From the Vice-Chancellor - August 2021
Welcome to the August edition of dKin Times.
Dear Deakin community,
As I have communicated to our students and staff, our thoughts are with those affected by the events unfolding in Afghanistan. In response, we are taking a personal approach to providing support and there are a number of services available to assist.
Many of those with Afghan heritage or with close connections in the region will be terrified by what is happening and the implications for their family, friends and colleagues. Our international community is so important and dear to us, and we need to be aware of the personal toll that this may be causing. We are working through Universities Australia, on behalf of the sector, to draw the attention of the Foreign Minister to the plight of Afghans who have studied in Australian universities.
The situation in Afghanistan puts many of our own daily struggles into perspective. However, the ongoing lockdowns across Melbourne and Sydney, and their extension into regional areas are certainly extremely challenging for all of us – there is a particular kind of fatigue that can set in. It can be so hard to feel connected when we are physically distant for such long periods, but making the time to participate in new activities and meet new people, even if online, does make a big difference to our mental health.
At Deakin, we are creating opportunities for connection through events, both formal and informal, and it has been uplifting to see so many of you participating. I would like to thank everyone who is drawing on that optimism and energy that is a hallmark of the Deakin way.
That spirit was there for all to see during our second Virtual Open Day on 15 August, and its ‘Encore’ a week later – another wonderful success. Our new ‘Open All Year’ approach ensures Deakin continues to be a very accessible and welcoming institution. My sincere appreciation to everyone involved.
On 28 October, we are holding the Deakin Virtual Alumni Awards, and you can now register for this major event. Please join us to celebrate the achievements of our alumni.
We are also currently participating in the National Student Safety Survey, which will collect data on students’ perceptions of safety and experience relating to sexual harm at Australian universities. It builds on the data and recommendations from the survey completed by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2016 and Universities Australia’s Respect. Now. Always. initiative. You can read more about it in this month’s edition.
Finally, some of you may have seen my recent article published in The Age newspaper on Australia’s approach to vaccination. I firmly believe that widespread vaccinations are the best and safest way out of this cycle of tight lockdowns and restrictions. While mandatory vaccinations for students and staff at Deakin is a future possibility, regardless, Deakin will continue to be a leader in our response to the pandemic; we want to see students – local and international – back in numbers at our campuses. I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.