A Message from the Vice-Chancellor

Vice-Chancellor and CEO, Professor Annabelle Duncan, has announced that she will not extend her contract when her term ends in August 2019 – bringing to an end almost a decade of service to UNE.

Annabelle DuncanAnnabelle first joined UNE in 2010 as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research. In this role she successfully elevated the University’s research profile, building capacity in key areas such as agriculture, mathematical analysis, environmental sciences and health.

She was appointed interim Vice-Chancellor in March 2014 following the departure of Professor Jim Barber. A competitive global recruitment process followed and culminated in Annabelle’s appointment to the position of Vice-Chancellor in August 2014 – a role to which she brought strong commitment to strategy, research and teaching excellence, as well as community engagement.

Highlights of her achievements during her time at UNE include:

  • Providing ongoing strategic direction and leadership, initially through the delivery of the Strategic Plan 2016-2020, Together, we can do this, followed by the UNE 2025 Strategy. UNE 2025 was recently approved by the UNE Council and is a roadmap of what UNE should look like by 2025;
  • Annabelle initiated sweeping improvements to the on campus and online student experience including improving safety and respect on campus and steering the University to consecutive five-star ratings for Student Experience in the Good Universities Guide;
  • She worked hard to improve town-gown relationships at UNE’s Armidale campus and successfully introduced annual VC Open day events in 2014. The inaugural Booloominbah Open Day resulted in more than 500 people touring the historic homestead. Attendance at these events has since doubled;
  • She oversaw the successful conclusion of extensive infrastructure development and improvements under the umbrella of the $46 million Integrated Agriculture Education Project and is currently sponsoring initiatives such as the UNE Boilerhouse Discovery Space redevelopment project and Discovery Voyager. These projects engage with young people across the state to encourage a love of lifelong learning and awareness of what UNE offers in terms of further education.

Annabelle has worked closely with University alumni throughout her tenure as Vice-Chancellor often referring to them as the standard-bearers for UNE and has enthusiastically supported events to promote meaningful engagement with alumni and donors.

“I would like to thank our alumni for their contribution as well as the generosity of our donors in their ongoing support for the University. Your involvement has had direct and indirect impact not only on the lives of our students through our scholarship programs but also upon our ability to offer a uniquely regional Australian educational experience. We consider our students to be part of the UNE family, for life.  Without our students past and present, we are nothing. ”

“I encourage you all to increase your connection to the University community and become an active participant in the UNE Alumni program including events, fundraising and other activities. Your support is essential towards making the University of New England one of the great regional universities in the world.”

When asked ‘what next’ Annabelle emphasised the importance of continuity. “I have promised I will remain in the role until my replacement is placed.  I think it is important that there is no hiatus.”

“I am grateful to all of the UNE community who make this university such a special place. I have enjoyed my time at the University of New England and I am looking forward to my next adventure, continuing to promote regional Australia.”

Before joining UNE, Annabelle spent 16 years at CSIRO, including six years as Chief of the Division of Molecular Science, during which she acted as advisor to both the Commonwealth Government and the United Nations on biological weapons control. She has also served in managerial roles with the Bio21 Institute at the University of Melbourne and the AgriBio Institute at La Trobe University.