McWha to stay as Vice-Chancellor until 2012

Professor James McWha, Vice-Chancellor and President

Professor James McWha, Vice-Chancellor and President
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Thursday, 24 August 2006

Professor James McWha has been reappointed as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide until mid-2012.

Professor McWha took up the position of Vice-Chancellor in August 2002, having arrived in Adelaide from Massey University in New Zealand.

The University of Adelaide's Council has now extended his initial five-year contract until the end of June 2012.

"This is excellent news for the University of Adelaide and for education in South Australia," says the University's Chancellor, the Hon. John von Doussa QC.

"Professor McWha is widely regarded in Australia and internationally as an academic administrator and champion of education and its values.

"He took up the vice-chancellorship at Adelaide during a difficult time in the University's history and has led a renaissance at Adelaide that will benefit students and the community for many years to come.

"Professor McWha has played a pivotal role in strengthening higher education in South Australia, and his ongoing leadership will be vital in helping the State to achieve its strategic goals in education.

"On behalf of the University's Council, I congratulate Professor McWha on his time as Vice-Chancellor, and I am pleased that he will continue in that role for at least the next six years."

Professor McWha says he is proud of how the University has flourished over the past four years.

"The University of Adelaide already had an excellent reputation when I first joined as Vice-Chancellor, especially for its research, but there were many areas that I hoped to build on or develop at the time," Professor McWha says.

"I set out to ensure that the institution had a secure financial base so that it could continue to build on its teaching and research activities, and I'm pleased to say that this was achieved within a relatively short period of time, which bodes very well for the future.

"I also set out to strengthen the University's engagement with the community, and to increase the number of international students, broadening the countries from which they are drawn and the disciplines that they study. This has also been achieved and I hope to see more growth in these areas in the coming years."

In 2003, Professor McWha initiated an ambitious program of repositioning the University of Adelaide to respond to the new challenges facing higher education in Australia and overseas. A key objective of this reform is to ensure the University plays an increasingly prominent role on the international stage.

To that end Professor McWha hosted the Association of Commonwealth Universities Conference of Executive Heads in April this year, bringing together nearly 300 university leaders from 30 Commonwealth countries.

Professor McWha says the University of Adelaide's global outlook will greatly benefit students and the South Australian community as a whole.

"We live in an internationalised society, which is why the University's outward-looking approach to education is so important to the future of our graduates and our community," he says.

"The University of Adelaide contributes so much to society through education and research. We are internationally regarded as leaders in many fields, and we attract the best students in the State.

"I am extremely proud of the University and the quality of its staff and students, and I am pleased to be given the opportunity to stay here in Adelaide as Vice-Chancellor."

About the Vice-Chancellor

Professor James McWha is the University of Adelaide's 19th Vice-Chancellor since 1874.

Born and raised in Northern Ireland, he graduated with BSc and BAgr (with Honours in Agricultural Botany) from the Queen's University of Belfast in 1969 and 1970 respectively. He received his PhD from Glasgow University in 1973, prior to taking up an appointment at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

In 1985 he returned to Northern Ireland to take up a joint appointment as Professor and Head of Agricultural Botany at the Queen's University, Belfast, and Deputy Chief Scientific Officer in the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture. In 1989 he was appointed Director of the Fruit and Trees unit of the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and from 1992-95 was Chief Executive Officer of HortResearch (the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd).

Professor McWha came to Adelaide following a highly successful term of office as Vice-Chancellor and President of Massey University in New Zealand from 1996-2002, where he was also Chairman of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee in 2001-2002.

Professor McWha is strongly involved in the higher education sector on a global level. He was a Council Member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2001, and has again been appointed to the Council in 2006-07. He was Secretary-General of the International Association of University Presidents from 2002-05. He played a formative role in the development of the New Zealand universities' quality assurance system, and has been a Board member of the Australian Universities Quality Agency since 2003.

He is presently a director of the Group of Eight Ltd, the coalition of Australia's leading universities, and is a member of the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee.

Professor McWha was recognised in 2003 by the award of the Centenary Medal for his services to education.


Contact Details

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
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