Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education & Digital)
Four weeks into her role as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Digital), Professor Maryanne Dever has amassed an impressive daily step count as she traverses the ANU campus. While this approach may have prompted a rethink of her daily shoe selection, it is consistent with her desire to imagine her portfolio as a roving one, characterised by collaboration and a desire to listen and learn from staff and students.
With experience across a number of different Australian universities, augmented by stints in Finland, Canada and Hong Kong, Professor Dever’s most recent role was as Associate Dean Teaching and Learning within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Recent achievements have an education technology focus, including leadership of a university-wide transition to a new learning management system and leading the move to online exams. Her disciplinary background, however, is in literary studies and women’s and gender studies.
“I think it may surprise people that the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education and Digital doesn’t, for example, have a Computer Science background,” she says.
“What I bring [to this role] is very much the human side of how we get our systems to work and how we create solutions using approaches like human-centred design. That means we put the needs and priorities of our academic staff and students right at the core of our initial planning around any new technologies. So, where I see my expertise coming in, is on the human side of how we deliver our systems.”
Professor Dever has stepped into her newly-created role at a critical point in time, at a point when reimagining how technology can support learning has never been more important. Her role is a whole-of-community one, and she plans to interact with staff and students within their own Colleges and Schools, rather than expecting them to come to her office in the Chancelry Building.
“So part of what I am going to be doing is spending a lot of time out in Colleges and Schools, talking to people there about what exactly it is they are looking for from their learning technologies and what kinds of learning and teaching experiences they want to design for the future.”
As Professor Dever continues her travels across campus, she will be thinking about what practical strategies are needed to underpin the University’s Vision for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. She sees the post-COVID-19 era as a "magical opportunity" to reimagine what learning at ANU is going to be about, and is excited about working with those around her to produce a unique student experience that sets the University apart.
“I’m spending a lot of time at the moment talking to Associate Deans and meeting people across the university. But at the same time, I’m absolutely welcoming people who have ideas or questions to contact me directly. I want to get to know the ANU community."
“We’ve been through some really rough times, but I think there are huge opportunities here, and I think we are all going to do some really amazing things.”
Professor Maryanne Dever is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Digital) at ANU