|A week of mixed sentiments; a Queen’s birthday worth celebrating even when one might declare as a republican, watchful acknowledgement of the important global dialogue around Black Lives Matter, and engagement with the practicalities of opening the gates as Australia eases the constraints which have helped us navigate through the pandemic.
Despite these high level distractions, my daily life has been dominated this week by the multiple reports, assessments and policy engagements falling due as we race towards mid-year markers. UNE must decide on a submission to the National Redress Scheme and a large body of information must be reviewed to inform that decision and recommendation to the University Council. The Place Based Strategic Taskforce met to review progress with Sydney campus decisions and secure updates from the Tamworth expansion project on recent workshops we have hosted with industry stakeholders. Catch up conversations with several NSW Officers and Chief Executives from across New England also consumed time as we all shared details of COVID-19 survival plans and return to work programmes. I also dropped into NERAM and shared my experiences about ‘lockdown’ in the New England as part of their community engagement agenda.
The week also included opportunities to promote and develop the NEViHN, our pioneering virtual hospital collaboration, in a conversation with the NSW Minster for Skills and Tertiary Education, the Hon Dr Geoffrey Lee. A review of potential activities to support our alumni over the next six months given the limitations of current social distancing requirements also featured in my week. I was also an invited speaker on ABC local radio when asked to comment China’s statement about the safety of their students in Australia. I can report on the positive experiences and safety of students studying at UNE with great pride, but our own students do a much better job!