Dean's Report

Place and Indigenous Cultural Recognition Colloquium

The University recently held a day long research colloquium on Place and Indigenous Cultural Recognition with a powerful keynote address from Uncle Jim Berg on What you see is what you get: the power of passion in continuing culture. The day also included a Hypothetical on The Principles of Naming and Renaming, an international perspective from Dr Larry Kimura who discussed the importance of Indigenous languages in recognising Indigenous cultural heritage, and a look at how we celebrate Indigenous cultures in the University’s built and landscape environment. The colloquium took place in the context of a broader global movement of students and staff from universities throughout the world drawing attention to their institutions’ past and present racism.  The University’s RAP 3 sets targets for the University of Melbourne to lead a critical and scholarly conversation about the way that Indigenous cultures are represented in the built environment. Embedding Australian Indigenous knowledges, cultures and values is also a focus of MGSE’s recently published Divisional Indigenous Development Plan.

Melbourne Academic Leadership Committee

Last Tuesday MGSE hosted a meeting of the Engagement at Melbourne Academic Leadership committee which comprises academic engagement representatives from all faculties and Graduate Schools along with colleagues from Chancellery and Advancement. Hosting gave MGSE the opportunity to outline our engagement priorities, initiatives and innovations and I’m pleased to report our presentation was warmly received by the committee. We also discussed the existing policies and procedures at the University for recognising engagement in academic appointments and promotion pathways, and the wider importance of engagement for the University and the valuable role it plays in academic work.

PISA and NAPLAN Review

The release of both the latest PISA results and an interim report of the review of NAPLAN (being conducted by Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT) has meant that debate has flared again over standardised assessment. Enterprise Professor Sandra Milligan has written an article for Pursuit which brings her expert perspective to the discussion. Titled Assessing what we value, not valuing what we assess, Sandra argues that the reviews and controversies over assessment often miss a central point - that the problem is not in the tests but in the strategy to which the tests belong and she stresses that the underlying strategy was never very good. I recommend you have a read.

ARC Discovery Grants

Warmest congratulations to Professor Julie McLeod and Dr Jessica Gerrard on their ARC Discovery grants. Julie’s project will provide a new history of progressive education in Australia in the mid-twentieth century by investigating its neglected relationship to and effect upon Indigenous education and colonial governance. Jessica will be a co-investigator, along with colleagues from the University of Sydney, on a project investigating the activities, networks, ambitions, and rationales of community groups advocating for education policy reform across Australia in the 1970s and 1980s.

MGSE Graduation Ceremony

This Saturday 14 December is the MGSE graduation ceremony at the Exhibition Building where many staff are participating in the academic procession before moving on to the important business of presenting degrees to our class of 2019. I’m looking forward to what is always an emotional and rewarding day for our students and a source of pride for our academic community.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Finally, I would like to thank you all for your dedication, passion and sheer hard work over 2019 and I hope that you all have the opportunity to relax over the Christmas break, to spend time with your families and friends and recharge for 2020!