Dean's Report

Farewell to Professor Joe Lo Bianco

It is a celebratory and emotional time at MGSE right now as we farewell some beloved colleagues who are retiring, and those taking leave before retiring at the end of the year. On Tuesday we held a virtual farewell for Professor Joe Lo Bianco on his last day ‘in the office’ which was a wonderful celebration of his career as colleagues and friends from across the world tuned in to hear tributes to Joe. I was also delighted to announce at the event that Joe has been appointed a Professor Emeritus for his distinguished service to the University. On Friday we will similarly farewell Professor John Polesel with a virtual function and a week later Professor Fazal Rizvi. Although their formal roles with MGSE may be ending their connection to MGSE does not cease, and we will aim to hold face-to-face retirement events celebrating their careers at an appropriate time in the future.

Joe Lo Bianco's farewell

Phased return to campus

I acknowledge that the increase in COVID-19 cases in Victoria, and the return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions to some parts of Melbourne, is concerning and will affect some of our students and staff living in those areas. The University will continue its phased, partial return to campus with a focus on priority areas while minimising density, movement, gatherings and time spent on campus. The roadmap for a COVIDSafe return to campus will continue to be reviewed every three weeks and as required. I am aware that there are a number of students and staff living in one of the ‘hot zones’ and the University strongly encourages you to comply with the request from the Chief Health Officer to get tested for COVID-19.  If you live in one of these zones and are already approved to be on campus you are still able to attend campus for study or work purposes.

Much work has been taking place across the University and at MGSE as the Return to Campus program is enacted. There has been extensive consultation with Space Planning and Campus Services regarding MGSE’s return to campus activities. The Kwong Lee Dow (KLD) building will be our first building to have a limited opening in order to deliver the subjects which have been approved for teaching on campus. Apart from the staff teaching those classes, all MGSE staff will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. A great deal of work is being undertaken to prepare KLD for the limited number of approved students and staff to return in a COVIDSafe manner. I would like to thank Olivia Stocks, our Resources and Administration Manager, who has been on campus facilitating the work needed to make the building’s facilities safe – a fairly lonely task in a deserted building.

We are continuing to work closely with the University’s Pandemic Response Team on a plan for the reopening of Leicester Street. We will keep you informed as the plan develops. Updates about both the University’s and MGSE’s Return to Campus program will be reported in MGSE-News and are available on our intranet.

Latest MGSE Industry Report

The second in our MGSE Industry Reports has been published this week. Professor Sandra Milligan and her team’s report Future-Proofing Students: What they need to know and how to assess and credential them argues that Australia needs a shift in assessment, credential policy and practice so that our credentials are trusted to attest to what a young person actually knows and can do, and can be widely recognised. The next in the Industry Report series will feature a report from Professor Helen Cahill and colleagues on natural disasters and pandemics and how to support student and teacher wellbeing after a crisis. We have several reports in the pipeline, but I am always interested to hear your ideas about other topics addressing a problem of practice in education and providing recommendations for a solution, so please email me if you have a proposal.

Lastly, I would like to announce the winners of our inaugural Alumni awards which celebrate the contributions of MGSE’s alumni to the teaching profession and to the community:

  • The MGSE International Alumni Award – Dr Adelina Asmawi, currently Head of Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Malaya
  • The MGSE Early Career Alumni Award – Samantha Dodras, for her significant contribution to the teaching of maths and dedication to the future of STEM in education
  • The MGSE Early Career Alumni Award – Lucienne Heyworth for her education and humanitarian work in challenging parts of the world
  • The MGSE Distinguished Career Alumni Award – Professor Helen Cahill for outstanding achievement in the field of Education.