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Southern Cross University welcomes new Deputy Vice-Chancellor


Zoe Satherley
24 January 2007
Southern Cross University’s new Deputy Vice-Chancellor Bill MacGillivray is a man passionate about education, research and the advancement of science.

A physicist by training, he loves working with young people, sipping a good French burgundy, watching and playing sport and attending opera – although his tastes in music are eclectic and by no means confined to the classics.

You will be just as likely to find a Beatles album in his collection as a Beethoven symphony.

Professor MacGillivray will join the University in this newly created position at the beginning of April. He is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) and the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

In a teaching, scientific research and administration career spanning three decades, Professor MacGillivray has established an impressive list of credentials.

He has published or presented some 150 papers at national and international conferences, raised in excess of $3 million worth of external competitive grants and $750,000 of university grants and has supervised 15 PhD and approximately 50 honours students.

At Southern Cross University, Professor MacGillivray sees his role as providing leadership across the whole academic portfolio with the aim of strengthening the excellent work already underway in areas like staff and student support, quality assurance and international activities, to further build the University’s solid reputation at home and abroad.

He would also like to see enhanced cross fertilisation and collaboration between compatible disciplines, such as science and education, for example.

“I see Southern Cross as a university with huge potential,” he said. “It is definitely a university on the rise and as such offers a unique opportunity to be moulded into something very distinctive.

“It is unlike the big metropolitan universities in that it generates a lot of community support and community involvement which also makes it very special.

“I am delighted at my appointment and very much looking forward to the new challenge. I am especially pleased to be working alongside a Vice-Chancellor of the calibre and reputation of Paul Clark.”

Professor MacGillivray has undertaken research in a number of areas in atomic and molecular physics. A PhD project studying collisions between small molecules was followed by nearly 30 years of research into the behaviour of atoms.

Concurrently, he has worked closely with students through lecturing, tutoring and laboratory demonstrating at Griffith University and USQ.

Over the past 15 years, he has had broad experience as a university manager in a number of key roles including as Dean of the Faculty of Science at Griffith University prior to his current role at USQ.

In addition he has held key government-appointed roles relating to the advancement of science education and research, as well as teaching and teacher education.

But some of the jobs he has enjoyed most during his long and interesting career have been those that have brought him in contact with young people, such as being chair of the jury panel for the International Young Physicists Tournament in Brisbane in 2004 and hosting Queensland’s inaugural Science and Engineering Challenge in the same year for Year 10 students.

He is also proud of introducing a pioneering accelerated scheme in Queensland for selected students to begin their university Biomedical Science studies mid-way through Year 11, as an early pathway to a career in science or medicine.

Professor MacGillivray believes it is an exciting and rewarding time to be studying at a university.

“Australia is embracing, as is much of the rest of the world, an economy which depends on the intellectual prowess of its workforce, the so-called ‘knowledge economy’,” he said.

“It is crucial for the nation’s future prosperity that it has a workforce with a balance of skills and a community that is sufficiently educated to be politically aware.

“The key to achieving an acceptable long-term economic outcome for Australia is to foster closer cooperation between business, education and government. The optimum future for the economy cannot be realised without significant contribution from all three sectors.

“The concept of a career path has evolved rapidly in the past decade. No longer are the majority of people entering the work force looking for a ‘job for life’. A career may see five or more changes in position or profession during a working lifetime.

“The de-mystification of the meaning of a career for school students or undergraduates should be a priority and teachers at all levels have a vital role in the development of a skilled workforce.”

Photo: Professor Bill MacGillivray is looking forward to his appointment as Southern Cross University’s new Deputy Vice-Chancellor.