From the VC's desk
Welcome to my November blog. As if bushfires, COVID and the occasional earthquake weren’t enough, many members of our community have been dealing with the consequences of the recent flooding in central and northern Victoria, especially at our Shepparton campus.I was in Shepparton last Friday and was touched to hear staff talk about the way in which the Shepparton community has pulled together to support those most in need. Everyone I spoke to has been affected in some way or knows someone who has been. One staff member I chatted with lost a canola crop, while everyone was volunteering or helping their neighbours with supplies of food and medicine.
Welcome to my October blog. It was great to be in Bendigo last week for our ‘In Conversation’ webinar. Thanks to Julie Rudner for doing such an excellent job in moderating it. Thanks also to all the staff that took the time to talk with us about their work. I’ve really enjoyed the new format for the webinars this year and it was terrific to take the show on the road to Bendigo.
Welcome to my September blog. After the long dark cloud of a Victorian winter, we are starting to see brighter days again – especially so at last weekend’s Bendigo Open Day, conducted under a cloudless sky. It saw one of our highest ever turnouts of prospective students and their families and follows the pattern set by Bundoora and all our other regional campuses. My warmest congratulations and thanks to all the staff and students involved in making our Open Days such a roaring success.
Welcome to my August blog. This month sees the return of on-campus Open Days for the first time since 2019. Things kick off this weekend at the Melbourne campus, followed by Mildura and Shepparton next week and Albury-Wodonga and Bendigo later in August. Thank you in advance to all the staff who have volunteered their time to help prospective students and their families learn more about the great things La Trobe has to offer. I can’t wait to feel the buzz of a busy campus once again. And it will be busy – registrations have already far exceeded those in 2019.
Welcome to my July blog. Congratulations to all our teaching and support staff on successfully delivering another semester of hybrid teaching and learning activity. I know it’s school holidays now, so I hope those of you with school-aged children have been able to have some time off from the University or at least manage the challenges of juggling work and school holiday activities.
After a long lead-in to the 2022 Federal Election, Australians cast their ballots on 21 May and elected a new Labor Government, with Anthony Albanese as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister. This week the Hon Jason Clare has been appointed as Minister for Education in the new Albanese Government’s Ministry.
Welcome to this special edition of the Vice-Chancellor’s monthly blog. I am Acting VC this week while Professor Dewar is having a well-deserved break from work, so I thought I’d share some of our recent achievements this month.
I hope you enjoyed the new ‘In Conversation’ format of our first All Staff webinar of the year. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from staff through comments and feedback. My warmest thanks to Professor Clare Wright, who was our fantastic host, and to the other guests who appeared with Clare on camera or on video.
It’s not often that I feel joy – it’s an emotion usually in very short supply for a Vice-Chancellor – but I’ll confess to several joyful moments over the last week: seeing so many excited students at our Sports Stadium at Bundoora for Welcome Fest, and the sight of the Agora once again bustling with students and staff. I’ve heard reports of similar joyful scenes at our other campuses (more below). I’m especially pleased for our vendors and small traders on campus who have had a tough time over the last two years – so if you can afford to buy a salad or coffee when you’re at work, please show your support for them.
Welcome to 2022. Let’s hope it’s an improvement on the two years that preceded it. The early signs are good, with a real prospect of being able to get back onto campus safely for some teaching and other activities in Semester 1, and international students returning in significant numbers. Your safety will be our paramount concern, as always.
I think we’d all agree that the last two years have been incredibly difficult. COVID-19 has not only had a deep impact on the University; it has also had a profound effect on all of us, on our friends and families, and on the community. As 2021 draws to a close, we can nevertheless look back with great pride at the way we responded to the pandemic. We all demonstrated fantastic commitment to our students, to supporting our communities and to sustaining our research as best we can. I’d like, once again, to thank you all for your extraordinary efforts. I think we’ve all learned a lot – about ourselves, our motivations, and about those around us; and the multiple factors at work in people’s lives affecting their response to lockdowns.