Professor Sally Walker to conclude as Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University in mid-2010

10 December 2009

The Chancellor of Deakin University, Mr David Morgan, announced today (10 December 2009) that Professor Sally Walker will conclude her term of office as Vice-Chancellor in mid-2010. In an email to staff and students Mr Morgan said: "It is with great regret that I inform you that Professor Sally Walker has advised me that she wishes to conclude her term of office as Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University in mid-2010.

"The timing of this decision is entirely Sally's. Although her contract extends well beyond mid-2010, she believes that this is the right time in the Strategic Planning cycle for her to complete her term of office."

Professor Walker commenced as the fifth Vice-Chancellor of Deakin University in 2003. A lawyer by training, before taking up the position at Deakin University she was Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Melbourne.

Mr Morgan said: "Sally has dedicated herself for seven years to advancing the interests of Deakin University; she has demonstrated outstanding vision, integrity of the highest order and a capacity for hard-work that is unsurpassed. Her contribution to Deakin University has been immense; she has led one of the most significant transformations of a university in the history of Australian higher education.

"From the outset Sally made it clear that she was not willing to have Deakin seen externally or, for that matter, internally, as anything other than a first-rate university. She has encouraged the University to focus on developing its own distinctive position in the higher education sector. She ensured that all members of staff understand that the core responsibilities of a university are teaching and research and that a university's activities should focus on these responsibilities.

"Sally's approach has been remarkably successful. The University has a strong sense of shared purpose. It has improved in every aspect of its activities and the University's standing has grown within Victoria, nationally and internationally. Achievements include:

  • the largest growth in student numbers of any Australian university in the period 2002 - 2009
  • a focus on excellence in research and teaching that has seen outstanding improvements in recent years
  • improved demand for Deakin's teaching programs – Deakin is now the third most popular university in Victoria
  • growth in staff numbers, particularly academic staff, at a rate higher than the growth in student numbers so that staff student ratios and academic to general staff ratios have improved
  • the establishment of a Medical School
  • a significant capital works program
  • the introduction of a Trimester system which has proved to be very popular with students and ensured the better use of the University's resources."

Mr Morgan said: "Sally's focus on increasing recurrent, discretionary revenue has enabled Deakin University to transform its presence in higher education. We are now on an exceptionally strong financial footing.

"Sally has nurtured positive relations with Deakin's external communities. She coined the saying 'What is good for Geelong is good for Deakin, and we hope that what is good for Deakin is good for Geelong.' One of the few activities she has engaged in outside Deakin is as Number One female ticket holder for the Geelong Football Club.

"Her belief in the transforming power of higher education, borne of her own experience, and her personal commitment to access and equity have put Deakin in an excellent position to respond to the latest Federal Government initiatives."

Professor Walker said today: "I want to thank all the staff, students and members of the wider community who have supported Deakin University during my tenure as Vice-Chancellor. I am grateful to the members of the University Council for their support; the two Chancellors with whom I have had the pleasure of working - Dr Richard Searby and Mr David Morgan - have always been encouraging about the changes I have implemented. I have been honoured to lead Deakin University at a time of growth and improvement. I see the role of Vice-Chancellor as that of a custodian of the values and distinctive features of the university they lead. I have been fortunate to be the Vice-Chancellor of a University that shares so many of my personal values and seeks to advance the things that I hold dear, particularly, equity and access, rural and regional engagement and life-long learning."

The University will commence a search for a new Vice-Chancellor with the expectation of having someone in place in mid-2010.


Media contact

Mandi O’Garretty
Media and Corporate Communications
03 52272776, 0418 361 890
Email Mandi

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