VC's update - Fostering reconciliation, awards for excellence in education and launch of solar car challenge

30 May 2016

Last Friday was one of those days where I realise just how great our students are.

Hi all

Last Friday was one of those days where I realise just how great our students are. As part of our Council meeting, some of our postgraduate students organised an event that looked at the breadth of Indigenous related work taking place across the campus. Eye-opening and inspiring, it left the Council (including observer and Indigenous leader Peter Yu) with no doubt of the possibilities for ANU to help lead the nation in the reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

That evening I attended the undergraduate led launch of the University's first entry into the World Solar Car Challenge Team - Sol Invictus. This ambitious team of students are attempting to build a solar car to compete in the 3,000 km World Solar Car Challenge - an inspiring feat. This initiative is highly challenging but plays to our institution's strengths. I would encourage you to support Sol Invictus' attempt in whatever way you can. The turnout on Friday night included a who's who of Canberra business as well as the ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.

The Chief Minister was also here earlier in the week and joined Hindmarsh Executive Chair John Hindmarsh and I to launch the Significant Capital Ventures fund, a new relationship between research, industry and government to drive innovation in Canberra. This fund is expected to have a size of between $10 million and $30 million and will invest in early stage innovative start-ups in order to help them become sustainable businesses and industries of the future.

After the launch, I spoke with staff in the ANU College of Arts and Social Science (CASS) and ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP) to discuss the CASS/CAP Governance Project. This is going to be a really exciting opportunity for both Colleges to share ideas and processes and break down barriers for our students looking to access a full range courses.

Last Tuesday I also met with ANU students attending the International Alliance of Research Universities Global Summer Program, spoke at the Australian Medical Students Association's National Leadership Development Seminar and raised my glass at a Pint of Science talk.

We also celebrated the life of Professor John Caldwell, Head of the University's internationally-renowned Department of Demography from 1970 to 1988. Jack, as he was known to his colleagues and friends, had an incredibly close relationship with Africa and its people. His legacy will continue through the expansive network of ANU demographers spread across the African continent today.

Our best teachers were honoured last Wednesday night at the Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence in Education. It takes knowledge, time, care and imagination to meet the challenges that continue to face teaching within universities, and I am really pleased that so many of our staff have those qualities in abundance. Congratulations to everyone who won - and was also nominated for - an award.

Finally, in case you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of a Federal Election campaign. The University has been showcasing its policy strengths and insights through the Vote: 2016 Federal Election Series. If you haven't been to one of the events at the Crawford School or watched one of the weekly wrap up videos I encourage you to do so.



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Comment by Graham Burton
4pm 1 Jun 2016

G'day Brian, I found this article from when I was a student at lake Tuggeranong college and I thought that we where the first the act to run in the world solar car challenge. I am glad that the ANU is being part of something that furthers solar power development.

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Comment by Robyn Lucas
12.30pm 2 Jun 2016

As noted, Professor John Caldwell was Head of the University's internationally-renowned Department of Demography from 1970 to 1988. Jack was also a key player in establishing the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and was Associated Director from 1988 until his retirement from NCEPH and the ANU in 1995. During his time at NCEPH, Jack built links between NCEPH and the School of Demography and ensured that demography was a key part of the multi-disciplinary research that characterises NCEPH. The John C Caldwell Fellowship, administered by NCEPH, is awarded annually for an African researcher to spend time at ANU, developing collaborations with researchers at NCEPH and the School of Demography.

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Comment by David Lucas
10.45am 6 Jun 2016

The second Caldwell Fellow, from Kenya, has just completed a successful visit to the ANU, but otherwise African Studies at the University need re-vitalising. The Caldwell Chair in Population, Health and Development ceased to exist in 2013. Professor Stocklmayer, distinguished for her work in science education in Africa, retired this year. Apparently because of a lack of interest by the Crawford School, ANU will no longer co-host the annual Australian Africa Conference, funded by DFAT.