ACT News

Gareth Evans stays on at ANU to find new vice-chancellor

Former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans has agreed to another three-year term as Chancellor of the Australian National University to provide stability and oversee the recruitment of  a new Vice-Chancellor this year.

ANU Council unanimously approved the extension on Friday on the basis that "the early reappointment of Professor Evans would ensure continuity for the university community over the period of transition from Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young to the next Vice-Chancellor" according to a staff email on Tuesday.

Chancellor Gareth Evans with outgoing Vice-Chancellor Ian Young.
Chancellor Gareth Evans with outgoing Vice-Chancellor Ian Young. Photo: Lannon Harley

Professor Young announced earlier this month he was leaving after a five-year term as Vice-Chancellor.

Vice-Chancellor recruitment specialist Julie Steiner from Odgers Berndtson has been appointed to begin an international head-hunt for his replacement, with Professor Evans also confirming he will take a roll in courting potential candidates.

Yet he maintained that it would not be a case of "Captain's pick" as the candidate would need to be approved by a selection panel of eight, before being approved by the 14- member Council.

"I am chair of the panel, so I will be doing a lot of the proactive work," Professor Evans said.


"But it is very much a collective decision, with a selection committee of eight bring to bring  their experience to the task before it goes to Council."

Candidates would need to understand the importance of a close working relationship with government, demonstrate a strong record of strategic thinking, and possess both financial acumen and a passion for excellence, Professor Evans said.

It is anticipated that national and international job advertisements will be placed next month with Council to be convened in late June to appoint the new Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Evans led the 2010 selection process of Professor Young and said his departure after one term was related to his desire to return to research rather than the suggestion he had alienated people through his term of cost-cutting and outspoken support of fee deregulation.

"It's not because Ian was fed up with us or we were fed up with him. Given the extraordinarily tumultuous times we have been through and the stresses I think he just had this feeling it might be time to do something else. More centrally he is a world-class oceanographic engineer."

Professor Young will returning to Swinburn University's Centre for Ocean Engineering, Science and Technology in 2016.

His replacement can expect to earn a salary package somewhere between $800,000-$900,000

His impending departure has been welcomed by students within the ANU's Education Action Group in the latest edition of Woroni. The group described Professor Young as a ruthless cost-cutter and "one of Australia's loudest and most influential advocates for fee deregulation" who would be remembered for industrial disharmony and "gutting" the School of Music.

Who could be the next ANU Vice-Chancellor?

Stephen Parker, Vice-Chancellor University of Canberra.

Turned the ailing UC's fortunes around, and was believed to be a front-runner on the ANU shortlist in 2010. Has been an outspoken critic of Ian Young's deregulation agenda.

Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor James Cook University

The former ANU alumna has been an effective leader at James Cook, who has also represented the wider sector during her time chairing Universities Australia.

John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor La Trobe

British-born law expert with substantial university management experience despite being in his early 50s. La Trobe is rising up international rankings.

Paul Wellings, Vice-Chancellor University of Wollongong

Shares Ian Young's belief that university deregulation will increase university competitiveness for the better and was also believed to be shortlisted in 2010.

Arun Sharma, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialisation) Queensland University of Technology

Considered an up-an-coming ideas leader with an impressive research background.