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Recent appointments: Professor Emma Sparks appointed Rector, UNSW Canberra

Congratulations to Professor Emma Sparks on being appointed to the position of Dean and Rector, UNSW Canberra.

Professor Emma SparksProfessor Sparks, who will take up the position in January 2022, is a Professor of Systems Engineering and is currently Director Programme Portfolio Delivery, Deputy Director Education and Head of Centre for Systems and Technology Management at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. She is a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and is a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.

Professor Sparks brings with her a wealth of experience working with Defence, as well as having a strong focus throughout her career on learning and teaching. Her early research at the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Laboratory, Fort Halstead (UK) focused on human protection and performance, developing next generation soldier systems, while her PhD research on future soldier capability led to a long-standing relationship with DST in Adelaide working on the Australian Soldier Modernisation Program, part of a $35 million package to boost the Army’s combat capability. This also allowed her to develop key relationships within Canberra.

Professor Sparks was recognised as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering in the UK and is the first female to be appointed to the role of Dean and Rector at UNSW Canberra. In her current role Professor Sparks leads the ‘Women in Defence’ charter activity for Cranfield and worked with the UK military on the future education needs across the services. In 2020, she launched the Defence and Security Programme as part of the Cranfield portfolio.

About the role

The Rector is accountable for the strategic direction and overall performance of research, the student education experience and community engagement in UNSW Canberra, and to provide highly effective management of the Faculty strategy, planning, human resources, finances, physical resources, and administrative activities.

The role of the Rector leads the Faculty Executive in shaping and realising the Faculty’s future. Heads of Schools and Centre Directors report into the Rector along with the Faculty Executive Director and three Associate Deans (Research, Research Engagement and Education).

About UNSW

UNSW has a unique footprint, and longstanding relationships in Canberra; UNSW Canberra is the official education provider to the Australian Defence Force Academy. With a new city campus to host a Defence and Security Innovation Precinct, the university is doing cutting-edge research that has real world impact. As part of UNSW, ranked one of the top 50 universities in the world, and first in Australia for research and impact, UNSW Canberra has broad scope for collaboration in education, research, defence and industry partnerships.

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