The last few weeks have been quite amazing on a number of fronts – our strong performance in the 2015 ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) evaluation; Associate Professor Halim Rane’s Australian University Teacher of the Year award, with Halim, Dr Caryl Bosman and Dr Peter Denney all winning individual national Awards for Teaching Excellence; and six Griffith students receiving National Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarships.

Each of these scholarships is worth up to $67,000 and will fund study travel for our students to destinations in the Indo-Pacific region. Amarina Smith was selected as the National Colombo Plan Fellow for Hong Kong as the highest ranked scholar for this location. She is also the first Indigenous NCP scholar.

Workplace Equality

And as advised in early November, the University was once again awarded a Workplace Gender Equality Agency Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation. The University is extremely proud of its achievements in being awarded the citation initially as an Employer of Choice for Women from 2001 and now as Employer of Choice for Gender Equality since its inception in 2014. This achievement showcases our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion within the Griffith community.

These outcomes are a reminder of the incredible talent that lies at the heart of Griffith – in our researchers, teachers, professional staff, students and alumni. As Vice Chancellor, it was wonderful to see over two thousand staff attending end-of-year events and campus briefing sessions where we have been able to join together to share some of the great stories that have made up the year. I was pleased once again to be able to play Bob Dylan’s Christmas album as the soundtrack to my end of year campus lunches. First released in 2009, it just seems to get better and better. I am always surprised at how rarely it is played.

Griffith Lecture – Peter Greste

Although the year may be winding down, you would never know it by looking at the events calendar in recent weeks. Perhaps the highlight for me was an exceptional Griffith Lecture delivered by acclaimed journalist Peter Greste on 4 December. Peter’s speech on ‘Free Speech in the Age of Terror’ was skillfully crafted and compellingly presented, managing to engage in an intelligent way with the complex issues facing free speech in the modern world. To view this thought-provoking lecture, see the link above.

As a University with a deep commitment to equity and social justice, Griffith was privileged to host a symposium titled ‘The True Impacts of Domestic Violence’ on 25 November. The symposium, which was opened by The Honourable Shannon Fentiman MP, Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, provided an opportunity to engage with staff, students and community members on the impacts of domestic and family violence within the workplace and wider community.

Earlier in the same week, the University launched a Domestic and Family Violence website. The site features a number of research contributions by Griffith’s academic staff and students, and provides an overview of support services available to members of the Griffith community, both on and off campus. The University is also playing a key leadership role on the State Government’s Queensland Family and Child Commission Advisory Council with Griffith representatives including Deputy Chancellor Rachel Hunter DUniv, Professor Lesley Chenoweth AO, Professor Clare Tilbury and Ms Zoe Rathus AM.

Wayne Goss Centre

On 8December, the Chancellor and I were privileged to join Roisin Goss and family to celebrate the official naming of the Information Services Centre on our Logan campus as The Wayne Goss Centre. While Premier of Queensland from 1989-1996, Wayne Goss was determined to establish a university campus in Logan to provide higher education services for Logan residents and surrounding districts in the fast growing Brisbane-Gold Coast corridor. The 56ha Meadowbrook site was purchased by the Goss government for the University and the government provided significant funds towards the establishment of the Logan campus, which was opened in 1998.By renaming the Information Services Centre as the Wayne Goss Centre, the University acknowledges Wayne Goss’s contributions to the Logan community and his life time of extraordinary service to the people of Queensland and Australia.

Other highlights for the month included two Griffith alumni – Tie Song and Darren Burns – winning 2015 Australia-China Alumni Awards, Professor Andrew Kirkpatrick being elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Professor Kathleen Daly being awarded the Distinguished Criminologist Award (as well as the Christine M Alder Book Award) at the 2015 Australian New Zealand Society of Criminology conference, and the presentation of two University 2015 Internationalisation Awards – one to Dr Allen Huang to recognise the most outstanding contribution to Griffith’s overall internationalisation, and the other to Professor Jean-Marc Hero to recognise the most outstanding contribution to short term global mobility programs. Congratulations to Tie, Darren, Andrew, Kathleen, Allen and Jean-Marc on their significant achievements.