Dear Colleagues

I hope everyone has had a positive and productive week, as we come towards the tail end of a very long and challenging year.

Firstly, I wanted to quickly note how proud we are of the work of our UOW students in the lead up to and during the 16th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY16). In particular, I’d like to recognise the work of students Grace Mahon, Benjamin Hamill and Sarah Vogel for their important contributions in asking more of our Government and institutions. We are so very proud!

Another proud moment – UOW’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources & Security (ANCORS) have recently received $2.44M in funding to enable fish-based livelihood innovation in the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. The project aims to address aquatic food distribution in island food systems, which will increase access to safe and nutritional aquatic food. It’s a huge win for the team and of course those who will benefit from the project’s outcomes.

In more funding news, two of our UOW researchers, Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld and Dr Chris Degeling have been awarded a total of $1.5M in funding by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Professor Rozenfeld’s research will be in the side effects of radiation in cancer treatment, while Dr Degeling will focus on the societal impacts of COVID-19 in preparation for any future pandemics.

As you’re probably aware, regional travel across NSW is now allowed. No doubt many of you have already reconnected with family and friends from out of town. I’d like to encourage you all to please #travelherethisyear. As much as we can, it’s important to support those communities who have suffered a complete loss of tourism during lockdown. It is also pleasing to see that international travel is back and arrivals without quarantine are now allowed for fully vaccinated Australian citizens – this will be very happy news for those with loved ones overseas. It is also a sign that we’re one step closer to welcoming back our international students!

As shared earlier in the week, Professor Joe Chicharo OM, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor has announced he will be retiring at the end of 2021. With a distinguished career, spanning almost four decades of service at UOW, Professor Chicharo has always been deeply passionate about helping students and staff achieve their potential through higher education. I wish to extend my deepest thanks to Professor Chicharo for his immense dedication to the staff and students of the University of Wollongong.

On Wednesday, UOW’s internationally acclaimed Jindaola program, featured in Campus Morning Mail where they explained, The program takes academics on a journey to understand the knowledge of local elders, to think about how this knowledge can change both what they teach and how they teach, to co-create content, and to learn to sit “uncomfortably comfortable”. Academic Director and senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges, Jade Kennedy, led the Program to inception and is interviewed by Claire Field on her podcast ‘What Now? What Next?’ where he speaks about Jindaola’s success, his long path and career with UOW, and what led him to the incredible work he’s doing today – I highly recommend a listen!

As I mentioned last week, I am co-moderating a panel discussion on the topic of ‘Fortress Australia’ and its reopening. OzSage experts in infectious disease, indigenous and public health, data modelling, business, and economics will be forming the discussion that will cover both the opportunities and the challenges we face as our borders open. I invite you to register here for the discussion on Monday 8 November, 5.00 – 6.00 pm.

Wollongong City Council is participating in the Global Learning Festival from 8 – 11 November and UOW is involved in several events on the line up. The virtual festival is designed to unite learning communities across the world, promoting and sharing in the benefits of lifelong learning. There are eight Wollongong based events including things like sustainable living, captain compost for the kids, Storytime with local children’s book author Karen Hendriks and much more. I encourage you to RSVP for the events you’re interested in.

If you know of any students looking for casual work, there are a host of opportunities via the upcoming local elections on Saturday 4 December, with 63 polling stations in the Illawarra region. Please visit the link here for more information.

Finally, I would like to wish a happy Diwali to all of our staff celebrating the festival of lights that traditionally marks the Hindu new year. Best wishes to you and your loved ones!

Thank you for all that you do and I hope you all enjoy a well-deserved break over the weekend.