CDU appoints local Territorian with strong links to industry, government and business sector as the Associate Vice-Chancellor, Central Australia of Charles Darwin University in Alice Springs.
Jennes “Jay” Walker, whose family connections with the Territory’s pastoral and tourism industries date back more than 30 years, began as Director of Regional Engagement and Development in 2018 before being appointed recently.
CDU has demonstrated a real commitment to building regional capacity and localised workforce with its focus on growth and regions by appointing Jay Walker as the inaugural Associate Vice-Chancellor.
“This is new role and a first for CDU which demonstrates the university’s knowledge and understanding of a place-based approach toward decision making and prioritisation,” Mr Walker said.
“It shows that CDU recognises that every region and geographical area of the Territory is unique with different people and different needs.”
Mr Walker said he would focus on bringing campus life back to Alice Springs and introducing a range of higher education qualifications on campus ensuring Territorians have an opportunity to live and study in Alice Springs without the need to leave town.
“If you want to live in Alice Springs and go to university, that should be an option,” he said.
“We have an obligation to Territorians to grow and keep our bright future leaders here. We want to reignite Central Australia and embed ourselves as a key pillar of the community, we have a responsibility to Territorians.”
“We have advocated strongly to ensure that all regions of the Northern Territory are understood and not overlooked, and this is a refreshing step in the right direction.”
Mr Walker said CDU Alice Springs would look at expanding its local VET footprint and look to introduce short and evening courses across a range of new and existing disciplines such as hairdressing, creative industries and the trades.
He said that continuing to integrate Indigenous communities and educators into the education offerings at CDU Alice Springs would be key.
“We need to ensure Indigenous Territorians are recognised for the role they play in our community and ensuring that is incorporated into our training and delivery,” he said.
“Our staff have a detailed cultural understanding of the place and people, many have Indigenous backgrounds and experience and are a key part of the community’s fabric.”
CDU has also appointed a new regional Operations Manager its Alice Springs campus, long-term Alice Spring’s resident Jodie Summers, who has lived in Alice Springs for more than 20 years since 1997.
Jodie is highly connected within the local community and was the former business manager for the Desert Knowledge Precinct and Head of Governance at Alice Springs Town Council.
“My aim is to ensure the regional rebuild for CDU to take back ownership of the Central Australia region as the Territory’s preferred VET and higher education provider,” Ms Summers said.