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From the Dean

13 July 2020
Welcome to Issue 11 of Illuminate Alumni News
2020 feels like it has already run longer than a year and we are only halfway through. The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt globally but also unevenly with some countries, some demographics, some sectors, even some suburbs hit much harder than others. I hope that you are weathering this immensely trying period as well as can be expected.

At a time when the Australian Government questions the value of an arts education via its proposed fee reforms, it is more than usually heartening to witness the very many ways our humanities and social sciences alumni, students and staff continue to demonstrate the value and significant contribution of our community during these tumultuous times.

An independent study found that University of Sydney researchers have been the most prominent academic voices in Australian COVID-19 media coverage, with Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott cited as one of the top 10 academics that journalists turned to this year to understand the global health security aspects of the pandemic. Our alumni have also come to the fore, channelling their expertise into practical measures to support the real world issues faced by many during the pandemic including Eddie Woo’s study tips for HSC students and Adam Jacob’s labour exchange to help Australian businesses hire workers who've been stood down. In this issue, you can also read about the important work of social work alumna Annette Michaux (BSW ‘94) through the Parenting Research Centre.

The incredible contribution of our alumni continues to be recognised at the highest levels with The Honourable Michael Baird (BA '89), Michael Pezzullo (BA '86), Elizabeth Christie (BA '71) and The Honourable John Della Bosca (MLitt '10) among the many faculty alumni included in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours list. University of Sydney leaders, Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson (BEc '76) and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Garton (BA '78) were also honoured.

Meanwhile, three trailblazing Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences alumni have won the coveted Alumni Awards for 2020: Malaysian media campaigner Premesh Chandran (MInternatStud ’96), Pakistan policy shaper Dr Hussain Nadim (PhD ’19), and Indigenous artist Dr Bronwyn Bancroft (MSA ’03, MVArts ’07, PhD ’19). Nominations for the 2021 Alumni Awards are now open.

The Government’s recent proposal to restructure higher education funding, significantly increasing the student contribution for most humanities and social sciences courses on the basis that such subjects do not lead to employment success, have spurred an online alumni movement using the hashtags #ProudArtsGrad or #ProudEconGrad. Proudly reflecting on the positive differences their degrees have made to their lives and careers, many of our alumni are sharing images and memories from their time on campus. It has been wonderful to see this support from such eminent alumni as The Honourable Chris Bowen MP (BEc ’94), Julie McCrossin AM (BA ’89) and Peter FitzSimons AM (BA ’93). I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to add your weight to the campaign. Tell the world why your degree matters. Share your pride using the hashtags #ProudArtsGrad or #ProudEconGrad. And if you also tag @Sydney_Uni, we will amplify your post across our various and extensive social media platforms.

We welcomed our Sydney College of the Arts students and staff to their new home in the Old Teacher’s College this year and in July and August will be presenting an in-conversation series with some of our most distinguished SCA alumni; Marc Newson (BVArts ’84) and Dr Bronwyn Bancroft (MSA ’03, MVArts ’07, PhD ’19) – more here

Finally, if you are considering postgraduate studies for Semester 2, we recommend applying as soon as possible. There are some excellent resources available online here. Whether you are looking to further your career in public policy, media, economics, education or social work, our degrees help change the world for the better.

Professor Annamarie Jagose
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences