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A momentous week for UNE and the rest of the world in a number of different ways.

Our Victorian colleagues, friends and relatives have been released from an extended lock down after multiple sequential days with no new cases. We can only applaud their amazing fortitude and stamina! News that many European countries are going back into extended lockdown as infection rates rise precipitously reminds us all that we must take personal responsibility for our collective well being.

Collegiality demands that we must also mourn with others the death of so many staff and students at Kabul University after yet another mindless terrorist assault which claimed the lives of the innocent.

And as I write we are all still watching the blue and red bars creep towards the required 270 electoral votes… The loud cries of ‘not fair’ by the incumbent who is currently lagging behind (214) diminishes democracy as well as the person. Given reports of a record voter turn-out, the attempts to disrupt and divert the election process for personal gain and power must draw only condemnation. The conduct of these elections serves as a reminder that some people would rather deal in fiction, inuendo and the creation of false news whilst arguing for freedom and a better way – as long as it is their way. The value of debate, engagement and evidence being displaced with ego and entitlement. We can only be sad, deeply sad.

Monastic Disk by John Winch
On a more positive note, here at UNE we are today celebrating the conclusion of a successful workplace change process; through Time for Change UNE has secured close to the required savings target ($20M) without the need for forced redundancies. The consultation process, that has seen over 1,000 different engagements and provoked over 39,000 logon’s to the Time for Change web portal, has concluded with a great outcome for this university. This has truly been a collaborative effort at so many levels, and as we step forward to implement the new structures I know we do so with the support of the UNE community. There will be changes. The first part occurred today with an initial tranche of the 165 staff voluntarily leaving UNE departing to pursue new adventures. Their individual and collective stories are inspiring with some staff moving on after 50 years of committed service. Thank you does not seem quite enough but it is heartfelt.
In the middle of all of this it is important to be reminded of why we do what we do. All of our students are amazing. Many take amazing to new levels because they face many challenges and difficulties but stick to the cause and focus on graduation – for themselves and for their family, friends, significant others… One of the important pieces of work that our sometimes-weighty governance processes attend to is the matter of Aegrotat recommendations – hard yards but important. Even better is when a group of people connect back and remind us what a difference a signed piece of paper makes. For one very proud UNE Alumnus and parent facing difficult life challenges, the award really, really mattered. A team of UNE staff and a group of very engaged empathetic medics worked hard to make this moment happen. Simply brilliant.

Team work matters.


Professor Brigid Heywood

Vice-Chancellor & CEO