Professor Rufus Black named as the University of Tasmania's vice-chancellor and president

The University of Tasmania's incoming vice-chancellor, Professor Rufus Black. Picture: UTAS

The University of Tasmania's incoming vice-chancellor, Professor Rufus Black. Picture: UTAS

Professor Rufus Black is the incoming University of Tasmania vice-chancellor and president.

Chancellor Michael Field revealed Professor Black - a highly regarded ethicist, educator and strategic consultant - will step in to the role from March 2018.

Professor Black will takeover from Professor Peter Rathjen, who announced he was stepping down from the vice-chancellor role after taking up a position with the University of Adelaide. 

After an “historic period of growth and change”, Chancellor Field said the university viewed Professor Black as someone who could lead them into a “new chapter” on Friday. 

A master of the University of Melbourne’s Ormond College and deputy chancellor of Victoria University, Professor Black holds degrees in law and politics, and moral theology. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, and he is an enterprise professor and principal fellow in philosophy at the University of Melbourne. 

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Applicants from across the globe applied for the vice-chancellor position, but Chancellor Field said Professor Black had a deep affinity with and understanding of Tasmania.

“Professor Black demonstrated a rare mix of high intellect, academic standing and commercial experience that we feel will be necessary to lead a period of cultural transformation here,” the chancellor said. 

The professor also brings a wealth of experience from the private sector. He worked at McKinsey & Company, where he was a partner, and he is a director of national law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Professor Black is a president of the Victorian museums board and he has undertaken significant public policy commissions, including the accountability and governance review at the Department of Defence in 2010. 

The professor co-founded the Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship, and is a director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research.

He also serves on the board of Innovation Science Australia.

“Professor Black articulated to the selection panel an intimate understanding of the University of Tasmania’s central role in delivering a more prosperous future for the state and its citizens,” Chancellor Field said.