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New head of Humanities appointed at Curtin

Media release

Curtin University has appointed Professor Alan Dench as Pro Vice-Chancellor of Humanities, commencing in August this year.

Professor Dench was previously the Dean of Graduate Research and Postdoctoral Training and a Professor of Linguistics at The University of Western Australia (UWA).   He is also a recipient of a 2016 Vincent Fairfax Fellowship in Ethical Leadership.

With an academic background in linguistics, his research and area of expertise is focused around Australian Aboriginal languages, with a special emphasis on the languages of the northwest region of Western Australia.

During his tenure at UWA, Professor Dench worked as the Head of Linguistics, Head of the School of Humanities and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts. He was also Chair of UWA Animal Ethics Committee, a member of the Executive of the Australian Council of Graduate Research and chaired the Group of Eight (Go8) Deans of Graduate Studies. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

In addition to his extensive leadership in teaching and curriculum development, Professor Dench is an author of numerous research publications including monographs, journal articles and book chapters. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at UWA and a Master of Arts and PhD, both in Linguistics, at the Australian National University.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said she was looking forward to working with Professor Dench and welcoming him to the senior leadership team at Curtin.

“We are delighted that Professor Dench will bring his vast experience in teaching and research to Humanities at Curtin and lead its growth locally, nationally and internationally,” Professor Terry said.

Professor Dench said he was honoured to have been selected for the leadership position and looked forward to leading the large and diverse Humanities faculty at Curtin.

“Curtin is building an exciting future for itself and for the wider communities it is a part of. The Humanities naturally play a leading role in building a better future for all of us and I look forward to working with the staff, students and many friends of Curtin Humanities in contributing to the University’s vision,” Professor Dench said.

The role of acting Pro Vice-Chancellor of Humanities at Curtin has been very capably filled by Associate Professor Steve Mickler for the last year.