Welcome to the first edition of Articulation for 2020.
The past few months have been very hard for many members of our community. The new year began with Australia experiencing unprecedented bushfires, which had a devastating impact on the country’s magnificent flora and fauna and which caused many people to face the loss of their homes and livelihoods.
And now, like many countries around the world, Australia is endeavouring to manage the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The travel restrictions put in place have made the future uncertain for many members of our community. We care deeply about our students’ health and wellbeing, and teams across the University are working tirelessly to ensure those students impacted are well supported and can complete their studies on time.
Each of these challenges has brought with it a growing awareness among the community of our level of interconnection. These are complex global challenges that speak to the importance of sharing knowledge, the value of interdisciplinary research, and the need to develop more sustainable societies. These challenges have also highlighted the value of scholarship, of creating, transforming and distributing knowledge and of deepening and enriching our understanding of what it means to be human. Through research and enquiry, we can open ourselves to the human possibility of discovering new things about this world and ourselves.
I recently attended the annual Universities Australia conference in Canberra, where Professor Deborah Terry, the Chair of Universities Australia, spoke of the crucial role universities play in today’s world, underscoring their focus on finding “clever solutions to our biggest and most complex challenges”. In a world often preoccupied with empty soundbites and fake news, it has been heartening to hear increased calls for expertise and for a community concerned with what really matters: trying to build a better, fairer and more balanced world.
We achieved much as a Faculty last year, agreeing our collective mission and embedding that within an overarching Strategy Map (110kb pdf). Our priority this year will be implementing that strategy in the context of the University’s new ten-year strategy, Advancing Melbourne, to be launched shortly.
A key component of the Faculty strategy – and one that speaks directly to the need for interdisciplinary solutions – is a renewed focus on collaboration, both institutionally and with our alumni and industry partners. We will work to embed a culture of partnership, focused on collegiality, shared endeavour and a closer association between our institution and industry. We will also collaborate more effectively with our own undergraduate and graduate students, seeing them as partners with us in the dynamic, diverse and inclusive community we want to build, as co-creators with us of their transformative educational experience and as co-investigators with us in pursuing research that makes a difference in the world. There is exciting work to be done on curriculum too, and it is here in particular that we’ll realise our commitment to weaving Indigenous ways of knowing through our teaching and to embedding environmental sustainability in our programs.
I hope you enjoy this edition of Articulation. I wish all of you the very best over the coming months. Please look after yourselves and each other.
Professor Russell Goulbourne
Dean of Arts