Message from President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs - 28 November 2019

28 Nov 2019
Professor Ian Jacobs at a meeting at UNSW Global

This week saw the announcement of the 2019 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Teaching Excellence. We are fortunate at UNSW to have teachers who nurture and inspire their students across the faculties – a fact reflected in the diverse fields the awardees come from. I offer my congratulations to all who received nominations and to all who received awards:

General Category

  • Dr Sally Nathan, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
  • Dr Jenny Richmond, School of Psychology
  • Associate Professor Adrienne Torda, Office of Medical Education

Design and Development of Programs

  • Dr Justine Rogers, School of Law
  • Dr Susanne Schmeidl, School of Social Sciences
  • The BABS Technical Team, School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences

Postgraduate Research Supervision

  • Professor Serkan Saydam, School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering

Rising Star and Early Career

  • Dr Naama Carlin, School of Social Sciences
  • Dr Stuart Clark, School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering
  • Dr Chaturaka Rodrigo, School of Medical Sciences

UNSW’s recognition of the important role of teachers was highlighted in 2017 with the introduction of the Education Focussed academic career path. This year has seen 60 new academics step into EF roles, with more than half of those being filled by current academic casuals. Having dedicated academics who are passionate about teaching will help us to enhance the student experience at UNSW. You can read more about the progress of EF roles here.

In September and October this year, staff were invited to share their perspective of working at UNSW in the staff engagement survey, Insight. Thank you to the nearly 4000 people who took time to provide feedback on what is working well at UNSW and what can be improved. A summary of the key insights from the survey is here. The survey findings are now being shared with staff through their Faculty or Division and will guide actions to be taken, based on your feedback.

Positive news for UNSW Medicine and Science in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World Rankings by Subject. UNSW Medicine jumped 32 places to 59th in the THE ranking for clinical, pre-clinical and health, while in science subjects, Physical Sciences jumped 24 places to enter the Top 100 at 98th, Life Sciences improved five places to come in at 80th, and Psychology maintained its ranking at 52nd. 

The Global Dialogue on Ocean Accounting and the First Annual Meeting of the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership was recently held at our Kensington campus. This important gathering was co-hosted by UNSW and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and is supported by the World Bank ‘Blue Economy’ Program. Representatives from 18 governments, the UN, research organisations, and technical experts and decision-makers from around the world came together to discuss ways of conserving and sustainably using oceans, which are crucial for social and economic development. Well done to Dr Ben Milligan from UNSW’s Environmental Law Cluster for bringing this together. You can read more about the meeting in this edition of Inside UNSW.

Bundjalung woman, writer and UNSW Law student, Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts, has been named as a finalist for the 2019 Young People’s Human Rights Medal. Vanessa was nominated for her advocacy of First Nations people, particularly those in statutory care and the criminal justice system, as well as for her leadership in drawing attention to the prejudice Indigenous Australians face. The Human Rights Awards ceremony will be held on 13 December and I’m sure I speak for all at UNSW when I wish Vanessa the very best of luck.

Congratulations to Professor Raphael Grzebieta who has received a second lifetime achievement award this year, for his more than 25-year contribution to the road and transport sector. After receiving the 2019 Kenneth A Stonex award in February, Professor Grzebieta’s credentials as a global road safety expert were once again recognised with an award from the Australian Road Research Board. These awards are richly deserved given Professor Grzebieta’s research has saved lives and reduced road trauma around the world. Read more about the award and Professor Grzebieta’s work here.

If you would like to assist women and girls experiencing homelessness, poverty and domestic violence, you can support ‘It’s in the bag’, run by Australian Charity Share the Dignity. You are asked to donate a new or no longer used handbag in good condition filled with brand new toiletries to be passed on to women in need.  The call for donations started on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women last Monday and will run until Thursday 5 December. You can find out more about items to include and drop-off points at the Kensington and Canberra campuses here.

I hope that many of you enjoy family day today. And a reminder that with the end of the year fast approaching, UNSW holiday cards are once again available in both digital and print versions. For all the details read the story in this edition.

Best wishes,