Professor Mark Hickford has been appointed to the newly-created role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Government, Law and Business, to whom the Deans of the Faculty of Law and the Wellington School of Business and Government will report.
This appointment concludes the recent consultation process on aligning the leadership spans and duties of the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor roles and establishing the new Pro Vice-Chancellor of Government, Law and Business role to support the ‘governing for the future’ distinctive attribute in the University’s Strategic Plan.
Professor Jane Bryson will take on the role of Acting Dean of the Wellington School of Business and Government and Professor Petra Butler will be Acting Dean of the Faculty of Law until the recruitment process for permanent appointments is concluded.
Professor Hickford joined the University in 2015 as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law and has served the Faculty through a period of significant achievement. Notable successes include the exceptional performance by the Faculty of Law in the most recent PBRF round, in which it was confirmed as the leading law school in New Zealand in terms of highly evaluated scholars.
As Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law, Professor Hickford has ably facilitated on-going quality enhancements to the law programme and led the preparations for ensuring Te Ao Māori concepts, including tikanga Māori, are incorporated as the New Zealand Council of Legal Education looks to secure progressive improvements in this important area of law teaching and learning. Other areas of notable achievement have included maintaining strong enrolments during a time when the number of school leavers is falling in New Zealand, and ensuring that the Faculty’s philanthropic contributions continue to grow.
In addition to his track record and skills in University leadership, Professor Hickford has considerable experience in senior management and leadership roles in Government. This includes being in the Prime Minister’s Policy Advisory Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet prior to joining the University, eight years as a Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office, specialising in public law, the Treaty of Waitangi, Māori-Crown relations and natural resources law, and working as Chief Legal Advisor and Director of Legal Services at the Ministry for Primary Industries on secondment from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He has also worked in the private sector in Auckland and in Wellington and is currently a barristerial member of Thorndon Chambers in central Wellington.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says: “Mark’s commitment to excellence in research, teaching and engagement, his first-hand experience of decision-making at the highest levels of government, his respect for Te Tiriti, his extensive connections in Wellington, and his demonstrable affinity for participatory leadership, position him to be an outstanding leader for the University.
“While Mark will contribute to all strategic and operational activities at the University as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and member of the Senior Leadership Team, I am particularly looking forward to his leadership of our ‘governing for the future’ distinctive attribute. He will lead the strengthening of Te Herenga Waka’s position as a globally significant centre of expertise and insight in better government.”
The new leadership arrangements take effect on 26 October.