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Source: University of Otago

Professor David Baxter takes over as Dean of the Graduate Research School in April.
Professor David Baxter will make the most of his career-long involvement in supporting graduate research, both in New Zealand and overseas, when he takes up the role of Dean of the Graduate Research School next year.
Currently working in Otago’s School of Physiotherapy, Professor Baxter says he is “absolutely delighted” to take up such an exciting role.
“I see this as a critical position for the University and I’m really looking forward to contributing to the further development of graduate research activities at Otago.

“I look forward to working with colleagues to build upon and extend the work of the School to ensure our research training adequately prepares the next generation of researchers for the changing research environment in Aotearoa New Zealand, both within and external to academia.”

“I see graduate research students as a central, essential part of any university community, and particularly in a research-intensive university such as this one.”
Professor Baxter has had a long-standing interest and commitment to the area of graduate research and is keen to take some of his learnings into his new role.
Prior to starting at Otago in 2005, he worked at the University of Ulster in the UK where he established a new Research Graduate School and was heavily involved in the activities of the UK Council for Graduate Education.
During his 10-year tenure as Dean of Otago’s School of Physiotherapy, from 2005 to 2015, development of graduate research activities was also a key element of the School’s strategy.
Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Nicholson says Professor Baxter’s professional and personal experience made him an excellent candidate for the position.
“I am pleased to welcome him into his new role and know he will do an outstanding job supporting and encouraging our graduate researchers and further enhancing Otago’s graduate research culture,” she says.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, Professor Richard Blaikie says he is thrilled to have found someone from within the University to take up the mantle at the School.
“I know David’s enthusiasm for graduate researchers will serve our postgraduates, and those working with them, well. He will be taking over from Professor Rachel Spronken-Smith who has done a superb job as our inaugural Dean in leading a passionate team, developing a robust Graduate Research Framework and guiding students through particularly challenging times,” he says.
Professor Spronken-Smith, after a period of research and study leave, will continue to contribute to graduate researcher education and training through her academic role in the University’s Higher Education Development Centre.
Professor Baxter says some of the strategic priorities for the School will be widening participation in research degrees, including increasing the number of our Māori and Pasifika students.
“The outstanding work of the Graduate Research School in supporting our research students and supervisors is recognised and respected across the University, and externally.
“I look forward to working with colleagues to build upon and extend the work of the School to ensure our research training adequately prepares the next generation of researchers for the changing research environment in Aotearoa New Zealand, both within and external to academia.”
Professor Baxter will start in the role in April.

MIL OSI