Den Hollander minds the fort at Murdoch

Former Deakin boss appointed to babysit her second Perth university

October 13, 2021
Murdoch University Chancellery

Long-serving Deakin University boss Jane Den Hollander is coming out of retirement for a second time to serve as fill-in leader at Perth’s Murdoch University.

Professor Den Hollander will start work as Murdoch’s interim vice-chancellor in November following the departure of current stand-in Romy Lawson.

Professor Lawson, the institution’s provost, stepped into the leadership role after Eeva Leinonen left several months ago for the Republic of Ireland to run Maynooth University.

But Professor Lawson has since accepted a deputy vice-chancellor role at Flinders University in Adelaide, and leaves Murdoch at the end of October.

Murdoch chancellor Gary Smith told staff that Professor Den Hollander would be “bringing her extensive leadership to guide the university while we transition to a new vice-chancellor”.

Her institutional leadership experience stems not just from her time at Deakin, which she headed from 2010 to 2019, but also from a stand-in role at the University of Western Australia (UWA) between February and July last year.

She served as interim head of Perth’s oldest university between the departure of Dawn Freshwater, who left to lead the University of Auckland, and new chief Amit Chakma’s arrival from running Western University in Ontario.

After she finished up at UWA, Professor Hollander initiated a series of occasional seminars – called “Retiring, but not shy” – at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education. In material promoting the presentations, she said the notion of retirement had changed.

“When my granddad retired, it was a full stop on work. Retirement in the modern era is another thing altogether. Our generation is fitter, better educated and mostly longer lived, so it’s a whole new chapter. I look forward to the conversation on our sector and how to face life after work.”

john.ross@timeshighereducation.com

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