From Scotland to New Zealand, back to Scotland, back to New Zealand, over to Melbourne then up to Rockhampton - CQUniversity’s newly-appointed Dean of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences is ready for a new - and much warmer - challenge.
Professor Andrew ‘Andy’ Stewart joins CQUniversity from his most recent post as Dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science, and the Chair of Health, Sport and Active Living, at Victoria University in Melbourne.
Professor Stewart’s career has been spent travelling the globe. He has an esteemed 35-year career in higher education, spanning eight universities across three countries.
“I’m very excited to join CQUniversity,” Professor Stewart said.
“You often read the strategic plan of a university and you think ‘it’s just words with no real substance’ but in the values of CQU it talks about a ‘can-do approach’ and in one week already I can assure you that there’s a can-do approach here – it’s brilliant.”
Professor Stewart will be based at the Rockhampton North campus, although the role will see him travel across the University’s extensive national footprint where he will work with students, stakeholders and staff to continue to grow CQU’s biggest School.
“I want to leave the School bigger, stronger, and one that has greater impact than it has today – that will be my legacy,” Professor Stewart said.
Originally from Scotland, he travelled to New Zealand to chase his rugby union playing dream, but an injury early in his career provided set-backs.
“I grew up in a small town in Scotland, half the size of Rockhampton, it was a working-class town and I think that’s where my educational roots began,” Professor Stewart explained.
“I also come from a very strong family sporting background so that got me travelling to begin with.
“In my mid-20s I took off – it was partly for rugby but with no real plans in place – and I went to New Zealand. I had played at junior international level representing Scotland at under 18 and under 21 and was originally selected in the wider squad for the inaugural World Cup in 1987.
“Then I got injured and that was the end of my career, however I have no regrets and here I am all these years later.”
With his playing career largely over, Professor Stewart embarked on a path to education.
“Even before my injury and heading to New Zealand, I went to a teacher training college in Scotland in my late teens so I was initially trained as a physical education teacher - education has always been my foundation,” Professor Stewart explained.
“Then, when I had my injury which was quite serious, I couldn’t play, I got frustrated and I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I thought, ‘I want to study what caused the injury and what happened’, and I met my would-be supervisor and next thing you know I’m enrolled in a PhD at University of Otago. By the time I completed my studies, I had met my wife to-be which would lead to two kids born in NZ several years later.
“Rugby started me travelling but it’s been education that’s taken me all over the world. That’s why I’m such a strong advocate for education for everyone.
Professor Stewart said when he was looking around for an institution that sat with his philosophy and moral purpose of ‘education for anyone from any place, any background, at any time’, CQU was easily the most advanced institution offering that model of education.
He steps into the role previously held by Professor Michelle Bellingan, who is now CQUniversity’s Vice-President, Academic.
“I am delighted to have Andrew join us in this role,” Professor Bellingan said.
“Andrew has an innovative mindset and a deep understanding of the global higher education context.
"He has the right mix of knowledge, skill and senior leadership experience to take the University’s largest and most diverse School to the next level.”