Dear Colleagues,

We have now completed almost six weeks of remote learning delivery, and I want to thank everyone for your ongoing efforts. I have been impressed by the way you have responded to this challenge, and the interim results from our subject feedback survey show students concur.

Over 80% of students report that content on Moodle is well organised, and three-quarters of students say that pre-recorded lectures, real-time classes, and self-paced activities are supporting their learning. 78% of students are satisfied with student-teacher communication.

The Prime Minister’s announcement late last week outlined the plan for a COVID-safe economy and society, and a great deal of work is now underway to map out the return to our campuses.

The logistical complications are acute, and we have a considerable amount of work to do as we continue to plan and prepare for the weeks and months ahead.

While we are contemplating the future, we must take actions to protect the sustainability of the University now and into the future. You will have no doubt seen media commentary about the financial impact facing the global and Australian university sector. The University of Wollongong is unfortunately not immune and is also facing significant financial impact from COVID-19.

In the coming weeks, our University Council and entire University staff community will be engaged in efforts to curb costs and find efficiencies, as well as uncover future opportunities from this crisis.

As I said in my last message, we have been awaiting the conclusion of discussions between universities and unions at the national level to establish a framework to help the sector move forward. These negotiations are now complete, and institutions are evaluating the outcomes to see if they will help to reduce costs while minimising job losses.

I understand many of you are deeply concerned about the financial impacts the pandemic has had on UOW, and the uncertainty this creates. I assure you that future decisions about UOW’s operations to manage our financial position will be based on what is determined to contribute best to the future sustainability of UOW and maintain our vision to inspire a better future through education, research and partnership.

Thank you again for your adaptability and collaboration during this unprecedented time. I look forward to when we can all come together on-campus as one community once again.

I have recorded a short video message to students and staff, which I hope you will take the time to watch.

Please stay safe and well.

Professor Paul Wellings CBE