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Monash University announces new Vice-Chancellor and President

Professor Sharon Pickering appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University.

The Monash University Council has today announced the appointment of Professor Sharon Pickering as the next Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University. The appointment follows a global search by international executive search firm, Perrett Laver, which led to a recommendation from the Vice-Chancellor Selection Committee, and final consideration and approval by the Monash University Council at a special meeting held on Tuesday 5 December 2023.

Professor Pickering will be Vice-Chancellor and President Designate until formally commencing in the role of Monash University’s 10th Vice-Chancellor and President on Monday 29 January 2024.

Monash University Chancellor Simon McKeon AO said Professor Pickering embodies the spirit of Monash in her leadership.

“Professor Pickering brings to the role a reputation of integrity, presence of energy and of working in the best interests of the institution. Monash’s next phase is in the fiercely capable hands of someone who has the DNA of Monash running through their veins and the best interests of our community at heart,” said Mr McKeon.

“Through what has been a rigorous and broad scale executive search there were many things that stood out about Professor Pickering. Her genuine commitment to the student experience was just one of these and being able to promote from within our community is a proud moment for us all.”

Since August 2023, Professor Pickering has held the role of Acting Provost and Senior Vice-President at Monash University while Professor Susan Elliott AM held the Interim President and Vice-Chancellor role. Professor Pickering was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Senior Vice-President in July 2021, where she led the whole-of-University 2022-2030 Education Plan and was responsible for all aspects of education and student experience across the University’s student body, faculties and campuses. She has held a number of other leadership roles since joining the University in 2003.

“I am proud of Monash, and proudly Monash,” said Professor Pickering.

“I see the collective and individual efforts of everyone in the Monash community. When we all come together – the researchers, the educators, the students, alumni and staff – we can do great things, supported by our many external stakeholders.

“This is a special place and I understand what makes the University distinctive.

“My commitment is to lead Monash with energy, and in service of the University, our local and global communities to create a joyful place to study, work and create meaningful lasting change.”

From the moment she first joined Monash as a Lecturer in Criminology, Professor Pickering has made her presence known and created lasting impact. She has been the Head of Criminology, and Head of School, School of Social Sciences.

In 2017, she was appointed Dean, Faculty of Arts, overseeing the transformation and distinctive positioning of the faculty’s course profile and established five major research centres. In her time as Dean of Arts, she oversaw the introduction of major research partnerships and grants supporting the challenge-based areas of consciousness and contemplation, climate change communication, family violence, and the development and formation of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for The Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Over the course of her career, Professor Pickering has demonstrated a defining commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, through deep engagement and recognising the vast potential for universities to become the key feature of an interconnected Indo-Pacific presence through the confluence of research, education and collaboration.

She led international teams in the region to advance significant theoretical and empirical understanding of human trafficking and the governance of migration, and has worked continuously with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to support Monash’s educational offerings in the Indo-Pacific. She has forged a series of important strategic alliances for the University across the region and has been a tireless advocate for the Monash international campus network and the significant opportunities this presents for the University and for Australia.

One of her many significant achievements at Monash has been the introduction of the Global Immersion Guarantee (GIG) – the largest student mobility program in Australia. The success of GIG has sparked new initiatives with the introduction of the Monash Innovation Guarantee (MIG) and Research, Experimentation and Discovery (RED) – programs which have shaped the Monash student experience.

A fierce advocate for the higher education sector with a documented reputation and profile as a respected leader nationally and internationally, Professor Pickering has chaired a number of Australian Research Council panels and committees. She has also led discussions regarding the Australian Universities Accord, most recently including sexual assault and harassment, which led to her being invited by the Australian Minister for Education to serve on the Gender-Based Violence Reference Group for the Accord.

Mr McKeon said the global search for Monash’s next Vice-Chancellor and President was exhaustive and rigorous.

“Professor Pickering was selected from a global field of highly distinguished candidates, including a number of serving Vice-Chancellors, both nationally and internationally,” he said.

“It was her passion, genuine commitment to the student experience, infectious enthusiasm for Monash, strong personal values and authenticity that set her apart from the outstanding field of candidates under consideration, a true testament to the internal capability we possess here at Monash.

“I wish to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to the University’s Provost and Senior Vice-President, Professor Susan Elliott AM, who has for many months expertly steered the University as its Interim President and Vice-Chancellor following the appointment of Professor Margaret Gardner AC, to the position of Governor of Victoria. Professor Elliott’s calm and assured leadership for a significant portion of 2023 has been highly regarded and widely respected within the Monash community.

“I would like to individually recognise all those who stepped into Acting and Interim roles over the past few months and further extend my genuine thanks to the entire leadership team for continuing to forge ahead with the ambitions of the University over this transitional period.

“We congratulate and celebrate Professor Pickering’s appointment as we look forward to the intensity, presence and energy to the role in advancing the University’s efforts in addressing the challenges of the age to create a brighter future for the communities we serve both locally and globally.”

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