From the Vice Chancellor

Professor David Lloyd, Vice Chancellor and President

Could it be that things are back to normal? Is it too soon to ask that? Certainly the sight of hundreds of students wandering around campus, checking maps and consulting schedules makes it look normal. It even feels normal, but we still have a long way to go.

We’re celebrating our 30th birthday this year, and we’re having to be cautious and prudent a while longer while we wait for vaccination dates and the opportunity to behave like regular 30-year-olds. It seems forever since we thought that bushfires followed by floods was tragedy enough. But coping with an international health crisis and the disruption to just about every part of society that was touched by said health crisis, was the challenge we all faced together.

We have had an astounding past 12 months. Australia has weathered the storm and is rolling out protections against future outbreaks. Autumn is in the air (I still can’t get over being an Antipodean where spring is autumn, summer is winter, and Christmas unfolds on a beach. People fluent in a new language still add numbers in their mother tongue, but I digress).

As you will no doubt remember, in the midst of all the setbacks caused by the world-changing pandemic, last year we forged ahead with our plan to become one of the most globally networked Australian universities, with an innovative and integrated research and teaching agenda.

We upended and reorganised our academic structure, flattening the leadership and administrative structure from two layers to one to better deliver world class programs – and it came off without a hitch.

There was no way of preparing for the year we have all just had, but we could become a little bit more prepared for the next major challenge. We can do that by being creative and agile, curious and adventurous. We can do that by ensuring our flagship programs combine research and teaching and are ranked amongst the best in the world.

We can do that by giving all of our students – school leavers, non-school leavers, onshore, offshore, online, international and domestic – all of them, what they want: personalised learning and a great university experience. One they’ll remember as a wondrous bridge crossing a threshold towards new career possibilities.

It’s a new beginning for all of us but particularly for our newly commencing students, so let’s not forget that we need to take care of all our students, to the best of our abilities, and particularly all those who are opening themselves up to new thinking, new behaviours and new possibilities. Now, perhaps more than ever before, after being sequestered at home or in place for the past 12 months, these new students have extra layers of protection to shed, so be prepared to understand and lend a hand whenever you see a need for it.

Our students have chosen to study at one of the world’s best young universities. They will benefit from our enhanced global reputation and our multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary focus on preparing the next generation of globally competent professionals.

But for now these future world movers and shakers are still scrambling to discover what directions like B4-20b and RR5-09 mean. They’ll figure it out as they go, with our support. Be kind to them.

Professor David Lloyd
Vice Chancellor and President