Professor Duncan Bentley believes the resilience and innovation of regional universities, and the deep connections they build with their communities, will help them through the tough times that all universities are facing in the near post-coronavirus future.
Professor Bentley will take over as Federation University's vice chancellor in late August when current vice chancellor Professor Helen Bartlett moves to Queensland to become head of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
"Regional universities have been under-recognised for so long and suddenly now everyone is saying regional universities are so important ... which is evident in the world particularly over the last few years that Helen has done, and the Federation University staff, in engaging with community and industry," he said.
"All the studies show that if you are going to have economic growth then education and universities, especially a dual sector university like Federation University, are at the heart of that regional regeneration and we have a wonderful opportunity to really capitalise on that."
Professor Bentley will move to Ballarat from his current role as deputy vice chancellor (academic) at Swinburne University where he leads the academic, international, online and indigenous portfolios.
This is a huge privilege, and in a constantly evolving landscape, I am honoured to lead Federation to drive regional economic growth in close partnership with government, industries and communities.Professor Duncan Bentley
Coming from a background in law and taxation policy, Professor Bentley has also led university initiatives relating to financial stability, growth, innovation and engagement, digital technologies and transnational education.
"I am a passionate advocate for areas that are important to the university, including the student experience, research and community engagement," he said.
"Federation stands out to me for its commitment to excellence in both teaching and research, and as a university committed to the transformational power of education and widening participation in higher education."
"This is a huge privilege, and in a constantly evolving landscape, I am honoured to lead Federation to drive regional economic growth in close partnership with government, industries and communities."
Professor Bentley said areas that the university specialised in such as advanced manufacturing and digital technology, transforming agriculture through digital technology and other sectors were "ripe for growth" as the country rebuilds over the coming years.
"We shall build dynamically on Federation's success and international recognition as an educational and research leader for regional Victoria."
"With research in to cutting-edge industry, government is going to be wanting to work with Federation University in those areas. We can become a living laboratory for the future that we can be carving out."
Federation University Australia chancellor Terry Moran praised outgoing vice chancellor Professor Helen Bartlett for her work.
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"As Federation University continues the implementation of its five-year strategic plan, with Professor Bentley's deep knowledge and commitment to a student-centric approach across all areas of the student experience, we look forward to his vision and leadership in our next phase of growth," he said.
"The Council and I could not be more appreciative of Professor Bartlett's expertise and leadership over the past three years of transformation which has seen the university academically and financially strong, and global reputation and rankings significantly improved.
"Professor Bartlett has established a foundation upon which her successor can build and we wish her well in her next appointment as Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
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