University update

In this edition of Alumni News, I wanted to provide an update on the University’s activities as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop.

ClocktowerAs you would imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging the University’s ability to maintain our sense of community through physical connections. However, with great resilience and a flare for innovation, our dedicated academic and professional staff members and our brilliant student community are adapting to change. In just a few weeks, they have taken the University’s teaching and learning fully online.

On a single day late last month, our Learning Management System received more than 1.4 million hits, as staff members and students kept safe by practicing physical distancing, yet continued to teach and learn to the highest standard. At the same time, in recognition of the impact on student finances – particularly those who relied on part-time jobs that have been suspended – the University has introduced a COVID-19 Emergency Student Support fund to provide assistance to students who have experienced financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

As you would expect of our University, our colleagues and partners are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. You may be aware of the internationally-important role played by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity – a joint venture between the University and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. They were the first laboratory outside of China to grow and share the COVID-19 virus, providing expert international laboratories with crucial information to help combat the virus. Their work – and those of colleagues across our faculties – is more crucial than ever and we are supporting them and others to have the greatest impact, in the next 60 days for testing and treatment and to provide longer solutions to global problems of this kind.

The University will be publishing a series of online panel discussions about COVID-19 response in the coming days and weeks, following on from the success of our first expert panel discussion in March, which has received more than 270 000 views across a range of platforms. Stay tuned for more on that.

And in the meantime, please look after yourselves, support each other, and let us all stay strong.

James Allan
Director, Alumni and Stakeholder Relations