A message from the Vice Chancellor

27 March 2020

It is not the crisis that defines us, but our response to the crisis that reminds us of who we are.

In these days, our global society faces the immense challenge of responding to COVID-19. Healthcare professionals, public servants and political leaders are responding to a crisis, the scale of which we have not seen for over a century. Amidst this fast-changing situation, we are grateful for their dedication and professionalism.

Around the world, we are seeing thousands of examples of random acts of kindness that are defining our human response to this terrible pandemic. Amid this crisis, I want to pay tribute to our many alumni, especially those working in healthcare (numbering over 10,000) and also to our many thousands of alumni in the teaching profession who are keeping our schools open. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of our alumni and their families, and we honour them for their service to our society. They remind us that in any crisis, it is not the crisis itself, but our response to it, which shows us who we are.

At this time, I also want to thank all our staff across our campuses who have worked these past weeks to respond to this crisis and to get courses on-line and up and running. They have, as ever, done a remarkable job in a short space of time, showing immense professionalism, dedication and commitment throughout.

And to you, the students, I would like to thank you for your support, commitment and resilience  Over this week and last, I heard from many staff members who were moved and encouraged by the kind messages you sent them and the understanding you showed as they worked to move to the new on-line platform. Your kindness and thoughtfulness define our community at this difficult time.

I am conscious that these are difficult days for students and staff alike. I am also conscious that this is a particularly worrying time for the many students who come from beyond our shores. So to our international students, I want to encourage and reassure you that the Notre Dame community is especially here for you. Our international office and student services team are reaching out and offering assistance and help. If you have particular concerns, do get in touch and let us know.

And to our many students who hail from closer to home, do let us know if you are experiencing any problems or difficulties and how we might help. Our University will not close, but rather will remain open to ensure it can offer support to those students in need. That means:

  • Notre Dame follows government and public health advice. We monitor and implement that advice once issued; we will continue to remain open to our students.
  • The vast majority of our Schools are now online. The few remaining will be fully online by Saturday, 28 March. For timetabling, practical lab sessions, industry placements and any other academic support, please check with your Schools and/or Course Coordinators.
  • Notre Dame will continue to provide you with an excellent standard of education, delivered online. To you all, and in particular, to our first-year students, this is not our permanent way of teaching. We moved very quickly to online delivery modes as a result of this pandemic. The current online delivery is a temporary response to the crisis, and the physical face to face teaching will resume as soon as possible.
  • St Teresa’s Library (Fremantle) and St Benedict’s Library (Canavan Hall) (Sydney) will remain open  These will operate as a "one stop shop" in which you can get help with academic matters, student services, counselling or support generally  In Broome, we have also ensured that help will be available to you on campus. Social distancing and all health and hygiene measures will be followed and enforced.
  • We will continue to provide online and on-site services and support. You are very welcome on campus.
  • Tomorrow the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic will update you on a number of adjustments to academic delivery in Semester 1 2020.
  • Our COVID-19 webpage is updated on a daily basis and can be accessed directly here. Here you will find advice and answers to frequently asked questions. For support and help in regard to your studies please check Blackboard and reach out to your Dean or Course Coordinator or visit our Student Support page here.

We will provide you with regular updates and do let us know how we can help  Thank you all again, and my thoughts and prayers are with you, your families and friends at this time.

Vice Chancellor Professor Francis Campbell


Media Contact: Breyon Gibbs : +61 8 9433 0569 | breyon.gibbs@nd.edu.au