A leader with significant international experience and a distinguished academic career has been welcomed as Charles Darwin University’s new Provost.
Professor Mike Wilson said he was passionate about how universities could make a real difference to students, communities and wider society through teaching and research. He was previously Provost at Zayed University, United Arab Emirates.
“CDU is uniquely positioned, servicing not only a vast region of Australia, but also a large geographical area beyond, particularly in Asia,” Professor Wilson said. “As the sole university provider in the Territory, with a very flexible delivery model, CDU is well placed to support the social and economic needs of the regions it serves.”
Originally from the UK, Professor Wilson holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and has held senior roles at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, and at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
A recognised academic leader with the capacity to foster a culture of academic excellence in research, learning and teaching, innovation and community engagement, he said he looked forward to working with staff to build on CDU’s national and international standing.
“CDU is a contemporary university offering online options and flexibility for students, who are often looking to change careers or upskill,” he said. “Where other universities are having to rapidly adapt their operating models to the future, particularly in a post-COVID world, CDU is already well placed to succeed.”
Professor Wilson said that in the coming years, many existing industries would need to adjust, and many occupations would undergo a fundamental transformation.
“It has been said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us, driven by new developments in technology, with a consequent revolution in the job market, and it is important that we, as an educational institution appreciate the changes and what is required of us,” he said. “Students and workers will need to adapt and be prepared to reskill and retrain several times over their working career, and education providers will need to offer students the opportunity to obtain the skills they need to enter and grow in the workforce of the future.
“In addition to changes in the job market, there will also be profound socio-economic, geopolitical and demographic change, which will have an impact on what we do as a university.”
As CDU’s Provost, Professor Wilson said he hoped to strengthen partnerships with the community, business, industry, government and non-government organisations to better serve the needs of students and promote relevant higher and vocational education.
“Working with industry partners is essential to ensure we are delivering high-quality courses that are relevant to the needs of students and future employers,” Professor Wilson said.
An academic with research interests including computer-aided engineering, applied mathematics, industrial mathematics and astrophysics, he is an advocate for interdisciplinary collaboration.
“Promoting the university’s research strengths and capabilities through links and collaborations with outside parties, such as other universities, government and industry, is vital to establishing a diverse and relevant research base,” he said.