Recently I participated in the Vice Chancellor’s Management Conference. One of the key questions on the agenda at the conference was what sort of comprehensive university does UQ want to be? Are we making the most of the cross-disciplinary expertise on offer? And how can barriers to collaboration across Schools and Faculties be lowered to maximise research and teaching collaborations to address the challenges we face at the start of the 21st Century. Some of these cross-School and Faculty collaborations are already bearing fruit in the School of Social Science. The new Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, which involves a close collaboration with the TC Beirne School of Law has kicked off with more than 70 students enrolled in the first year. This is a great achievement for the criminology group and the School. I was able to meet some of these commencing students when we celebrated the success of high achieving graduating students at our annual awards and prizes event in February.
In the postgraduate area, the new Master of Heritage Management builds on the School's research strengths in archaeology and anthropology. Embedded in a world heritage framework, the Masters Program will provide graduates from archaeology, anthropology, history and cognate disciplines in planning and environmental management with high level professional heritage practice skills. It is great to see this new initiative being embedded into the teaching and learning suite of the School.
The Bachelor of Social Science is in the process of being revamped in light of a 2016 academic program review, led by Associate Professor Paul Henman. The review has recommended a new major in Environment and the introduction of a specific first year and second year course to help build a strong cohort effect amongst Bachelor of Social Science students. The core of the program will be built around social research and policy skills. These exciting program changes will take effect in 2018.
I would also like to welcome Professor Rosa Alati and Dr Jenny Munro. Professor Alati was successful in the highly competitive UQ Development Fellowship round, securing a 3 year Fellowship with ISSR. Professor Alati will be in the school 1-2 days per week and will be teaching a sociology of health course. Professor Alati is an international leader in the social aspects of health with specialisations in mental health and substance abuse. Dr Jenny Munro is an experienced cultural anthropologist who works in Papua and other parts of eastern Indonesia. Dr Munro’s teaching and research expertise span gender, health and race.
The School has celebrated a number of competitive grant research successes. Associate Professor Chris Clarkson was awarded a highly competitive and prestigious ARC Future Fellowship in late 2016 and he will commence the fellowship focusing on new archaeological investigations in Kakadu National Park in the middle of this year. Associate Professor Paul Henman has been awarded an ARC Discovery Project, which offers an innovative examination of online government through a study of web portals. Michael Aird and Professor David Trigger were awarded an ARC Discovery Indigenous Grant, which will examine the potential role of photographs and illustrations in native title claims. Over the summer I also had the pleasure of reading a number of new grant proposals from colleagues in the School. Staff spent a lot of time polishing their applications and there were many innovative research programs put forward. I would like to acknowledge staff in the School that gave their time in offering expert feedback as proposals moved from draft to final submission. It is this sort of collegiality that makes the School better and bigger than the sum of its parts.