Deputy Vice-Chancellor gets off to an award-winning start

Published 28 July 2008

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The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Webb, who began his tenure at the University of New England on Thursday 24 July, said he looked forward to building on UNE’s reputation as a respected teaching and research institution.

“The synergies between teaching, learning and research are what make the university such an interesting place to work,” Professor Webb said. “I want to help people explore and develop ways in which research can be developed in its own right and be used to develop teaching and the inquiry skills of students. I am also looking forward to seeing how teaching can be used as a spur in developing research and in improving teaching and learning practices.”

Professor Webb (pictured here) is well placed to lead UNE forward in this and other areas, having recently been recognised for his outstanding contributions to higher education in Australia by being awarded the Australian Higher Education Quality Award by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) at the Agency’s annual forum held in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra.

The award recognises Professor Webb’s three decades of experience as a teacher and researcher in universities – including the University of Ulster, the University of the West Indies, the University of Otago, and most recently Monash University, where he served as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Quality). For a period he was also CEO of Monash College Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned company of Monash University comprising six education businesses. This experience has given him a global perspective on important areas of university teaching, research and administration.

Professor Webb said that he was looking forward to getting back to the more personalised style of working in a university town, and that UNE’s Armidale location provided the perfect opportunity to do this.

“I spent 11 years at the University of Otago – a university town – and loved it,” he said. “For the past decade or so I worked at Monash, Australia’s largest university, which provided many opportunities; but living in a university town gives you the chance to get to know people better and develop lasting relationships.”

Professor Webb has the degrees of BA (Hons) MSc, and PhD (with distinction), and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. He is the author or editor of nine books, and numerous book chapters and journal articles concerning the theory and practice of teaching and learning in higher education and staff development. He is an editorial advisory board member for five international journals, and continues to play an active role in quality assurance and improvement at international level.

Professor Webb chaired the first and subsequent audits for AUQA and is a trainer and auditor and/or consultant for national academic audit agencies in six countries. This experience will stand UNE in good stead as it prepares for an AUQA audit in July next year.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, in warmly welcoming Professor Webb to the University, said that his wide experience and strong international profile would be a great asset to the senior management team at UNE. “I am really looking forward to working with Graham as we make further developmental change at the University, and to supporting the ideas and strategies that we have talked about already,” Professor Pettigrew said.