Lincoln University’s new chancellor Bruce Gemmell

Collaboration focus

by Mike Isle

Lincoln University has appointed a new chancellor who says he will put collaboration at the top of his agenda when he takes the reins in January. Bruce Gemmell said his emphasis would be on partnerships with the university’s neighbours, as well as land-based public and private institutions, and he intends to accelerate the Lincoln campus rebuild.

Mr Gemmell’s appointment follows current chancellor Steve Smith’s decision not to seek re-election at the conclusion of his term in December.

Mr Smith has been a member of the Transformation Board since joining the Lincoln University Council in 2016. He led an ambitious project to deliver on the report’s recommendations following his appointment to the chancellor’s position in June 2017.

He cited the financial and operational stability achieved by the university during this period as one of his greatest highlights, alongside Lincoln’s new value proposition and brand platform.

“We have exceeded even our own expectations for financial, operational and academic success,” said Mr Smith. “Most importantly, our staff and students seem optimistic about our future, while at the same time, we have leapt ahead in the international rankings.”

Mr Smith said the university’s recent announcements regarding the Joint Facility project delay and the partnership negotiations with the University of Canterbury had not affected his decision, a point supported by the incoming chancellor. “Steve’s leadership of the council and unwavering commitment to the university cannot be questioned,” said Mr Gemmell.

“His decision is for personal reasons and the council is deeply saddened by this decision.”

Mr Smith described the timing of the announcement as “a perfect storm”, but with the university facing further change, now was the most appropriate time to step down.

Mr Gemmell takes over the role of chancellor from January 1, 2019.