Enjoy. Think. Revive

Most of you will probably be reading this in January – or better yet, February – so I’ll keep it brief. It’s been a terrific year for SOPHI and I want to thank you all, both academic and general staff, for the enormous amount of hard work and good will over the past 12 months. For all of its trials and tribulations, its spills and thrills, life in academe is still pretty special, and its the people that make it so. Some of the highlights for me include the numerous awards won by our teaching and research staff – including Rick Benitez’s ALTC Citation (previously Carrick), Mike McDonnell’s NSW Premier’s Prize, Annie Clark’s SAR prize,  and Stephen Robertson’s  Faculty Teaching Award.  Just last week Warwick Anderson was awarded a 2008 Philippine National Book Award for his Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine, Race and Hygiene in the Philippines (Duke, 2006). The overall ARC results were pretty spectacular too.  These are just a few of the many awards and honours to our colleagues. Congratulations, again, to everyone.

Let me also congratulate our colleagues, Alison Bashford, David Braddon-Mitchell and John Wong on their promotion to full Professor, announced last week. This is a remarkable achievement for them, but also for us. SOPHI has had a 100% success rate in this year’s promotion round, which is a testament not only to the quality of our colleagues,  but also o the Department Chairs and mentors who have helped them along the way.

Awards and  honours are important to recognize, but I’d also like to acknowledge all the hard work that went into the day-to-day teaching and caring for our students – for all those innovative lectures, all those tutorials and yes…. all those papers that were marked, commented on and discussed. and all those PhD chapters read and corrected. This is work at the heart of our mission as academics,  and it is one of the distinctive pleasures of this job to observe the incredible dedication and commitment that you put into day in, day out.

Finally, thanks to the SOPHI general office team for another stellar year, operating in often ridiculously difficult circumstances!  Again, I’ve been hugely impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the whole team – from the front office right on down the corridor….I couldn’t begin to do even half of what I am supposed to without all of this help.

I know some of you will be slaving over articles, book chapters and manuscripts in the hot, sticky weeks ahead. Others will be hunched over the laptop thinking of ways in which your project can please that finicky ARC reader….I hope the writing goes well. But a plea: at some point, disconnect the email, close the laptop, and take some time to think.  It’s an underrated activity in this hyperactive age. We, of all people, should keep a place for it close to our hearts …The emails and calls can wait, at least for a little while….

From myself, Di, Hamish & Isobel – best wishes for a restful and enjoyable break.



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