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Recent appointment: Joel Palmer as Director of Strategy, Planning and Performance


The University of Newcastle, Australia (UON) is committed to equity and excellence and to creating a better future for its regions through a focus on innovation and impact.

UON is renowned for the quality and breadth of its research, and a commitment to research translation and world class innovation. The University is placed in the top 8 Australian universities for research quality which is ‘well above world standard’ (ERA 2015) and it is also ranked in the top 10 for research funding by the ARC and NHMRC.

About the position

The Director Strategy, Planning and Performance (SPP) is a key leadership position responsible for the effective and efficient delivery of the University’s strategic and corporate planning, reporting and analytics, quality assurance and business intelligence functions to enhance the University’s overall performance and achieve the goals articulated in the NeW Futures Strategic Plan 2016-2025 . Important strategic goals that will be impacted by this appointment include: an enduring commitment to equity and social justice; graduates who make a difference; staff who make their mark; and driving global and regional impact.

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer and working in partnership with the Vice-Chancellor and senior management, the Director is responsible for a team of 20 that: leads the development and implementation of an integrated strategic planning and reporting framework; coordinates institution-wide data collection and reporting; conducts quantitative and qualitative assessment of KPIs and institutional performance; conducts academic program and organisational unit reviews; designs and runs predictive models to manage student enrolment/load planning, retention and success; enhances and implements the University’s business intelligence strategy; administers and reports on student, staff and stakeholder feedback surveys and focus groups to improve teaching and learning and the student and staff experience. By collaborating with stakeholders across the University in these activities, the Director SPP helps ensure organisational capacity and capability to position UON to deliver on its strategic plan and to build success in teaching, learning and research.

The right candidate

To succeed in this important position, the right candidate will have significant experience in leading an integrated strategic, operational and performance management framework in a large complex organisation, and brings significant experience in:

  • Building organisational capability;
  • Leading and managing a multidisciplinary team;
  • Managing business intelligence and analytics;
  • Planning and implementing quality assurance frameworks;
  • Building collaborative partnerships;
  • Developing strategies and systems that impact on an organisation’s success; and
  • Contemporary knowledge of issues in higher education.

In delivering the above, the right candidate has a record of delivering strategies that support a large and complex institution to achieve sustainability, vibrancy and competitive advantage. Experience in anticipating and drawing out opportunities and challenges in the development and implementation of a strategic plan, and anticipating environmental shifts, are all key to success in this role.