VCs thank staff: right time, right message

Vice chancellors ended a bad week with gratitude to the people who stopped it being worse, including

Carolyn Evans (Griffith U) thanked staff, all staff; “no team in the University has been untouched by this extraordinary situation, and all our staff have stepped up to support each other, our students and our partners. This includes all the work to transition to online learning, keep our students, staff, partners and campuses operating safely and maintain our research mission.”

As recognition, she says the university is closed on the Thursday before Easter, with everybody getting an extra paid day off (time in lieu later for essential services). Professor Evans adds she wants everybody to leave each other alone about over Easter; “we could all do with a bit of time to rest and be with our families or friends after all the hard work of the trimester so far.”

The Vice Chancellor also announced she and her executive group colleagues were taking a pay freeze for 2020; “try to ensure that resources are focused on the staff and students who are the backbone of Griffith.”

Margaret Gardner (Monash U) had messages for key constituencies, including:

Students: “the delivery style of your learning may be different but our attention to the quality of your education is unwavering.”

Casual and sessional staff: “we are committed to ensuring you have access to isolation leave should you need it as do all our fixed term and continuing staff … and we are giving priority to the employment of our current casual sessional cohort. “

Teaching academics: if they need help with additional workloads, to move courses on-line they should ask.

Researchers: Facilities will continue.

Professional staff: “We intend to maintain an as close to business as usual environment as is safe and reasonable to do.”

Professor Gardner thanked, “the many, many staff who continue to go above and beyond in managing what is a very difficult situation. Your efforts, commitment and dedication are noticed.”

Peter Hoj (Uni Queensland) acknowledged people have lives. “I am also mindful of the impact and pressure this is having on our lives outside of work – children’s sport cancelled, greater concern about the welfare of vulnerable family members and friends, or simply not being able to find what we want on supermarket shelves. I want to sincerely thank each of you for the many hours worked and your continued commitment to take on these challenges and find innovative solutions. We are a great team and together we will get through this.

Linda Kristjanson (Swinburne U) thanked all staff categories: Many of us are feeling unsettled and unsure as the global situation evolves each day. Yet, you have continued to support each other and the university’s mission in extraordinary ways. … thank you for your unwavering commitment.”