Inaugural University Provost takes up the job

Professor Valerie Linton takes up the new role of Provost at the University of Auckland and brings a wealth of experience to support the Vice-Chancellor and University.

Professor Valerie Linton
Professor Valerie Linton is the University's first Provost. Photo: Elise Manahan

Professor Linton will be on campus from Wednesday 28 July and is already engaging with the people and accountabilities she leads as the senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University with responsibility for heading the academic mission.

Most recently, Professor Linton was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong in Australia and a key member of the Vice-Chancellor’s senior leadership team. Her distinguished academic career includes a PhD in Metallurgy from the University of Cambridge and an MBA (Technology Management) from La Trobe University in 2007. She is also a fellow of Engineers Australia, a chartered engineer and certified materials professional, and a graduate of the Australia Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Linton has comprehensive experience in partnering, having worked across industry and its engagement with the tertiary sector including as inaugural CEO of the Wollongong-based Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre, an industry, Government, University partnership undertaking industry targeted research and education. She had previously been a consultant metallurgical engineer at Crown Research offshoot Materials Performance Technologies where she was based in Wellington championing research to support the consultancy business.

She says this experience ties in well with the University of Auckland’s strategic plan, its commitment to partnerships and relevant teaching and research.

“Having worked at the interface between industry and tertiary institutions I know how important focussed research is and the contribution this can make, through outcomes, to the community they both operate within,” she says.

"The University of Auckland has a strong sense of where it sits locally, across Aotearoa New Zealand, and in a global sense. Its commitment to this demonstrates to me that it’s a modern and highly relevant university – not an ivory tower disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life.”

[Taumata Teitei] asks its people to understand who we partner with and why, and consequently, what are our responsibilities to these groups.”

Professor Valerie Linton Provost, University of Auckland

Professor Linton said that part of the attraction for her to this new role was the strategic focus of the University articulated as Taumata Teitei – Vision 2030 and Strategic Plan 2025.

“It frames our position, responsibilities and obligations in a way that makes it clear that we truly understand and value the importance of our partnerships – from traditional communities such as the schools our students come from, to professional bodies, iwi, and in a broader sense both the Auckland and global communities that we are part of. This strategy asks its people to understand who we partner with and why, and consequently, what are our responsibilities to these groups.”

She sees the new role of Provost as supporting and representing the academic voice within the University ensuring it stays relevant and excellent.

“With eight faculties and significant Research Institutes, we can achieve great things working together. Part of the role of Provost is to help facilitate cross functional and integrated outcomes – to help join the dots.”

Professor Linton’s research background is welding, and she said she will maintain a little activity here to ensure she keeps relevant.

“Our front-line people are those who teach, research and support our students. I like to keep connected to these activities because that is what the University is about – my role is to support our academics to achieve excellence.”

A New Zealand citizen, Professor Linton has arrived in Auckland with her husband and son, and says they are all looking forward to rediscovering this part of Aotearoa – including making the most of the outdoors and finding the nearest archery ranges.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to be back here in this country and at this University. It’s a time of change and I am very much looking forward to becoming part of this.”

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