UQ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Greenfield.
UQ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Greenfield.
25 February 2011

Welcome to the 2011 academic year and a new century at UQ.

Some students and staff have come through trauma and upheaval to arrive at, or return to UQ, and might embrace the challenges of study and work as fuel for moving ahead.

Whether you are one of these people, or simply someone who seizes new opportunities with gusto, The University of Queensland is an ideal place to be.

For students – particularly undergraduates – the ever-improving UQ Advantage delivers the new UQ Advantage Award.

Presented at the time of graduation, it will reward people who complete certain co-curricular pursuits (like study exchanges, voluntary work and summer research), and is set to give employers even more reasons to recruit UQ graduates.

Research higher degree candidates and honours students will benefit from UQ’s recent stunning result in the first comprehensive Australia-wide assessment of university research, known as ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia), and growth in Australian Postgraduate Award scholarships is another win for research higher degree candidates.

Undergraduates also gain from the ERA outcome, because they can apply for summer research scholarships to work alongside top-performing researchers – and because discovery informs and enhances UQ’s teaching.

Throughout the recent spate of natural disasters, the University’s chief concern has been for the local and international students and staff who were hit hard.

We’ve found the interest in student welfare is shared by our global network of alumni and friends, who have contributed more than one quarter of a million dollars to the Vice-Chancellor’s Emergency Student Welfare Fund.

Further donations came from the free Queensland Symphony Orchestra concert staged during Orientation Week. The orchestra invited the University to host this event, demonstrating that UQ does not only have wonderful students, staff and alumni – but that we also have terrific friends in the community.

Orientation Week helps suggest the tone of campus life for thousands of new students. This year’s O-Week students are highly significant, not least because they began 100 years after the original UQ students.

This anniversary made O-Week 2011 a fine time to raise the flags of Australia’s original peoples. Both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are now flown, daily, above UQ’s most recognisable and dignified structure, the Forgan Smith Tower at St Lucia campus.

The flags make a statement of the university-wide resolve to work assiduously with Indigenous communities to advance their educational opportunities.

This point was a focus of UQ’s deliberations during the 2010 Centenary, and is integral to our responsibilities to engage with and serve state, national and global communities.

I thank you, in advance, for your work in 2011 and beyond. As the year unfolds I will be delighted to share news of the local, national and worldwide contributions made by UQ students, staff and alumni, who will set the pace for success in a new century.

Professor Paul Greenfield, AO