Adelaide University Appoints Vice-Chancellor

Monday, 13 August 2001

Adelaide University has announced the appointment of Professor Cliff Blake AM as Vice-Chancellor pending the appointment of a permanent Vice-Chancellor. The appointment, which takes effect immediately, follows the resignation last week of Professor Mary O'Kane.

Professor Blake retired last month after 11 years as foundation Vice-Chancellor of Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, New South Wales. At the time of his retirement he was the longest-serving chief executive in Australian higher education, with 31 years experience in leadership positions.

The Chancellor of Adelaide University, Mr Robert Champion de Crespigny, said the appointment had been made in accordance with the process established and approved by the University Council. He said he was very pleased that the University had been able to make such an excellent appointment so promptly.

"Professor Blake has a wealth of experience as a Vice-Chancellor, and we are fortunate that a person of his calibre is available to take on the role until a permanent appointment is made," Mr de Crespigny said. "He guided the growth and development of Charles Sturt University and its predecessor institutions since 1974, and his achievement is recognised throughout the Australian higher education sector.

"His experience will help to guide Adelaide University through the transition period. He will ensure that the University continues to work to its already-established agenda and he will also assist with advice on the appointment of a permanent Vice-Chancellor.

"The University will now embark on an international search for a permanent Vice-Chancellor. We expect that it will be several months before the appointment is made, and it is important that in the interim, the University continues to work towards its key goals.

"The appointment of a person from outside Adelaide University ensures that our current senior management team can continue to focus on, and implement, the key strategies as agreed by the University Council. The senior management welcomes this appointment."

Professor Blake said that as Vice-Chancellor he intends to keep Adelaide University moving forward.

"A lot of important initiatives are under way and need to be brought to fulfilment," he said. "The next six months will be a critical time for Adelaide University. We will have the annual Commonwealth educational profile visit and there is also the possibility of both State and Federal elections. During the pre-election period I want to position Adelaide University to take advantage of any opportunities that arise, especially in research, development and innovation.

"My main aim is to develop quickly a cohesive and self-confident institution that has pride in itself and has in place streamlined academic structures and administration.

"I have given an undertaking to the Chancellor that I will remain at the helm until a permanent Vice-Chancellor is appointed, and that I will not be an applicant for that position."

Professor Blake is a former President of the Australian Higher Education Industry Association, former Convenor of the NSW Vice-Chancellors' Conference, a former Chairman of the National Conference on Open and Distance Education, and a former Board member of the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee. He was awarded an AM for his contribution to Australian higher education.


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