New Executive Dean to lead revamped faculty

phyllistharenouFlinders University has appointed a senior Australian Research Council executive, Professor Phyllis Tharenou, to lead its revamped Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Announcing the appointment, Flinders Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, said the University was delighted that Professor Tharenou has accepted the position as Executive Dean of the Faculty which has been restructured and renamed following an internal review earlier this year.

“Professor Tharenou brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from previous university positions and invaluable insights into Australia’s research agenda from her current position as Executive Director of Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences at the Australian Research Council (ARC),” Professor Barber said.

“Professor Tharenou will take over the leadership of the Faculty at an exciting and challenging time as the Faculty moves ahead with a new structure and focus,” he said.

Professor Tharenou – who holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland – will take up her appointment on 1 February 2010 following the retirement of the current Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor John Browett.

Describing the position as having attracted her because the area is “a match for me”, Professor Tharenou said she had spent much of her time working in such areas as psychology, business and public policy in a career that has included positions at Monash University, University of South Australia, University of Queensland, Griffith University, Queensland Institute of Technology and the ARC.

“At the ARC, I have had a vantage point spanning a dozen major disciplines including psychology, sociology, social work, accounting, economics, education and finance, and had the advantage of being able to gain an understanding of contemporary issues in the social sciences and the state of the social sciences on the national stage which I can bring to Flinders,” Professor Tharenou said.

Following an internal review, Flinders has restructured its Faculty of Social Sciences, which incorporated nine separate schools and departments, into four schools – School of Psychology, Flinders Business School, School of International Studies and the School of Social and Policy Studies.

Professor Barber said the restructuring of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences was “an opportunity to reposition the social sciences at Flinders to enable a more integrated approach to public debate, policy development and the advancement of knowledge”.

“I believe it is vital that we engage across discipline boundaries to ensure that the education we provide and the research we undertake are relevant to the complex problems facing the world today,” Professor Barber said.

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