Council statement - Selection of The Hon. Mark Vaile AO as Chancellor

Friday, 18 June 2021

Given the interest in the selection of The Hon. Mark Vaile AO as our University’s 8th Chancellor, I wanted to update you on our University Council discussions last week.

Chancellor - Paul Jeans

At our scheduled meeting on Friday, Council members discussed Mr Vaile’s appointment and considered feedback from staff, students, community, industry and government stakeholders. As an institution of and for our regions, this understanding is critical.

During the Council meeting, we discussed:

  • The selection process and governance, noting that 36 candidates from across the country and internationally had been considered for the position.
  • Mr Vaile’s career, understanding of the role and alignment with the University’s strategic direction and values of equity, excellence, engagement and sustainability.
  • The importance of supporting free speech and listening to all views.
  • Feedback about the appointment through social, media and personal channels.
  • A letter tabled from UNSA, to which we will respond directly in due course.

The Council acknowledged and appreciated that the concerns raised in the feedback received by us required due respect and serious consideration.

The Council noted the Chancellor selection process and criteria can be found on the University website. Mr Vaile AO was considered by the Selection Committee as the best candidate in a large field of applicants across all of the appointment criteria. To avoid doubt, Mr Vaile has publicly reinforced his commitment to the Looking Ahead strategy and restated his support for achieving the University’s carbon neutral goal by 2025. He has also emphasised the importance of stopping human-caused climate change by transitioning our energy economy.

There are 16 member positions on Council – we all have different backgrounds, skill sets and interests. We have long benefited from a diverse range of views. We have robust debates, consider the views of our stakeholders, discuss ideas and, as a group, work to find consensus to act in the best interests of our University.

While the selection of our next Chancellor is of fundamental importance to the University and its ongoing success, it is through the efforts of staff that we will deliver against our ambitious Looking Ahead goals. The Council believes Mr Vaile will provide the leadership and advocacy our University needs to deliver against its strategy and respond to the challenges ahead. Your University Council will ensure all stakeholders are heard and views considered as we implement our Looking Ahead strategy.

P.E. (Paul) JEANS

On behalf of University of Newcastle Council


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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.