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Awarded for service to Education and Training
Born: 28 July 1952
Entered on roll: 2008
Born in Tasmania, Megan Cavanagh-Russell has been a champion of education since she began her career in 1973 as a part-time music teacher at Snug. Megan’s love of music and dedication to education and training led to her advancing her career in this area, and she was appointed Co-ordinator of Music Courses at the Centre for Music Studies at the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology. In this position, she established a pilot tertiary music program in North-West Tasmania.
In 1991, Megan was appointed Senior Lecturer and Manager of the University of Tasmania, North-West Centre. In 1996, she was appointed Director of the North-West Cradle Coast campus of the University, a position she continues to hold in addition to the position of Planning Dean for the UTAS College project.
Under Megan’s leadership, the Cradle Coast campus has grown from two study centres in houses in Burnie and Devonport to a recognised university campus. The campus has seen strong growth in student and staff numbers, and the diversity of courses offered to students has also increased, with two full bachelor degrees now able to be studied full time on campus.
A focus of Megan’s approach has been to build and maintain a strong connection between the community and the University. The Cradle Coast campus is now recognised nationally for its community engagement efforts and promoting a culture of education and opportunities for lifelong learning. Megan also held the position of Dean of Education for the Faculty of Education, from August 2006 to January 2008. This was held concurrently with her position as Director of the Cradle Coast campus. During her time in the role, she led the introduction of the full Bachelor of Education at the campus, extending the course offered from the first two years to the entire four years.
Megan’s love of music, arts and education has also led to her voluntary participation on a number of boards and committees including the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board, of which she has served as Chair. Megan has also held the positions of Director of the Cradle Coast Authority and Director of the Brand Tasmania Council.
Megan was the recipient of a 2001 Centenary Medal in recognition of her contribution to culture and education on the North-West Coast of Tasmania.