Andrew Parfitt has been a telecommunications engineer, space scientist, research leader and academic. Today, though, he’s preparing to take on the role of Provost and Senior Vice-President at UTS.
From December, Parfitt will begin a two-month handover with current UTS Provost Peter Booth. (Booth, who is preparing for retirement, will be staying on at the university until May next year to complete a few strategic initiatives already underway.)
Of course, December won’t mark the first time Parfitt has stepped onto the UTS campus. He has visited the university before in his current role as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Newcastle and in former roles with CSIRO and UniSA.
“I've been to UTS quite a few times and I've noticed the remarkable change in the environment over the past few years,” he says.
“I really admire what UTS has been able to achieve in a relatively short period of time, and dynamic leadership and a clear vision are part of that, so I'm really looking forward to being a part of the executive team.”
Parfitt says UTS is also an organisation that “really fits with the values I hold closely”.
“Social justice and equity, as well as being critical values in UTS’s mission, will be critical for education in the decades to come and will make one of the biggest impacts on our community.
"UTS supports a range of fields that are nationally and internationally important and it's got a student and staff body that is quite diverse and who are looking at making a real impact in their communities.”
Among those are a handful of senior staff who have also recently taken up positions at UTS, including Professor Charles Walker, founding Co-director of Colab – Auckland University of Technology’s transdisciplinary institute for creative and emerging technologies. Walker has signed on as the Director of UTS’s Innovation and Creative Intelligence Unit.
Also recently arrived is Elizabeth Mossop, a Professor of Landscape Architecture and former Director of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture at Louisiana State University in the United States, who has taken on the role of Dean of the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building.
Judith Smith, a Professor of Parasitology and former Dean of the School of Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Salford, UK has also recently started in the role of Dean of the Faculty of Science.
Another is Professor of Education and former Head of the School of Education at Macquarie University, Lori Lockyer who recently began as the new Dean of the Graduate Research School at UTS.
"While it's a bit of a cliché in some ways,” says Parfitt, “I think universities and the university sector generally are going through a massive period of change.
“And I don't see that slowing down in the near future.
“Obviously it's good to have some stability and it's good to have some people who provide experience, but I think that refresh in leadership is a healthy thing."
Also healthy, is knowing how to unwind. For Parfitt, that means picking up his lute – a hobby he says he discovered almost by accident.
"I'm a pretty avid musician. I trained as a classical guitarist right back in school, but these days I play mostly Renaissance lute, which is music from the 16th century.
“It's beautiful music, it's relaxing music, it's quite challenging to play and it's a different diversion."