VC’s Update – BE ALERT! Scam warning, wine and 3MT

26 August 2022

Hi everyone, 

Before I dive into the lighter side of this fortnight in my blog, it has come to my attention that a sophisticated financial scam is targeting international students across Australia and international universities. In this scam, the caller poses as a Government authority in an attempt to extort large sums of money. Scams like this prey on people's fear and willingness to believe in other's honesty. Please be vigilant and do not share your personal information over the phone - remember, Government officials will never ask for your online account details or credit card information, or threaten you in any way. If you receive one of these calls or you suspect you are being scammed, our Student Safety and Wellbeing Team are here to support you. These perpetrators are evolving and changing their approach constantly, making it harder and harder to spot, so I also encourage you to read ScamWatch's useful tips on protecting yourself. 

While the start of spring is only a short time away - what a brutal wintry blast, fortunately followed by beautiful sunshine, we've had this week. For those on campus, keep an eye out for swooping magpies - one of the great Australian welcomes to spring. And please treat the maggies well, they seem to have a long memory. A very busy couple of weeks for me with all sorts of events.  

First-up, I attended the Australian Studies Institute Visiting Fellows dinner - a terrific initiative for meeting academics from other institutions and hearing about their research. This month's dinner featured Dr Kate Fitch from Monash University, who spoke with us about 'Wine, Women and PR'. It was a great discussion about Phyllis Parkinson, who was a trailblazing individual in the 1950s through the 1970s in changing the perceptions about women drinking wine. I can thank her as she is most responsible for the rise of a sophisticated Australian domestic wine market. As an enthusiastic wine maker myself, it's interesting to understand the history of the industry and how marketing can shift the views around wine and who consumes it.  

On Friday evening, I attended the first ever Tuckwell Alumni reception. I enjoyed the evening catching up with former students Many of those attending were part of the 2014 and 2015 cohort whom I interviewed before I became Vice-Chancellor. Seeing some of these students, now adults with exciting careers (and so much more ahead of them), is a great reminder of the opportunities we can provide at ANU, and how important and life changing a scholarship can be. We continue to learn from the Tuckwell Scholarship to improve all of our students' experience.  

Over the weekend, Jenny and I attended the 50th anniversary dinner for Burgmann College, with many of the first residents there, including none other than Dr Peter Garrett. Peter was speaking on behalf of the late Richard Cook, the inaugural Burgmann Resident Association President. As part of his will, he left his speech for the Burgmann anniversary to be read out by Peter. It was a very special evening to hear how influential and impactful the residential experience had been to all of those in attendance. Peter Garrett will of course be back on campus in October for a Midnight Oil Concert.  

On Wednesday, I attended the presentation of the 2022 Weary Dunlop Medal to our Chancellor, Julie Bishop in Melbourne. This award recognises an Australian who has shown long-term commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the region and improving Australia-Asia relations, and it was a honour to be part of the celebration of Julie's contributions to Australia. In addition to the Medal, Julie also delivered an insightful keynote on how we navigate Australia's and Asia's future - what a timely discussion with all that is happening in the world just now. At dinner, Weary Dunlop's granddaughter sat next me, and I spent the night espousing the virtues of her future studies bringing her to ANU.  

Finally, next week, I am looking forward to being a judge for the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Final in Llewellyn Hall. Pre-COVID, we used to pack the house, and I'm calling on our community to sign up to attend the event and support the College finalists. A PhD is a huge challenge - a 3 year + journey through the unknown. Condensing it into a three minute talk, which is engaging and digestible to a wide audience, is a great feat - as I realised when I was challenged to do my own version when I first became Vice-Chancellor- I did OK - except I took four minutes, rather than three...ooops. I'll be helping to select the winner, who will represent ANU at the Asia-Pacific Final, plus the audience will be voting for People's Choice. The atmosphere is amazing - and for those who haven't been, it's a true ANU experience not to be missed!  

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the promised sunshine!