VC’s update – President Zelenskyy’s address to ANU students

29 July 2022

Hello everyone, 

I really enjoyed what has been a very busy week with everyone back on campus. I hope everyone has settled back and is ready for Semester 2. I want to say thank you to everyone continuing to wear masks on campus in our teaching and work spaces. It's a simple and effective way we've been able to keep transmission on campus incredibly low.  If you want to know why its important to keep wearing masks, I encourage you to read Professor Chris Goodnow's piece - he was a long-time JCSMR professor.  

I had the absolute privilege of attending the formal opening of the 47th Parliament on Tuesday. Dr Aunty Matilda House and Paul Girrawah House together delivered a beautiful and moving smoking ceremony and welcome to Country - the mood was exciting and joyous. I am looking forward to working with the new Parliamentarians and focus on continuing to build on the University's engagement with Parliament.  

Next week on Wednesday 3 August, the ANU Centre for European Studies and the National Security College will host a special virtual address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We're honoured to be assisting President Zelenskyy to speak to university students across Australia with special access being given to other Aussie universities to participate in the event. The in-person event at Llewellyn Hall has already sold out - in record time, but if you missed out on a ticket, you and interested members of the public will be able to watch via livestream and live on our Twitter and Facebook. It is a unique opportunity to hear from a modern-day leader who is currently navigating the realities of conflict and war, and why it is so important to defend the rule of law, democracy and rules-based international order. 

Last month ANU Council formally established the Student Safety and Wellbeing Committee - to oversee our work in this space and keep ANU staff to account at the highest level. The Expressions of Interests (EOI) for up to three student representatives are now open until Friday 12 August. Students, this is a powerful way for you to help us improve wellbeing on campus by directly advising ANU Council. These appointments are in addition to the undergraduate representative who will also join the new committee in their capacity as an existing Council member. Council would like to have a full membership in time for the next Council meeting on 7 October. We also released our full action plan for Student Safety and Wellbeing earlier this week so please read the Plan and our latest updates - all of us need to work together towards a safer campus.  

Reconciliation Australia (RA) are conducting the Workplace Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Barometer survey to measure attitudes toward and perceptions of reconciliation amongst employees of RAP organisations. Reconciliation is a whole-of-university effort at ANU and I am asking each of you to complete the survey - it shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes and it helps us benchmark our workplace and plan our future work as we continue our role in strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people and non-Indigenous peoples. The survey is open today until 19 August.  

Congratulations to Associate Professor Ellen Broad from the School of Cybernetics, who has just been appointed as Science and Technology Advisor for the Hon Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science. While it's bittersweet for us to have Ellen leaving ANU, it is great to see our leaders using ANU expertise to help them shape our nation. A key part of our mission is to translate ANU knowledge into a better world, and an important way to do this is for our people to spend time working and influencing outside our campus. I'm proud to see Ellen making the most of this porous professional boundary and I hope to see her back at the University in the future. 

Professor Genevieve Bell, Director of the School of Cybernetics, will be the interim Dean of the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) while we continue our international search for the next Dean. Genevieve is one of Australia's pre-eminent public intellectuals and an outstanding academic and leader. Thank you for taking on this role Genevieve - CECS is in very good hands.  

I'd also like to announce that Kate Witenden will be joining ANU in October as our new Chief People Officer. Kate joins us from the University of Sydney where she is responsible for leading the portfolio HR partnering team. She will bring over 25 years of professional experience to the CPO role and was previously the Australasian Head of Human Resources at AMEX Global Business Travel. The CPO is a critical role here at ANU and I am looking forward to working closely with Kate. Please join me in making her feel welcome when she starts on 24 October. 

This afternoon the Chancellor and I will speak at the closing ceremony of our 75th Anniversary celebrations. It's been an extraordinary year of celebrating and I thank everyone for making this year so special. Although the pandemic ensured tough times for us, it was great to celebrate our achievements over the last seven and half decades We will also be unveiling the items that have been chosen for our 75th Anniversary time capsule, which will be opened at our 100th birthday in 2046. I've signed a copy of the Strategic Plan we launched in 2021 - let's hope it stands the test of time.  

It's our Chief Operating Officer Paul Duldig's last day at ANU today. Paul has done some great things for our University and we've been very fortunate to have his leadership and guidance through the most challenging times ANU has ever faced. Paul, I wish you all the best in your new role as Chief Executive of the State Library in Victoria and look forward to seeing you on campus when you visit again in future. 

Have a great weekend everyone.