Elections for 2022 ACGR Executive Committee

November 2021

The election to fill 4 vacant positions on the Executive Committee will be conducted at the Council’s AGM on Thursday November 11. Eligible voters are the primary representative of each full member organisations. These colleagues will receive their ballot forms by email at 9 am AEDT.

Nominees are:

Committee Member – 2 year term  (3 vacancies)

  • Professor Clive Baldock, WSU
  • Professor Susan Kinnear, CQU
  • Professor Chris Pakes, La Trobe University
  • Professor Wendy Wright, Federation University Australia
  • Professor Justin Zobel, The University of Melbourne

Committee Member – 1 year term  (1 vacancy)

  • Professor Clive Baldock, WSU
  • Professor Susan Kinnear, CQU
  • Professor Wendy Wright, Federation University Australia

 Professor Clive Baldock, Western Sydney University

Nominee for both one and two year terms

I graduated with a BSc (hons) (University of Sussex), MSc and PhD (University of London) and a Masters of Tertiary Education Management (University of Melbourne). My previous academic roles have included Head of School (University of Sydney), Dean of Science (Macquarie University), Executive Director for Physical Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics and Information Sciences at the Australian Research Council (ARC), Dean of Graduate Research and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Researcher Development (University of Tasmania) and Dean of Graduate Research (University of Wollongong). Currently, I am Dean of Graduate Studies and Researcher Development at Western Sydney University. I have published over 175 journal papers and been awarded Fellowships of the Australian Institute of Physics, the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine, the Institute of Physics (UK) and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (UK). As a supervisor, I have overseen the successful completion of over 30 HDR candidates.

I strongly believe in the importance of graduate researchers in the life of all universities and the significant contribution they make to an institution’s research outcomes. Of particular importance is the training and development of our graduate researchers with the critical thinking and transferable skills for future careers. At this challenging time of COVID, and with government’s desires to increase university engagement with industry, ACGR has never had a more important role to play as the peak body for graduate research in Australia and New Zealand. I would be honoured to serve on the ACGR Executive Committee and would bring to the Committee my many years’ experience as a HDR supervisor and researcher and as a Dean of Graduate Research.

Professor Susan Kinnear, Central Queensland University

Nominee for both one and two year terms

I am currently the Dean, School of Graduate Research at CQUniversity Australia, operating from the North Rockhampton campus in Central Queensland (Darumbal country).  CQUniversity is regionally-based university with a national footprint, delivering graduate research training across 13 campuses, plus distance and offshore, to a cohort that is diverse, mature-aged and industry-experienced.  Working at a regional institution requires hands-on responsibility for all aspects of your portfolio. During seven years in the Dean’s role, I’ve re-established the Graduate School; restructured the research higher degree policy framework; commenced new programs; commissioned expert and quality reviews; and authored a graduate research strategy resulting in strong growth in our cohort size.  Some of the most important work, however, has been community-building initiatives to improve the skills base and satisfaction levels of the students and supervisors who represent our research future.

I came into the Dean’s role in 2014 with limited prior knowledge of graduate research leadership. I experienced first-hand the importance of having peers and mentors to call on whilst travelling up the learning curve. I believe the ACGR has so much to offer Deans and Directors, new or experienced, as we tackle common challenges across our respective institutions.   The ACGR is also an essential platform to provide a voice for graduate research to government and industry. I have served on the ACGR Executive during 2020-2021, particularly through involvement in the webinar sessions relating to the COVID19 response, and in the redevelopment of the best practice guidelines for disclosing and managing conflicts of interest.  The past 18 months have certainly shown us the value of collegiality, information-sharing, and combining our expertise and knowledge to take graduate research training forward in Australia. I ask for your support to continue this work.

Professor Chris Pakes, La Trobe University

Nominee for two year term

I welcome the nomination to serve on the ACGR Executive Committee at a time when we are seeing continued disruption in the university sector through, for example, the drive to increase the engagement between universities and industry and the impact this will have on the RTP scheme, and the impact of the foreign arrangements and interference legislation on global graduate research partnerships. It is critical that we continue responding to these changes as a single voice and support each other to adapt in response to change to strengthen Australian graduate research on the global stage.

I have over eight years experience serving in the roles of Associate Dean (Research), Dean of Graduate Studies, PVC (Graduate and Global Research) and acting DVC (Research), at La Trobe University, during this period leading a program of renewal of La Trobe’s graduate research portfolio. This has involved launching a graduate research school; a substantial refresh of its governance framework, administrative systems and educational programs; establishing and growing an industry PhD program, new Masters by research pathway programs, the university’s first global joint PhDs and an India-based research academy. Like all DoGS, I believe I have the best job in the University!

Prof Wendy Wright, Federation University Australia

Nominee for both one and two year terms

I have held leadership roles in graduate research at Monash and Federation Universities since 2012 and have been an active and engaged member of the Australian Council of Graduate Research since 2016. As the Dean, Graduate Research at Federation University in Australia I am currently leading graduate research initiatives across regional Victoria, responding to the Federal Government’s regional research agenda, while also establishing graduate research activities at Federation’s Brisbane campus. With more than one third of the graduate research cohort at Federation formally engaged with industry, I have a deep understanding of the potential for industry-connected graduate research programs and have recently implemented a PhD internship program at Federation supported by IBM Australia.

During 2016-7, I developed and implemented a Higher Degrees by Research Improvement Agenda at Federation University, which addressed an external Review of HDR at Federation and responded to the 2015 National (ACOLA) Review of Graduate Research Training and to the 2015 revisions of the TEQSA Higher Education Standards Framework. My contributions led to the establishment of the Graduate Research School and a revised HDR policy suite at Federation. I also created and introduced multi-campus research skills development programs for graduate researchers and supervisors which are now integrated into the graduate research environment at Federation.

I very much enjoy and appreciate the ACGR’s collegiate approach to the development of graduate research across all Australian universities. Modelling this collegiate approach, I am leading emerging collaborations with colleagues at city-based universities to support combined cohorts of graduate researchers working to solve research problems generated by regionally located industry partners. Such initiatives enhance the graduate research experience while addressing the regional development agenda.

I am based at Federation University’s Gippsland Campus on Gunai Kurnai Country in regional Victoria. I will bring to the ACGR Executive my passion for excellence in graduate research and my understanding of the role of regional universities in research development and applied research.

Professor Justin Zobel, The University of Melbourne

Nominee for two year term

I have been Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate & International Research) at the University of Melbourne since the beginning of 2018, having been Head of a variety of academic units, including a school with nearly 200 HDR candidates, for most of the previous twenty years. Support of candidates in research degrees has been a key focus of my academic career, in particular through having authored three textbooks on research study.

Melbourne has a cohort of several thousand HDRs. They face challenges like those presented at every university in Australia, particularly under COVID, with the breadth and diversity that is typical of a comprehensive institution. Leading Melbourne’s support for HDRs through the pandemic, including engagement with national and international issues, has required a broad perspective on the richness of the HDR experience in a wide variety of settings.

Since being appointed as PVC I’ve greatly valued the ACGR, which is key in underpinning our culture of mutual support across Australian universities. As a community we have demonstrated how we can help each other to develop and to strengthen the training and support that we offer to all HDRs.

If elected to the ACGR executive I would seek to ensure that we continue to work closely together as we address our current rich field of challenges. These have been both sharpened and shifted by the pandemic, with the changes it has brought in HDR career prospects, recruitment, networking and development opportunities, internships, modes of learning, and in particular well-being. The ACGR can play a strong role in the shaping of HDR study in Australia over the coming years.