Professor Chris Dixon, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, discusses the faculty’s work in fostering high-impact connections and supporting staff and students to engage with the world.
The Faculty of Arts is home to a passionate and engaged community of scholars, many of whom have fostered impactful relationships with external partners and collaborators. Earlier this year, we saw an opportunity to coordinate our approach to external engagement and establish new mechanisms to elevate our existing relationships while also promoting new partnerships and opportunities. This has allowed us to truly nurture connections between our academic and student community, and our partners and collaborators, to maximise awareness and impact of our disciplines – and we have seen great outputs.
By establishing a bird’s eye view of faculty engagement activity, we have been able to identify high-impact activities, improve partnership project efficiency and provide full-strength faculty support to maximise outcomes. In turn, this helps our researchers deepen their external relationships, so that we can better tackle society’s most urgent and abiding challenges in collaboration with government, industry and the community.
We have identified several focus areas across education, research and outreach – both domestically and internationally – to establish and amplify new and existing strategic relationships, including activities that promote priority relationship development, research impact and engagement and outreach with schools.
For example, we have held a series of research impact and engagement masterclasses for staff to share insights on relationship building, HDR and industry internships, and planning and building major research bids. A four-day winter school on digital humanities techniques was held with graduate students, academics and industry partners to promote collaboration and engagement. And later this year our academics will be visiting a Widening Participation Unit school to deliver workshops for English and History students transitioning into year 12 and share our undergraduate course offerings.
Most recently, the faculty has been focused on a public outreach program to showcase the value of arts, humanities and social science research and education to the broader community. This week we will welcome University and high school students, teachers, parents, staff and members of the community to the Wallumattagal Campus for a special ‘Arts After Dark’ event – the first of its kind for the faculty. Guests will be propelled into the world of Artificial Intelligence with a performance from a drumming, rapping robot before hearing a riveting panel discussion on the relationship between critical thinking and AI.
The Arts After Dark event will allow us to showcase our faculty to an important audience: prospective students and their parents will experience the kinds of discussions and debates typical in the Faculty of Arts; get a sense of the range and quality of our academic expertise; and understand the importance of critical thinking skills for future workplaces.
One of the keys to maximising our impact is to remain deeply connected and engaged with organisations and partners, of all types and sizes, beyond the University. We want to ensure our graduates are well equipped as employees and as citizens, and that our applied research is high-impact and deeply relevant. I am proud of the achievements and ascendent trajectory of our faculty, and I look forward to ensuring our researchers have the opportunities and support to continue making a difference in the world.