There have been many words used to describe 2020 – challenging, unprecedented and difficult are just a few that come to mind. While we have been relatively fortunate from a health perspective in Queensland, it is fair to say that little that we had planned for 2020 has happened. Instead, we have been focused on supporting students, staff and partners deal with the impact of COVID 19, as have so many of you. Throughout everything we have had to deal with and respond to, often at short notice, the value of strong partnerships locally, nationally and globally has been reinforced repeatedly. Thank you for your support and flexibility as we all worked together, with the health and well-being of students and staff as the priority.
While there has been no shortage of bad news throughout the year, there have also been many highlights. From the transfer of courses online to ensure that students could continue with their Griffith studies, wherever in the world they might be, and the launch of the Griffith Mates’ virtual student support and engagement program that has ensured our students have stayed connected with the University and each other, through to the provision of financial support and meals for students in crisis, it has been incredible to see the innovation and genuine desire to respond in a positive way.
While the pandemic and its impact have loomed large over much of the year, there have been many reasons to celebrate. We started the year marking the opening of an amazing new building for Engineering, Technology and Aviation at our Nathan campus, hosted COVID-safe opera and orchestral concerts showcasing the talents of students from the Queensland Conservatorium, and celebrated three staff and alumni of the Queensland College of Art being shortlisted for the Archibald Prize. In a year short on highlights for student mobility, we were delighted to be awarded nine prestigious New Colombo Plan scholarships, including the Indigenous Fellow and ASEAN Fellow. Griffith staff and students were also awarded Churchill, Fulbright and Monash scholarships.
Research continued throughout the year, despite the challenges, and fellowships and grants received reflect the excellence across the University in areas ranging from innovative health research on spinal cord injury, through to digital archaeology, wiser wound care and nano-materials and microfluidics. International rankings continued to be released throughout 2020 and Griffith climbed further up every major ranking, as well as being named best in Australia for Nursing and Midwifery, Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Law and Criminology in the 2020 Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings.
These are just some of the many achievements that have been reason for celebration throughout the past year, and that have reinforced for us the many positives about being at Griffith, even in a year when it has been easy to focus only on the challenges.
As ever, much of what has been achieved could not have happened without your commitment and support. We are definitely looking forward to some time off over the festive season and summer here in Australia, and have no doubt that you, like us, are looking forward to a brighter 2021. Wherever you are, thank you for your ongoing relationship with Griffith University, and we wish you all good health and a safe start to the New Year.
Professor Carolyn Evans Professor Sarah Todd
Vice Chancellor & President Vice President (Global)