USC welcomes a new Vice-Chancellor and President - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Welcome Professor Helen Bartlett

Professor Bartlett arrives at USC as an accomplished executive leader, having been Vice-Chancellor and President of Federation University Australia, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Monash University Malaysia and Pro Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University’s Gippsland Campus.

With a research background in health and aged care (gerontology), Professor Bartlett was the inaugural Director at the Australasian Centre on Ageing at the University of Queensland and was also Foundation Director of the Oxford Centre for Health Care Research and Development and the Oxford Dementia Centre at Oxford Brookes University.

USC Chancellor Angus Houston, who chaired the Vice Chancellor selection panel, felt that Professor Bartlett was very much the perfect fit for USC.

“The selection panel was mindful of USC's history and also its future; its position in its regions and its opportunities for impact,” said Sir Angus. “Professor Bartlett has invaluable experience in leading institutions and serving diverse communities; deep appreciation for the role and potential of regional universities through her chairmanship of the Regional Universities Network; and specialist research expertise in health and aged care," he said.

Professor Bartlett’s arrival at USC comes at a challenging time for universities throughout Australia, however she remains upbeat about the purpose of universities, particularly for those outside of major cities.

“There’s an enormous satisfaction that comes with widening access to higher education across regional Australia and developing programs that respond to local needs. The multi-campus nature of USC means we can work closely with our local communities and the University’s programs can be tailored to meet their needs,” said Professor Bartlett.

With USC having grown significantly over recent years, and having established a network of campuses now stretching from the Fraser Coast to the Moreton Bay region, Professor Bartlett is focused on ensuring each campus is delivering local outcomes.

“I’m looking forward to building up our new campus at Moreton Bay, which is clearly already filling a need in that community, as well as working closely with our community, industry and business partners in the Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast and Gympie region,” she said.

Professor Bartlett is currently engaging with staff to review the USC strategic plan. This will take into account recent changes in the tertiary education landscape, brought about by government and the global pandemic, and will also set USC on a successful trajectory as the state and country recovers.

Professor Helen Bartlett
Farewell Professor Greg Hill AO

On Friday 14 August 2020, Professor Greg Hill ended a decade as Vice-Chancellor and President of USC. This brought to a close a career which began as a school teacher and finished with the award of Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his distinguished service to education, particularly the development of tertiary facilities in regional areas, and to the community.

Professor Hill joined the University in 2005 as Deputy Vice-Chancellor with a firm agenda to ramp up research capabilities, broaden the range of degrees, boost the University's reputation for teaching quality, and strengthen its engagement with the region.

After his appointment as Vice-Chancellor and President in 2011, Professor Hill championed the establishment of the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience–Thompson Institute dedicated to teaching, research and clinical work in mental health, as well as
USC’s Clinical Trials Centre and partnership with the Sunshine Coast Health Institute.

His desire to see people from all backgrounds and circumstances given opportunities for university education led to the expansion of USC’s geographic footprint which now extends from the Fraser Coast to Moreton Bay.

Professor Hill also focused on the needs of aspiring athletes seeking university degrees, guiding the development of a High Performance Student Athlete program and creating a comprehensive educational, clinical and training environment at USC.

Like so much in 2020, Professor Hill’s final year involved significant time away from the campus. COVID-19 restrictions delayed his planned surgery and inevitably a return to the office. It also meant a face to face farewell was not possible, resulting in a farewell message delivered to all staff via email.

“When life settles down, I look forward to returning to say some goodbyes and I certainly intend to stay connected to our wonderful University,” he wrote. “It has been the best part of my working life in academia to have walked with you, and to have made the tertiary education impact we have achieved, on our now broad region. We have been able to make educational access a reality for these regional communities, including our First Nations peoples,” he said.

USC Chancellor Sir Angus Houston congratulated Professor Hill on his retirement and praised him for his tireless work in developing the University.

“Professor Hill’s dedication to and leadership of USC’s success has been unwavering, exemplified by the University’s expansion into new regions, its outstanding results in student success, satisfaction and employability, its growth in research stature and its close and meaningful engagement with its communities,” he said.

Professor Greg Hill