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Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt to head ANU

ANU News   |    24 June 2015

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  Professor Brian Schmidt AC has been appointed the next Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU).  He will take up the position on 1 January 2016 at the conclusion of the term of current Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO.

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 Brian Schmidt and Gareth Evans speak of Schmidt’s appointment as ANU vice-chancellor

ANU chancellor  Gareth Evans AC said the University Council is delighted the renowned astrophysicist and winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics had accepted the offer Brian Schmidt4to become the University’s 12th Vice-Chancellor.

Brian Schmidt is superbly placed to deliver on the ambition of ANU founders – to permanently secure our position among the great universities of the world, and as a crucial contributor to the nation.  We had a stellar field of international and Australian candidates, and have chosen an inspirational leader. Brian’s vision, vitality, global stature and communication skills are going to take our national university to places it has never been before.

Professor Evans praised the work done by current vice-chancellor Professor Young to modernise the operation and strengthen the reputation of the University over the past five years.

“Never afraid of a challenge or a difficult decision, he will leave ANU with an excellent academic reputation, improved administration, in good financial shape with strong donor support, and well positioned for its next era,” he said.

Professor Young said Professor Schmidt would lead ANU with distinction.

Professor Schmidt is an outstanding appointment and I look forward to working with him as I complete the final six months of my term.

Professor Schmidt said he is “thrilled” to be appointed vice-chancellor:

I’ve been at the ANU for some 20 years and it has given me some of the best experiences of my life. I really want to give back to the University that has given so much to me.

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quote marks It requires courage to really go out and reach for the stars and I’m pretty sure my passion and enthusiasm will translate to the staff and students.

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Professor Schmidt said he would work not only to further improve the outstanding research at ANU, but also to ensure the University provided its students with an education equal to that of Oxford, Cambridge and the great Ivy League schools in the United States.

We’re nearly there, and we’re going to get there over the next few years.  I am especially looking forward to connecting our students of today with the students of the past, our alumni, for their mutual benefit. We need to focus as well on outreach, devising policy for the nation, and working with business and institutions like CSIRO. In this way we can take the knowledge we create and give it back to the nation to make Australia even stronger.

Professor Schmidt told The Australian that, while he had publicly backed university fee ­deregulation, he was concerned students may be asked to bear too much of the ­financial burden of their education.

The current status quo on how universities are funded needs to be reviewed and changed. Some form of deregulation or other measure is required.

The current system rewards quantity not quality, especially within teaching. That said, we need to reassure students that when they come to university they get value for money and not (be required to pay) what the market will bear.

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