Deborah Terry named University of Queensland vice-chancellor

Old and new home trade compliments, as former deputy calls time on six-year sojourn out west

December 5, 2019
Deborah Terry
Universities Australia chair Deborah Terry

Curtin University head and Universities Australia chair Deborah Terry has been named the next vice-chancellor of the University of Queensland, in a return to the institution where she has spent most of her professional life.

Queensland chancellor Peter Varghese said the university’s senate had unanimously agreed to Professor Terry’s appointment, after consulting staff, students, alumni and partners on the traits they desired in a new leader.

“Like many industries, the university sector is going through significant change, combined with much economic and political uncertainty,” Mr Varghese said. “Our staff, students and researchers are looking for global opportunities to collaborate and partner.

“Professor Terry’s deep knowledge of the sector, her focus on people and culture and her track record in building partnerships…are the skills needed to build on the achievements of [current vice-chancellor] Peter Høj.”

The appointment takes effect next August. It will return Professor Terry to the university she left almost six years ago as senior deputy vice-chancellor, having joined Queensland in 1990 as a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Psychology.

She said she looked forward to “building on Professor Høj’s significant legacy in order to lead UQ through its next phase of development and impact”.

Curtin said it would immediately begin the search for a new boss. “We believe the vice-chancellorship of Curtin is a very attractive position and will attract an impressive field of candidates from across the globe,” said chancellor Andrew Crane.

If Curtin felt rancour at losing its chief, it was not showing it, noting that Queensland was the second-top Australian institution in this year’s Academic Ranking of World Universities. Dr Crane said Professor Terry’s appointment “recognises her significant achievements at Curtin”.

Queensland returned the favour, saying Curtin’s global reputation and rankings had “significantly improved” under Professor Terry’s tenure.

“Curtin is now widely considered to be one of Australia’s rapidly rising universities and is ranked number one for graduate employment in Western Australia,” Mr Varghese said.

“Under Professor Terry’s leadership, the university continues to grow in scale and reach regionally and globally. It has opened a new medical school, a law centre and commenced work on a new innovation precinct.”

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