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14 May 2013

Professor Allan EvansAfter an international search for the newly created position of Provost and Chief Academic Officer at the University of South Australia, leading health academic and UniSA graduate, Professor Allan Evans has won the position at his own alma mater.

Currently Pro Vice Chancellor Health Sciences at UniSA, Professor Evans will take up his new position next month.

Announcing the appointment, Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says he is delighted to welcome Professor Evans into this new role, a position designed to lead the University’s teaching and learning strategy and oversee its four academic divisions. 

“This new role of Provost and Chief Academic Officer was created to increase collaborative activity and innovation, and to better harmonise our approach to teaching and learning across the University,” Prof Lloyd says.

“Allan brings years of experience to the position and personal expertise from every level in university management from lecturer and senior lecturer to head of research and Head of School, and then right through to Pro Vice Chancellor in Health Sciences.

“His consistent student-focused approach to delivering quality learning outcomes was also a hallmark of his candidacy so it has been great to find all the right qualities and expertise for this new and important role at UniSA right here among us.”

Professor in Pharmaceutics and Pro Vice Chancellor for the Division of Health Sciences, Prof Evans was previously Head of the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. 

A Bachelor of Pharmacy graduate from the South Australian Institute of Technology, Prof Evans holds a PhD from Adelaide University. He spent two years as research fellow at the University of Manchester and since then his research interests have focussed on skin cancer prevention through the development of topical treatments, carnitine deficiencies and their role in renal disease and the development of new medicines and systems of drug delivery. He has also been involved in the founding of three spin-out companies and his many publications have received more than 1,200 literature citations.

He won the Australasian Pharmaceutical Sciences Association Medal in 2010 and is a past President of the Australasian Pharmaceutical Sciences Association.

Since he took on the role of Pro Vice Chancellor in 2009 the Division of Health Sciences has undergone significant growth in student numbers and has experienced sustained improvement in research activity, culminating in a stellar performance in the recent round of NHMRC grants, which placed UniSA first among the Australian Technology Network universities for funding awarded.

But Professor Evans says it is the big improvement in student satisfaction and graduate employment across the Division’s academic programs and a sustained rise in the participation of Indigenous students in health programs which make him most proud. This is an achievement he attributes to the commitment of his leadership team and the academic and professional staff.

“It is critical that teaching and research are seen as companion pieces of the same enterprise rather than separate components of a university vision,” Prof Evans says.

“Innovations in education occur when academics work in an environment where they can collaborate across school or Divisional boundaries and when they understand and can respond quickly to future workforce needs. Fostering that environment will be a major part of this new role.

“Gone are the days when universities can take years to introduce a new program or respond to workforce requirements – if we are to remain relevant in a rapidly changing higher education landscape we need to be nimble and efficient in how we innovate and respond.” 

Prof Evans says for this reason he wants to ensure UniSA offers compelling academic programs.

“Great teaching is underpinned by great research and vice versa and I think the best teachers are those who remain strongly engaged with their professional base because they have connection to contemporary practice.

“Right now UniSA has one of the best opportunities to create a unique ‘teaching-research-practice’ nexus for staff and students – something both valuable and rare in higher education.” 

UniSA Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: mailto:michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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