Victoria University’s vice chancellor Professor Pat Walsh surprised a few Wellingtonians this week when he announced he would not be seeking a third term as vice-chancellor at the university.
Chancellor Ian McKinnon told the Dominion Post that the university would shortly begin looking for a replacement. He credited Pat Walsh with increasing the university’s profile on the world stage, and spearheading redevelopments such as the new student Campus Hub and the state-of-the-art Alan MacDiarmid Building.
A day earlier, the Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT) council also surprised locals by stating it would soon begin a recruitment process for a new chief executive.
The current chief executive Richard Handley told WITT staff that despite wanting to continue his role as chief executive for another two years, the council had declined his request to renew his contract, which expires in July.
In a statement to the Taranaki Daily News WITT’s council said it had a responsibility to secure a leader who would continue to keep the momentum that Mr Handley had established while also responding to the challenges of the future.
“The council are obliged as prudent governors of a public institution to assure themselves that they have the best person for the position in an environment that has changed considerably since Richard’s appointment in 2008 – and continues to change.”
WITT council chairperson Mary Bourke said the decision not to extend Mr Handley’s contract was a sensible one that any responsible organisation would follow in dealing with fixed-term contracts.
The Daily News reports that local staff, students and community members all hold Richard Handley in very high regard, and that one staff member had started an online petition to keep Mr Handley in his current job.