Head of Mathematics
University of New South Wales

Head of Mathematics

Apply now Job no: 520171
Work type: full time
Location: Sydney, NSW
Categories: Academic Leadership, Professional Leadership

  • One of Australia’s leading research & teaching universities
  • Vibrant campus life with a strong sense of community & inclusion
  • Enjoy a career that makes a difference by collaborating & learning from the best

At UNSW, we pride ourselves on being a workplace where the best people come to do their best work.


The Faculty of Science is a large and one of the most complex faculties of UNSW Sydney. It comprises the Schools of Aviation, Biological Earth & Environmental Science (BEES), Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences (BABS), Chemistry, Materials Science & Engineering (MSE), Mathematics & Statistics, Physics and Psychology. It also includes a number of major Research Centres and field stations.

The School of Mathematics and Statistics currently has more than seventy continuing academic staff and approximately 100 academic staff in total, as well as visiting academics. UNSW is the only university in Australia to be ranked in the top 100 in the world in Mathematics and Statistics by each of the four ranking bodies: CWTS Leiden, ARWU, USNews, and QS. The School’s research groups are interconnected, with frequent interactions between groups and with other schools and faculties both inside and outside UNSW.

The Head of School role is the key integration point between the UNSW 2025 Strategy’s strategic priorities of academic excellence, social & industry engagement and global impact, and the delivery of those priorities through the work of our staff and students and engagement with key external stakeholders. Primarily, this is achieved through integrated strategic planning, fostering an environment in which innovation and creativity can thrive, people-centred leadership and sound management of resources.

This is in an exciting opportunity to join one of the Top 20 Universities in the world as judged by the prestigious QS University Ranking system in June 2023.

About the role

  • Senior Level Appointment for the term plus 17% Superannuation and annual leave loading
  • Includes an underlying Academic position at Level D/E
  • Fixed Term – 3-5 years
  • Full-time (35 hours per week)

The Head of School reports directly to the Faculty Dean to shape and realise the strategic priorities and performance of the university. The academic staff of the School report to the Head of School who is supported by the School leadership team which includes a School Manager, Deputy Head of School, Academic Governance Committees, Academic Convenors and Academic Co-ordinators.

Specific responsibilities for this role include:


  • Developing a strategic vision for the School that is aligned to both the Faculty strategic plan, with the view of strengthening the School’s (leading) position in Australia and all over the world.
  • Contribute to the formulation of the Faculty strategic plan by providing strategic advice on external engagement, research and educational priorities.
  • Lead and influence industry partners and research end-users to facilitate the development of sustainable industry-supported collaborations that lead to innovative technological outcomes.
  • Drive the overall academic performance of the School in meeting the University’s objectives, specifically through:
    • Providing a valuable student education experience by fostering a culture of innovation and excellence in teaching that is aligned to performance indicators.
    • Attracting high calibre students at the undergraduate and postgraduate level (including higher degree research students), and life-long learners, consistent with the University’s student and revenue targets.
    • Enhancing the research profile of the School by improving the quality and quantity of research output including the proportion of research active staff, the quantity and size of research grants, the number and quality of publications and appropriate measures of impact such as citations.
    • Developing new programs and courses in collaboration with academic staff and the Faculty in order to continually meet stakeholder requirements for global graduates.
    • Identifying new prospects to collaborate with education, research and industry partners, and pursue opportunities for knowledge exchange and technology transfer where possible.
    • Growing the international presence and reputation of the School.


  • Build a strategic vision for the School and engage staff within the School to realise that strategic vision.
  • Engage School staff to establish and maintain a collegial, supportive and productive culture within the School, and externally with Faculty and University colleagues.
  • Attract and retain staff of the highest quality to enable the strategic vision of the School to be achieved.
  • Build the capability of staff within the School through effective talent management and succession planning strategies supported by regular communication, quality performance conversations, coaching and addressing barriers to high performance.
  • Engage in activities that build and sustain excellent relationships with external stakeholders including potential students and high schools, potential employers of our graduates, donors, alumni, the community, business, and government to ensure the interests of the School are effectively promoted and advanced.
  • Pursue and support equity, diversity and inclusion objectives and policies.
  • Lead the School by setting clear expectations and goals, establishing KPIs, giving regular feedback on progress and facilitating effective career development conversations.
  • Be an active member of the Faculty Executive and contribute to the overall leadership, including promoting and representing the school and Science both internally and externally.

School Management:

  • Take responsibility for devolved School budgets and comply with University financial requirements.
  • Influence income and expenditure to enhance financial sustainability.
  • Ensure that the School meets agreed key performance measures including those related to education, research, global impact and social engagement.
  • Ensure that the School is effectively administered including optimising the allocation of resources, operating within budget and meeting relevant legislative and compliance obligations.
  • Lead School based committees and boards and contribute to the Faculty and University committees as required.
  • Oversee compliance and quality assurance management consistent with requirements under the University’s Risk Management Framework, including Work Health and Safety.
  • Align with and actively demonstrate the UNSW Values in Action: Our Behaviours and the UNSW Code of Conduct.
  • Ensure hazards and risks are identified and controlled for tasks, projects and activities that pose a health and safety risk within your area of responsibility.

The Head of School and the Faculty Dean will agree on specific performance targets annually as part of the UNSW Senior Staff Performance Review, including targets relating to leadership responsibilities and expectations in relation to the Head of School’s own research and teaching (if applicable).

About the successful applicant
(Selection Criteria)

To be successful in this role you will have:

  • A respected scholar, normally at a Professorial level, in an appropriate discipline with an understanding and appreciation of the values and roles of a major university operating in an international context.
  • The energy and resilience needed to deal with the challenges and opportunities offered by an ambitious university.
  • A breadth of academic vision and intellectual enthusiasm that encompasses the range of disciplines within the School and understands the key relationships outside of the school.
  • Capacity to articulate a strategic vision for the School and the ability to lead and manage change to achieve that vision.
  • A strong, proactive and energetic leader who can motivate high performance from diverse groups of people across the School.
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills including the ability to encourage staff to achieve their best and to have difficult conversations with under-performing staff where necessary.
  • The representational skills to effectively take the School forward in a variety of internal and external forums.
  • The ability to manage budgets effectively and according to school and faculty strategic priorities.
  • A strong sense of equity, fairness and ethics to ensure a safe, diverse and respectful working environment which supports high performance and the development of staff.
  • A capacity to build and maintain effective collaborative partnerships within and external to the School to support the mission and objectives of the School, Faculty and of the University
  • An understanding and commitment to UNSW’s aims, objectives and values in action, together with relevant policies and guidelines.
  • Ability and capacity to implement required UNSW health and safety policies and procedures.

To apply for the position of Head of School – Mathematics & Statistics, please submit the following:

  1. A cover letter
  2. A document that systematically addresses the selection criteria listed above.
  3. A statement of your leadership philosophy and vision for the School (up to 2 pages)

For informal queries, please see the below contact details. 

Otherwise, please apply online - applications will not be accepted if sent directly to the contact listed.

Caroline Thierry, Science HR
E: c.thierry@unsw.edu.au

Applications close: November 5th, 2023

Find out more about working at UNSW at www.unsw.edu.au

UNSW is committed to equity diversity and inclusion. Applications from women, people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those living with disabilities, members of the LGBTIQ+ community; and people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, are encouraged. UNSW provides workplace adjustments for people with disability, and access to flexible work options for eligible staff. The University reserves the right not to proceed with any appointment.


Position Description

Advertised: 05 Oct 2023 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: 05 Nov 2023 AUS Eastern Daylight Time

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