June 2017

Winter is coming!

Teaching spaces may be quiet, but our campus libraries and study areas are busy with intense preparations for Semester One exams and final assignments. Good luck and warm wishes to all of our students in the coming weeks – and many thanks to the staff supporting them.

May All Staff Briefings

Thanks to those staff members who attended the recent staff briefing sessions across all campuses. If you were able to come, you will know that our QILT (Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching) results show we have a lot of work to do to improve student satisfaction. It’s everyone’s job to make sure students have a rewarding and positive time here La Trobe - and we can all make a difference.

If you were not able to attend the briefings, you can watch a recording of the Melbourne session here.

ARC in good hands

Professor Sue Thomas, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England, has been appointed CEO of the Australian Research Council. Sue is a La Trobe alumna and holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours and Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology from La Trobe. Sue has had an outstanding career, having worked at Princeton University in the USA and the Medical Research Council in the UK, as well as holding senior academic positions at Flinders University, the University of Canberra and Charles Sturt University a bit closer to home.

It is always a proud moment to see a La Trobe graduate attain such a position of influence in the sector. Our warmest congratulations to Sue.

Now that is a good innings

Many of you will know Ernest Raetz, who has just retired after an astonishing 42 years of dedicated service in La Trobe’s Media and Communications team. In a career that began not long after the University was established, Ernest has made an enormous contribution by lifting the profile and prestige of our people, ideas and contribution to the community.

He has written countless media releases and Bulletin articles about our work, and has given our academics a much wider audience for their research.

Congratulations and many thanks to Ernest on a magnificent career with La Trobe.

US partnerships

I have just returned from a visit to the United States with colleagues, including Professor Marilyn Anderson from LIMS and Dr Dan Grant, PVC (Industry Engagement).

The main purpose of the trip was to host a 50th anniversary event for our US-based alumni and international partners as part of the NAFSA conference in Los Angeles. The event was a great success, with more than 120 guests attending.

During the evening, I signed an MOU that will see La Trobe become the Australian and New Zealand headquarters for the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). La Trobe has been a ISEP member institution since 2008. We are one of 300 universities in 50 countries that have partnered with ISEP to send more than 54,000 students abroad to study during their degrees. The partnership further strengthens our Global Citizenship ethos across the University.

My thanks to Wendy Martinec and the LTI team who made the event such a success.

The trip was also an opportunity to meet with some of our American partner universities, meet potential new industry partners, and visit industrial precincts that may provide a model for the development of similar clusters at La Trobe. Meetings were held with Pioneer DuPont, bwtech@UMBC in Maryland, Tufts University and Boston College in Boston, and with Valparaiso University and Michigan State University. These visits strengthen existing relationships and help to develop new ones.

We are All Kinds of Clever

The University’s new brand positioning takes another major step forward this weekend with the launch of our new television commercial, which is supported by a series of print, billboard and digital ads that promote the diversity of our discipline and course offerings in more detail.

Chief Marketing Officer Mark Engel and his team have been travelling across our campus network this week sharing the campaign creative and its rationale with staff, and working on the next phase of the campaign.

More information on the brand campaign is also featured on the front page of our intranet.

New sculpture making its mark

We have a new addition to the La Trobe University Sculpture Park at the Melbourne campus - a towering 18 metre sculpture installed on the lawn opposite the David Myers Building. Chrysalid is a kinetic sculpture created by Northcote-based artist Phil Price, who was inspired by the 1955 John Wyndham novel The Chrysalids. The work responds to the wind, creating random movements that are both simple and complex as the sections twist and turn.

Many thanks to benefactor Claire Mitchell for this donation through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. Donations such as this continue to play an important role in building the La Trobe Art Institute collection.

Our message to Olivia Newton-John

You may have already heard the sad news of recurrence of Olivia Newton-John’s cancer.  We have strong connections with Olivia, both personally and professionally, through our involvement in the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute, so I am sure that I can say on behalf of everyone at La Trobe University that we send her our best wishes as she undergoes treatment, as well as our hopes for a speedy recovery.

The Olivia Newton-John Wellness Walk & Research Run, to be held on our Melbourne Campus on Sunday 17 September 2017, will continue as planned. We are the ‘University and Research’ partner for this major event and I encourage you to get involved.

301 express bus shuttle here to stay

The Victorian Government has decided to make the popular 301 express shuttle bus to the Melbourne Campus a permanent service.

Bundoora MP and Parliamentary Speaker Colin Brooks made the announcement recently following a successful 18-month pilot. Between February 2016 and to November 2016 alone the shuttle bus carried more than 280,000 passengers, cutting up to 15 minutes off normal travel times between Reservoir station and the Bundoora campus.

The high-frequency service leaves Reservoir Station on the South Morang line every 10 minutes and runs express to the new Science Drive bus terminus outside the Thomas Cherry Building.

We have long argued for this service, so it is great to see that it will continue to provide a safe, efficient and reliable alternative to driving. We will continue to lobby for improved public transport to all our campuses.

Support the Murray Darling Medical School - sign the petition

La Trobe University, in partnership with Charles Sturt University, has submitted a proposal to the Federal Government to establish the Murray Darling Medical School (MDMS). We are confident that a strong economic argument and widespread community support will convince Canberra to give it the green light.

Local supporters are leading the community campaign for support, including Orange resident Chris Gryllis who has created a petition calling on the Treasurer and the Ministers for Health and Education to approve the MDMS. I encourage you to sign the petition and share the link with your networks.

An independent economic assessment released earlier this year presents a compelling case – showing the MDMS will be three to five times more efficient in training doctors to live and work in regional and rural areas than metropolitan universities, as well as returning $2 billion in long-term economic benefits to the region.

Two events not to be missed

Our outstanding public lecture series continues to inform, challenge and entertain.

Tickets have sold out, but you can still live stream the next Ideas and Society event (on 13 June) on the rise of the right in world politics. Emeritus Professor of Politics Judith Brett will host what is bound to be a fascinating conversation between political scientist Professor Simon Jackman and journalists Katharine Murphy from The Guardian Australia and Guy Rundle, Crikey reporter at large.

Also, save the date for 27 July – for our next Bold Thinking event – Food, Mood and Diet. Two of our leading health scientists Professor Catherine Itsiopoulos and Associate Professor Antigone Kouris, will join Maha Restaurant Chef and Owner Shane Delia to explore the inter-connections between food, mood and health.

Have a great June, and stay warm.

Regards

John