Former lobby group chief leaves University of Canberra

Belinda Robinson leaves to focus on board roles

October 30, 2020

University of Canberra vice-president Belinda Robinson, a former chief executive of Universities Australia, has left the institution abruptly just months after steering it through the biggest crisis in its 30-year history.

Ms Robinson has departed Canberra eight months before the expiry of her three-year contract and four months after new vice-chancellor Paddy Nixon arrived from Ulster University.

She served as interim vice-chancellor between the departure of former head Deep Saini in December and the start of Professor Nixon’s tenure in June.

“Belinda was the vice-chancellor during the most tumultuous period in any university’s history,” Professor Nixon and chancellor Tom Calma told staff. “She led the university through bushfires, hailstorms and then the arrival of Covid.

“In those times of crisis, she was a calm and caring leader who always put…staff and students first. Her achievements in steering us through that time cannot be underestimated.”

Ms Robinson joined Canberra in mid-2018, soon after completing a seven-year stint as chief executive of Universities Australia. Before that, she headed other industry representative bodies and held senior positions in the federal government.  

“Belinda spearheaded a renewed connection with government and community, leaving behind a highly regarded government relations infrastructure,” Professors Calma and Nixon said, hailing Ms Robinson’s efforts as a university advocate who “proudly wore ‘I Love UC’ badges” and “screamed in support” at sporting matches. “Just today Belinda was heard saying how much she believed in her town’s university.”

Ms Robinson said that she had left to concentrate on her responsibilities as a member of four boards and chair of three of them. She said that she had “loved every minute” of her time at Canberra but the position had always been “time-limited”.

“It was a challenge but a special time leading the university through that period,” she said.

john.ross@timeshighereducation.com  

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