Esteemed Flinders University staff member, Flinders graduate and longest-serving Mayor of Marion, Felicity-ann Lewis, has been named South Australia’s Australian of the Year for 2014.
Dr Lewis – who has worked at Flinders University as a Senior Lecturer in Health Curriculum Studies since 1999 – was recognised for her contributions to the community, in particular for efforts to further reconciliation with Aboriginal people, and to support the settlement process for refugees and migrants.
A recipient of the John Lego Award, the Centenary Medal and the 2007 Flinders University Distinguished Alumni Award for “significant contributions to local government in South Australia and to the University”, Dr Lewis graduated from Flinders with a Diploma of Teaching in 1977 then went on to complete a Bachelor of Education (Physical Education) in 1981. She also completed a Graduate Diploma in Community and School in 1986 and a Masters of Education in 2002.
With a keen interest in middle schooling, health promotion and health education, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, Dr Lewis’ recently-completed doctoral project focussed on practitioner research based on her teaching in health education topics with middle school and secondary students.
Her current research projects include an evaluation of school and community agency intervention in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, health education teachers in secondary schools and their curriculum and pedagogy, and the Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle program.
As national president of the Local Government Association, Dr Lewis also sits on many boards including the Migrant Resource Centre and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Fundraising Committee.
Her efforts alone have garnered more than $100,000 towards Australia’s first memorial recognising the sacrifice of Indigenous people in war.
Flinders University Professor Richard Maltby, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Law, said: “We are delighted at this public recognition of Felicity’s achievements, particularly her tireless advocacy for the public acknowledgement of Indigenous soldiers, as well as for her many contributions to the community of Marion and local government more generally.
“Felicity is also a wonderful teacher who has played a key role in the success of our Bachelor of Education/Bachelor of Health Sciences double degree, and earlier this year we celebrated the award of her Doctorate of Education,” he said.