I am nearing the end of my first week as Acting Executive Dean. I had rather imagined that I might be faced with a baptism of fire but instead underwent a baptism of ice! Carlos Lopez, a third year Spanish student of Commerce and President of Fair Trade Collective nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. Having survived this I nominated Professor Lindsay Richards from Dentistry and Professor Randall Faull, Program Director for the MBBS; I hope they enjoy this as much as I did.
I am aware that not all in the Faculty will be aware of who I am. I was appointed to the role of Dean of Medicine and Head of the School of Medicine in January 2013 having spent the previous 23 years at Newcastle University in the North of England where I was Dean of Clinical Medicine for almost 7 years. My research background is in mechanisms of liver disease and in particular fibrogenesis and my clinical interest is in liver biopsy interpretation.
It is a great privilege to take on this interim position. I recognise that I do so at a time of great changes and exciting developments for the Faculty. I am aware that staff and students are keen to learn of the outcomes of the Faculty Review which has involved input from Emeritus Professor Richard Larkins. I can report that at this time there is still some work to be completed on the Review before it moves to the next stage. Please be assured that I am committed to this progressing in a timely manner and ensuring the best possible outcome for the future of the Faculty.
Some of you will have seen an article in the Australian yesterday regarding the School of Dentistry and the State Government’s tender process currently underway for public dental services. The University of Adelaide is participating in this process and the Interim Dean, Professor Kaye Roberts-Thomson, has already set up a series of meetings to consult with staff and student representatives. This will help to inform our final response which is due in October.
Nonetheless, I want to reinforce that whatever the outcome of the tender, our new dental clinic for the community along with University controlled community clinics will accommodate all of our clinical training needs in Dentistry and also extend our clinical care to the South Australian community. The University’s commitment to the School of Dentistry has never been greater; the prospective student interest in dentistry and oral health at Open Day was tremendous and we have every reason to look forward to seeing the School go from strength to strength. As the SA Government tender process, and work on our new clinic progresses, I will keep you updated.
One of my most pleasant duties this week in my new role was to introduce Professor Dino Pisaniello as he gave an excellent inaugural lecture in the Braggs Lecture theatre on ‘Is work making you sick?. This was the latest in a series of such events to mark the 140th anniversary of the University of Adelaide and I would encourage you all to attend the remaining lectures during the next few months.
Professor Alastair Burt