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Message from the Chair and Principal

AB and Julie25 August 2016

This Saturday the Women’s College Open Day is an opportunity for our extensive community, friends and future students to visit and experience the ‘Women’s College Advantage’. Our hope is that all our visitors leave with a strong sense of our commitment to developing female leaders — young women who are confident, self-aware and optimistically engaged with their world.

Earlier this year there were widespread media reports of unacceptable behaviour at some university colleges and we wrote to assure our community that we would make every effort to ensure that our students have a positive experience at College. We continue to actively review and improve our processes for managing complaints and supporting any young woman who has experienced unacceptable behaviour on or off campus.

Ahead of Open Day, we want to provide an update for you on the initiatives being undertaken to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.

Firstly, the College Council unanimously supported a proposal for the colleges and University to work with former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO, to review our cultures and, in our case, identify areas where we can improve the experience of our young women. We are excited to be working with one of Australia’s leading experts on gender equality and cultural reform and are looking forward to supporting Ms Broderick’s team during the review and implementing any recommendations for improvement.

Secondly, the Human Rights Commission will be conducting a national survey into the experience of college students. We will work with our student leaders to encourage widespread participation from The Women’s College to ensure the data reflects the broadest possible student experience. The data collected by the Human Rights Commission will assist to enhance our own pastoral care programs.

Good leadership is especially important in times of scrutiny and change. Our current Senior Student and her team have shown maturity, thoughtfulness and a refreshing willingness to shift their thinking, try new approaches and support cultural reform. These traits, practised and tested at Women’s College, will position them well for success in their future careers and lives.

Finally, we have designed a special leadership conference for our future leaders, to ensure that we are engaging them early in professional conversations about leading a positive culture, ahead of their appointments in 2017. We know that confident student leaders with clear vision and purpose are crucial to establishing and maintaining positive, productive cultures and the College is looking forward to this pilot training program.

Alongside these three initiatives, we will continue to work with all our students to develop their leadership skills, support their academic proficiency and professional growth, alongside understanding their individual and collective roles in setting a positive culture for others.

For those who are unable to attend Open Day on Saturday, thank you for your ongoing support of Women’s College. To those who do intend to visit, we look forward to welcoming you.

Kind regards

Ms Julie McKay, Chair of Council

Dr Amanda Bell, Principal

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