6-months into the role

05 Jul 2024
Today marks six months since I became Vice-Chancellor. It's been an opportunity to learn more about this place and why we are all here. 
ANU was founded to be a place to provide Australia with the research and education capacity to accelerate national prosperity. As HC “Nugget” Coombs reflected, we were founded to be a powerhouse of social reconstruction and give Australia the building blocks with which to build the world more wisely. This is not a static process, and we will need to continue to evolve and reshape how we turn up both within our community and beyond. 
We have started conversations about the ways we want our university to operate and what the second quarter of the 21st century should and needs to look like. We also need to lean into these conversations and be prepared to ask questions and reflect on where we have been and what we collectively want to become. I am grateful to the senior leadership and their teams for engaging here. There is more work to be done, and we will do this together.
In reflecting on our university and where we want to be, we must also be ready to face into the external headwinds influencing our entire sector. Media reporting, announcements on the hill and new policy settings will see ANU, and all universities, fundamentally change the ways we have operated for more two decades. This is going to be an evolution and learning for all of us, and we need to work together to ensure the decisions we make now, will place us on a course for long-term stability and sustainability.
We also have two new faces joining the leadership team to help hold and shape these conversations. I want to officially welcome Rebekah Brown who joins us from Monash University as our new Provost and Senior Vice-President. Three weeks in and Rebekah has hit the ground running. I have already tasked Rebekah with improving our key activities around teaching and research, and I know many people around campus will be part of this important work.
Jonathan Churchill has also commenced as our interim Chief Operating Officer, and I thank him for stepping in to lead this critical function while we recruit a five-year appointee. I have tasked Jonathan to improve our operations, systems and processes across the University and expect to see significant uplift by the end of this year. There is significant work to be done in this space to ensure we can function at the scale and pace required and I know Jonathan and his team will be up for the challenge. 
Finally, next week will be Graduations which is an extraordinary moment for our students. Few moments mark the end and beginning quite like a graduation ceremony, and I look forward to sharing this experience (my first in this role), along with Rebekah, our Chancellor and new Pro-Chancellor, Alison Kitchen. In a year of firsts, this is one I have been looking forward too.  
Hope to see you around campus,