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Notes from the VC’s Desk

Friday, 14th May, 2021

I am sure that I was not alone fixating on the 2021 Commonwealth Budget announcements and the implications for the Higher Education Sector and more specifically for UNE. No new funding for Universities per se but lots of opportunity in domains where UNE is already developing capacity and can partner to secure mutual benefits. The Better Regions fund has been enhanced, there is tangible recognition of the needs for women, early childhood support and initiatives which support our growing ambitions around environmental resource management, renewables and zero carbon initiatives. 

Armidale trees on campus

Reading, drafting and editing all took place in the small spaces between a heavy meeting agenda. Front of mind this week has been developing ERA 2023, planning for an academic development programme, auditing our places and spaces, and collating information on matters relating to quality assurance. Other discussions included a review for a potential mid-year celebration on the Armidale campus, preparations for T2 and the challenges of managing vaccinations.

The May Vice-Chancellor’s Committee ‘open’ meeting occupied a big part of Wednesday; approving investment in new business systems, progressing key policy narratives and navigating the journey around how UNE works through the next stages of COVID were balanced against updates on WHS matters and People & Culture considerations. The new Constitution of the Student Consultative Committee was endorsed for formal approval by Council.  The Executive Team look forward to proactively working with this Committee and highlighted our students commitment to be actively involved in strategic change.

Despite early morning layers of mist and fog swathing Armidale’s airport, I did manage to navigate a Sydney visit for a joint meeting of NSW Chancellors and Vice Chancellor’s, a Uniprojects Board Meeting and a quick engagement around evolving STEM precinct plans, as we move towards the next stage of the consultation process.

I was a lucky guest at the ABRI 50th birthday celebrations which attracted supporters, clients and stakeholders old and new, who came together to celebrate the amazing work of so many. I also joined Mary White Senior Common Room and residents for their annual Academic Dinner; as ever a proud and joyous experience.

This week closed with a Zoom heavy day – various meetings to review the progress of our 2021 VERS scheme, complete various audit matters and join the Regional Universities Network for an ‘issues’ catch up.

sunrise behind building and tree oncampus

Last week I closed out my week with a visit to the Armidale Secondary College Open Day (wonderful to be part of the wider world inspecting the new facilities) and then joined an art class in Walcha. Tomorrow, I will drive to Taree for an alumni event and visit the UNE Student Centre. Hopeful that the weather is clement and that I can enjoy vistas bathed in sunshine and not shrouded in cloud and obscured by rain. Rain or shine enjoy your weekend.



Professor Brigid Heywood

Vice-Chancellor & CEO