Another year passes us by but certainly not without a hive of activity both here at the Bedford Park campus as well as across South Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and Singapore. I feel a little fraudulent in reviewing the year that has been 2016 as for much of it I have been on leave of some description. Similarly, I can hardly take any credit for the progress that has been achieved with our teaching programs this year and would like to say a very big thank you to all of our staff for continuing on with business as usual and protecting me from the day to day issues that arise as part of core business. A big congratulations to Kaye Mehta who was awarded a promotion to Associate Professor in July 2016, a fine achievement and recognition of her expertise and leadership. Special thanks to Dr Jacqui Miller who acted in the role of HOD for 4 months while I was on sabbatical, it was a challenging time for staff with a lot of uncertainty around the University with regards to budget and structure from both an academic and professional staff perspective. Jacqui did a wonderful job ensuring staff were cared for at a personal level but also that the turmoil did not effect the teaching and learning opportunities for students.
Also a very big thank you to all of our students for maintaining their enthusiasm for their study and achieving such a high level of academic success in 2016, we are expecting an unprecedented number of first class honours and University medals as the examinations are received early in the new year and have seen outstanding results across other years of both our BND and MND programs. Our staff and our students simply could not of course achieve what they do without the ongoing support of our colleagues and partners. You all do such an amazing job contributing both in class and/or hosting students on placements or contributing to our various meetings and committees, we are very honoured to have you all as part of our extended team.
There are far too many noteworthy achievements to mention from this year and many have been highlighted in previous e-newsletters or indeed this one, so I would like to pay attention to some of what we have planned for the future. In 2017 we will be introducing the 3 year Bachelor of Human Nutrition and the 4 year Bachelor of Human Nutrition – Bachelor of Exercise Science combined degree. We have already seen more than 350 students listing these programs as a preference so we are expecting a very healthy admission in the first year which is a great achievement given the very little time we have had to market the new programs. With the introduction of these new programs should come some new teaching specialist positions in our discipline so if you are interested in joining our academic team then watch out for these positions being advertised some time early in the new year. Soon we shall learn the outcome of the Professional Staff review with implementation of recommendations almost certain to take place early 2017. It is likely we will see new hubs of professional staff support, designed to streamline what sometimes feels like layer upon layer of paperwork.
Around the same time we have recently learnt that our School of Health Sciences will merge with the School of Nursing and Midwifery to create a yet to be named “College”. While consultation did reveal this was not the first preference of either School, there are a lot of great opportunities that are already beginning to emerge, particularly in the area of research collaborations which is very exciting. No doubt there will be other activities, such as the ongoing strengthening of our curriculums to integrate the new competencies, the hosting of 15 Indonesian Fellows as part of the Australia Awards Fellowships and new partnerships and collaborations. We will endeavour to keep you up to date on changes and new initiatives via the e-newsletter throughout next year and of course our end of year gala event.
For 2016 our end of year gala event was a special celebration to thank all of our placement educators and partners, acknowledge the academic achievements of students through the award of prizes to top performers and congratulating students on the completion of their degrees. Unlike other years we also celebrated the 40th birthday of Nutrition and Dietetics at Flinders University. There were lots of fun activities, great networking and fantastic food and wine. I am looking forward to our 50th birthday when we open the time capsule to reveal where we thought the profession would be in 10 years from now. It should be very entertaining!
I think I have spent all of my allocated space in this newsletter now so on behalf of all staff and students of Flinders Nutrition and Dietetics I thank you all once again for your ongoing commitment to our programs and look forward to continuing to work with you into the future. I hope you feel proud to be associated with Flinders Nutrition and Dietetics and a part of shaping our initiatives and the disciplines of nutrition and dietetics into the future. All the best for the predicted hot and uncomfortable Christmas Day 2016 and I wish you and your families a safe and enjoyable new year.