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From the Dean

12 November 2018
Welcome to Issue 8 of Illuminate Alumni News
As is likely also true for many of you, 2018 seems to have run through its months at great speed. If it weren’t for my deadline for this last issue of Illuminate, I’d hardly believe it is already November.

After years of planning and two years of construction, our gleaming new $62M Social Sciences Building—the Faculty’s only new building since its founding in 1852—is finally open for business. If you have been near campus recently, you might have seen its smart profile near the footbridge along Parramatta Road. 

Bringing together staff and students from the School of Economics and the School of Social and Political Sciences who have previously been fragmented across different buildings on campus, the six-storey building is designed as a workplace that encourages connection and collaboration. Along with state-of-the-art learning spaces and meeting rooms, it includes a media lab, lecture theatre, general teaching spaces, offices, and a rooftop terrace with a garden. There will be an official opening and celebration in mid February but if you are in the vicinity during working hours, feel free to take a self-guided tour.

Every year academics look out keenly for the release of the Times Higher Education’s prestigious subject rankings.

It was a thrill to see our recent hard work recognised this year by a massive jump in our rankings for Arts and Humanities, up 11 places from 58 to 47.

It is truly impressive for an Australian public university to have broken into the company of the top 50 Arts and Humanities faculties in the world and I hope that, as alumni, you will share our pride in this achievement.

We had another great season of Outside the Square this year with lively panels of experts addressing a range of issues of contemporary relevance from the housing bubble to your online life. Every session has reliably sold out and our final one at the end of the month—Stories and Racism in Australia: What If You’re Not White?—is shaping up to be no exception.

In this issue, you’ll see an alumni profile piece on Kaiya Aboagye, whose PhD investigates the transcultural connections between Indigenous Australia and the global African Diaspora and who will be one of our expert panellists on the night. It is always fun to catch up with friends with a glass of wine and a snack on the roof deck before a tightly programmed one hour discussion with audience participation via your smart devices. As we like to say, Q&A our way. Book your tickets online and join us at the Old Rum Store in the heart of Chippendale’s artists’ quarter. 

We are gearing up again for Information Day on Saturday 15 December, when campus is flooded with thousands of prospective students and their friends and families. The campus has a festive atmosphere at these events with bands, balloons and barbecues alongside academic advice booths, mini subject lectures and lots of discipline-based activities. Perhaps we will see some of you there?

Proessor Annamarie Jagose
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences