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Curtin appoints new head of Humanities

Media release

Curtin University has appointed Professor Richard Blythe as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Humanities.

Professor Richard Blythe

Professor Blythe is currently the Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech in the United States and has forged a distinguished career as a university leader, underpinned by practical achievements in his chosen field.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said she was delighted to welcome Professor Blythe, who was an outstanding candidate in the global search for the next Pro Vice-Chancellor of Humanities.

“I am extremely pleased that Professor Blythe will be the new leader for our Faculty of Humanities, Professor Hayne said.

“For more than a decade, Richard has excelled in leadership roles at Virginia Tech in the US and RMIT in Australia, where he focussed on strategies to integrate practice, deliver high-quality teaching and build very successful external collaborations”

“Professor Blythe’s proven teaching and research capacity and ability to bring people, institutions and industry together, aligns with Curtin’s own focus on providing impactful and practical learning experiences and opportunities for our students.”

Richard’s achievements also include taking a lead role in establishing a national research centre for smart design and construction in Washington DC; creating a campus-based Creativity and Innovation District and providing executive leadership on strategy and international networks and programs.

Professor Blythe was the founder and director of global architecture firm, Terroir, and has also held positions at the University of Tasmania.

Professor Blythe said he was honoured to be chosen by Curtin to lead the Faculty of Humanities at this time and further develop its already excellent reputation for fostering research, collaboration and creativity.

“Humanities research and study has never been more important, as people around the world look for new ways to connect and create in the climate of COVID-19, and at a time of unprecedented political, economic and climate challenges. Curtin University is very well placed as a leading global institution with a reputation for future-focused, hands-on, creative and industry-aligned teaching learning and research, and I am thrilled to be a part of its exciting future,” Professor Blythe said.

“I look forward to returning to my home country and building on connections both inside and outside Curtin, including exploring opportunities in advancement to unite students, staff, community and industry in the common goals of thought leadership, high-impact research and real-world outcomes.”

Professor Blythe will begin in the role later in the year, taking over from Professor Alan Dench who recently retired from Curtin University after five years as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, and then interim Provost.

Vice-Chancellor Hayne congratulated Professor Dench on his renowned linguistics career and successful tenure at Curtin.

“Professor Dench was instrumental in successfully introducing new curriculum and his calm and assured leadership of the Faculty during some challenging times for Humanities and Social Sciences in Australia is deeply appreciated,” Professor Hayne said.

“I am also grateful to Professor Michele Willson for stepping in as Pro-Vice Chancellor for Alan’s period as Provost- her committed service to Curtin and Humanities is deeply appreciated.”