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As another week comes to a close, I am stunned to note that July has been ticked off on the calendar and we are counting down the days to the summer solstice.

I would like to say that my week has been the usual rich complex mix of meetings. My reflection will be that I spent it on Zoom meetings talking to different groups about the recently published Time for Change plan – including faculties and groups of various kinds. More of the same next week. I have also been buried in emails from staff and stakeholders all expressing their views; the majority have offered support and provided functional and useful advice. Thank you.

Meeting with community leaders have also ramped up as I share the Time for Change plans. I can only reflect on the quality of their support and willingness to develop new conversations around supporting UNE in the context of this University being an anchor business within the region.

I did not have Princess Ann offering advice about better Zoom skills but was supported by the brilliant team from IT who helped keep me connected and provided copies of all the questions posted on various sites I interact with.

As a respite from Zoom, I managed to sneak time for a muffin with the phase 2 returning staff group at the Stro – a social moment with UNE staff that I very much enjoyed. It was great to hear their lockdown stories and their enthusiasm for their return. A book launch in ‘lockdown’ mode also provided another opportunity for me to engage with staff and discuss the role of scholarship, the value it brings to UNE and how it contributes to the wider debates in society.

I was afforded another escape option with a trip out to the pastures to launch another exciting new Federally-funded project around our precision agriculture capabilities.  With ARC announcements just released and UNE results signalling great success I have been reminded about all the wonderful and meaningful work that staff across this University contribute.

There has much interest in my acquisition of an ice cream maker (being a recent Masterchef tragic).  This week’s thinking time was supported by efforts to make green tea ice cream and a bitter orange frozen dessert. Trying to work out how to secure a supply of liquid nitrogen – I have ambitions to make snow to embellish my creations. I am also planning for more exercise as I have resolved that moving buttons on Zoom does not quite provide the fitness programme I need!

Professor Brigid Heywood

Vice-Chancellor & CEO