Murdoch University announces new Vice Chancellor

Professor Andrew Deeks

A distinguished academic leader who was educated in Western Australia has been appointed Vice Chancellor and President of Murdoch University.

Professor Andrew J Deeks, President of University College Dublin, was tonight appointed by Murdoch University’s Senate to lead the University.

Murdoch University Chancellor Gary Smith said Senate had accepted the recommendation of a selection committee established to consider the appropriate candidate for the important leadership role.

“I am delighted Professor Deeks has accepted the position and will be leading Murdoch University at such a critical time for the higher education sector and what we expect will be an exciting time in Murdoch University’s history,” Mr Smith said.

Professor Deeks said he was thrilled to be coming back to WA to lead a university so well-positioned to thrive in this time of disruption and opportunity, a time where the need to build a sustainable global society is increasingly recognised.

“Murdoch University has a global reputation for its research, teaching and learning, particularly in the areas of the environment, health and food, and with its tradition of free thinking is ideally placed to contribute to the solution of global challenges and to further promote social inclusion and equity,” Professor Deeks said.

I am looking forward to working with colleagues from across the academic disciplines and professional services to realise the potential that lies within the University, and to provide a student experience which defines international best practice.

“I am particularly excited to be part of Murdoch University’s Reconciliation Action Plan, as this is an agenda which has moved forward considerably during my time abroad.”

“My ambition is for Murdoch University to be recognised globally as a model for the 21st century university, where a diverse and inclusive environment for learning, research and scholarship enables all members of the University community to achieve their full potential, where free thinking underpins innovative and impactful contributions to the solution of global challenges, where partnership and engagement with industry, government, alumni and the wider community thrives, and which is a source of pride for everyone associated with it.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to bring the knowledge, skills and experience I have gained from more than 12 years in leadership positions in leading UK and Irish universities back to WA, and I look forward to contributing to the advancement of Murdoch University, WA and Australia. 

Mr Smith said Murdoch University’s people played a strong role in defining the values, experience and characteristics they wanted from their next Vice Chancellor.

“The Murdoch University community came together to discuss and define the leadership qualities and attributes they wanted to see in a new Vice Chancellor.  The selection committee honoured these collective views of our people and have identified an outstanding candidate in Andrew to lead our university,” Mr Smith said.

Andrew brings significant academic and leadership experience to the role and he has already indicated to me a strong respect for the unique history and culture of Murdoch University.

“I look forward to working with Andrew in building on our outstanding global reputation for the quality of our research, learning and teaching and preparing our graduates to deal with the significant global challenges we confront in the face of a growing population, food and water shortages and a changing climate.”

Mr Smith also said he was delighted with the recent appointment of Interim Vice Chancellor Jane den Hollander who will continue in her role leading up to the commencement of Professor Deeks as Vice Chancellor.

Professor Deeks has been appointed for a period of five years and is expected to commence his role in April 2022.

About Professor Andrew J Deeks

Professor Deeks was educated at The University of Western Australia, where he received a first class honours degree in civil engineering. After completing his Masters degree he worked in industry briefly, before returning to UWA to pursue his PhD and an academic career. He became Winthrop Professor, Civil and Resource Engineering, in 2004 and was Head of School from 2004 to 2009. 

In 2009, Professor Deeks joined Durham University as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Science. In this role he led the development of the university's global presence strategy and extensive international partnerships, particularly in China and Brazil. On 1 January 2014, Professor Deeks moved to University College Dublin to take up the role of President, becoming the first Australian to lead an Irish university. Under his leadership UCD has established itself as Ireland’s Global University, increasing the quality, quantity and impact of its research, the satisfaction of its students, and the number of spinout companies being produced. A focus has been local, national and global engagement. 

Professor Deeks is a Fellow of the Australian Institution of Engineers, the Irish Academy of Engineering and the Irish Institution of Engineers, a Council member of the Irish Universities Association and the European Universities Association, a Board member of the International Association of Universities, and an Executive Committee member of Universitas 21 and the Worldwide Universities Network.

Professor Deek’s primary research focus is in computational mechanics; specifically in the scaled boundary finite element method, which is a semi-analytical approach for solving elastostatic, elastodynamic and allied problems in engineering. His other research interests include structural mechanics, structural dynamics and dynamic soil structure interaction.

Posted on:

6 Dec 2021

Share this article:

Show your support

Clap to show your support for the article