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A Chat with the VC

Vice Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Alex Zelinsky, smiling at the camera with big bright yellow, blue, pink and white blob patterns behind him.

We’re back in class, heading into flu season, and coming closer to the exam period.

Ooft. That’s a lot to think about. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, wants students to keep a few things in mind as we brave the rest of Semester 1:

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Key points:

  • Face-to-face learning and activities are thriving on campus.
  • Flu season is upon us, it is important to stay vigilant with COVID safety practices.
  • All staff and students should feel comfortable to wear a mask if they wish to continue this practice.


In spite of all these extra things on our minds, we should still be vigilant and consistent with our COVID-19 safety practices. This means you still have to wash your hands, stay home if unwell, and sneeze with nose and mouth covered.

Professor Zelinsky encouraged everyone at the university to keep using masks if they feel comfortable to. He continued saying “we’ve got to change our mindset” about the way we use masks; wearing them if and when we feel ill, and not because we are afraid of becoming ill.

The University of Newcastle has invested further into the mental wellbeing of their students through the integration of a new app, joining many other universities both in Australia and worldwide. TalkCampus is a really cool peer support app where you can talk to other students from all across the world. You can download from the App Store or Google Play.

Professor Zelinsky also agreed that there is a correlation between taking care of your mental health, and succeeding in other areas in life. One such way students’ success can be recognised is through the Academic Excellence Scholarships the University of Newcastle provides. This scholarship, worth $10, 000, is awarded each year to both domestic and international students who have demonstrated academic excellence throughout their undergraduate degree. What makes this scholarship even more special is that the university automatically recognises your ongoing efforts through your results. You can use the eligibility criteria to set your aspirational study goals throughout your degree.

You can see the full list of Academic Excellence Scholarships recipients on our website.

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