Achievements, accolades and a heartfelt thank you – 12 December 2023

12 Dec 2023
The 2023 EIELP cohort during an on-Country learning experience at Uluru

Dear colleagues

This is the final edition of Inside UNSW for 2023 and, looking back, I am amazed by the challenges we responded to and the breadth of remarkable achievements across the University over the past year. It should come as no surprise, given the calibre of people who make up our wonderful UNSW community. As we near the end of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work, commitment and passion. Please take a few moments to watch my video message.

Attila Brungs

To wrap up my last newsletter for the year, I would like to share some of our colleagues’ awards and achievements of the past fortnight, which again highlight their wide-ranging expertise and distinction.

  • Our good friends at Arc have won several accolades at the Student Experience Network Awards. Huge congratulations to Arc CEO Shelley Valentine, who won the Tom O’Sullivan Memorial Award in recognition of her significant and long-lasting contribution to improving the lives of students across the sector. Arc was also recognised in the Student Outcomes section with awards of distinction for ‘Best Orientation Experience’ and for ‘Most Successful Sports or Recreation Activity’.
  • Scientia Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice-Chancellor Society, has been appointed visiting Professor of Australian studies at Harvard University. I know Megan will add tremendous value there and continue to drive positive societal change by helping to foster the rich intellectual discourse between our two countries. Congratulations Megan!
  • I’m pleased to share that UNSW has ranked fifth in the world for Social Impact in the QS World University Sustainability Rankings, up from 11th in 2022. This result reflects UNSW’s commitment to environmental sustainability and our work towards finding and delivering solutions to the climate crisis.
  • Rosemary Kayess has been appointed to the role of Disability Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. This is a fitting acknowledgment of Rosemary’s remarkable career as a leading disability and human rights lawyer. Congratulations Rosemary!
  • Professor Maria Kavallaris, Scientia Professor Kaarin Anstey, Dr Brendon Neuen, Professor Moninya Roughan and Jason Antony have been recognised at the Royal Society of NSW Awards, with Scientia Professor Helen Christensen awarded the James Cook Medal, the Society’s highest honour. Congratulations to all of you on these well-deserved accolades!
  • Congratulations to the 28 Indigenous managers from organisations across Australia (pictured above) who graduated from AGSM’s Emerging Indigenous Executive Leaders Program in November this year. This is the seventh group of leaders, more than 180 in total, to graduate since the program began in 2017.
  • Congratulations to the outstanding educators who were recognised for the recent teaching awards at UNSW’s Education Festival 2023. Two teams and 12 individuals won awards in the UNSW Awards for Teaching Excellence and five colleagues were recognised in the Students’ Choice Teaching Award. You can read more about these worthy recipients in this edition of Inside UNSW.
  • Universities Australia, in partnership with The Australian, has launched the Shaping Australia Awards to celebrate the many ways universities help shape our nation. Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Professor Guan Yeoh and the Peter Farrell Cup at UNSW Founders are finalists in the awards. You can cast your vote here.
  • My thanks to the Program Phoenix project team, who have been working hard all year, supported by extraordinary efforts from teams across the Faculties and Divisions, on fixing our challenges and poor systems. Recently they have started engaging with the UNSW community about automating some manual checks and processes through a new time and attendance solution that will enable all employees to record their time accurately. ‘myTimesheet’ will be built to UNSW specifications to ensure pay confidence and compliance with our Enterprise Agreements. We’re aiming for implementation in T3 2024.

I also have news to share about our Chief Human Resources Officer, Deena Amorelli. After a wonderful contribution to UNSW spanning eight years, Deena is leaving the University to take up the position of Chief People Officer at the ABC.

As so many of you know, Deena is a delight to work with, a dedicated and energetic leader from whom I have learned much and received terrific support in my first two years as Vice-Chancellor.

Deena joined UNSW in 2015 as Head of the HR Business Partnering team, quickly establishing a reputation as an innovative leader, helming the People & Culture portfolio as part of S25 and, throughout her career at UNSW, deftly managing significant programs of work with her trademark enthusiasm and empathy.

Through COVID-related workplace change, negotiation of the Enterprise Agreements, the Insight staff survey and many other crucial programs, Deena’s contribution to UNSW has been significant. I am particularly grateful for Deena’s influence in supporting the vibrant and positive workplace culture that UNSW strives to embed.

Please join me in thanking Deena for all she has given to our University, for her passionate focus on people and for exemplifying our commitment to positive societal impact. I wish her all the very best in her role with the ABC. Deena’s final day at UNSW will be Friday 9 February 2024. I will provide an update on acting arrangements in the new year.

With the end of 2023 almost upon us, please see information compiled by Estate Management about campus operations over the shutdown period.

It has indeed been another busy year. Thank you all for your contributions.

I hope you enjoy a relaxing, safe and restorative break, and I am looking forward to seeing you in 2024.

Best regards

Professor Attila Brungs
Vice-Chancellor and President