Glyn Davis, the vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, is to stand down from the position at the end of 2018 and return to academic research and teaching.
Professor Davis, who took charge of the university in 2005, had twice extended his contract, but he elected not to renew a third time.
“There is a huge amount to do this year – hard work towards a range of pressing goals, along with ensuring a smooth and professional transition to new leadership by the end of 2018,” he said. “For me, a change in role will allow a welcome return to scholarship and teaching, a chance to complete long-standing research projects and to begin some new writing.”
Over the past 12 years, Professor Davis has overseen radical changes to teaching at the university, including the creation of the Melbourne Curriculum, which was rolled out in 2008. Instead of focusing on preparing undergraduates for professions, students are asked to complete a broad three-year qualification before undertaking postgraduate professional training or careers in research.
Additionally, he steered Melbourne through the largest building programme in its history and led the institution’s fundraising scheme, the Campaign for the University of Melbourne, which raised more than A$640 million (£369.1 million) in philanthropic funds. The campaign, which was launched in 2013, had aimed to raise A$500 million by the end of 2017, and has therefore reset its targets to raise A$1 billion by 2021.
Professor Davis’ impact has also been seen on the international stage. Since he took over, Melbourne has risen up the Times Higher Education World University Rankings – it now occupies 33rd place in the 2017 table.
Allan Myers, Melbourne’s chancellor, said that Professor Davis has helped to make the university “not just the finest in Australia but also one of the finest in the world”.
“We are grateful to him for his leadership, vision and relentless desire to advance the interests of the university and to serve the wider Australian community," Mr Myers said.
The university has confirmed that it has already begun a global search for its next vice-chancellor.