Mr Watkins is a former NSW Deputy Premier and Education Minister and is currently the CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia- NSW.
UNE Vice-Chancellor Jim Barber said Mr Watkins was an excellent choice as the University’s eighth Chancellor. “I am looking forward to the fresh approach and ideas Mr Watkins will bring to the position,” Professor Barber said.
Mr Watkins said he was honoured to take on the position. “UNE has a proud history of being innovative in its approach to the delivery of education and I look forward to continuing that tradition,” he said.
“Since joining the UNE Council in 2012, I have gained an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead for UNE. I have great respect for Professor Barber and believe we will work well together to deliver the strategic vision of the University.
“I would like to thank the Deputy Chancellor, Dr Geoffrey Fox, for his on-going hard work and leadership, especially during the transition between Chancellors.”
Professor Barber said that Mr Watkins takes over the leadership of the University at a very good time in its history. “UNE has turned the corner financially and over the last three years we have seen record growth in student enrolments. Our healthy financial position has allowed us to finally embark on delivering our capital works program, which includes the building of a new residential college and a new agricultural education building.
“We are also making significant progress on achieving our ambitious Strategic Plan which is focused on finding innovative solutions to the new demand driven higher education environment.
“The launch of our Future Campus this week in Parramatta is further evidence of our innovative approach to the delivery of higher education. Through state-of-the-art technology, the Future Campus will offer our students better access to flexible tertiary learning, enhancing their overall student experience.
“I look forward to working with Mr Watkins on delivering UNE’s Strategic Plan and ensuring we remain a leader in flexible learning in Australia,” Professor Barber said.