Dean's Report

Centre for Positive Psychology

There was a strong focus last week on positive psychology as various events coalesced around the 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology, held for the first time in the southern hemisphere. In fact, it was the largest of these congresses ever held with over 1,500 delegates from 30 countries represented.

Prior to the Congress, on Wednesday July 17th, we celebrated the launch of Professor Lindsay Oades and Dr Gavin Slemp’s new book Coaching and Mentoring Research - A Practical Guide, an event which also included a tribute to their co-author, the late Dr Christine Siokou, in the presence of many of her family and friends. The Dean’s lecture later that evening also focused on positive psychology with an address to an audience of 500 by MGSE Honorary Fellow Professor Michael Steger, from Colorado State University, on the Meaning and Purpose in Life: what is it, why should I care and how can I get some? The recording of the lecture is available on the MGSE YouTube channel.

The Centre for Positive Psychology staff presented across 33 conference sessions at the Congress, including several keynotes, and our conference booth attracted many course, research and partnership enquiries. I attended a lunch with Professor Martin Seligman (world renowned leader in Positive Psychology) attended by University of Melbourne, Department of Education and industry colleagues where we had a wide-ranging discussion on current research and achievement around the world in wellbeing using positive psychology approaches, particularly in relation to education. The Positive Life Leadership dinner on Friday presented us with an opportunity to share some of the research and teaching with the University of Melbourne Chancellor, Allan Myers, alongside 80 industry and community members.

Congratulations to the team at CPP for their hard work over the last 12 months, planning and contributing to such a successful Congress.

Congratulations also to Professor Dianne Vella-Brodrick, and her team, for being the only University of Melbourne project shortlisted for the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards 2019. Their nomination for the Well-Being Profiler is in the Community Engagement category and the awards will be announced at a dinner in Brisbane on 27 August – the best of luck to you all.

Teaching Workload Taskforce

The Teaching Workload Taskforce was established in April this year to examine the current application of the teaching workload model and I’m pleased to share the final report. MGSE’s Executive considered the report’s recommendations at our meeting last Tuesday where we accepted all of the report’s recommendations, noting that some of the recommendations can be implemented in readiness for teaching allocations for 2020 while other recommendations will take more time to fully implement. Building on the implementation plan outlined in the report, the Associate Dean of Staffing, David Gurr and Executive Director, Keryn Negri will develop a more detailed plan that will be closely monitored by the MGSE Executive.

I would like to thank all the staff who participated in this review - the level of staff engagement in this process has been very positive and has resulted in a useful and constructive report. The next round of Quarterly Staff Dialogues will be held in the week beginning the 12th August and will provide an opportunity for us all to discuss the outcomes of the work of the Taskforce in more detail.

Partner Schools and Early Childhood Settings

The MGSE Executive has endorsed a review of MGSE’s engagement with partner schools and early childhood settings. One of the priorities under the Community Engagement Strategy of our Strategic Plan is to improve the reciprocal exchange of expertise between MGSE, our alumni and our communities and to strengthen research and teaching partnerships. Simon Kent, previously a senior executive in the Victorian Department of Education, has joined the strategy group in Chancellery, and will head this review. The aim of the review is to identify what MGSE can do to sustain mutually beneficial relationships with schools and early childhood centres. The review will examine MGSE’s current suite of programs which have an interface with schools or early childhood settings and is due to report back in September.

Strategic Implementation Plans

As you can see much work has been going on across MGSE to progress the objectives of the MGSE Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and I am pleased to direct you to the Implementation Plans for each of the six strategies. These plans outline each strategy’s overview, their measures of success and governance and their key strategic initiatives and risk mitigation plans. I encourage you to read the implementation plans as they will give you a clear idea of our agreed priorities over the next few years.

The Chancellor's Prize for Excellence in PhD Thesis 2019

Lastly, I would like to congratulate Kate O’Connor who is one of the winners of the Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in a PhD thesis. Kate also received the AARE Ray Debus Award for Doctoral Research Excellence Special Commendation and the MGSE Doctoral Research Prize at our recent MGSE awards ceremony. A wonderful achievement for a great deal of hard work and I’m looking forward to seeing what Kate does next with her considerable talents.