Aerial view of Wollongong Harbour

Message to students - 1 May, 2023

Message to students - 1 May, 2023

Dear Students, welcome to May – it feels like this year has been flying by, hasn’t it? 

Congratulations to UOW art students 

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending two incredible in the Sutherland Shire. "Vision Splendid: Highlights from the University of Wollongong Art Collection" and "Vital Signs", our visual arts students' annual graduate show, were both fantastic celebrations of the arts. It was truly inspiring to see the creativity and talent on display, and I am particularly proud to announce that one of UOW visual art graduates, William O'Toole, received the artist-residency prize at Hazelhurst. William's work is phenomenal, tackling complex issues of the environment and sustainability with skill and creativity. I hope you’ll take a chance to visit Hazelhurst Arts Centre on one sunny autumn day to get familiar with UOW Art Collection’s treasures and to check out our UOW students’ art.  

UOW’S EMBA ranked the best in Australia 

In other exciting news, I’m thrilled to share that Sydney Business School, UOW has maintained its in CEO Magazine’s annual Global Master of Business Administration (MBA) Rankings. The MBA program at Sydney Business School, UOW was awarded a coveted Tier One ranking, while the Executive MBA (EMBA) program secured a remarkable 11th place globally and was ranked first in Australia in the 2023 Global MBA Rankings. CEO Magazine reviewed data from 121 schools offering 239 programs in 24 countries, and their ranking system used criteria such as quality of faculty, international diversity and work experience to provide potential students with a benchmark for performance. It’s wonderful to see Sydney Business School, UOW go from strength to strength every year.  

Attacking Life – a story of perseverance and passion 

I wanted to share with you a . In 2014, UOW exercise science student James Forsyth was conducting a pilot study that involved recording muscle activity in surfers' landing aerials. 21-year-old Brett Connellan volunteered for the study. Two years later, Brett lost a significant portion of his thigh to a shark attack. Surgeons managed to reconstruct his thigh, but his ability to surf or even walk was threatened. However, after intense physiotherapy and rehab, Brett was back in the water five months post-operation. 

In 2019, James invited Brett back to the UOW lab to track his progress and recreate the study to share the data with Brett’s surgeons and physiotherapists. What James found was that Brett's brain had worked out a way to consider the transplanted back muscle as just another part of the leg muscle. This was a good example of neuroplasticity, where the brain finds a way to figure out a solution to a problem. 

Since his accident and recovery, Brett has been working as a motivational speaker, advocating for mental health awareness. Brett has a strong connection with UOW, especially researchers involved with his former employer, the Mental Health Movement. His story is featured in a documentary called Attacking Life, released in March 2023. What an inspiration and a testament to always continuing to fight for your dreams. You can read Brett's story on UOW’s brilliant editorial platform . 

I hope everyone has an enjoyable and productive week. 

My Best,