VC’s Update – Good news for Year 12 admissions and flu shots

9 April 2020

Hello everyone,

I'm writing to you from my new office - located in my kitchen! I think we have all found it to be an interesting experience to shift to working from home.  I'm consciously taking a lunch break every day to walk around the farm, get some exercise, and forget about COVID-19 for a while.  My team and I are getting very adept at simultaneously using Zoom, Teams and Signal to communicate and have a bit of fun along the way. This makes it all a bit easier, and keeps us feeling connected as a team. I am sure each of you are creating your own digital world.

Back in "the office", I'm starting to think of the world after COVID-19. After the Easter break, we need to, in addition to settling into our new normal from home, start to re-think about what ANU needs to be in 2025. The world is changing - we are not quite sure how - and we are going to need to make sure we help shape this inevitable change.  Adapting our teaching, research, and other activities to make sure we make the most of being Australia's national university in this new world has to be our focus. I'm looking forward to discussing our approach with all of you in the coming months - this is something we are going to contribute to together.  And yes, I'm continually thinking about how to get us back onto campus as quickly and as safely as possible.

Speaking of safety, working with the National Health Co-Op, we are offering FREE flu shots to all staff and students with a valid ANU ID card. If you haven't had the flu shot already, please sign up here. The ANU flu clinic will be held at 121 Marcus Clarke Street, which has been set up to ensure that we are complying with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, whilst providing this important health service. The flu shot won't stop you catching COVID-19 but it will help stop you from getting sick, being susceptible to illness or worse, giving the virus to someone else who is vulnerable. I've booked in for my flu shot - please get yours.

In 2018, we made sector-first changes to the way we admit students - recognising both academic and extracurricular achievements; actively recruiting students from across Australia to diversify our campus and ensuring our students have more certainty, earlier, about their degree, accommodation and scholarship options. Our admissions policy is unique in the sector - and it has enabled us to respond in this crisis to help our future students.

In these challenging times we are going to provide certainty to all year 12 students who want to come to ANU by making an unconditional offer based on their year 11 results. We know from last year's cohort that these results are highly indicative of the final ATAR, and if a student does better in year 12, we'll be able to update their offer.  The disruption of 2020 affects all students, but it will disproportionately affect those from situations of social disadvantage. So all students will benefit from our decision, and it will minimise the amplification of disadvantage caused by the pandemic.   Students can already apply, so spread the word. You can read more about our admissions plan here.

This week I also recorded the second episode of my new Zoom-cast series - where I speak with leading ANU experts about the challenges facing us and what they are doing to address it. In this week's catch up, I spoke to our Chief Information Security Officer, Suthagar Seevaratnum, who explains some of the implications for our cyber security during the pandemic. In this new world, it's clear that battling the virus is just one of the challenges facing us. You can watch our chat here.

Finally, I'm going to take some annual leave next week and work around the farm. This year has been incredibly unpredictable and disrupted - and I'm looking forward to recharging my batteries. If you can take some leave, now is good time to do it. We can't get out and about like we normally would over Easter, but relaxation in any form is important. I'll be catching up on a few TV series, doing some gardening, and of course baking sourdough hot cross buns!

Have a good weekend



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Comment by David Stevens
2.30pm 9 Apr 2020

I am finding that internet access via my phone hotspot (the share house where I live does not provide internet access) is gobbling up my data allowance for my prepaid plan very rapidly. Perhaps consideration could be given to an alliance between ANU and one of the major phone providers for students and staff to have unlimited data allocation. I don't view any of the videos that Brian mentions and I don't participate in ZOOM meetings etc. due to this limitation. Many thanks, David.

Reply from ANU:
Thank you David. This issue is being considered within the Covid Working Group network now. We hope to provide an update shortly. In the meantime, we will be mindful of communicating using channels that use up lots of data.

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Comment by Diana Perriman
5.15pm 9 Apr 2020

mmmm sourdough hot cross buns - bliss

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Comment by Will Grant
8.30pm 9 Apr 2020

What's your recipe for the sourdough hot cross buns?

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Comment by Sophie Chen
9.30am 10 Apr 2020

... Let's jump on board the tech band wagon, and ride the exponential wave that's already here - and here to stay ...