Federation University vice chancellor Professor Helen Bartlett has announced she will leave the university in July to take on a similar role at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Professor Bartlett, who has been at Federation University for the past three years, has presided over a transformation of the university, which had been losing millions of dollars a year before her arrival.
"It is very pleasing for me to have another opportunity to continue my passion for regional education and contribute to making a difference in my home state of Queensland."
During her tenure, staff numbers have dropped and student numbers, particularly international students, have increased contributing to a turnaround of the university's financial fortunes.
The 2018 annual report showed the university had no debt and total revenue of $330 million with an operating surplus of $6.6 million in 2018, compared to a $6.85 million loss in 2017.
"It's just been so fantastic that staff have really got on board and been determined to take the uni to the next level," she said.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Helen Bartlett, will finish her term at #FedUni this July to assume the role of Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of the Sunshine Coast.— Federation University (@FedUniAustralia) February 20, 2020
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"We have developed new strategies and done a fair bit of restructuring to really modernise the university and create a much better financial position."
During 2018 Professor Bartlett oversaw a restructure of the university which involved moving from four faculties and eight schools to a flat structure of six schools and helped secure the institution's financial future.
Professor Bartlett said University of Sunshine Coast was similar to Federation University in a regional setting with campuses in different types of communities throughout the region, and a new campus similar to Fed Uni's new Berwick campus.
"That gives you quite a breadth of diversity you are dealing with, but the central thrust is the same if you are either working in an established older, smaller community or working in a brand new community, the job of the university is to meet the needs of that community and engage with all levels appropriately from local government through to business and industry."
Professor Bartlett said regional universities needed to have a close relationship with the cities and towns they are located in for both to thrive.
It has been an honour and a privilege to lead Federation University through such a significant period of change over the past three years.Professor Helen Bartlett
"The other thing that's been really pleasing for me has been the interaction with our community and I have personally found it very gratifying that community leaders and stakeholders are so keen to engage.
"There's there's no shortage of enthusiasm and drive to do that in Ballarat particularly and surrounding region."
In her time at the help the national and state rankings for teaching quality, leadership, graduate skills and employability have also improved, and the university achieved the highest possible rating for research quality under the national Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) framework for the first time in the university's history.
"Helen has lead a significant transformation of Federation University over the past three years and will leave the organisation in a much stronger position with a clear strategy for growth," said Federation University chancellor Terry Moran.
"The university has a strategic plan that is well advanced thanks to Helen's leadership and this work will continue."
"I thank Helen her for her tireless efforts for our university community and have no doubt she will have a similar positive impact in her new role at the University of the Sunshine Coast."
The university has begun a national search for a new Vice-Chancellor and President.
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