Faculty farewells its dean, Professor Rob Tierney
21 March 2013
Friends, colleagues and students gathered this week to farewell Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, Professor Robert Tierney, ahead of his retirement in April.
The event drew close to 70 guests together for a morning tea celebration to mark the many milestones achieved under Professor Tierney's leadership across his three-year tenure as Dean.
Foremost among these was an acknowledgement of his advocacy on equity and Indigenous education. In her address to the crowd, Professor Robyn Ewing reflected on the poignancy of the farewell occurring in the same week as the faculty's Chair of Indigenous Education position was publicised - a development championed with Professor Tierney's support.
"Your passion for Indigenous issues and perspectives and your vision for us as a faculty to have a much more vibrant, assertive leadership in that area has been very important," Professor Ewing said. "That will be one of your lasting legacies."
Other guest speakers, including Honorary Professor Gordon Stanley, Pro Dean of the faculty, Associate Professor Fran Waugh, Honorary Associate Professor Lindsey Napier, and Associate Dean International, Associate Professor Lesley Harbon, thanked Professor Tierney for his ongoing support and engagement with social justice issues in the Australian education system more broadly.
Speaking of his time as Dean, Professor Tierney said: "from my experience life has been an incredible feast, and it continues."
"As an educator and academic the places we visit, first and foremost schools, families, classrooms, universities, all over the world ... it's just been amazing the people we get to interact with."
Professor Tierney said he looks forward to the prospect of continuing his affiliation with the University of Sydney as an Honorary member of the faculty, and the chance to explore new research pathways.
"I've always loved research more than anything else; the opportunity to discover new things," he said. "To work with a teacher who is trying new things and is getting excited by their students. For educators, it's when you see someone doing something beyond what you had invested yourself, when you have a child who has made a breakthrough in their learning. What a privilege we have."
On behalf of the student body, President of the Sydney University Education and Social Work Society (EDSOC), Matthew Woolaston, expressed his gratitude for Professor Tierney's "constant and unwavering support."
"It's really refreshing to see that the teacher never dies once they become an academic; there's still the willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that every student is made to feel like they belong," he said.
"It's truly a testament to your nature as a leader, a Dean and a teacher that you've been able to ensure that we as students have the best available to us."
Pro Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, Associate Professor Fran Waugh, takes up the position of Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work from April.
Contact: Emily Jones
Phone: 02 9114 1961; 0405 208 616