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Campus News : March 2012
MARCH 2012 CONNECT :UOW 3 CONNECT: NEWS The University of Wollongong's fourth Vice- Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings has set a challenge for UOW to move into the top one per cent of universities in the world Professor Wellings succeeded Professor Gerard Sutton on 1 January, having previously served as Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University in England since 2002. In a series of interviews with national and regional media, Professor Wellings made it clea that improving the University's already-strong international sta is at the top of his agenda. Asked by the Australian Financial Review (AFR) his ambition for UOW, Professor Wellings said: "Wollongong is in the top two per cent of universities in the world ... My challenge is to get Wollongong into the top one per cent." The Australian's Higher Education supplement said that 10 years as Vice-Chancellor at a major regional university in England had "set up Paul Wellings nicely to take the University of Wollongong to the next stage, into the top global echelon of research intensive institutions". In an interview for UOW's website, Professor Wellings said the move into the top one per cent could be achieved by having an outstanding research and student focus. "I am certainly lucky in that I have inherited a 'very good ship' but my Professor Paul Wellings with prospective students at his first public engagement as UOW's Vice-Chancellor -- the Vice-Chancellor's Afternoon Tea for the region's high-achieving HSC students on 4 January. NEW V-C TAKES THE HELM enge now is to carry us r forward," he said. Wellings told The Australian: at what the major research assets are. Some of the research infrastructure is very, very good: (plans for) the health and medical precinct, the Innovation Campus and the SMART Infrastructure Facility are all new major investments that need to be fully exploited." He expanded on this theme with the Illawarra Mercury, saying: "With the University of Wollongong, there's a gear shift to be had. You only have to look at the Innovation Campus, the SMART facility (and the) Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute here on campus, just to name three, to see that some of the investments that have been made in the last decade are absolutely world-class. The attraction for me is ... if we could fully exploit those bits of infrastructure and put in place some of the other areas as well, we would indeed move forward." Lancaster University moved into the top one per cent during Professor Wellings' tenure, but in his interview with the AFR he warned that increasing competition in international higher education would provide new challenges for Australian institutions, including UOW. "Global competition is fierce and the rise of China and other Asian universities will squeeze the top 300 or 400 universities over the next 20 years, so anything strategic has to be around what's going to drive the global identity of significant institutions in Australia and position us globally," he said. Other stated aims include developing UOW's Sydney Business School in the context of the University's strengths in areas such as infrastructure engineering, biomaterials, engineering technologies and health policies. "There is no point in being great at health policy without having someone actually looking at the business models to say 'how do you take that into reality?' " he told the AFR. "I'm really interested in that whole positioning of business and commerce education and how to turbo charge that. I think Wollongong has got some phenomenal assets to allow us to achieve that." Professor Wellings told The Mercury: "The Sydney Business School ... could become a global brand if we got ourselves organised in that space." He told The Mercury he was grateful to have inherited "a very tight ship here and an environment with very prudent management". However, he has initiated a comprehensive university-wide review of UOW's Strategic Plan. "We might need to be sharper in places. If resources get squeezed, we would need to be more efficient even in continuing what we're currently doing," he explained. He has also reiterated UOW's commitment to its regional development responsibilities, saying the University was a key asset for the future of the Illawarra region. NH ABOUT PROFESSOR PAUL WELLINGS Professor Wellings is UOW's fourth Vice-Chancellor since the University gained its autonomy from the University of NSW in 1975. An Australian/British citizen, Professor Wellings was born in Nottingham and educated at the universities of London, Durham and East Anglia. He moved to Australia in 1981 as a research ecologist at CSIRO, becoming Chief of the Entomology Division in 1995. From 1997 to 1999, he was Head of the Innovation and Science Division, Department of Industry, Science and Resources, Canberra, and in 1999 he became Deputy Chief Executive of CSIRO. Professor Wellings also served as a Director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). In 2002 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor at Lancaster University in England. In 2006 he was appointed to the board of Universities UK and Chair of its International European Policy Committee. He was also a board member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Chair of its Research and Innovation Committee. Professor Wellings and his Australian-born wife Annette have settled in Wollongong's northern suburbs. d. ar anding chall further Professor W "We'll be looking Wellings sets UOW's sights on top one per cent
CONNECT:UOW July 2012