University of Adelaide appoints new Vice-Chancellor

Professor James McWha

Professor James McWha
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Friday, 22 March 2002

The University of Adelaide has announced the appointment of Professor James McWha as the 19th Vice-Chancellor in its 128-year history. The appointment will take effect from August 5.

Professor McWha is currently Vice-Chancellor and President of Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, and Chairman of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee. In June 2002 he will take up the position of Secretary-General of the International Association of University Presidents.

Massey University is one of New Zealand's leading universities, with 19,000 students based on three campuses and another 18,000 studying by distance education. Before his appointment at Massey University in 1996, Professor McWha had extensive experience in the management of biological research institutes. He has since played a formative role in the development of the New Zealand universities' quality assurance system, a system similar to that currently being introduced in Australia.

The Chancellor of The University of Adelaide, Mr Robert Champion de Crespigny, said Professor McWha had an outstanding record as an academic administrator and communicator.

"He has the leadership qualities required to keep the University of Adelaide moving forward and ensure that the process of development and change within the institution is maintained," Mr de Crespigny said.

"It is essential that the University's drive to build on its research strengths, secure its funding base, and support the provision of quality services to students is underpinned by effective management. Prof. McWha is committed to strengthening the University's key leadership role in South Australia by developing more partnerships with industry, other research and education institutions, and the wider community. He will give fresh impetus to the University as it works to enhance its contribution to the wealth and well-being of South Australia through high-quality education, research and community service.

"I also particularly want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cliff Blake AO, for his contribution to the University over the past nine months. He took on the role of Vice-Chancellor at short notice pending the appointment of a permanent Vice-Chancellor and has steered the University successfully through a critically important transition period."

Professor McWha said he was looking forward to taking up his appointment.

"The University of Adelaide is renowned internationally as one of Australia's great universities," he said. "In my own days as an agricultural student I was very aware of the Waite's reputation for research and teaching, and it is exciting for me to be joining a University with such proud traditions.

"Two of the University of Adelaide's greatest strengths are the quality of its staff and the standard of its facilities. My priority will be to continue the staff renewal presently underway and to ensure that the institution has a secure financial resource base so that it can continue to build on its teaching and research activities. I will be looking, also, to increase the number of international students by broadening the countries from which they are drawn and the disciplines within which they study.

"Community involvement is another area which I am keen to develop. I believe very strongly in drawing communities into universities, and the sort of resources and facilities which the University of Adelaide has should certainly provide more opportunities to do that."

The Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education, the Hon. Dr Jane Lomax Smith, said the appointment of a person of Professor McWha's undoubted credentials was a boost for the University.

"The University of Adelaide is now even better placed to help meet the state's need for a well-educated and highly-skilled workforce. The University can look forward to the future with confidence under Professor McWha's stewardship.

"The appointment will support the Government's vision for excellence in education, innovation and excellence."


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The University of Adelaide
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