Dean's Report

COVID-19 Update

It is quite extraordinary to think that it has been six months this week since we closed the doors on our MGSE buildings and retreated to our homes to work. I don’t think many of us thought we’d still be working from home after all this time but the recent encouraging decline in COVID-19 numbers and some warm Spring weather has certainly lifted spirits. I have been greatly impressed by the professionalism displayed by MGSE staff throughout this uncertain time. The prevailing attitude of just getting on with the high quality work and innovation has been inspiring.

We have put together a report of some of the MGSE achievements over the past six months, and while by no means comprehensive, it does illustrate some of our outstanding work we have managed to achieve. Focusing initially on Teaching and Community Engagement (internal and external) and People & Culture, the next phase of the report in coming weeks will focus on our achievements in research.

Annual meeting with Victorian principals

Recently I acted as the Master of Ceremonies at a webinar hosted by the Vice-Chancellor with around 100 school principals from across Victoria. Ordinarily, the University holds an annual dinner for principals but in our COVID-19 world we were unable to do so this year. It is an event which provides both the University and schools with the opportunity to exchange information about what is happening in our respective spheres. This year we had particularly important challenges and responses to share. We heard from two principals from quite different schools, Robert Boucher from Swifts Creek school in East Gippsland and Linda Douglas from Ruyton Girls School in Kew. They both eloquently discussed the effect that COVID-19, remote learning and, in Robert’s case, the bushfires had on their school communities. The University perspective was provided by Professor Kerri-Lee Krause who spoke about how our students have transitioned to online learning, Professor Russell Goulbourne discussed the importance of the humanities and the proposed government legislation and Professor Richard James explained how the University will approach student selection for 2021.

MGSE Cultural Awareness Training

Next month our MGSE Cultural Awareness Training program for 2020 will begin, which is being run by the Koorie Heritage Trust. This is an important initiative for MGSE and aligns with our commitments in the MGSE Divisional Indigenous Development Plan (DIDP). It will be run as an interactive workshop focusing on building a collective understanding for all MGSE staff in order to support the development of cultural competencies and our capacity to support our practice in relation to decolonising education. If you have not yet enrolled in one of the workshops I encourage you to do so here. My thanks to the MGSE Indigenous Curriculum Taskforce and the People and Culture team for organising this important professional development opportunity for our staff.

Congratulations and thank you

I would like to extend my congratulations to our staff members who were recently promoted to Lecturer or Research Fellow, Level B – Dr Tracii Ryan, Dr Jun (Eric) Fu, Dr Ana Garcia-Melgar and Ms Lara Mossman.

Lastly, my congratulations to the marketing team for their dedication and agility in transitioning to a series of Virtual Open Days last week where they successfully delivered 12 webinar events with over 1200 registrations, and 500 attendees joined in live and asked over 400 questions. I enjoyed the opportunity to join in a few of the sessions over three evenings and was thoroughly impressed by the enthusiasm and quality of the MGSE academics and professional staff who collaborated to ensure that presentations were informative and enticing to prospective students.