With the Easter long weekend just behind us, I hope that you were able to enjoy some time for relaxation and to spend with family over the Easter period.
At times such as this, it is important to stay in touch and to do what we can to maintain collegiality, if only via Zoom! With that in mind members of the Executive have started a series of ‘catch up’ meetings. These occur in the period between our regular monthly meetings and are intended as a means by which we can maintain contact with each other and keep informed about the ever-changing impact of COVID 19 on our colleges and universities. We are also making sure that we stay in contact and in conversation with our strategic partners.
During the most recent of these catch up meetings, members of the Executive re-iterated their desire and willingness to speak to members of the Association, to share their experiences, to answer members’ questions and to provide general and practical support. Some of you have already been in contact with Deborah Pugh and have asked questions about matters such as the administration of refunds. Please continue to do that, but also consider contacting a member of the Executive. As a reminder, the members of the Executive are:
Mrs Barbara Green, President
Mr Wayne Erickson, Vice President, St Andrew’s College, Sydney
Ms Rose Alwyn, IPP, St John’s College, Brisbane
Dr Ian Walker, Committee, Toad Hall, ANU
Mr Mark Sampson, Treasurer, University Hall, Perth
Ms Joanna Rosewell, Secretary, Jane Franklin Hall, Hobart
Adjunct Professor Bill Peirson, Committee, New College & New College Postgraduate Village, UNSW
Given the travel restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Executive cancelled the meeting planned for Melbourne at the end of March. Like so many organisations, we will rely on teleconferencing until we are able to travel again.
I continue to be in contact with Peter McDonald over GST implications of COVID 19 on college operations. Most recent conversations have focussed on the recently announced JobKeeper program. A letter from Peter is attached here I encourage you to share this with your Business Manager.
The national picture - student numbers, risk mitigation and the issue of fees, credits & refunds
The Executive is currently compiling a national picture of how the Australian collegiate community has been impacted by COVID-19 and how colleges around the nation have responded. To date we have gathered information detailing the current situation in most states. Read the update here
We will update this as more details become available. Many of your questions have influenced our focus themes for this report.
One suggestion recently put to me was the possibility of time being spent at the Forum to enable members to share experiences ideas about re-establishing community once colleges, particularly those which have closed during the crisis, re-open or return to normal operations. While this is an idea worthy of consideration, it is interesting to note what some colleges are doing to maintain collegiality even when students are living and studying away from their college home. This may involve adapting traditional activities to the digital context or developing new activities that are well suited to this context. Tutorials are being conducted online in many places as are some student events and activities such as social events, musical activities and student led book clubs. Other possibilities include:
Professional skills workshops
Offering Year 12 tutorials for prospective students
Professional mentoring or Q&A Sessions run by alumni
Professional skills workshops run by alumni
Academic skills workshops
FAQs with the Principal
Mentoring rural students struggling with the Year 12
I have also been in contact with the President of NAAUC and have commenced conversation about the critical role for Student Clubs in both maintaining and then building positive communities.