Hello everyone, I hope this finds you and your families well.
It seems hard to believe the extent to which we have all been touched by this pandemic. For some, the crisis has profoundly impacted health and financial wellbeing. Others have been forced to make rapid changes to their work arrangements, negotiate extra caring responsibilities and come to terms with unprecedented constraints on independence.
Although our work and teaching situation in Arts has changed, we have remained committed throughout the year to our Faculty strategy with its emphasis on transformative teaching and learning, the pursuit of research that makes a difference and a renewed focus on collaboration, both institutionally and with our alumni and industry partners. You can read about some of our achievements across these pillars in this edition of Articulation.
Speaking of achievements, I am honoured to be able to share with you in this edition our 2020 Arts Alumni Award recipients. The Awards celebrate those alumni who have achieved excellence in their chosen field and have contributed to positive changes within the Faculty, University, or the community. Congratulations to this year's recipients. You can hear from them directly via the Arts Alumni Awards website.
Our commitment to students shone through in the outcomes of the end-of-semester 1 Student Survey, the results of which were particularly pleasing for Arts, with many students expressing individual thanks to teaching staff for ensuring the learning journey was as smooth as possible.
While these surveys demonstrate high levels of satisfaction among students in Arts, we also know that a significant cohort would benefit from more contact with teaching staff. That’s why Academic Advising, which will begin this coming semester, is so crucial. Academic Advising sets out to reinforce a sense of belonging to our scholarly community by providing students with an informal space in which to discuss with a member of academic staff what it means to study the Humanities and Social Sciences. This activity will also focus on helping students identify the skills derived from an Arts degree – and of course that is more important now than ever before.
Last month, I submitted a written response as part of the consultation process on the Federal Government’s ‘Job-Ready Graduates’ package. In that submission I welcomed a number of aspects of the proposed legislation, including the aim to lift the educational attainment of students in regional Australia, to better support Indigenous students and to strengthen links between universities and industry. But I also outlined the financial strain the funding changes would place on future generations of Australians, particularly women, and argued for the value of Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines in terms of employment outcomes and human literacy skills. I would encourage you to read similar arguments against the proposed legislation put forward by our Deputy Dean, Professor Sarah Maddison published recently in The Guardian together with other colleagues in Arts.
Professor Russell Goulbourne
Dean, Faculty of Arts