New campus head hits the ground running

01 February 2023

CQU's Mackay and Townsville campuses are officially under new leadership with Professor Rob Brown taking over reins this week.

Professor Brown moves to Mackay from Perth where he was Associate Vice-President (AVP) of the WA region' and he steps into the role previously filled by Professor Pierre Viljoen who relocated to Jakarta this year after being appointed the role of President Director' CQUniversity Indonesia.

"Working for CQUniversity in Perth really opened my eyes to the marvellous work that the University is doing all across Australia' particularly in regional areas'" Professor Brown explained.

"Although I loved the work that we were doing in Perth and greater WA' I missed the vibrancy that you get from working on a larger campus. And why wouldn't anyone leap at the chance to come and live in beautiful Mackay?"

Prior to joining CQU almost four years ago' Professor Brown spent about 15 years at Victoria University (VU) in Melbourne.

"Like CQUniversity' VU is a wonderful dual-sector institution' and I welcome the opportunity in Mackay to reconnect with TAFE colleagues' whom I think add an invaluable dimension to what our university can achieve for our students and our regional communities'" he said.

Professor Brown officially commenced his new role on Monday and said he hoped to bring a fresh set of eyes to the work that his predecessor had done.

"I want to look at how I can expand on the considerable legacy that Pierre leaves here'" he said.

As AVP of the North Queensland region' Professor Brown will also oversee the Townsville campus operations.

"I'm very excited to be overseeing Townsville' so I have already scheduled several stays during my first few weeks so I can meet the staff and consult with them as I form my views of how we can make our presence there even stronger'" Professor Brown said.

"As well as remaining a base for teaching targeted courses' Townsville offers an opportunity for us to explore innovative ways of supporting distance students through our campus setting' perhaps using insights being fostered through many of our Regional University Centres (RUC) partners across Australia. I think the future for CQU Townsville is bright!"

Professor Brown also retains his position of Director' RUC and said he looked forward to expanding relationships with Councils in North Queensland.

"The RUC portfolio is very dear to my heart' and we have built a position as the strongest university partner to RUCs in Australia'" Professor Brown explained.

"After an initially slow take-up of RUCs in Queensland' we now have five in our State' including the recently announced Tablelands University Centre' so I think there are real opportunities developing in an area where we have many natural competitive advantages."

In addition to the AVP North Queensland and RUC Director roles' Professor Brown will also take on the role of Chair of Automation and Future Work Skills.

"Industry Partnerships are at the core of what we do at CQU. Already I can see excellent opportunities that can unite work we do across many parts of the University (including across TAFE and Higher Education)' and to support the resilience of our regional communities."