Dean's Report

The annual University Leadership conference was held late last week in Melbourne with Janet Clinton, Keryn Negri and I attending for MGSE. Over the two days we focused on discussions around the future academic mission of the University, and its size and shape as touched on briefly by the Provost at our Setting the Scene Day.  We also discussed the reactivation of Victoria and the University of Melbourne after two years of the COVID pandemic and the University’s Indigenous strategy.  On the first day I participated in a panel discussion alongside Michael Wesley (DVC International) and the Deans of the Melbourne Law School, Pip Nicholson and the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, Marie Sierra where we explored the imperatives of diversifying our international student cohorts. We asked our colleagues to think about the diversity of their current student cohorts, how they might like to alter the mix and what benefits cultural diversity brought to the classroom. An engaged and stimulating discussion followed. The second day was organised around topics including research, student perspectives, key issues for the higher education sector in an election year and ways to improve academic security. It was, as always, an opportunity to engage with colleagues and to participate in informed debate around critical issues for the University.

Bilingual Education Seminar

Last Tuesday I was delighted to fly to Canberra to deliver the keynote speech at a Bilingual Education Seminar run by the French Embassy. The seminar’s focus was to reflect on the way to build a stronger and more effective network to proactively support efforts to build and maintain bilingual education across Australia. My presentation was on Bilingual Education: A catalyst for change or a retreat to the safety of the past? and my challenge to participants was that we need to believe that the disruption of COVID-19 has presented us with a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make radical changes to student learning that are driven at the front-line by those who know best. I urged them to consider the role Bilingual Education has in solving the great problems facing the world by promoting intercultural understandings and capability, international relations, antiracism, multiculturalism and student engagement.

Staff updates

After all the delays due to COVID-19 Professor Yong Zhao will finally visit MGSE next week and will be with us until 14 April. If you haven’t already done so I suggest you register to attend Yong’s Dean’s Lecture on Improbable Probabilities: Equitable education for all on Tuesday 12 April as seats are filling quickly. We will also be holding a farewell event on 21 April for Paula McAllister who is leaving the University next month. I know so many of us have benefited from Paula’s wise counsel and generous nature as she assisted MGSE through periods of great change.  Please register here to attend the farewell. A reminder to those who registered that Professor Helen Cahill’s retirement event is on this afternoon in the Matthaei Room at University House starting at 3.30 pm.

MGSE Graduations

After a two year pause, in person graduation ceremonies are being held at the University over the next few months and MGSE’s graduations will be held on 3 April (with Janet Clinton presenting) and 5 April where I will present. If you would like to attend you can register here and more graduation event information is available Staff Hub . For any queries, please contact the MGSE Student Experience team on mgse-experience@unimelb.edu.au.

Jim