University of Canterbury appoints new Vice-Chancellor

11 June 2018

Professor Cheryl de la Rey, currently the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, University Chancellor Dr John Wood announced today.

  • Professor Cheryl de la Rey

    Professor Cheryl de la Rey has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, University Chancellor Dr John Wood announced today.

Professor Cheryl de la Rey, currently the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, University Chancellor Dr John Wood announced today.

Professor de la Rey will commence the role in mid-February, replacing Dr Rod Carr, who has served two five year terms.

Dr Wood said the University had undertaken a global recruitment process and had been thrilled with the calibre of a large pool of domestic and international applicants. The Vice-Chancellor Appointment Committee, led by Pro-Chancellor Sue McCormack, made a recommendation to appoint Professor de la Rey at a public excluded University Council meeting on 21 May, which was accepted unanimously.

“Professor de la Rey is an exceptional candidate to lead the University. She has a significant international profile and a strong research reputation in her chosen field of psychology, and in research leadership and governance. She also brings extensive experience and demonstrated management ability from a range of tertiary education roles in South Africa, which I know she is looking forward to bringing to New Zealand.

“She is known as a visionary strategic thinker and has a track record for opening University pathways to priority and less-able learners. Her overall approach is a very good fit with the graduate attributes the University seeks to instil in all its students.

“Professor de la Rey will begin at UC with the University’s post-quake transformation well advanced, its extensive capital works programme almost complete, world-class redeveloped and new facilities open for teaching, initiatives to build student numbers beyond pre-quake levels well in hand, and the University community very much focused on providing what it always has – world-class research-led teaching and learning,” Dr Wood said.

“I’m honoured to be selected for this position and thank the University of Canterbury Council for its vote of confidence. I look forward to using my skills and experience and to build on the good work of my predecessor,” Professor de la Rey said.   

Dr Wood said outgoing Vice-Chancellor Dr Carr had made an immense contribution to the University since first taking the role in 2009.

“We couldn’t have known at the time but, post-quake, having a Vice-Chancellor with Rod’s particular expertise in business, finance and risk has been invaluable in leading the University through the most challenging time in its history. His leadership of its recovery, transformation and contribution to the University’s future success cannot be overstated.”

 About Professor Cheryl de la Rey.

Professor de la Rey has served as Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, South Africa’s largest university, since November 2009. After working her way up the academic ranks within South Africa’s university sector, she took up her first executive position at a relatively young age when she became executive director at the National Research Foundation. Thereafter she was appointed as deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Cape Town. Prior to her current position, she was the CEO of the Council on Higher Education. In total she has eighteen years’ experience as an executive in higher education in South Africa. She has a reputation for visionary, strategic thinking accompanied by strong management ability.

Cheryl de la Rey is an accomplished public speaker, has a strong record of managing stakeholder relations successfully and she has a considerable international reputation. She has served on a number of national and international committees and boards. She has served as vice-chairperson of the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and she was the founding co-chairperson of the Australia-Africa Universities Network (AAUN) and the South Africa-Japan Universities Forum. She is currently a member of the executive board of the International Council for Science (ICSU), the University Social Responsibility Network (USRN) and vice-chairperson of the Talloires Network, an international association of institutions committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education.

She has published books and several journal articles in her discipline, Psychology.

Professor De la Rey is registered as a psychologist by the Health Professions Council of South Africa, is a fellow of the Psychological Association of South Africa, a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

For further information please contact:

Phil Barclay, Communications and Engagement Manager, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3910 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168 | phil.barclay@canterbury.ac.nz
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