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Oh my goodness! Where did the week go? 

This has been one of those manic weeks with much running from one meeting and one location to another… Starting with a preliminary stress test of the emerging plans for our New England STEM ‘Precinct Without Walls’ concept to the NSW regional development team, I jumped straight into a discussion with Universities Admissions Centre about the development of new services to support student recruitment, student progression and opportunities to develop recognition instruments of credentials in the broader context.

Late on Monday, I had a very interesting flight to Canberra via Sydney, bumping around in the middle of a major storm front washing across the region before joining the celebrations of International Women’s Day at Parliament House and then dropping my head onto a pillow.

Tuesday and Wednesday were consumed by a mix of executive meetings including the first Vice-Chancellor’s Committee (Open) meeting for 2021; items for discussion included the teaching funding model, academic workload model, 2021 HEPPP allocations, a MOU option with Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience and issues around balancing current WHS requirements with managing graduation events. Meetings continued with the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship and then onto the Universities Australia Plenary, discussing student safety, international students, foreign interference, progress with Job Ready Graduates and TEQSA.

Time for a few deep breathes before an early morning flight to Armidale to catch up with the Chancellor, connect with COO and CFO, sign a few contracts, fit in a couple of partner telephone calls, and then back onto a plane with a group of colleagues heading to Moree.

Kicking off with UNE’s SRI mediated Future of Health panel, a workshop to solidify our new MOU with the Special Activation Precinct, connections with local leaders in planning, industry specialists in agritech and the launch of Future Fit – all before lunch! My agenda will close with a meet and greet with our students at the Country Universities Centre and then back on another plane headed for Armidale.

A busy week mostly buried behind a face mask with only my wheelie bag for company. Equally one of those weeks where at every turn a UNE alumnus, a relative of a happy UNE student or a partner organisation singing their praises of UNE staff and students. As ever the feedback confirms that we deliver great products – education and research – which are valued by individuals and bigger clusters of interested parties, and that we make a difference. Future Fit allows us to see how we continue to be relevant, engaged and valued across the decades in front of us. New partnerships and the maturing of our regional role lie very much at the heart of this. 

This weekend I will celebrate many years of married life with bubbles and nice local food, finish picking the grapes and gathering harvest fruits, as well as progress a couple of ‘makers’ projects that have been languishing for a while. 

Whatever your agenda for the weekend, enjoy and stay safe…


Professor Brigid Heywood

Vice-Chancellor & CEO