Dean, Academic

Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand

Job description

Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Research, Academic and Enterprise

Do you have a passion for ensuring high quality teaching and learning and have experience in leading academic planning and policy development and enhancing the student experience? Do you have a desire to lead and further enhance the development of the University’s reputation as a provider of high quality tertiary education? If so, you may be interested in the role of Dean, Academic in the Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Research, Academic and Enterprise (AVC RAE).

The Dean, Academic provides strategic and operational advice to the AVC RAE and leadership to the work of learning and teaching and student success at Massey University. The successful candidate will be PhD qualified and have an outstanding record of personal academic achievement combined with experience in leading academic planning, academic policy development and quality assurance. Evidence of achievement in successful implementation and embedding practice in addition to leading pedagogical innovation at the level of a large school or college (or equivalent entity) will be an advantage, as will the ability to understand the imperatives around academic quality assurance. An understanding of best practice pedagogy, including distance and online learning, is essential.

Reporting directly to the AVC RAE, this is a key leadership role in the University and within the Office of the AVC RAE. Candidates must have strong interpersonal and people skills, superior skills of negotiation and persuasion, proven experience in effectively leading, managing and motivating teams and the flexibility to lead innovative thinking in a challenging environment. The role will carry budget responsibility and operational leadership accountability in the form of line management.

The successful applicant will lead and provide advice on policy initiatives to the AVC RAE, support an enhancement agenda around the quality assurance of Massey University’s academic programmes, and be responsible for projects of work related to the AVC RAE portfolio. The Dean, Academic will also support the AVC RAE with the provision of leadership to the University through leading special projects within the portfolio.

Interested applicants can seek further information from the AVC RAE, Professor Giselle Byrnes (

Job description
Purpose statement
Working with the AVC RAE, provide effective strategic and operational leadership to the University across the academic portfolio.

Be an integral senior member of the AVC RAE team, contributing to the strategic leadership and wider leadership and management of the whole University.

Provide academic leadership to various agreed strategic and operational aspects of the academic functions of the University that support quality assurance and enhancement of the academic programmes and teaching and learning at Massey University.

Work with the AVC RAE to enhance the reputation of the University as a provider of high quality tertiary education.

Lead, develop and guide policy initiatives and provide advice to the AVC RAE.

Be responsible for projects of work related to the AVC RAE portfolio.

Deputise for the AVC RAE as and when required for internal and external commitments.

Responsible to
Assistant Vice-Chancellor Research, Academic and Enterprise

Key accountabilities
Duties and responsibilities

Working with the AVC RAE, provide leadership on all matters relating to learning, teaching and student success in addition to ensuring the University’s academic offer is high quality, sustainable and presents a ‘fit for purpose’ profile.
Provide leadership to the development and implementation of the University’s strategies for teaching and learning and overall academic planning in the context of the University’s strategic ambitions.
Represent and advise the AVC RAE, where appropriate, on matters relating to the academic portfolio, including progressing the University’s commitment to be Te Tiriti o Waitangi led in our curriculum planning, design and pedagogy.
Be responsible for leading and managing specific academic projects of work as requested by the AVC RAE.
Line manage and work closely with National Centre for Teaching and Learning (NCTL) to support and lead the development of a quality teaching and learning experience, and oversight associated projects (including projects associated with the University’s national and international ambitions).
Line manage and work closely with the staff of the Office of Academic Assurance (OAA), to ensure best practice quality assurance of the University’s academic programmes.
Ensure that the University maintains the highest standards of teaching quality and of innovation in learning and teaching and that this is recognised in all internal and external assessments.
Work with the AVC RAE to champion the need for high quality learning and teaching, the recognition of excellence in learning and teaching and advocating for the relevance and quality of the academic portfolio.
Support and advise the AVC RAE on academic and quality assurance matters pertaining to study at the University (e.g. CUAP and NZQA consultations).
Establish and maintain liaison with the Colleges in order to facilitate the effective development and enhancement of academic quality assurance.
Work closely with other senior staff, in particular the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellors, and contribute to the wider leadership and management of the University as a member of the AVC RAE leadership team.
Work closely with the relevant Directors of Academic Programmes, Directors of Learning and Teaching and senior College staff.
Conduct all activities professionally, within agreed timelines and in such a manner as to provide a high standard of service to the University and its clients.
Make a full contribution to the overall outputs of the Office of the AVC RAE through effective teamwork.
Undertake other duties as may be reasonably required by the AVC RAE.
Project management and direction

Manage and direct specific academic projects at the request of the AVC RAE.

Liaison with students and staff

Develop and maintain effective working relationships with the Colleges, academic schools, professional and academic staff and students of the University to enhance the academic programmes and the quality assurance of our academic provision.
Develop and maintain effective working relationships with the management and staff within the wider AVC RAE portfolio.


Chair the University Teaching and Learning Committee.
Serve on, or attend specific academic committees, including Academic Committee, as appropriate and attend to matters as required.


Working with the NCTL staff, advise on and support relevant programmes for the development of University academic staff.

Quality Assurance

Provide support to the AVC RAE and other relevant offices in the portfolio around quality assurance and continuous enhancement in all aspects of processes and outcomes relevant to academic programmes, including the national academic audit cycle process.
Attend Universities New Zealand (UNZ)/Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) meetings and represent the University as and when required by the AVC RAE.


Maintain a current understanding of national and international policies and developments in the management of quality assured academic programmes.
Provide assistance with regard to advice on academic matters as reasonably required to the AVC RAE.
Undertake other tasks on behalf of the AVC RAE as appropriate.
Continue to progress a programme of research and remain research-active (negotiable).
Functional relationships

NCTL staff; OAA staff; Copyright and Open Access Officer; other senior staff within the AVC RAE portfolio; College Pro Vice-Chancellors and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellors; Directors of Teaching and Learning and Directors, Academic Programmes; Heads of Schools and academic units; academic and professional support staff; University Committees; external stakeholders and agencies.

Person specification
A Doctoral qualification is essential.

A record of successful experience in and leadership of strategic projects, especially with regard to promoting and supporting student success, and the effective implementation of these projects, in an academic context. Key skills in problem solving and innovative thinking are essential.
Understanding of tertiary sector academic quality assurance and academic approval processes in addition to successful leadership experience in learning and teaching.
Experience in effectively managing and working with diverse teams of people.
Proven ability to lead and inspire teams to realise common objectives and agreed outcomes.
Proven experience in the leadership of academic programmes.
Demonstrated understanding of the broader New Zealand tertiary environment and international tertiary environment, particularly as this relates to academic, teaching and quality assurance matters.
Experience in effectively managing budgets of substantial size in a university context.

Personal attributes and behaviours
Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal) with excellent attention to detail.
Self-starting initiative and the ability to communicate and work with staff and students from different cultures and disciplinary backgrounds.
The capacity to demonstrate, through personal example, a commitment to academic excellence.
The ability to interact effectively, tactfully and diplomatically with a wide range of individuals and the ability to maintain high quality standards and principles.
A professional, accountable, proactive and service-oriented approach.
The ability to work as part of a team, and to work within set timeframes.
A high level of discretion in dealing with confidential matters.
Excellent organisational skills and the ability to problem solve.

How to apply

Make an application

Massey University (Māori: Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa) is a university based in Раlmеrstоn Nоrth, Nеw Zеаlаnd, with significant campuses in Аlbаny and Wellington. Massey University has approximately 35,000 students, 17,000 of whom are extramural or distance-learning students, making it New Zealand's second largest university when not counting international students.Research is undertaken on all three campuses, and more than 3,000 international students from over 100 countries study at the university.