It is a privilege and honour to be commencing my second year as Vice Chancellor and President here at Griffith University. I have greatly valued the wonderful opportunities over the past 12 months to get to know talented students, staff and alumni – and I hope to meet those of you who are able to join our forthcoming Sydney and Melbourne alumni events – details of these events are outlined in the February alumni newsletter.

Last month, over 150 of the University’s senior leaders came together at the Griffith Senior Leadership Conference Creating a Future for All.  Discussions were creative and courageous as we focused on specific steps and actions that we as senior leaders would undertake over the next 12 months to support the delivery of 2020 priorities.  We heard from our new Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Mario Pinto, about embracing diversity and rediscovering dialogue; and we were delighted that our alumnus Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll APM could join us for the key note address.  Commissioner Carroll APM shared her leadership journey and stressed the value of a shared purpose, integrity, compassion and passion to her success as a leader.

You will be aware of the significant impact that the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented Griffith as well as other universities in Australia; and that the situation is still evolving. Our key priority has been to focus on the welfare of staff and students – both new and continuing students – who have been impacted by COVID-19. We are working hard to put measures in place and to be as flexible wherever we can to help support those students impacted.  Our prime concern is the health and wellbeing of those affected; and we are in regular communication with students to outline study options and online offerings to ensure that students can continue their studies regardless of travel restrictions.

One of the privileges of my role is that I have a window into the great work undertaken by our Griffith community and I’d like to share one with you. The Kungullanji Indigenous Summer Research Program which brings together early career Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers. Kungullanji is an Aboriginal word from the Yugambeh language that means “to think”.  At Griffith we are committed to providing opportunities for all of our community to learn and build the skills that will transform thinking and learning. The Kungullanji Program has been designed to encourage students to think about research topics and to raise aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students by providing an undergraduate research experience, professional development, and connections to the broader Indigenous research community. I was delighted to attend the Program Conference and to recognise and celebrate the remarkable achievements of this year’s participants.

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