VC's Update - New staff, major events and more

25 January 2019

Welcome back from your summer break. I hope you have been able to find some relief from this prolonged heatwave - now a common feature of Canberra summers. To our researchers, I empathise with you as you pursue another summer feature: the intense activity of grant writing.

The Vice-Chancellor is currently representing the University at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, after attending an IARU meeting of the presidents of the world's most important universities, so I have the great pleasure in providing this update via the VC blog.

Firstly, I'd like officially to welcome Professor Keith Nugent who started with us this week as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation). I know Keith has some big plans to continue to build our standing as one of the world's leading institutions for research and innovation and we look forward to his contribution to the senior leadership team. There will be many opportunities to see and hear from him over the coming months. I thank Professor Mick Cardew-Hall and Dr Keats Nelms for their excellent work on the University Executive over the past few months, in their interim roles. Mick has resumed as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Innovation) and Keats as Director of Business Development.

On 7 February, the much-anticipated Kambri precinct will open, bringing to life the University's new community centre. Its opening represents a major milestone in our plan to create the very best campus environment for our staff, students, alumni and the wider Canberra community. Kambri will become the heart of University life with outstanding student services, contemporary teaching and learning facilities, a new building for the Fenner Hall community, a comprehensive health and medical facility, and an arts and cultural centre. Make sure you get along to one of the many opening events and activities including the free lunchtime concert on Monday 11 February.

Importantly, we have built Kambri to meet global sustainability targets in design, material and resource use. It is fitting that, as the national university and a leader in climate science and policy, we do everything we can to reduce our impact on the environment. Congratulations to the team for your achievements in this area.

The Vice-Chancellor will deliver his annual State of the University address on Tuesday 12 February in Llewellyn Hall. I urge all staff, researchers and professionals to make time in their calendars to attend. This is an important address and a chance for you to hear directly from the Vice-Chancellor as he sets out the strategic direction of the University for the coming year and the years ahead.

We also look forward to welcoming our newest cohort of students to ANU, with O-Week activities starting on 18 February. Three new residential halls (Wright Hall, Bruce Hall and Fenner Hall) will open their doors at the beginning of the semester, growing the number of students living here on campus to more than 6,000. It's a time when we usually see many people looking slightly lost as they navigate our sizable campus - so make sure you keep an eye out for those looking a little bewildered and lend them a hand. The much-loved "old" Fenner Hall building on Northbourne Ave. is being given a mild makeover and will be home to about 500 postgraduate students. It will be anointed with a previous name and known as Gowrie Hall. 

In sad news, Professor Mardi Dungey, a great friend and colleague and one of Australia's finest macroeconomists, died on 12 January. Mardi was an Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis at the ANU Crawford School, and Professor of Economics and Finance in the School of Economics and Finance at the University of Tasmania. She held many esteemed international visiting positions at the IMF, University of Cambridge, Princeton University, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Australian and New Zealand Treasuries. She was respected internationally for her contributions to the field but I think she will be most fondly remembered for her generosity and her great enthusiasm to support students, junior academics and women in the economics profession. Professor Warwick McKibbin has reflected on Mardi's influence on ANU and economics.

Late last week, Professor Ken Lampl announced he was stepping down as Head of the School of Music to pursue his main passions of teaching and composing. Ken leaves a strong legacy as Head of School, and we are particularly pleased to be retaining his passion and expertise as part of our teaching and academic cohort. During Ken's time as Head of School, student enrolments increased 148 per cent - a remarkable feat. We will be recruiting a new Head of School who will have the opportunity to build on the work Ken has done to set up a music school for the 21st century. On behalf of the University, I thank Ken for his great work as head and look forward to his ongoing contributions to the School's growing success.

As I said in my last blog back in September, I am always very keen to hear your reflections on how the University is progressing. So feel free to drop me an email anytime to share your thoughts.

Enjoy the long weekend.


Mike