UNSW’s five core values: Demonstrates Excellence, Displays Respect, Drives Innovation, Builds Collaboration and Embraces Diversity. The People’s Choice Award recognises staff members who go above and beyond in all five categories, as evidenced by the number of votes from all other UNSW staff members.
300 UNSW staff were finalists in these awards this year, and the People's Choice Award was selected based on votes from around 6000 staff across the entire university. Professor Ambikairajah won the People's Choice Award, by a huge margin, recognising his contribution to UNSW as the longest-serving Head of School in the Faculty of Engineering.
During his 10 years as Head of School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications (2009-2019), Professor Ambikairajah strategically conceived and implemented the 5-year BE ME with minor and 2-year accredited ME programs, each the first of their kind in Australia and subsequently adopted widely, which resulted in significant School growth. As examples of this growth, he recruited dozens of academic and non-academic staff, mentored the promotions of the majority of staff in the School, many of whom also received university awards. During this time, he was instrumental in doubling student numbers and successfully attracted $104M to refurbish the School’s building, then led the 5-year refurbishment project which produced world-class, cutting-edge laboratories and teaching facilities. Collectively, these achievements established the School as the largest and highest ranked School of Electrical Engineering in Australia, within the top 50 schools in the world.
In 2014, he was honoured to receive the UNSW Staff Excellence Award for Senior Leadership, which is the highest award given to leaders at UNSW. He was also a recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004, for his innovative use of educational technology in learning and teaching. Colleagues describe his leadership approach as driving a positive, creative and innovative culture among everyone he works with, bringing the university to the forefront of educational technology, quality education teams and delivery methods.
(Prof Ambikairajah receiving his UNSW President’s Award from President and Vice Chancellor Prof Ian Jacobs, on 9thOctober , 2019).