VC’s Update–Chancellorship announcement and ANU Master Plan

2 August 2019

Dear members of the ANU community,

I start this blog with an acknowledgement that yesterday marked two years since the AHRC Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment was delivered. This day is significant across the University sector as a reminder that we must continue to stand up against behaviours and actions that have no place at ANU. I am committed to making our campus a safe place for everyone - and I acknowledge that for survivors, this anniversary may be very upsetting, and bring feelings of pain and frustration. Our community of staff, students, and alumni are joined together on a journey to making lasting cultural change on our campus. We have a long way to go, and I have heard our students' protests that change has not happened fast enough.  Stopping sexual assault and harassment on our campus is both one of the most important and hardest things we are working on. What we do now must be a change for the better, that stands up for generations to come, and is not just paying the problem lip-service. Every person in our community has a right to feel safe and respected on our campus. This week is an important reminder that there is still much work that we must do and that we must do it together. Support and stand up for each other. And please reach out and use our support and counselling services. 

Yesterday also marked the Foundation Day of the University, our university's 73rd birthday, where our community comes together to celebrate ANU, and all that it stands for. At the heart of our University, is the principle is that we are a place which embraces the spirit of open, honest and respectful debate. We cannot take this for granted. I am saddened to see violence emerge at the University of Queensland campus in the contest of ideas relating to the future of Hong Kong. We've always been able to have tough conversations peacefully at ANU and I expect all us to continue in that tradition.

As part of Foundation Day, our Chancellor announced the new ANU Master Plan, which will guide the shape and environment of our campus over the next 20-30 years. The new Master Plan is based on seven key principles: clearly defined hubs; landscaped promenade links; a vehicle restricted heart; strong city connections; harmonious ANU-distinctive design; vibrant living and working environments; and environmental sustainability. I am most excited about the development of interconnected hubs - to extend the vibrancy of Kambri across our campus. The new plan also will focus on accentuating the campus' natural environment, and energy efficiency. And since (paraphrasing from a fellow Vice-Chancellor) that a University is a feudal system of staff and students united by common parking grievances, the Plan looks at how we can best meet the future parking needs of the University in a way sympathetic to our campus environment.  I encourage you to take a look at the Master Plan in the coming weeks, and make sure we stick to it over the coming decades.

Finally, yesterday we announced  The Hon Julie Bishop will take up the reins as Chancellor from 1 January 2020. Julie has been a pillar of the Australian community, and a long-time supporter of ANU and our mission to be a powerhouse of research, teaching and knowledge for the nation. This is a significant announcement for ANU, not just because of the calibre of our new Chancellor, but because it also offers me the first opportunity to reflect on the enormous contribution our Chancellor, Gareth Evans, makes to our community. Gareth is a friend, mentor and personal counsel to me and I have been immensely grateful for his wisdom and support over the past three years. He is a magnificent champion of ANU and his tireless work to ensure the University maintains its highest standards of education, research and social principles has played a huge part in our national and international reputation. I am looking forward to continuing to work closely with Gareth until he concludes his role at the end of the year.

Jenny and I am off for a long weekend to Geelong (go Cats) to visit my Uncle. I look forward to seeing you back on Campus next week.



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Comment by JP
10.30am 9 Aug 2019

Congratulations on the master plan. An observation if I may: With all the emphasis on paying tribute to and including Indigenous heritage in the plan, was there any thought given to using traditional naming conventions (like Kambri) for the new hubs, pathways etc.? What about re-naming Sullivan's Creek to its traditional name (I assume it had one).

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Comment by Thomas
10.30am 9 Aug 2019

A lot to digest--I see many walks but it is not clear to me whether there are roads that will allow public transport. Some staff and students are for various reasons not able to walk much.

Also, it would be a good idea to have walkways covered to provide shade in summer and against rain.