From the Vice-Chancellor - July 2021
Welcome to the July edition of dKin Times.
Dear Deakin community,
While day-to-day life remains unsettling and unpredictable in Australia and across the world, at Deakin we continue to focus on why we are here as a University – making a positive difference for our students and the wider community through our education and research portfolios. It is challenging for all, but I continue to see outstanding examples of our impact across Deakin.
Recently, I recorded a welcome video that showcases some of the events on offer during our second ever Virtual Open Day on 15 August, and it captures just how diverse our University is. Our professional and academic staff, and our many student and alumni volunteers, will no doubt put on another fantastic event. For those alumni not already taking part, and wanting to revisit their Deakin memories to see how the University has evolved since their studies, I encourage you to tune in. The combination of campus visits during school holidays and the virtual open day has proven to be a great formula with the ongoing challenges of unpredictable lockdowns.
Collaboration with our international networks continues. We have extended our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uruguay for five more years, which will support Uruguayan students undertaking our Master of Sustainability, and will continue to provide opportunities for our students to participate in study exchanges. This is one of many mutually beneficial international agreements that Deakin enjoys.
I have participated in two online conferences run by our Indian partners on the future of higher education, as well as meeting with the Indian High Commissioner to Australia, Ambassador Manpreet Vohra. We discussed our ongoing engagement in India, which has been an integral part of Deakin’s identity for more than 27 years. We also talked about the frustration and anxiety felt by Indian (and other international) students at the lack of clarity on their future return. We recognise that greater transparency in planning would help everyone involved in the sector – we continue to work closely with the Victorian and Federal Governments to provide just that.
Of course, there has been a lot of public discussion regarding Australia’s next steps in our response to COVID-19. I firmly believe that a mostly vaccinated population is our only pathway to greater freedoms to move about, within our borders and beyond. Having worked as a health professional over many years, I’m well aware that no community-wide health response is completely without risk. Deakin and the higher education sector continues to have these important conversations with government, working towards a staged plan for opening up our country once more. A simple message to our Deakin community, and one that I keep reiterating, is: please get vaccinated.
I hope you enjoy the latest edition of dKin Times. It features the stories of Deakin students and alumni involved in the Tokyo Olympics, some fascinating developments in innovation in education and research, and the recent opening of our incredible new Nyaal facility at our Waurn Ponds campus.
We were also proud to celebrate NAIDOC Week at the start of this month. Its theme, ‘Heal Country’, prompted us to reflect on many aspects of the land and its people through time.