VC’s Update – Bettongs, forums and a tribute

17 May 2019

Hi everyone,

It has been another busy fortnight, but I've been enjoying the crisp early mornings and sunny autumn days - walking around our campus reminds me of how lucky we are to have such a beautiful environment to work and study in.

Last week, I was excited to see the first results of the ANU Story Project - and the beginnings of the story we are going to communicate to the nation and to the world. It was interesting to see which pieces of the research resonated, and which pieces caused debate. One of the most fascinating responses was to describe ANU in one word - I chose 'knowledge' as this encompasses both the education and research role ANU plays. However, I thought 'human' was a very thought provoking response - universities exist as a human construct and are fundamentally about people.

The ANU Story Project is going to enter the next phase, with all staff receiving a link to a survey to complete in the next week. This is an opportunity for you to share your thoughts about what you think the story of ANU should be. We cannot create a narrative that is authentic without the broad participation - so please make sure you take the time to have your say.

Earlier this week, Pro-Chancellor Naomi Flutter, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich and I hosted a Forum to discuss the Chancellorship role. It was interesting to hear the perspectives of different members of our community - from former Council members, to professional staff, academics, alumni and students - and what type of attributes you think are important for the Chancellor. We are holding another Forum on Thursday 23 May, and I invite you to come along and share your views as we make this important decision.

On Wednesday evening, members of the Senior Management Group attended a twilight tour of Mulligan's Flat Woodland Sanctuary in the north of Canberra. The Fenner School already has a rich relationship with the Sanctuary and we were looking at the opportunities of using these facilities to do a range of new research and outreach programs that cut across the whole university. It was exciting to see the bettongs - still waiting to see a quoll - and hear how the Sanctuary is supporting their conservation. 

Next week, ANU will be holding our 2019 Reconciliation Week Lecture. This annual address is held to recognise the leadership role ANU plays in furthering reconciliation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Australians; as well as showcasing the breadth of Indigenous research being conducted around campus. For me, Reconciliation Week is about building a stronger connection with Indigenous Australia, by recognising and celebrating our history, and the rich culture of Australia's first people. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Tony Dreise, recently appointed Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, and I will be making an exciting announcement for Indigenous research following the lecture. I look forward to seeing you there.

And finally, Australia lost one of its great Prime Ministers yesterday. Bob Hawke is the most famous PhD student at ANU who did not finish their degree. He was a person who has had an incredibly positive impact on our nation's history. I encourage you to read Frank Bongiorno's excellent obituary, available in The Conversation.  Vale Bob Hawke.

I'll be casting my vote in Sutton tomorrow, make sure you cast yours if you are eligible. We get the government we elect.



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Comment by Cathryn Maddeb
9.30am 20 May 2019

I recommend the new library be named the HAWKE library in keeping with our great and fondly recognised ANU libraries named MENZIES and CHIFLEY.  Do you agree?

Best wishes


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Comment by Aubrey Chayson
9.30am 20 May 2019

Thank you for your consistent updates! PM Bob Hawke will be missed.