University of Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Education, Professor Philippa (Pip) Pattison, will retire at the end of 2021.
Pattison moved to USyd in 2014 from the University of Melbourne where she was chair of the Academic Board and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). Her academic background is in quantitative psychology.
In her seven years at USyd, Pattison often attracted the ire of students and unions, spearheading significant changes to degree offerings, curriculum, and semester lengths.
Many of the changes instituted under Pattison’s leadership share similarities with the so-called ‘Melbourne Model’ which saw degree options slashed and semesters shortened.
In 2017, 2020 and 2021, Pattison led pushes to reduce semesters from 13 teaching weeks to 12. The National Union of Students has criticised this policy as “show[ing] transparently that the University only thinks of students in dollar amounts…A 12 week semester is a step down the path to trimesterisaton and the further commercialisation of our universities.”
Pattison was also behind the decision to cut undergraduate degree options from 122 to 42.
In a letter to staff, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Garton praised Professor Pattison for “her remarkable contribution to Australian higher education” and said that “During her tenure with us Pip has transformed the University’s strategy for teaching and learning, and our students’ educational experience.”
“Working closely with faculties and University schools to realise our strategic ambitions, Pip has overseen the institution-wide renewal of our curriculum and cultivated new approaches in pedagogy, learning and teaching analytics.
“Pip was also instrumental in the development of the Student Experience Strategy to improve and transform the experience of our diverse student cohorts.”
Pattison will remain in her role until the end of 2021.