Select Page
I have just come back from Tamworth, up the New England Highway in the rain and wind; note to self, remember warm clothes and waterproofs when heading out this weekend..

I did remember my all-weather clothing when heading out to the UNE Farm complex at Newholme on Monday; nearly roasted to death wondering around in the sunshine! This is one of our landmark facilities with such enormous potential across education, research and outreach. As with many of our precious places, I noted that an updated investment and maintenance map needs to be developed to ensure we do not see further decline and are better placed to realise opportunities for UNE and the community.

Much of the rest of this week was indoors and sadly not outside. The Time for Change programme required no little of my time – the data gathering process is not trivial and again proves the point in so many ways about the need for business systems investment. The work also highlights the amazing work many teams do on a daily basis with our now mature infrastructure. The work this week focused on academic function design options, research and knowledge creation and the best way to construct support for our business partnerships going forward. After the very useful catch up through the UNE in Conversation event on Wednesday, I also drafted answers to over 80 odd questions that could not be accommodated on the day. It is a process that helps me think and work through key issues.

The rhythm of corporate business washed over me with a number of board meetings running almost in parallel across the week. These events prove most useful when I get to hear how other entities are working through the issues that face us all, and how they are coping with the increasing burden of COVID related artefacts upon business resilience and sustainability. We are also running into our own busy period in the governance cycle so a lot of papers to work through as we prepare for committees and draft reports to various external bodies.

A muffin and catch up with another new group of staff returning to campus provided relief and a few moments to just check in and sense check that our plans are working in the manner we hoped to support a safe return and create a safe harbour at each of our work sites.

The week was also boosted by the launch of our UNE Tamworth expansion plans. The energy of the Tamworth community in support of our innovative plans for an embedded education model is uplifting and inspires me greatly! The opportunities it creates for UNE, here I am thinking about our much needed growth platform, tie in with plans for the Armidale campus – especially the new Science Precinct, the growing authority of the UNE SRI as an engine for enterprise, and further promotion of our Agrisciences, Health and Creative and Performing Arts credentials.

And once again, as Friday comes to a close, I am working on paperwork and sign offs. This included signing off a letter which will be sent to all UNE graduates who have decided to graduate at home. Knowing that many students cannot formally graduate at one of our glorious ceremonies because of the current public health requirements, we are instead offering opportunities to ‘borrow’ a UNE gown and related paraphilia so that proud students and their friends/families/supporters can celebrate and record for posterity their academic success. This is one of the reasons we score so well in the student experience surveys!

More importantly, I share in the pride of many that UNE once again scored a number of well-deserved big bright golden stars in the Good Universities Guide – 15th year in succession. Go UNE!


Professor Brigid Heywood

Vice-Chancellor & CEO