Swinburne Vice-Chancellor takes up office
Date posted: Monday 16 May 2011
Professor Linda Kristjanson has today commenced her role as Swinburne University of Technology‘s third Vice-Chancellor and President.
Professor Kristjanson, formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Development at Curtin University, says that she is eager to immerse herself at Swinburne and get to know its students and staff.
“My first priority is to meet people, to listen and to ask questions. I really want to understand Swinburne from the perspective of the various groups within the university as each will have an important part of the story to share with me.”
The new Vice-Chancellor says that she is looking forward to leading Swinburne in a challenging tertiary environment. “I think it is an extremely complex time in tertiary education. There have been unprecedented changes in the policy setting over the last four or five years and that pace of change is not going to diminish.”
She identified the uncapped student systems in TAFE and higher education, international enrolments and the increased expectation that universities be judged according to their research performance, as some of the biggest challenges to face the sector.
“I think Swinburne is particularly well placed to handle these challenges. The university is well respected for its teaching excellence and for its significant research progress in recent years. Achieving a ranking in the top 500 as measured by the Shanghai Jiao Tong is no small feat, and I think it will position the university well going forward.”
According to Professor Kristjanson, she was initially attracted to Swinburne because it is a university that does not confuse quality with elitism.
“Swinburne is a university that gives students opportunities. It is a university that promises to transform lives and make a difference, regardless of the pathway that students take to get here,” she says. “This accords strongly with my own personal values and beliefs and I am enormously proud to lead an education institution that has this aim.”
Swinburne Chancellor Mr Bill Scales AO welcomed Professor Kristjanson to Swinburne, saying that she brings considerable life and professional experience to the university and to the tertiary sector more broadly.
“She is an outstanding scholar with a strong understanding of the sector, extensive management experience and a strong presence and history in community and industry engagement. The University Council has no doubt that she is the person best placed to take Swinburne into the next exciting stage of the university’s development.”
During the course of her career, Professor Kristjanson has received more than $30 million in competitive research grants and published more than 200 refereed journal articles and chapters. She has served on many boards and committees and from 2001 to 2006 was The Cancer Council of Western Australia’s Chair of Palliative Care. She was on the NHMRC Council from 2003 to 2006 and in 2002 she was named the Australian Telstra Business Woman of the Year for her entrepreneurial work in health and science.