Dear Colleagues

Thank you again for coming along to the all-staff update on Monday. It was particularly good to hear some 2021 highlights from around the University. It really can’t be said enough that the work achieved this year, through what we all know were very challenging circumstances, was extraordinary to witness. If you missed the live event, you’re welcome to view the recording here.

Looking ahead, today I will be delivering a lecture on the roles and responsibilities of universities in modern society. This annual event honours Professor Alan Owen, whose legacy, and contributions to a range of community service activities and health services research continue to inspire today. Of course, universities will continue to play an important role in research, learning and teaching, technology, and providing the educational foundation for training and producing highly skilled talent, however I will also touch on key roles modern universities can play in today’s ever-changing society and the long-term impacts caused by the pandemic. Please register here to join me at 4.30pm.

In exciting news, I’m pleased to inform you that the first flight as part of the International Student Arrival Pilot Plan has safely touched down, bringing with it some very excited students. Thank you to those who worked behind the scenes to make this happen. As per NSW Health guidelines, these fully vaccinated students have undergone PCR testing and also self-isolated for 72 hours and I was fortunate to meet with many of them yesterday at a special ‘welcome back’ function. A second flight is scheduled to arrive in late December, and we can’t wait for more arrivals in 2022!

As you will have heard, two people who have tested positive to COVID-19 visited UOW’s Wollongong campus while infectious. One visited the UniBar’s Parkside open air event on 4 December. The other visited Buildings 32 and 42 on 6 December. As always, we strongly encourage vaccination to ensure we are as protected as possible in situations like these. I wish these two individuals a quick and easy recovery. This stands as a further reminder to remain vigilant, get tested and isolate at the first signs of symptoms.

In other news, the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) at UOW has recently been awarded $8.9M in Federal Government funding over three years to establish the innovative Palliative Aged Care Outcomes Program (PACOP). Congratulations to the Director of AHSRI, Professor Kathy Eagar and team. It is so important that people approaching the end of their life are treated with dignity and given the high-quality care that they need. Professor Eagar and her team provided expert advice to the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care, that drew out evidence of neglect of older Australian’s living in residential aged care facilities. The PACOP will play an important role in delivering solutions to problems such as these. This is wonderful news, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this work will have.

Lastly, UOW is proudly supporting the Bega Circular Valley ‘Natural Capital’ webinar which will feature UOW’s Associate Professor Kerrylee Rogers from the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences and GeoQuest Research Centre. The webinar will be an Introduction to Natural Capital (carbon/biodiversity), and explore the financial opportunities associated. If this is something you’re interested in, please register here for the webinar to be held on Wednesday 15 December 12.30 – 2pm.

I hope you are gearing up for a lovely and relaxing holiday season ahead. Until next week, enjoy your staff Christmas parties, ‘pets on campus’ Chrissy costumes and of course, gingerbread house decorating!

Have a great weekend,