Dear Colleagues

The Spring Session has come to a close, with all student exams now complete. A big thank you to those who have made this session possible, from supervisors to teachers and those coordinating logistics – well-done everyone! And of course, congratulations to our students who – alongside all of you – have experienced another challenging year but have persevered and kept things on track.

I’m delighted that international students will be back on our shores very soon! The Australian Government has announced travel bubbles with a few countries, including Singapore, Japan and South Korea. These arrangements will allow fully vaccinated students to come to Australia without the need for quarantining. Read the Illawarra Mercury article by Professor Alex Frino, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Strategy) and Professor of Economics, on the value international students bring to our campus and learning environment, as well as the greater community.

In other international news, UOW representatives from campuses across Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Dubai came together through the week for an online event, celebrating our many collaborations across our global network. The event was a huge success and highlighted how we are, indeed, stronger together. Thank you to the UOWGE team for producing this exciting new event that focuses on highlighting our collaborations across research, teaching and learning, and student and staff mobility among our entities. UOW is young, dynamic and innovative – and our global footprint certainly reflects this.

Thank you to everyone who responded to the staff Health and Wellbeing Check-in survey a few months ago. Responses and free text comments have greatly helped the leadership team. We are currently developing strategies to address concerns.
I will have more to report on this shortly.

Our recent SMART Infrastructure 10-year anniversary celebrations were featured on WIN news this week.  This quick glimpse gives you fantastic insight into what has been achieved so far and what is yet to come.

UOW’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) report is out, and I have to say I was extremely proud of the initiatives led by our students, staff and community partners in developing a more inclusive, healthy and sustainable planet. UOW takes its commitment to achieve the milestones set out in UN SDGs very seriously. We are making significant progress in this area by contributing world-leading research, equipping our students with the skills to be leaders in this space, and of course, ensuring our campuses are environmentally sustainable. I encourage you to read through the report yourself to understand our work and commitments better.

It’s world Antimicrobial Awareness Week, aiming to spread awareness and stop resistance. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites become resistant to medications used to kill them (such as antibiotics), making these life-saving drugs ineffective. Given we’ve got multiple in-house experts in this area, the team is running a seminar that will bring together UOW’s experts and their industry and community partners who are working to intervene in the war against AMR and slow down the use of antibiotics. This is an important cause, and I encourage those interested in registering for what I’m sure will be a very informative seminar, planned for Wednesday 24 November 5-6 pm.

As someone with a background in health, I am often asked about the COVID-19 vaccines, and now the booster shot. This article from The Conversation is what I have been sending on, as it does a very good job of explaining what they are and why we need them.

UOW’s Safe and Respectful Communities team has partnered with the Wollongong Local Liquor Accord and local licensed venues and events to deliver their Set The Bar course. The course is designed to empower staff from local bars, pubs and clubs, to identify and appropriately respond to events of sexual assault, harassment and inappropriate behaviour, with the aim to improve safety for all patrons. Delivered online, the Open Learning program is free for all staff of participating venues and has just been named a diamond winner in the LearnX awards for Best Learning and Development Project (Best Learning Campaign). Well done to the team!

In exciting news for 2022, I’m pleased to announce we will be launching ‘Campus Fest’ – a free event to welcome students and staff back to campus with a bang! The welcome back party will run for five days, with a host of free entertainment activities and headline musical acts, including Montaigne, Touch Sensitive, and Ziggy Ramo. I am very excited about this event and the opportunity to showcase a vibrant and welcoming campus to both new and returning students. Running from 21-25 February, students will also be able to attend faculty lectures and orientation sessions, participate in games and activities and get acquainted with UOW clubs and societies.

Lastly, I will be presenting a very special trivia session featuring cricketing legend Adam Gilchrist AM this coming Tuesday, 23 November! Be sure to register today, so you don’t miss out on the fun and your chance to win a $100 e-gift card.

Have a safe and happy weekend, and again, thank you for your efforts in getting us to where we are.