VC’s Update – Council in Darwin and the data breach report

4 October 2019

Hi everyone from Darwin,

The Council has met for the first time in Darwin yesterday, and we then attended the HC "Nugget" Coombs Memorial Lecture that we co-host every second year with Charles Darwin University. This year's lecturer was The Hon Linda Burney MP, who spoke about her journey, Coombs' journey, and how this history informs her approach to making the Uluru Statement of the Heart a reality. It was a great lecture, and I encourage you to watch it when it becomes available online.

Coombs was not just an outstanding ANU Chancellor and Federal Government bureaucrat, but a leader of Indigenous rights. He founded our Northern Australia Research Unit, which we also visited, to help advance northern Australia, and the prosperity of Indigenous people in this part of our country.  All in all, Council and I learned a lot, and have come to the realisation that there are many opportunities up in the North for ANU, yet unrealised. 

On Wednesday, we released the data breach incident report, where we have tried to set a new standard of transparency. The report also outlines the lessons learned for ANU and what we're doing to address those issues. Protecting our community against cyber-attacks is a critical priority for me and my team, but we will only be successful if it is a whole of University effort. I encourage you to read the report and follow any advice from our Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). If we do cyber well - we can also improve the whole digital experience at ANU. You can read the report here.

World Mental Health Day is next week on 10 October, and ANU Counselling will be hosting a panel discussion for staff and students that focuses on mental health, the challenges we face, and the counterproductive stigma often attached. We all live busy lives and life can be quite stressful and overwhelming at times, so it's important that we all take care of ourselves, and look after each other. Pro Vice-Chancellor (University Experience) Professor Tony Foley will take the reins on the blog next week which is dedicated to mental health. I encourage you to attend the panel discussion and take some time for self-care next week. You can register to attend here.

Last week I mentioned the Climate Strike and the biggest challenges that humanity faces. I am very pleased that ACT is the eighth jurisdiction in the world, first outside Europe, to go fossil-free and switch to 100% renewable energy! This is a really great step forward. Our Energy Change Institutes helps initiatives like this through their leadership, education and public policy. They are long-term collaborators with the ACT Government and have provided advice for the 2015-2019 Climate Strategy and Living Infrastructure Plan. I'd like to congratulate the Energy Change Institute for all their tremendous work in this field.

Tonight, I will be heading to Japan for a few days for the official opening ceremony of the dual degree program between Ritsumeikan University and the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. It's important that our students have the opportunity to enhance their learning experiences by traveling abroad during their time at ANU, and this is an exciting collaboration. I am also looking forward to attending the STS Forum in Kyoto, along with an alumni reception event in Tokyo.

Finally, the nominations for the 2019 Vice-Chancellor's Annual Awards are now open. These awards celebrate the depth and diversity of professional and academic talent within our community. It's always important to recognise hard work and celebrate achievements. Please take time - think of a colleague who has excelled and made a positive impact beyond the norm, and nominate them! You can read more about the categories and how to nominate here. Nominations will be open till Friday 18 October.

It looks like summer has come early. Enjoy the weekend, and pray for rain. My vines need the water.