Ballantyne chosen for leading uni role

Prof Tony Ballantyne begins his new role in January. Photo: University of Otago
Prof Tony Ballantyne begins his new role in January. Photo: University of Otago
The University of Otago has announced its new head of external engagement.

Distinguished historian Prof Tony Ballantyne will be the University of Otago’s new deputy vice-chancellor of external engagement from next year.

Prof Ballantyne, currently pro-vice-chancellor of the division of humanities, will replace Prof Helen Nicholson who took up the job when the position was first created in 2015.

The external engagement division of the university comprises marketing, communications, international, development and alumni relations, and schools’ liaison, and was formed to give the university a strategic focus on strong external engagement, the university said in a statement today.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said Prof Ballantyne had a ‘‘deep understanding’’ of the institution and its history. He also had extensive academic experience and connections overseas, particularly in the Pacific - an area of strategic focus for the university.

‘‘I’m delighted that Tony will be bringing his outstanding communication skills and his strong track-record of leadership to our external engagement division,’’ Prof Hayne said.

Professor Ballantyne said he had loved working with the humanities division but was looking forward to working with the ‘‘amazing team’’ in external engagement.

‘‘I will always think of myself as a humanities scholar,’’ he said. ‘‘But I have also been drawn to the all-of-institution work which the external engagement division undertakes, and I have a strong interest in the ways in which we think about our university and communicate the significance of its work to the world.’’

Prof Ballantyne grew up in Dunedin, attending King’s High School and graduating from Otago with a BA (Hons) in history in 1993.

He was awarded a Prince of Wales scholarship to undertake a PhD at the University of Cambridge, which he gained in 1999.

Before returning to Otago to join the department of history and art history in 2002, he held faculty positions at the National University of Ireland and the University of Illinois.

He will continue his research activity in the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, the university said.

The university said Prof Ballantyne was selected through an internal process and would take up the position in January.

A further recruitment process to fill the pro-vice-chancellor of the division of humanities would be announced in due course.

Prof Nicholson, whom Prof Ballantyne is replacing, would take up a new role as deputy vice-chancellor of academics next year, the university said.

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