Wednesday 1 July 2020 12:40pm

Helen Nicholson 2020 image
Professor Helen Nicholson.

The University of Otago announced the appointment of Professor Helen Nicholson as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, today. Professor Nicholson will take up the new role in January 2021.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne, says she is delighted with the appointment.

“Professor Nicholson is the ideal person for this role. She brings a strong background of academic leadership and a proven track record in building and implementing effective strategies. Additionally, Professor Nicholson's strong problem-solving skills, complemented by a deep understanding of University processes, are an advantage.”

Professor Nicholson stepped into her current role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, External Engagement five years ago. She led the newly created Division, which brought together the University's international, alumni, communications, marketing, and schools' liaison functions and the Auckland Centre.

“Professor Nicholson brought the new Division together and has guided it to be a nimble, professional, and strategically-focused suite of services for the University. She has overseen our highly successful 150th anniversary celebrations and the work she has done with our stakeholders has greatly improved our engagement with our partners, alumni and the wider community, nationally and internationally,” says Professor Hayne.

“I welcome Professor Nicholson to her new role and look forward to working with her in this new capacity in the future.”

Originally from England, Professor Nicholson moved to Dunedin with her family in 2000. She had a distinguished career in England and New Zealand. After graduation as a medical doctor in 1986 from the University of Bristol, Professor Nicholson worked at that institution before moving to the University of Otago as full professor in 2000.

Before becoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor of External Engagement in 2015, she held positions as the Head of the Department of Anatomy, Dean of the Otago School of Medical Sciences, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International). During this time, Professor Nicholson has maintained an active research programme and continued to teach in the Department of Anatomy. Professor Nicholson's speciality is clinical anatomy and male reproductive biology.

Professor Nicholson has a strong research interest in medical education and was a co-producer of the award-winning film, Donated to Science (2009). She is also a member of the City Choir, Dunedin.

Professor Nicholson says she looks forward to starting the new role next year.

“While I will be sad to leave my colleagues in External Engagement, I am excited by the new role and the challenges it will bring.”

When Professor Nicholson begins her new role in January 2021 Professor Pat Cragg, who has been acting in the role of Deputy-Vice-Chancellor, Academic since 15 April 2019, will step down. Professor Hayne acknowledges the work of Professor Cragg.

“We have been incredibly fortunate that Professor Cragg stepped into the role. She has been a lynchpin for us during the COVID-19 pandemic and her performance in overseeing the University's recent challenges has been nothing short of outstanding. I wish Professor Cragg well and look forward to acknowledging her more fully later this year.”

A recruitment process for the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor, External Engagement, will begin in due course.

For further information, contact

Joanne Galer
Team Leader Media Engagement
Communications Office
University of Otago
Tel +64 3 479 8263
Mob +64 21 279 8263

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