Professor Pascale Quester has commenced as Swinburne’s new Vice-Chancellor and President, taking over from Professor Linda Kristjanson AO who has led the university since 2011.
An exciting new chapter
Swinburne’s Chancellor Professor John Pollaers OAM says Professor Quester is a bold and driven leader who will guide Swinburne into an ‘exciting new chapter’.
“Pascale is passionate about Swinburne’s unique opportunity as a dual-sector university to shape the future through industry-embedded teaching and research, forging paths of innovation, harnessing new technologies, and preparing graduates equipped to thrive in a changing world,” he says.
Professor Pollaers says universities and their contributions matter more than ever, as the needs of workforces, industries and communities rapidly evolve.
“Swinburne is poised to help lead a society that must forge seamless bonds between future talent, Industry 4.0 and ‘Society 5.0’ – a post-COVID-19 society that must face up to the truths confronting us, balancing technological advances and the drive for economic growth – with sustainability, inclusion and social equity,” he says.
“Pascale is the type of leader who will meet these challenges and headwinds with optimism and confidence.”
Leading Swinburne into a bright future
Professor Quester says she is honoured to join the Swinburne community and build on its reputation as a leader in innovation and technology.
“Swinburne’s innovative culture – the fact we are so invested in technology that it pervades all of our teaching and research – and our dual-sector capability both set Swinburne apart as an indispensable part of the tertiary education sector in Australia,” she says.
Professor Quester says the future for Swinburne is bright, despite the current challenges facing the sector.
“In a technology-rich future where upskilling and reskilling will become the norm, we will not only invent and develop new technological solutions, but we will also prepare the graduates that government, industry and society all expect us to – adaptive and confident graduates who are equipped for careers of the future,” she says.
Professor Quester has spent the past 30 years of her career in higher education, the last 15 in leadership roles, joining Swinburne from the University of Adelaide where she was most recently Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).
An outstanding legacy
Professor Kristjanson has led Swinburne with vision, strength and distinction since 2011, says Professor Pollaers.
“There is no doubt that Linda’s leadership has shaped Swinburne into the innovative, agile and forward-thinking university we are today,” he says.
Under Professor Kristjanson’s leadership, Swinburne has grown its reputation as a world-class university, consistently ranking in the top three per cent of universities worldwide.
In 2017, Swinburne launched its 2025 Strategic Plan, focusing on developing future-ready learners, research with impact and growing the university’s capability as an innovative enterprise. Swinburne has also built on its strengths in STEMM, and is recognised for its leadership in engineering, space, computer science and advanced manufacturing.
During Professor Kristjanson’s time at Swinburne, the university has also expanded its health courses, opened a law school and grown its global community in places such as Vietnam, Malaysia and China. Swinburne has also deepened links with business and industry, ensuring work integrated learning opportunities are available in all courses.