Nancy Viviani came to Griffith from Harvard in 1978 to set up the Centre for the Study of Australian Asian Relations (CSAAR) in the School of Modern Asian Studies.As Foundation Director of the Centre, she provided a research focus of national and international significance, and was responsible for contributing to Griffith’s growing reputation in the field of Australia-Asia relations. Nancy Viviani was appointed Professor of International Politics in 1991 and served as Dean of the Faculty of Asian and International Studies from 1993-1994.
From her first appointment in the late seventies until her retirement in 1997, she provided distinguished service to the University, to scholarship, and to public affairs. The significance and timeliness of her work on immigration, especially Vietnamese immigration, made her an important figure not only in academia, but also in government and other circles.
As a teacher, Nancy Viviani was held in enormous regard by her students. Her lecturing was seen as ‘brilliant’ and ‘inspired’, leaving students with ideas which remained in the mind and spawned new approaches to scholarship. During her time at Griffith, Nancy Viviani also took part in numerous community and government commissions.
In 1990, she was appointed to make recommendations to the Queensland Education Minister on a replacement system for the Tertiary Entrance (TE) score. Her report led to the adoption of the current system of OP scores – one of her many significant contributions to education in this state.
Professor Viviani was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2015 Australia Day Honours list.