Dean's Letter: Welcome to Semester 2 of 2021

A message from Professor Paul Kofman, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics.

Dear students,

Welcome to Semester 2, and an especially warm welcome to our new students. Whether you’re starting your studies in Melbourne or overseas, rest assured that your business and economics education at The University of Melbourne is front of our mind. I wish all of you the best of luck this Semester and trust that your studies will challenge you to do your best.

We are still in the middle of a lockdown in Melbourne and I know that many of you overseas are experiencing difficult conditions. I would encourage you all to use the range of health and wellbeing resources available to assist students and remember, whether online or in person, you can still be an active part of our community.

I visited the Royal Exhibition Building recently, not for exams or graduation ceremonies for a change, but to get my first dose of COVID vaccine.  Academics within our Faculty are doing some very interesting research on the impact of COVID and vaccination rates. The latest Taking the Pulse of the Nation (TTPN) Survey by the Melbourne Institute indicates that just 29 per cent of people in Australia have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and only 40 per cent are willing to be vaccinated.  For our many budding Health Economists out there, I encourage you to read the findings here and stay tuned for more TTPN surveys in the future.

I also want to commend everybody for their continuing resilience and commitment during these difficult times. This includes our teaching staff, who have worked tirelessly to ensure you receive the best possible education whilst engaging in blended learning. To illustrate, I am thrilled to announce that Associate Professor Mei Dong, is this year's recipient of the Edward Brown Award for Teaching Excellence, an annual, University-wide teaching excellence award. Regarding the transition to online teaching and learning, Associate Professor Dong said “I feel it's important to make sure students have access to all the ingredients of learning - lectures, tutorials, online tutor consultation and have access to all kinds of materials. The online delivery shouldn't create obstacles to their learning. I encourage students to come to consultations; those that attended said they felt more connected with us and their fellow students.” I hope you will all make a point of connecting with your lecturers, tutors and fellow students online and in person when it is safe to do so.

I encourage you to read more about Associate Professor Dong's work in our Good Teaching Series. On behalf of the Faculty, please join me in extending my warmest congratulations to Associate Professor Dong.

Stay safe, stay well,