After an extensive recruitment process, undertaken in unprecedented times, Victoria University has today announced its next Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Adam Shoemaker, marking a new era for the new year 2021.
Chair of the Search Committee, Deputy Chancellor Wayne Kayler-Thomson says the committee was pleased with the exceptional field of international and national tertiary education leaders who were considered. Their unanimous decision was to appoint Professor Shoemaker, who presented a compelling vision for VU’s next stage of development.
Professor Shoemaker will join VU from Southern Cross University (SCU), where he has been the Vice-Chancellor and President since 2016. He is one of Australia's leading researchers in the area of Indigenous literature and culture and has previously held senior leadership roles at a number of other Australian universities, including Academic Provost at Griffith University, Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Education) at Monash University and Dean of Arts at the Australian National University.
VU Chancellor Gaye Hamilton says that Professor Shoemaker will bring an exciting mix of passion, knowledge and innovation to VU to lead the university in the years ahead and to navigate a post COVID-19 world.
“Professor Shoemaker is described as generous, inclusive and collaborative and he has a reputation as having the confidence of his staff and his peers as well as the communities his university serves.
“He is an ideal fit to build on the firm foundations of VU and to continue our transformational agenda as well as continuing to enact our moral purpose, which is to transform the lives of any student from any background and to transform our communities,” said Ms Hamilton.
Professor Shoemaker has significant experience in leading change agendas, including the development of a new strategic plan at Southern Cross University focused on firmly establishing it among the top 50 young universities in the world by 2026. He also delivered a financial turnaround and completed a practical and symbolic rebrand of SCU that acknowledges Indigenous culture, positioning it as a progressive and deeply-engaged institution within the regions it serves.
In addition, he championed a new 6 x 6 model of course delivery—with six flexible study periods a year —as the way of the future for what both students and employers need. He is an experienced dual sector leader and sees developing meaningful pathways for students as a way to achieve enduring success. Professor Shoemaker is also an influential dual sector advocate who recognises its value in delivering work and career ready graduates.
Professor Shoemaker says that he is very enthusiastic about his new role with VU and can think of no other Australian university with more potential or capacity to strengthen its influence, impact and contribution to its communities.
“VU has become globally recognised for its commitment to reinvention and achievement—both in education and research. It takes its responsibility to both people and place in Melbourne’s west very seriously, and that is a wonderful thing.
“Over decades, VU has become a beacon of dual sector excellence and diversity. It recognises the responsibility and challenge of successful career-creation for all students, regardless of background. And it draws inspiration from the Indigenous concept of Moondani Balluk—meaning ‘embrace people’ in the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri nation.
“All of this sets VU apart in the strongest possible way. I feel privileged to be joining such a great institution.
“I am also no stranger to a challenge—and now is the most challenging of times. But I am convinced that universities, such as VU, will lead the way in terms of attainment and excellence in the future,” said Professor Shoemaker.
Professor Shoemaker will commence at VU on Monday 14 December, coinciding with the final week that Professor Peter Dawkins will be in the role of Vice-Chancellor.
Professor Dawkins retires as Vice-Chancellor and President of VU after a 10-year tenure leaving a legacy as being a strategic, optimistic and considered leader who implemented an ambitious transformational agenda and a powerful moral purpose at VU.
Incoming Chancellor in 2021, the Honourable Steve Bracks AC, says that Professor Dawkins has steadfastly championed a west of Melbourne focus for VU. He says that Professor Dawkins has demonstrated that the strength of having a global reach while connecting deeply with the western region creates the right focus for the university. VU’s support for the west of Melbourne and its communities through various projects, strategies and research to address challenges and provide opportunities is widely and highly regarded thanks to the vision and leadership of Professor Dawkins says Mr Bracks.
“I welcome and congratulate Professor Shoemaker as the next Vice-Chancellor and President of VU, and I believe that he is the best person to lead VU on from the outstanding work and leadership of Professor Dawkins. I look forward to working with Professor Shoemaker to take VU into a new era, continuing to build VU’s long term future.
“Professor Dawkins has made an outstanding contribution and commitment to VU, to education in Australia, and to the west of Melbourne and we thank him very much and wish him a wonderful retirement,” said Mr Bracks.