Vice-Chancellor’s End-of-Year message


Dear colleagues

I write as we head towards the end of the year to send along my thanks for the work of the entire University community during this extraordinary year.  Along with other universities across this nation and around the world we have faced and addressed uncertainty on a scale that is unprecedented.

Our University community has shown great adaptability and resilience as we have confronted each challenge that appeared.  At each step of the way, often in uncharted territory, we have built new capabilities and strengthened our resolve and ability to confront new challenges and imposts on our daily work.  I am especially grateful for the concern and support shown to all our students as they have also adapted to new ways of learning and studying.

It is during this year that we have developed and begun the implementation of the new Operating Plan.  This is an important initiative which makes tangible the future steps needed to move to new ways of working and ensuring the University emerges stronger and sustainable.  Again, many staff have and are contributing to this important work.

While we have certainly had our share of issues to address, we gaze out across the world and see many more unsettled regions where the COVID-19 epidemic continues unchecked with health systems being overwhelmed and too many individuals being infected and losing their lives.  In NSW, we must be thankful for the excellence of the coordination of the public health response across the state.  I have been in regular touch with the NSW Chief Health Officer throughout and commended her and the team for their dedication and efforts in guiding us all.

This note of thanks for the work of the year past and encouragement for the holiday season ahead would not be complete without dwelling on the difficult decisions that have been made and are being made in order to secure our position as a sustainable and ascendant university for the medium and long term.  I thank those who have recently left us through the Voluntary Redundancy program.  I have written to each such member to express my personal thanks.  With more tough decisions ahead, the Executive Group and I remain committed to leading us through those decisions with a couple of key thoughts in mind.  Firstly, our primary responsibility is to secure the future of the University.  Secondly, when decisions have to be made about positions and individuals, we conduct ourselves with a willingness to consider alternatives, provision of timely and accurate sharing of information and with respect for each individual potentially affected.

Through all these fraught times, I remind myself what a privilege we all have to be part of this community.  Ours is a community where the sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves is more prominent than in most universities and organisations. That sense of collegiality helps us through the rough patches as has been amply shown in 2020 – thank you again.

As the year begins to close out, I send you all my warmest good wishes for the holiday season ahead, whatever tradition that brings for you, your families and friends.  For me, this will be a time of reflection on the year past and restoration for the year ahead.  I am especially mindful of those in our community who are not able to be with family as planned due to the prevailing travel restrictions or other impacts of the last year.  I join you in anticipation that we will in due course again be able to be near those we care about most spread across the globe.

My closing wish is that this holiday season will be safe for all our community, that we take time to relax and that most of all this season will bring each and every one of you that which you wish most for yourselves and those nearest to you.







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  1. “we conduct ourselves with a willingness to consider alternatives”
    Why do you continually refuse to answer questions about the possibility of canvassing staff interest in a voluntary reduction in fraction (temporary or permanent) in order to reduce the number of redundancies expected next year?

    This would also have the advantage of retaining staff expertise and knowledge so that we can be ready to respond to the eventual recovery from the COVID-induced recession and loss of international students. It’s at least worth a try. Every ten people who choose to work a 9-day fortnight saves one full-time role (averaged). Every time we ask about this possibility, it’s ignored or rolled into a general answer rejecting “salary cuts”. It just looks like the University would rather sack people than actually investigate flexible alternatives. Why?

  2. It would also be nice to see some recognition of casual and fixed term staff who are also leaving this year, many of which involuntarily. The University has long relied on a large pool of dedicated sessional staff who are now unfortunately out of work yet have not been acknowledged or thanked.

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