UNE appoints new Vice-Chancellor

Published 30 October 2009

barberThe Chancellor of the University of New England (UNE), Dr Richard Torbay, announced that UNE had appointed Professor James Barber as its Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer following a special meeting of UNE Council. Professor Barber is expected to commence the position in February 2010.

Professor Barber (pictured here) is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, one of Australia’s largest universities. RMIT is also one of Australia’s most respected ‘dual sector’ universities. He is a Company Director on a number of national bodies, including Open Universities Australia (Australia’s leading provider of fee-paying online degree programs), Jesuit Social Services Australia and Graduate Careers Australia.

Professor Barber is a distinguished academic. After completing his PhD in experimental psychology, his research shifted into the applied fields of drug addiction and child welfare. His research record includes minimal interventions in the secondary prevention of drug addiction, and evidence based social policy and child welfare.

He is a winner of North America’s Pro Humanitate Medal for his research in child welfare and a winner of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from Flinders University. Prior to moving to university senior executive positions in the higher education sector, Professor Barber’s roles included that of Reader and then Professor of Social Work (La Trobe University and the University of Tasmania), Professor of Social Administration (Flinders University) and Dean of Single Department Faculties (University of Toronto).

Professor Barber has significant international education experience, most significantly taking on the additional role of interim President of RMIT International University of Vietnam. He has worked in regional universities and has a commitment to their important contribution in providing access to education, and also in driving economic prosperity and enhancing the morale, culture and identity of their regions.

The Chancellor welcomed the appointment of Professor Barber. “The search for an outstanding candidate for Vice-Chancellor involved an exhaustive recruitment process that yielded extremely high quality candidates”, Dr Torbay said.

“Professor Barber was the preferred choice of our Selection Committee, and I am very pleased that the University has made this appointment. His experience and credentials are precisely what this University needs at this time. I have great confidence that he will provide astute leadership and direction – not just to the staff, students and management at UNE, but to the New England community more broadly.”

Professor Barber said that he looked forward to his appointment. “I have been impressed by the enthusiasm and vitality of this University during my brief visits. I look forward to meeting staff and students early in the new academic year, and with the community in the region and beyond. My wife Mary and I welcome the opportunity to be associated with UNE.”

THE PHOTOGRAPH of Professor Barber displayed here is courtesy of RMIT.

For media enquiries, contact Michael Kauter, UNE Media Adviser, 02 6773 3872 or 0429360498.