From the Vice-Chancellor December 2022

Alumni news

02 December 2022

Welcome to the latest edition of dKin Times.

Dear Deakin community,

Over the last few months, it has been wonderful to see regular international travel resume, especially for our international students returning to our campuses. Personally, it has been a great pleasure to meet, face-to-face, with some of our many alumni and partners in India, Indonesia and the UK, to discuss their lives and careers, and explore new opportunities for collaboration.

Increasingly, we are seeing the immense value our alumni and partners are bringing to Deakin through their engagement and philanthropic contributions. This month’s dKin Times showcases some of these inspirational stories made possible by the generosity of our community – I hope you will enjoy reading about them.

Today, it was our privilege to announce the largest single donation in the history of the University. Melbourne businessman Michael Drapac, in honour of his son, has dedicated $6.1 million to establish the Damion Drapac Centre: Advancing Equity in Health Professional Education. You can read more about this incredible act of philanthropy in the Deakin Newsroom.

As a great way of being part of this community of support, I encourage you to contribute to our Spring Appeal with a gift to Deakin’s Achieving Potential Scholarships Fund, which provides scholarships for students facing disadvantage. Community Bank at Deakin University is matching every donation before 31 December (up to $20,000).

As the end of the year approaches, while a busy time across Deakin, it is also a good time to look back on the past 12 months or more, at our education and research activities, to celebrate our achievements and review our progress.

The annual Deakin Learning and Teaching Conference, held in person at our Downtown offices for the first time since 2019, provided just such an opportunity for formal reflection. Across a rich program of guest speakers and in-depth workshops, our educators wrestled with lessons we ourselves have learned through the pandemic and our gradual emergence. I’m not shy in saying that the education experience we provided across 2020 and 2021 was certainly one of the best in Australia, and feedback through a variety of student and graduate surveys has confirmed this feat.

However, due to their recent experiences, students’ learning preferences continue to change significantly. They selectively choose the things that offer them the most value, and perhaps let go of some of the other opportunities more readily. That is the big challenge for us as we go forward: what are we going to put in our educational offerings that provides the real and perceived value that will drive our students to return regularly to our campuses? We need to think carefully about how we design our curriculum and co-curricular activities to work together, building on our reputation as a university that offers a premium, higher education experience.

Awards and recognition continue to come to our research community. Last year, Deakin achieved the most ‘Highly Cited’ researchers we have ever had: nine. In the 2022 results released last week, we now have 13 of our researchers on the list put together by Clarivate, who measure researchers ranked in the top 1% of global research paper citations. This is an incredible achievement. My congratulations to all, and to all those who have supported them in their careers.

Best wishes,

Deakin University

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