By Kelly

Source: http:// en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Man_Upstairs

In previous posts I have mentioned ‘the man upstairs’. This was not in a religious context, more an architectural one. The ‘man’, Professor Andrew Roberts, became our director in early 2010 and invigorated our research school during his time in the big office. (This is sounding like an obituary I should get to the point). Yesterday the announcement came from our VC that Andrew has been appointed the new Dean of the ANU’s College of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. While I think it is an obvious choice I must say I am very disappointed that he is leaving the school so soon.

Andrew is a natural leader who is as fair as he his forthright; a winning combination when leading a large group of over-achievers. Not long after he started I unwittingly ended up in a meeting with him discussing issues surrounding the ‘leaky pipeline’, or lack of woman in senior positions in Earth science. He openly acknowledged the problem and expressed his shared concern, and by the meetings end we had an appointment with chancellery to see what was being done. I do like a person of action. I particularly like one who makes time to speak to the underlings,  underlings who he believes deserve access to childcare facilities.

Andrew is also an excellent researcher. I hear that he is looking forward to ensuring that research remains a priority within the colleges. This might seem like an obvious statement to some, however it is increasingly difficult within many universities for scientists to actually do their science, as more and more administrative layers are added. Perhaps I am a little biased as Andrew is a paleomagnetist with interest (amongst many) in paleoocenography. His progressive view of the earth sciences -one that incorporates more than the traditional geological sciences- appears to have brought the biogeosciences more prominently on to our research agenda. In my opinion (for what it’s worth), I think this is a savvy move if we are to continue to hold our place in the upper echelons of Earth Science institutes. And lastly, he had no problem with me setting up this blog. But perhaps that is not surprising as Andrew is not the stereotypical geoscientist either…

I think I can speak for all of the contributors at OnCirculation when I congratulate  him whole heartedly on his new appointment.

For the ANU media release click here, or for more detail on the man who will no longer be literally upstairs, click here.