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A message from the Vice-Chancellor

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Peter Dawkins, Vice-Chancellor and President, Victoria University

Peter Dawkins

Hello. I’m Peter Dawkins, your Vice Chancellor and President, here at Victoria University.

I wanted to speak to you all today, wherever you are, whether you‘re in Melbourne, elsewhere in Australia or overseas; whether you are an undergraduate or postgraduate higher education student or a vocational education student or a VCE or VCAL student; whether you are a domestic student or an international student.

I want to let you know that I personally, and all our staff, are thinking of you and the concern you will be feeling about the evolving and challenging situation around COVID-19, and its implications for you and your families, for the VU community, and I especially want to talk to you about how we are trying to minimise the disruption of your studies.

The wellbeing and success of our students is the most important thing for us. Your health is very important, but we are also determined to do everything we can to enable you to continue your education, to keep learning, growing, progressing your qualifications and succeeding.

After a week’s break for our students studying onshore in Australia, the vast majority of you can look forward to recommencing your studies next week.

To help keep the VU community safe, and to play our part in slowing the spread of the virus, we have made major changes to how we deliver our courses, with most of our classes to be delivered in a digital and remote delivery mode. We thank you for your patience and understanding while we get prepared for this radical transformation of our delivery mode and I thank those of you who have collaborated with us on the change.

The one-week suspension of classes here in Australia has enabled our teams to work towards as smooth as possible transition to continue your education through digitally supported remote learning, where appropriate and necessary.

Some on-campus teaching will resume from Monday 30 March and details of those classes have been communicated.

Our Polytechnic, which delivers our TAFE and pathway courses, is also moving mostly to digitally-supported remote learning, and the aim is that most of our vocational education students will commence in this study mode from mid-April. If you are currently studying with our VU Polytechnic please stay connected with us via your teachers, learning materials and online support services available.

Our students studying via VU Online are continuing study as usual.

Our students in China have already been studying remotely over the last few weeks and we hear that you are doing very well. As we move to remote learning in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and other locations, please be assured that we’re doing our utmost to ensure that you can still achieve the learning outcomes of your program. We recognise that this will be very challenging at times. Make sure to stay connected, check both your VU and home institution emails and VU Collaborate spaces regularly for updates. Let us, or your home institution know if you are experiencing any difficulties and need support.

We ask that you all students, wherever you are, regularly monitor your student email for updates, take the time to update your contact details via MyVU and check in to VU Collaborate on a daily basis to view dates and times of scheduled virtual classes. Visit the ‘Communications’ Menu and 'Zoom Classroom’ or 'WebEx Virtual Classroom’ to keep up-to-date. Our students in China will be given access to a VPN to ensure reliable access to VU Collaborate.

Should you have questions around these new arrangements or if you require support or assistance, please reach out to our team at VU on the details appearing on the screen below or visit our online FAQs. This is very important. We need to know about the challenges you are facing.

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Melbourne student contact centre 03 9919 6100

Sydney student services 02 8265 3222

Melbourne counselling services 03 9919 5400

Sydney counselling services 02 8265 3222

Peter Dawkins

Our on-campus VUHQ services are currently closed until further notice. For any enquiries you may have, you can reach our team of Student Advisors via phone or email using the details on screen or live chat though our website.

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VUHQ: 9919 6100

Email: [email protected]

VUHQ Website: https://www.vu.edu.au/contact-us/vuhq-student-service-centres

Peter Dawkins

For our international students, these are particularity uncertain times. For those of you who have already arrived in Australia, we understand the challenges you have living away from your family, friends and community. I want you to know that the VU community is here to support you, and we encourage you to access the services available to you including our International Student Advisors. 

For those of you who had planned to arrive in Australia but now find yourself studying remotely, please be assured that we are working to ensure that the impacts on you and your study plans are minimal. Again, I urge you to access the support available to you. If you are a student due to graduate this semester, VU is working to make all your remaining units available online, so you can complete your studies on time.

For our students studying offshore, please know that VU is working very closely with our partner institutions to plan and deliver changes to curriculum and assessment during these extraordinary times.

We are also working closely with our partner institutions to plan and deliver changes to curriculum and assessment. We are doing our best to ensure that you can still achieve the learning outcomes of your program.

Importantly, I strongly encourage all students to stay in touch with each other during this time by using the various platforms and chat rooms that are available to you.

We will be holding an online student forum on 8 April, where I look forward to joining you and our student leaders to learn about your experiences of VU’s new digitally supported remote learning mode. This forum will also give you a chance to have your questions answered around the University’s response to COVID-19. We will contact you with details of this online forum as they are confirmed.

Finally, wherever you are, to make your learning experience as positive as possible we ask that you actively partner with your teachers so we can work together to make your VU journey a rewarding one. The teachers are keen to work with you to make this work.

Thank you all for your time, patience and understanding and I extend my best wishes to all you and your families over the weeks ahead.

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