We Welcome Jim Nyland as Chair To The Board

Jim Nyland and Ben Roche

We Welcome Jim Nyland as Chair To The Board

Dear members,

I am pleased and honoured to be unanimously elected to the position of Chair, Engagement Australia (EA) in this, its 15th anniversary year of operation.  In accepting this position I would like to pay tribute to the sterling work of EA’s previous Chair, Mr. Ben Roche, following the completion of his three year term as Chair, six year term as Board Director, and almost ten year period hosting EA’s Secretariat.  We are reminded by Ben in our most recent Issue of Transform that ‘the formation of Engagement Australia in 2003 was brought about by a group of visionary Vice Chancellors and senior higher education leaders, conscious of the civic imperatives for learning and research.  And that as these drivers for change strengthen, we as universities are challenged to consider how to mobilise a deeper and more authentic engagement agenda within our own institutions, and through alliances such as Engagement Australia, the sector at large.’  Ben has taken a leading role in driving this agenda forward over the last decade.

Earlier this year, Ben was part of an expert panel discussion event at the 2018 University Australia Engagement session that brought together some of our sector’s foremost thinkers in University engagement. Themed ‘Re-imagining the Engaged University’ this timely session was well received by the 70 EA members in attendance. The expert panel included:

Professor Sharon Bell, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Strategy and Planning), Western Sydney University

Mr. Adrian Collette, Vice Principal (Engagement) University of Melbourne

The Hon. Verity Firth, Executive Director of Social Justice, UTS, Sydney

Tania Rhodes-Taylor, Vice-Principal, External Relations, The University of Sydney

Mr. Ben Roche, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Engagement, Southern Cross University

This signature event explored how great global universities were those that were also great at being local; how social impact frameworks must be routed in relationship and partnership foudations; how our universities needed to rise to the emergent Grand Challenges of our time and embrace these with a new form of optimism; and how we should take heart in the fact that we remain  one of the most trusted sectors in the country – and as such we needed to deepen our ability  in ‘learning to listen as well as listening to learn’.

Jim Nyland and Ben Roche

Mr. Ben Roche (right) hands the baton to Professor Jim Nyland, the incoming Chair, Engagement Australia.

The implications of Re-imagining the Engaged University for us as leading practitioners are that we use knowledge within our practice and we build pedagogy round it as an expression of our authentic engagement.  In so doing, our universities become better equipped to rise to the big challenges of our time which as a consequence become central to our learning and research.  We suggest that this is an authentic task for the University and embodies an idea whose time has come.

I am looking forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.


Professor Jim Nyland


More about Jim Nyland

Professor Jim Nyland took up the role of Associate Vice-Chancellor (Brisbane) at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) in October 2011.  Previously, he has held academic appointments at the University of Queensland, where he was the Director of Corporate Education and Director of UQ Business School Downtown.  Prior to this he was Manager and Principal Advisor in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office for Engagement at Griffith University and has held managerial positions in a number of universities in the UK.  He holds a Doctorate in Education and has published research covering curriculum change, the nature of learning and the impact of modernity on educational opportunity.  Professor Nyland’s work has been international in scope and he has developed programs in the UK and Australia as well as keynote academic papers in Ireland and South Africa.  He is particularly interested in extending our knowledge and capacities in ‘new learning’ both in work and professional settings and in communities which are in transition and face challenges. He is Editor of the new Australian journal Transform: Journal of Engaged Scholarship and contributes to current educational debates and issues in regional and national publications.