VC's Update - Professor Mick Dodson, award winners and more

15 September 2017

Hi everyone,

I start off this week's blog by announcing the retirement of Professor Mick Dodson AM.

For more than three decades, Mick has pushed for greater representation of indigenous peoples in academia and beyond and has been at the heart of land rights cases across Australia. He has long fought for recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Australian Constitution and advocated this position as chairman of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. In 2009 he was named Australian of the Year.

Mick will officially finish up as Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies next March, but I'm pleased he'll be continuing his association with the University as a member of the Emeritus Faculty. In this role he'll continue to provide valuable input into the University's direction on Indigenous outcomes. Thank you Mick for your years of contribution to ANU and we look forward to this continuing in your new role as Professor Emeritus.

It's been another busy week on campus with a number of award winners and events.

On Wednesday night the second semester intake of students from the Australian National Internships Program were recognised at a formal reception held at Parliament House. ANIP is a great opportunity that allows students to work in the offices of Members of Parliament and Senators and get hands on experience shaping national policy making.

The 2018 ANU Alumni Awards have opened for nominations this week. This is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding members of our alumni and student community, so if you know an ANU graduate who's been doing some great work I encourage you to nominate them.

You've probably noticed a lot of work going on around Union Court at the moment. If you're interested in finding out where the project is up to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington will be giving an update this coming Monday.

Congratulations to the Xuemai Bai, Frank Bongiorno, Nicholas Brown John Hewson AM, Elinor McKone and David Stanton, who have all been elected to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia for their contributions to their disciplines and society. I was also delighted to hear that this year's intake of Fellows had a 50/50 representation of men and women.

The Australian Awards for University Teaching were announced last night and it's no surprise ANU did very well. Congratulations to Mr Timothy Hatfield, Dr Ryan Goss, Dr Matthew Brookhouse, Professor Emily Banks, Ms Estee Tee, Dr Su Yin Phua, Dr Kai Xun Chan, Mr Diep Ganguly, Dr Peter Crisp, Dr Xin Hou and Professor Barry Pogson for their outstanding contributions to student learning.

There was some exciting news in the Grand Challenges area this week. We have now shortlisted eight proposals to progress to interview with the Selection Committee panel next week. I have been so impressed by the breadth of research initiatives put forward, and the enthusiasm of our community to collaborate on this scheme. I encourage you to take a look at the shortlisted proposals here.

Last night I was privileged to attend the launch of the National Museum of Australia's Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters exhibition. Songlines shares a history of collaboration between ANU, the National Museum of Australia, and the Martu, Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara peoples. The exhibition makes use of an immersive multimedia DomeLab to tell the story of sisters who spent their days on the run from a lustful man named Yurla across the landscape. I would like to give a special nod to researchers Howard Morphy, Diana James, Mike Smith, Libby Robin and the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, for their in-depth work around recording the cultural information from these communities, which forms the backbone of this exhibition. It is a must-see and definitely something I encourage people to check out. 

If you're interested in seeing some of the world's best young pianists 'tickle the ivories', I encourage you to head along to Llewellyn Hall this Sunday. The third Australian International Chopin Piano Competition will see three finalists battle it out for the 2017 crown and I'll be on hand to present the first place prize to the winner at around 5pm.

Finally, ANU stalwart Anne Martin has sent through a special request to our community to help out the Starlight Room at the Children's Hospital at Randwick. You can help by donating games, books or gift vouchers which will then be used as awards and prizes for sick kids aged 10 to 18. You can drop these off at the reception on the ground floor of the Chancelry building #10 over the next two weeks and we'll see they make it up to the Hospital.