Tuesday, 21 March 2017 09:55

Adapt or die – Massey boss

Written by  Peter Burke
Jan Thomas. Jan Thomas.

Massey University's new vice-chancellor, professor Jan Thomas, says her role is to create an environment where academics are able to adapt and almost predict the future.

She told Rural News that in today’s world no university can be business-as-usual – complacent in a world that is changing.

Thomas, who succeeds Steve Maharey, was previously vice-chancellor of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Toowoomba. She trained as a veterinarian but has spent much of her career in academic management roles.

Thomas says USQ is renowned for its expertise in distance education and in agriculture and she believes these similarities with Massey will be an advantage in her new role.

“Education is changing and we need to adapt so that we can thrive,” she says. “I have strategic ideas as to where we can take the university. But certainly Massey is incredibly successful and my job is to take it through to the next level.”

Thomas says universities must adapt to the changing world by offering curriculum and degrees that match the future needs of industry, “collaborating with the guys on the ground”.

“We need to shape that to make sure we are meeting the needs of industry. We also need to meet the needs of society, so that New Zealand can position itself as the best in the world in value-add food products.”

Thomas believes in addressing the big global issues of food safety, water security and climate change – major challenges scientists can play a key role in managing.

Science integrating with business will take the world forward, she says. Robotics, smart science and other innovations will play a part in adapting to change and feeding the world.

“What an incredible privilege it is to a play a part in this – as an agricultural scientist, engineer, veterinarian or business person in agriculture.”

» Connect with Rural News

More like this

Lights, camera, action on sheep!

Remote sensing cameras and GPS are being used by Massey University researchers to see what, if any, damage sheep cause to waterways in the hill country.

Dairy motivates top scholars

Both Massey University’s top scholars for 2019 are from dairy farming families and both are DairyNZ scholarship students.

New hort science scholarships 

A scholarship for up to five students each year, studying Massey University’s Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree has been launched by kiwifruit exporter Zezpri.

» The RNG Weather Report

Featured

 

Proper training beats learning on the hoof

New Zealand's first professional dairy cow hoof trimmer has fulfilled a long-held dream, setting up a training institute to bring internationally recognised standards of hoofcare to the industry.

FE researchers aim to raise awareness

Facial eczema in dairy cattle can cause significant production losses without visible symptoms, says a new group formed to raise awareness of the disease.

» Connect with Rural News

» Connect with Rural News

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Useless

The Hound notes that one of the country’s poorest financially performing state-owned enterprises – the Government farming entity Landcorp (or…

Rural revolt

Your old mate hears that the antics of the Government – especially the NZ First component – are fuelling motivation…

» Connect with Rural News