Global approach for UWA
AN international flavour will arrive at UWA in one package when Kent Anderson takes up new his appointment as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Community and Engagement on October 1.
Professor Anderson said he was intrigued by the prospect of the role when one of his peers mentioned it.
“Higher education is a pretty small circle,” he said.
“When someone was talking about it, I said ‘that sounds like a lot of fun’.”
Prof Anderson, who has spent the past few years in Adelaide as Pro ViceChancellor (International) at the University of Adelaide and Professor of Law in the Adelaide Law School, said he was keen to move to Perth.
“Having grown up in Alaskan winters, I’m loving the heat,” he said. “I think I’m enjoying the thaw.” Prof Anderson grew up in Alaska before studying in Japan, Oxford in England and the US specialising in law, politics, economics and Asian studies.
Before studying, he had another life as a commercial lawyer in Hawaii and as an airline executive in marketing.
“I have been incredibly lucky and privileged to move around the world,” Prof Anderson said.
He said Japanese universities were akin to UWA.
“I was a Hokkaido University, which is similar to UWA with their group of eight – it has a group of seven,” Prof Anderson said.
“It is a public uni with a collegial management style, was founded on a territory – a new adventurous place just like UWA was 100 years ago. “There are many similarities.” Prof Anderson expects to take a grass roots approach to the position when he begins.
“I like to get my feet under the desk and listen to people – it’s critical to getting things right,” he said.
“Basically I don’t want to screw it up because there are so many good things happening at UWA.”
Prof Anderson said his position would be to see how the university was involving the community.
“Universities are a global world. I want them to learn from the wonderful things going on here and get the message out to the wider world,” he said.
“Basically shine that into a bigger perspective.
“You can only do that by engaging on a broader scale.
“As an example the Perth International Festival of Arts; are people in Singapore aware of that, have they seen the giant marionettes?
“We already have excellent results and an international reputation but promoting the uni is what we need to do – unfortunately doing things we are uncomfortable with as academics.
“It will greatly help UWA’s goal of getting into the top 50 by 2050.”