VC’s update – Melbourne trip and community forums

22 April 2022

Hello everyone,  

I hope everyone had an enjoyable break and a nice rest over the four-day weekend. I ate too much chocolate in Geelong - and while my beloved Cats lost, I still had a great time with my family. Also, the Tesla clocked over 100,000km. A little worse for wear on the outside, it's still going strong - almost as new.  

The Chancellor and I are in Melbourne at the moment. Last night we attended the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards dinner. It was great to catch up with our former Chancellor Gareth Evans and ANU alumnus Graham Tuckwell. My colleagues from the University of Melbourne and Deakin University were recognised for their distinguished service, and I was humbled to receive the CASE Leadership award for Asia-Pacific for my support in education and advancement.  

Tonight, Julie and I will be joining our alumni community in Melbourne for the ANU 75 cities series, to honour the University's 75th anniversary. Our alumni community has already come together to celebrate the series in Canberra (our launch event), Islamabad, Lahore and Lusaka so far. It is great to see our alumni come together across the world to share their stories from their time at ANU and their journey post-ANU.   

Earlier this week I got to have a conversation with fellow ANU Nobel Laureate and immunologist Professor Peter Doherty on stage at Llewellyn Hall. CEO of Science and Technology Australia Misha Shubert chaired our conversation, and Peter joined virtually as an imposing larger-than-life figure on a screen next to me. It was a lively conversation, which almost felt in-person given the quality of the technology, covering how we manage risk in the middle of a pandemic and what future pandemics may look like. We also talked around engaging with the public on tricky topics and complicated science and the urgent need for action to address climate change. Peter gave a detailed account of his now famous 'Dan Murphy opening hours' tweet, which saw him race past me with respect to the number of Twitter followers. If you're interested, you can watch our conversation here. 

Next week I will be hosting two forums for our staff and students on Zoom. Our staff forum will be on Wednesday 27 April from 10-11am and our student forum will be on Friday 29 April from 10-11am. It will be an opportunity for me to update our community on our strategic plan progress, state of the University and answer any questions our community may have. I will also be joined by Chief Financial Officer Anna Tsikouris who will provide an update on the University's 2021 financial result. You can register here for staff and student.  For a bit of topical interesting conversation, Mark Kenny will also be joining our forums to provide some election insights. You can also see him and other ANU experts at live Democracy Sausage podcasting recordings over the coming weeks, the first of which took place on the ANU campus on Wednesday. Listen to the first podcast in the series here. 

It's another three-day weekend. I'll be harvesting my tiny amount of shiraz-viognier grapes over the weekend, while my pinot noir grapes rest a bit on skins fully fermented. If you are going to dawn service for Anzac Day, my advice would be to rug up.