A Message from
the Dean of Arts

Welcome to the third edition of Articulation for 2019.

I’m delighted to let you know that the process of consultation and discussion across the Faculty that I described in the previous edition has now resulted in our successfully developing a vision and strategy to maintain our strength in depth and global reputation for academic excellence in the coming years (view the Faculty of Arts Strategy Map 2019-2025).The University is also going through a wide process of review, developing a new vision that will build on the foundations successfully established by the ‘Growing Esteem’ strategy. The new discussion looks towards 2030, committing the University to excellence in student experience and learning, research, and leadership in public debate in Australia and the region.

A key priority for the Faculty in the next two years is progressively to bring insights offered by our diverse student community – including Indigenous ways of knowing – to the fore in the design and delivery of teaching programs. The closer engagement of the Faculty with the Indigenous aspects of the University’s work is a vital element in our planning, now set out in our Faculty Indigenous Development Plan, including a series of specific actions to 2022.

At a recent event for our current students, I was invited to discuss the topic of employability. While our performance as a University is outstanding according to international statistical measures – the QS Graduate Employability Ranking places us at number 6 in the world – equipping our graduates to develop and understand the skills necessary to forge their way in the world at a time of rapid workplace and economic change remains a key Faculty priority.

Linking the undergraduate experience to the world beyond as part of the curriculum, we now run an extensive program of work-integrated learning with a group of excellent external partner organisations, and I encourage any alumni whose organisations or businesses would like to be associated with that program of real-world, project-based learning to get in touch with the Faculty to discuss the mutual benefits that can be delivered by projects built around close working relationships with students.

Our BA graduates are already highly valued by prospective employers looking for a good range of general skills and, above all, an ability to adapt to rapid change and to communicate complex ideas effectively. Alumnus Bede Noonan writes from personal experience about the value that BA graduates bring to the workplace, in terms of breadth of vision and adaptability to change.  Alumna Jessica O’Brien highlights the Channels Festival, currently in Melbourne (until 15 September), illustrating again the importance of the city of Melbourne as a cultural hub and the possibilities for graduates in that increasingly busy field.

Our commitment to the understanding of Indigenous knowledge is illustrated by Jill Vaughn and Debbie Loakes, of the School of Languages and Linguistics, in their article on Indigenous language education and usage in the rural communities of Victoria’s Mildura region.  Their work, in this UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages, continues a productive association for the Faculty with the Indigenous people of the Murray River lands, where this project seeks to help the community to revitalise some endangered languages as repositories of Indigenous history and culture.

This edition contains several gems from our talented researchers. Lois Waters gives a fascinating account of the work of our Grimwade Conservation Services team on Rembrandt’s print of Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves (The Three Crosses) from 1653.  Dr David McInnis of the School of Culture and Communication provides a Shakespearean context for the (not so) modern concepts of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, illustrating how studying Julius Caesar develops the critical thinking skills encouraged in this Faculty. And Associate Professor Leah Ruppaner engages in some timely myth busting about women’s multitasking abilities and explores ways in which misconceptions about gender roles may even be affecting female mental health.

Finally, I’d encourage all alumni to visit Hard Truths, an exhibition of prize-winning photography from The New York Times. This exhibition showcases revealing images, each capturing nuanced experiences of struggle, survival and political upheaval from across the world and touches on many of our disciplines. Hard Truths will be on display in the Arts West Atrium from September 12 – October 11.

I hope you enjoy this third edition of ARTiculation for 2019.

Professor Russell Goulbourne
Dean of Arts