With Jacyl Shaw

May 11 / 61

Jacyl Shaw with daughters Maya and Tully
Jacyl Shaw with daughters Maya and Tully

What is your unit? 

I have two units, the Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) and Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (University Affairs)

What is your job title?

Again, I have two - Deputy Director Festival of Ideas and Strategic Adviser to DVC (Global Engagement)

How long have you been with the University of Melbourne? 

I was an undergraduate student in the law and arts faculties for six years, I have been a staff member working across several portfolios and centres for 10 years, and now I am also a Masters student in the Faculty of Business and Economics. 

How did you come to work at the University?

I was working in a law firm, and was a little disenchanted, when a role came up at Asialink, here at the University. A Judge I had been working with in a previous job at the Supreme Court encouraged me to apply, as he could see I was not cut out to be a lawyer, and also was very interested in Australia-Asia relations.

Describe your typical day

It varies, depending on whether I am working on the Festival of Ideas or in my other role. The Festival provides many interesting challenges, managing speakers, sponsors, faculty support, side activities, media and website content, budget and ‘managing up’ -  the Festival Director is based in New Haven, USA, so time differences and distance always make the role more interesting!

My other role includes everything from input into University planning documents, participating in the Research Commission workshops, overseeing development of University overseas Missions and working with colleagues on numerous engagement activities.

What is it about your job that holds your interest or is particularly satisfying?

I like that my job is forever changing and challenging. I like that I work on projects that bring me in touch with areas of research and knowledge that put me out of my depth, so I learn something completely new with each project, from nano-materials to neuroscience, energy and climate science to public policy.  I have many nicknames, but one colleague calls me ‘Biggles’ after the a pilot adventurer cartoon character, as I seem to always be flying by the seat of my pants!

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Don’t burn your bridges, you never know what is around the corner.

It’s the relationship at the end of the day which is the most valuable, not the activity or the outcome, the win or the loss.

What is something about yourself that most of your colleagues wouldn't know? 

That I dance every day with my daughters?  Music up loud, before school or after, it’s a disco in Kew!  Actually, my colleagues probably aren’t surprised by that revelation... I love cooking, that is my true escape from work each night.

Where do you buy your coffee on campus?

At Pronto, on the corner of the Student Union Building, near Raymond Priestley. They are so kind to me when I have no money after a morning run around Princes Park, and are even more kind to my daughters, giving them extra-generous slices of pizza and shelter from Melbourne’s rain.

What do you like most about the University? 

I like and respect the bold move it made RE the Melbourne Model - Personally, I wouldn’t have ended up spending the time I did finding out I didn’t want to be a lawyer if the Melbourne Model had been available for me, and I would learned a language in breadth. 

I think there are plenty of great things we all get too busy to appreciate, the proximity to great running tracks, great coffee, very good minds and people who are passionate about their participation and engagement - I enjoy my role and working environment very much.


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