UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Patricia Davidson with the UOW Pulse team as the plant trees. The team wears red t-shirts with UOW Pulse branding.

Message to students - 7 August, 2023

Message to students - 7 August, 2023

Dear Students, I hope this message finds you well, as the academic year moves at a rapid pace.

Vale Professor Justin Yerbury 

It is with a heavy heart that I begin by acknowledging the passing of our esteemed UOW colleague and a brilliant scientist, Professor Justin Yerbury AM. As some of you may know, Professor Yerbury dedicated his scientific career to finding a cure for motor neurone disease, a neurodegenerative illness that had haunted his family for decades. Despite facing his own prognosis and grappling with the challenges brought on by MND, Professor Yerbury’s spirit remained unyielding. A note pinned above his desk read, “You are not a product of your circumstances, but a product of your decisions,” a reminder of the power of perseverance and the ability to overcome adversity.  

Holding onto hope and ambition, he would say to his students and colleagues: “If you set your mind to something and work hard, then the sky is the limit.” In this time of sorrow and reflection for many, I encourage you to read more about Professor Yerbury’s remarkable life and ground-breaking research. We have also honoured his legacy by establishing the Justin Yerbury Chair in Neurodegenerative Diseases to help further his research and bring hope to the MND community.  

National Tree Day at UOW

Last week, we celebrated National Tree Day, and I was pleased to join our student and staff volunteers for a tree-planting event at our Wollongong campus. We planted 50 native trees and 200 types of grasses, furthering our commitment to environmental stewardship and community activism.  

I am proud to say that thanks to the dedication of our UOW volunteers, by the end of September, we will have planted more than 10,660 trees around the Illawarra! It only shows how much we can achieve as a community when we come together.  

I want to thank everyone for the remarkable volunteering efforts and encourage more of you to follow suit. Volunteering allows you to share in the spirit of community engagement while also providing valuable opportunities for personal growth, skill development and networking.  

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion 

I am also delighted to share that last week, we launched an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Calendar to foster a culture of dialogue and connection. Here, you can explore upcoming celebrations and acknowledgments that are significant to you and your communities. I encourage you all to take a look and mark the days you feel are important to you.  

More security measures for UOW student accounts 

Cybersecurity is top of mind for all of us at the moment. I want to inform you about an essential security update for UOW student accounts. We are implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to enhance the security of your accounts. MFA adds an extra layer of protection by requiring multiple forms of identity verification when logging in.  

From 21 August, you will be able to opt-in to MFA. You will receive an email from Information Management & Technology Services (IMTS) providing more information and instructions. This measure is crucial to safeguarding your personal information, academic data and intellectual property from unauthorised access and potential cyber threats. Your cooperation and participation will be instrumental in maintaining a secure and protected online learning environment for everyone. 

Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to both our environmental initiatives and the security of our University's digital ecosystem. 

I hope you’ll have a productive month ahead. Be safe and well and have fun. 

My warmest,