I write to you once more from home as Victoria experiences its third lockdown with those of us who had ventured into campus having now returned to remote work. Fortunately, this time around, it is a short sharp lockdown and will lift later this evening. I appreciate that for many staff, especially those with young children, this has been a challenging time. The annual Melbourne Leadership conference, which was meant to be held earlier this week, was postponed due to the lockdown but I’m looking forward to it being rescheduled reasonably soon.
Pandemic Reset Program
The implementation of Phase 1 of the Pandemic Reset Program commenced last week as the University transitions to an extended Shared Services model. The professional staff functions affected in this first phase extend to Finance, Data and Reporting, Health and Safety, Facilities Management, IT, Research Outputs, and Post-Award Finance Administrative Support (PAFS). The detail of the implications for MGSE are outlined in MGSE’s comprehensive Change Plan available on our Intranet. In brief, it will mean that nine roles at MGSE will transfer to new shared services functions and three new roles will be introduced to support core teaching and research activities (the position descriptions are available to view). The consultation period for Phase 2 will begin in March and will primarily affect the Communications, Marketing, Student Recruitment, Admissions and Advancement functions. I am well aware that this is a stressful time for many professional staff and I hope that you will all extend your support and care to your professional colleagues. I will continue to share updated information on the Phase 2 program as soon as it becomes available.
Two of our long-serving staff members, Vicki Townsend and Deb Walton, will be leaving MGSE over the next few days. Vicki has worked in a number of roles to support MGSE leaders during her 10 years at MGSE and has ably assisted me during my three years as Dean. She is always willing to lend a hand and has been a much valued colleague to us all. Deb has been a member of our community for 15 years and has been a diligent, amiable and collaborative colleague, known to the many groups she has supported as the ‘go-to’ person. I would like to thank both Vicki and Deb for their contribution to MGSE and for their unfailing good humour and strong commitment– you will both be missed.
AsiaLink Advisory Council
Recently, I was delighted to be invited by the Vice-Chancellor to join the new Advisory Council for AsiaLink for a three year term. As you would be aware AsiaLink, established in 1990, is a joint initiative of the Australian Government's Commission for the Future and the Myer Foundation. It is Australia’s leading centre for creative engagement with Asia working with diverse communities in Australia and Asia to develop insights, capabilities and connections through programs in the Arts, Business, Diplomacy and Education.
One of my first activities as a Council member was to attend the Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop Asia Medal dinner on February 6 (the first formal function I have attended since last March!). The medal was presented to Mr Carrillo Gantner and Mrs Ziyin Wang Gantner, both outstanding philanthropists and artists, by the Governor of Victoria the Hon. Linda Dessau AC. The Governor’s speech powerfully highlighted the fundamental power of the Arts and education in forming relationships and forging partnerships in Asia. I would certainly recommend you have a read of her speech. The Welcome to Country by Dr Lois Peeler AM, Principal of Worawa Aboriginal College, was a wonderful way to start the evening and one of the most inspiring Welcomes to Country I have ever experienced. I was not alone in this feeling with Dr Peeler received a standing ovation from the audience.
In the next few weeks we will hold a virtual workshop to welcome our casual staff to the academic year at MGSE. We will send out further details shortly.