Monday, 21 September 2020

Dear colleagues,

In some ways, this is the most important Education Quarterly to date. I have often been asked why bother with Grand Challenges at this time of crisis beyond UWA and financial duress within universities? Moreover, what are Grand Challenges? The pieces in the edition answer both questions: what and why.

The short essays take us into some of the deepest ethical and policy issues facing humanity, demonstrating both how connected societies are and how the current pandemic is impacting most on already disadvantaged communities. What unites many of the pieces is a sense of individual and collective agency. It isn’t a time to stand passively in the face of the climate challenge or COVID-19’s impact. We read of the Student Hackathon and the exciting ideas that were put forward to make society fairer. We hear of the PhD research that is examining whether oil and gas infrastructure in the Ocean may have a beneficial effect on the marine ecosystem. As Julia Reisser notes, we need more than ever to be open to scientific expertise and to fresh thinking. Within the UWA context this requires working with, and listening to our students, and grass-roots ideas from staff working across disciplinary, academic and professional and portfolio boundaries. The Climate Change Community of Practice is an exciting step in this direction.

Also in this edition, we have important information for students and staff on quality matters. The issue of academic integrity and contract cheating requires a comprehensive and integrated University response. A sense of perspective is important however, and our approach is as much about helping our students achieve their potential as it is about sanctions and technological investigation. Through the work of Guy Curtis and in partnership with the Guild, UWA is participating in a national student survey on student attitudes and behaviours about contract cheating.

There is also important information on UWA’s re-registration by TEQSA in 2023. Many will be familiar with the requirements of professional accreditation and what is needed for success by all staff concerned. The TEQSA re-registration is the institutional equivalent. To return to my earlier theme of agency, we all have a role to ensure success in 2023.

I hope you agree this is an important and very readable Education Quarterly!

Professor David Sadler, PFHEA, NTF, MAICD, FRSA
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)


Education Quarterly