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University of Sydney welcomes new Provost

19 June 2019
Professor Stephen Garton to take up new position
The University of Sydney is pleased to announce Professor Barbara Messerle as the new Provost, after an extensive international search.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence today announced the appointment of Professor Barbara Messerle as Provost, a role she will start on 9 September 2019.

Professor Barbara Messerle

Professor Barbara Messerle joins from Macquarie University 

Professor Messerle is an alumna of the University and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is currently the Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering at Macquarie University, a role she has held since January 2015.

The Provost is responsible for the strategic leadership and operational delivery of the University’s academic objectives, and in particular the performance of the University’s six faculties and three schools. Externally, the Provost also plays a key role in representing the University on the global stage.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said he was delighted to welcome Professor Messerle to such a critical role within the University of Sydney.

“Professor Messerle has an outstanding track record in higher education and proven experience in innovation and transformational change leading to better outcomes for students, teaching staff and researchers,” said Dr Spence.

“She joins us at an ideal time to contribute to the next phase of our future strategic planning, especially as we head towards the final year of our 2016-2020 strategy.”

Professor Stephen Garton

Professor Stephen Garton will take on a new role as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor


Dr Spence also paid tribute to current Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Garton for his enormous contribution to the University. He will step into a new time-limited role as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

“I would like to express my profound gratitude to Professor Garton for the role he has played leading and shaping the University as Provost over the last 10 years,” Dr Spence said.

“I am so pleased that he has agreed to stay on a little longer as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor to help facilitate the transition of the new Provost to the University and to ensure optimal governance during this time.”

Taking up the role as Provost marks a return home to the University of Sydney for Professor Messerle, who completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University and spent several years as a University of Sydney ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellow and ARC Senior Research Fellow following a post-doctoral position in Zurich, Switzerland.

Professor Messerle said she was looking forward to returning to the University of Sydney in a new capacity as Provost.

“I look forward to working with the many talented people at the University and building new opportunities for research and teaching with them,” said Professor Messerle.

“I am sad to be leaving Macquarie University of course but value the relationships I have built over the past five years and am proud of the progress the Faculty of Science and Engineering has made while I have been Executive Dean.”

While in her current role at Macquarie University, Professor Messerle led substantial cultural and structural change across 10 very diverse departments within the Faculty and established a new Engineering School. She also supported the growth of industry, government and international partnerships and is experienced in and passionate about increasing the number of women in STEMM at all levels.

In a previous role as Head of School of Chemistry at UNSW, she oversaw substantial increases in research funding and more than doubled the research student cohort.

Professor Garton will move into his new role as Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor when Professor Messerle joins the University in September. The role, a formal deputy to the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, will be responsible for actively supporting external engagement and leading the University’s transformation agenda, including co-executive sponsorship of the Sydney Operating Model. 

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