VC's Update - LGBTIQ Alumni Network launch and more

31 August 2018

Hi everyone,

I am very pleased that Professor Russell Gruen will be joining us as the incoming Dean for the ANU College of Health and Medicine (CHM). Professor Gruen comes to us from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) where he is director of the NTU Institute for Health Technologies, having previously worked as Professor of Surgery and Public Health at Monash University.

I'm looking forward to welcoming Russell in January 2019 as he takes the reins to keep CHM the home of leading research and learning. I'd like to thank Professor Jane Dahlstrom for continuing to lead the College during this transitionary period.

This week also marks the one-year anniversary of the 3A Institute - and what a year it has been! Under the leadership of Professor Genevieve Bell, Florence Violet McKenzie Chair the Institute has already started to deliver key research and education that involves the intersection of artificial intelligence, data and technology with anthology, design and business. The Institute's work is preparing Australia and the world to meet the big social, cultural and political questions around our technological future, as well as examining the impact to humanity through economic, social and cultural shifts.

To celebrate the anniversary this afternoon, I introduced Genevieve's lecture, Managing the Machines: A Year in Review, which highlighted the Institute's progress over the last 12 months. The highly interesting and entertaining podcast will be available on our podcast channel soon.

In mid-July, I announced we would be launching an alumni network to connect LGBTIQ identifying alumni and allies to each other and ANU. The network is being launched tonight by patron and alumnus, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr. It is a reflection of the University's core value to create an open and inclusive community. I'm very proud that ANU is at the forefront of providing a LGBTIQ Network to support our students and alumni. We want everyone on this campus to feel welcome, so if you would like to engage with the network, please visit their Facebook page, or contact

Next week the annual ANU Phone Appeal will kick-off, with more than 20,000 alumni across Australia, Asia and the US receiving calls from students. The Appeal is not just focussed on raising support for The ANU Fund, which supports areas of student initiatives, support programs and scholarships, but also on reconnecting alumni with the University. This is a time for our alumni to hear updates about our campus (such as the Kambri redevelopment) and for students to hear stories from our graduates. Through these conversations, we will strengthen the bond of our community and I am looking forward to chatting with one of our student callers about my own ANU experience.

Finally, the 2018 Grand Challenges Final is nearly here - and I wait in anticipation to see the final four teams make their pitch on Wednesday 19 September. The Grand Challenges Scheme is a strategic-designed initiative to tackle problems which require innovative, inter-disciplinary collaboration and creativity to solve.  Join me on Pitch Night to see which team is crowned the 2018 winner.

I am off with the family to my home land of Alaska for the next two weeks on leave, so our Provost Mike Calford will keep you informed over the next fortnight.