I have been acting VC while our Vice-Chancellor is on some well-deserved leave. We have experienced a big shift this week with the implementation of mandatory masks by the ACT Government. This mandate also applies to our campus and it is great to see our community taking this seriously and wearing their masks. You can read more about our campus updates here.
If you would like to make your own mask (I already have!), ANU MakerSpace are selling excellent and affordable material packs so you can make our own at home. MakerSpace is accessible for all our community. It's a great initiative that is based on the teaching and research philosophy that people learn by doing and that creativity thrives in interdisciplinary environments - you can read more here.
While we currently do not have any active COVID-19 cases in ACT, we are grateful to everyone for remaining agile and flexible. I understand it has been a difficult time and this week particularly may have caused some anxiety for our community. Please make sure you take care of yourself and use our staff and student services if you need. Let's be kind to one another.
Due to the uncertainty in our region at this time, we have made the difficult decision to cancel mid-July graduations this year. With the state border closures affecting travel to and from the ACT, it adds another level of complexity for many of our students who are currently interstate. Our main priority is the health and safety of our community. Our graduands will still graduate in absentia so this will not affect their status as a graduate from 16 July. We will keep our students updated and we hope to be able to invite them back soon for a celebratory ceremony when it is safe to do so. I understand this is extremely disappointing and we will do all we can to ensure your academic achievements are rightly acknowledged and celebrated.
We will also prepare for teaching and learning next semester should the situation change again and we need to move to remote learning. Each class is different so your course convenor will keep you updated as we move into semester two. This is not to alarm anyone. We hope to be able to deliver semester two in the hybrid model as in semester one - we just need to always be prepared in case we need to act.
I would also like to remind our staff that we do have the option for flexible work arrangements and you should speak with your supervisor if you would like to change any arrangements in place - whether you would like to work from home or in the office. As our Vice-Chancellor said last year, ANU will support where you work, when you work and how you work.
Next week, eligible staff will receive a two per cent pay rise on 8 July. This is the deferred pay rise from 2020. I would like to acknowledge the sacrifice of our whole staff community - this saved $13.5 million towards our overall financial position. It really shows how thoughtful our community is and how much our members care for each other and the University. Thank you.
Lastly, on Sunday I went to visit the Yidaki: Didjeridu and the Sound of Australia exhibition at the National Museum of Australia. It was a fantastic exhibition and I highly recommend it. I also learnt that the Indigenous word yidaki is used across Northern Australia as the word for didgeridoo - my commitment for National Reconciliation Week this year is to learn and use more Indigenous language so it was nice to be able to increase my knowledge . It is so important that we continue to learn about the history of Indigenous Australians and understand the incredible knowledge they have continued to pass on for thousands of years.
I hope everyone has a restful weekend. Take care.
Professor Grady Venville