Unique expertise of each UNSW school celebrated by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Attila Brungs

16 Sep 2022
VC standing with two staff at the Optometry school

Professor Brungs continues his series of school visits, observing a universal commitment to excellence in education, research and student experience.

Professor Attila Brungs has been enjoying a busy homecoming year at UNSW Sydney, since starting as Vice-Chancellor in January 2022. Anyone who has seen the Vice-Chancellor about on campus will know that Prof. Brungs is actively engaged in familiarising himself with the University’s diverse community and intricate systems. To this end, he has committed to visit every division and every UNSW school – meeting colleagues and hearing their thoughts and reflections on UNSW.

Having now visited nearly half of our 42 schools, Prof. Brungs is enjoying the opportunity to discuss various topics and challenges with the community. In addition, he has been able to learn about some of UNSW’s impressive facilities and initiatives.

“Meeting with colleagues has been both enjoyable but also critical in assisting me develop a better understanding of UNSW,” said Professor Brungs. “The visits have been a fantastic opportunity to get to know the University community and our schools’ priorities. The level of engagement of school staff has been really impressive.”

In each of his visits, Prof. Brungs has asked colleagues what they’re most proud of in their school’s work. He has observed a universal commitment to excellence in education, research and student experience, and the positive impact that UNSW’s work has had on the world. Staff are delighted by the success of their graduates and the University’s commitment to social impact.

“I’m always buoyed to hear our colleagues speak energetically about the positive outcomes of their work at UNSW. We share a deep commitment to improving the world around us,” Prof. Brungs said. 

Highlights from some of the Vice-Chancellor’s most recent visits include:

Computer Science and Engineering
At CSE, Prof. Brungs was introduced to Algorithmic Decision Theory: algorithms for individual and collective decisions. He was also able to learn about human-machine interaction research and enjoyed a demonstration on retinal imaging, which can be used to detect brain tumours and other diseases.

ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) shared with the Vice-Chancellor how they are currently investigating innovative ways to promote age-diversity within the workplace.

School of Optometry and Vision Science
At the School of Optometry and Vision Science, Prof. Brungs had the opportunity to hear about the collaboration between UNSW and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. He also learned about the hands-on clinical training for optometry and ophthalmology students, equipping the next generation of eyecare practitioners who contribute to the Centre through their work-integrated learning.

School of Arts and Media
At Arts & Media, Prof. Brungs was introduced to the Media Futures Hub - a collection of scholars researching justice, media and emerging technologies. Together they are exploring topics such as community and First Nations’ media, drones and autonomous systems, data justice, listening across differences and everyday uses of media technology.

A significant aspect of the school visits is discussing present and emerging issues for each school, and the University more broadly. So far, items have included the importance of optimising the 3+ calendar, streamlining policies and procedures, removing barrier to cross organisational collaboration and re-thinking how we better use  our campuses for students and the wider community.

Action has already been taken in response to some of the topics raised. Discussions in the school visits have informed the 3+ Working Group, work on the new policy framework, and the reactivation our campuses. Further efforts are being made in various areas, including fostering collaboration and strengthening international connections. 

Prof. Brungs is sure further opportunities and ideas will be raised in future school visits. You are encouraged to attend and join the discussion about your school’s priorities and the direction of UNSW for the years to come.

“A heartfelt thanks to colleagues in our schools who have hosted me to date. And, to those who plan to take time out of their busy schedules to meet me in the coming months, I look forward to spending time with you.”