Notes from the VC’s Desk: Direct from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brigid Heywood

Published On February 19, 2021 | By Alana | General News, Latest News, News, Notes from the VC's Desk
A long time ago in another life I was involved in a range of activities which fed into space exploration; as a result I retain a strong and deep interest in all things NASA. Today I was one of many who watched with fascination as Perseverance landed on Mars. One of the interesting side bars of a global pandemic has been the central role of scientific debate and innovation through science in a crisis. Each step in space exploration has been both an adventure and an essay in the way that science, through discovery, improves lives and creates opportunity. Thanks to Edward Jenner and his ground breaking work in 1796, we are today counting on vaccines he pioneered to see us through this current challenge – I wonder what the Perseverance programme will offer in years to come…
Back here on earth, the week has been a very mixed bag. I met with a lot of people – workshops in Tamworth, the launch of Future Fit to Tamworth industry partners, a catch up with the Boilerhouse project team and sponsors, various exploratory interviews to bring on board the required expertise to support major projects related to infrastructure and advancing the economic impact study to support our development of work in the region.

A good week from the point of view of catching up with staff and students; to hear their views and work through concerns largely grounded in the need to resolve and address communication issues. As ever I am grateful for the generosity of those who take time out to share, engage and offer feedback – even those who stop me in the supermarket or paddle up in the swimming pool.

Council Committee meetings kicked off this week (Audit & Risk and Finance & Infrastructure) so a big block of time was spent in the Immersive Suite with various Council cohorts and University officers; all very energised by the work programme ahead of us this year (and the cake we shared to celebrate the contributions of Mark Perry, given the passing of his final formal Council meeting). I also dipped into the briefing of new Academic Board members who will contribute to our quality assurance programme over the next couple of years. Again, great to see a diverse spectrum of staff putting their hands up to be University citizens. 

It was a pleasure to host Chris Abbott for a visit to UNE’s Armidale campus for an update on the Boilerhouse project.
My week will end with a celebration of our agreement with the Armidale Regional Council around the siting of our new Innovation Hub in the Old Library, more cake to celebrate departing colleagues who have taken up other options after Time for Change, lunch with the Chancellor and a quiet afternoon attacking the pile of paperwork which sits in a threatening heap on the corner of my desk… pondering if space exploration appeals so much because they replaced reports and rely on voice transcription…

Professor Brigid Heywood

Vice-Chancellor & CEO


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