This week the Vice-Chancellor announced that the University will require students, staff, contractors and visitors to be fully vaccinated in order to attend our campuses. The decision is based on public health advice and is aligned to the Victorian Government’s roadmap. The University has a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which to study, work and visit and to minimise the risk of the transmission of COVID-19 within our University community. Exemptions will apply for those with a valid reason for being unable to be vaccinated, such as medical reasons or not yet being eligible to be vaccinated in Victoria.
This announcement is an important step in the preparation for welcoming back staff and students for first semester next year. I am pleased to see this important public health measure actively supported by our University community and I know many staff have already enthusiastically embraced vaccination, and are looking forward to the relaxation of restrictions that the Government’s roadmap will bring. Other safety measures are also being introduced such as improved ventilation where possible, along with the existing measures such as masks, QR codes, physical distancing, sanitiser stations, density limits and additional cleaning. The implementation plans for the vaccination requirement are currently being developed, and you can stay up to date by visiting the University’s dedicated COVID-19 website and we will continue to inform you through this newsletter.
MGSE Executive Board
Our new Provost, Professor Nicola Phillips joined us at the MGSE Executive Board this week where she discussed her view of the key challenges facing the University and the higher education sector more broadly. One challenge she identified for the sector was the need to be more creative in the collaboration between research and teaching. She sees great opportunities in a better blend of on-campus and remote learning, highlighting that the demand for education has not declined during the pandemic. She also stressed that despite the financial challenges the University currently faces we need to keep focused on the longer-term strategy. This is something we are certainly doing in the development of our new MGSE Strategic Plan.
The MGSE recruitment drive continues, and I am delighted to announce our two most recent appointments in our Languages and Literacies Education (LALE) area. Dr Sarah Truman has been appointed Senior Lecturer (Critical Literacies) and Dr Hyejeong Anh Senior Lecturer (Primary years). Many of you would already have met Sarah as she joined LALE in 2019 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow where she co-directs the Literary Education Lab and teaches in the Master of Education. Sarah’s approach to literacies education is social justice oriented, informed by critical theory, queer theory, feminism, and anti-racist praxis. Dr Hyejeong Ahn has worked in Australia, South Korea and Singapore and she started her teaching career as a primary school teacher in Adelaide. Her research explores the pluricentric perspectives of English as a global language and the pedagogical implications of such an approach for English language education.
ACEL National Conference
Many of you will be aware that the ACEL National conference begins today with the theme of Leading Excellence through Equity, which will explore the different aspects of educational equity and how it is intrinsically linked to access to education and successful outcomes for students. Hosted by Maxine McKew the conference includes a stellar line up of speakers and I’m happy to see MGSE well represented among them.
Lastly, I hope you are scheduling in your re-charge leave – I know it can seem difficult to make the time but the rewards of switching off from work are extremely valuable, particularly as we head into this last section of the academic year.