Englishman heads Monash

March 29, 1996

David Robinson has become the only Englishman in the past 20 years to have been successively appointed vice chancellor at two Australian universities.

A former pro vice chancellor at the University of Hull, Professor Robinson went to Australia in 1992 as foundation head of the new University of South Australia, an amalgamation of two former colleges of advanced education.

Professor Robinson will take over as vice chancellor of Monash University, Australia's biggest, next year. The 54-year-old Yorkshireman has a degree in sociology and politics from Swansea and a PhD in sociology from the University of Wales.

"I wake up every morning and I think, 'terrific! Another new day'. It's wonderful to be a vice chancellor. This is the best job in the world!" Professor Robinson told a press conference in Melbourne.

He said one of his goals would be to continue moves at Monash to internationalise its operations. At his current university, it had been decided that student numbers should be doubled before the end of the century by "recreating the university offshore".

With higher education about to enter a steady state again, the effect on Monash would be minimal, Professor Robinson said. "Recent expansion has not been confined by national boundaries and Monash is now extremely well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities that exist elsewhere in the world."

He said the opportunities would not be restricted to Asia. Just as Britain had realised there was a world beyond Europe, so Australian institutions would soon discover there was a world outside Asia as well.

Professor Robinson chaired an expert working group at the World Health Organisation in 1988 on health policies to combat drug and alcohol problems and in Britain was on the national council on gambling.

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