Welcome from the HoS
Welcome to the final newsletter for 2018 and my final newsletter as Head of School. Throughout this year I have been in dual roles as both Head and Deputy Dean – Research in the Faculty of Science. I will be stepping down at the end of the year to focus entirely on the Deputy Dean position. A new Head, external to UNSW, has been identified, but the appointment has not yet been finalised. In the interim, Michael Ferry will be stepping in as acting Head of School, probably for the first several months of 2019.
The last five and a half years have seen massive transformations in the School (as well as the University more broadly). The School itself underwent a major relocation into a brand-new building in 2015. Beyond that student numbers have almost doubled, and academic staff numbers have grown steadily. The School is now home to several ARC-funded centres as well as significant industrial joint ventures with China. Over this time, four staff members have received the vice-chancellor’s award for teaching excellence and, as a School, we deliver teaching, which, by some margin, receives the highest student evaluations across the entire university. The number of research papers published in ‘Nature’ and ‘Science’ family journals has increased significantly. Such achievements reflect the hard work of both academic and professional staff and an overarching commitment to excellence in teaching and research.
Over this time, I have interacted with many hundreds of students, staff, industry partners and alumni with connections to the School. Their enthusiasm and support for materials science and the leadership role our School plays in that field in Australia and globally is remarkable.
For the past five and a half years, I have been especially fortunate to have been surrounded by an excellent ‘support’ team in Owen Standard, a superb Deputy, Lucy Zhang, an outstanding School Manager, and two brilliant assistants (Joanne Hallis and Laura McNally). I am exceptionally grateful to have worked with this wonderful group. I wish Michael, in the short term, and my successor, in the longer term, good luck in steering the School into the 2020’s!