I hope you had a pleasant weekend.
Last week I held a School meeting to address questions about the Implementation Schedule. At this meeting, and in several other discussions subsequently I was asked to clarify aspects of the process, give guidance on how academic staff might select the optimal group and discuss how resources will be equitably distributed. The first thing to highlight is that Departments form only the pastoral foundations of a grander strategic framework of cross-Department engagement outlined in the first report of the Research Working Party. I am convinced this framework will establish the basis for informed strategic decision. Much of the appeal for me is that it actively encourages interactions across the School. My first task is to reorganise Departments to facilitate the four Working Parties, who will help us all set strategy and derive guidelines. The CoS Phase 1 Change Implementation Plan defined Departments;
The new Departmental structure will maintain cultural integrity around cognate technical resources. The newly-configured Departments will:
· Provide pastoral care, a duty of care extending across all staff and students, with peers helping set the tone and standard of collegiate behaviour. Departmental heads will help to establish the collegial tone of the Department.
· Ensure a safe working environment through appropriate inductions and due care.
· Act as a recurrent budget unit to incentivise foundational teaching and research activities,
· Focus specific technical expertise, particularly around design and development of the core facilities in the Department.
· Provide balanced representation in the School Executive across areas of research with very different resourcing requirements.
Departments are naturally arranged around aligned technical facilities, thus the codes that loosely define the current groupings reflect our National facilities, shared infrastructure in the new building and areas of National commitment. This is to ensure that each of the five Departments will have equitable access to the now Central School technical staff resources. The Infrastructure Working Party is working to guide this intention. The second thing to say about Departments is that staff may readily transfer, especially in this early stage. I intend to publish the preliminary academic staff lists on Wednesday. This, in no way, locks staff into a Department and I imagine that some movement will occur even over the next few weeks. That is all perfectly fine and I am happy to facilitate where needed. At present, around 70% of staff have nominated their preferred Department and all Departments are more or less evenly populated so far. To accommodate this fluidity I have pushed some of the dates back slightly in the revised Schedule, as well as adding some FAQs.
I will hold a second School meeting on change implementation at 1200 today. All are welcome.
This week’s pic provides us a window on 1980, when the School had a band. During the week I had the pleasure of speaking with Kerri van Belkom, daughter of Colin Steele seen here playing banjo. Kerri remembers fondly being a child accompanying her father at many School events. Colin was in the main mechanical workshop from the late 60’s until 1982 when he retired to the North Coast. Kerri sent me a lovely bundle of School memories of her dad’s time here that will be added to our archive. If anyone can help, I would be pleased to discover who the other band members are?
Have a great week,