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Otago Announces Next Dean of Business School

Otago Announces Next Dean of Business School

The University of Otago has appointed Professor George Benwell as the next Dean of the University’s School of Business.

A highly-respected academic, Professor Benwell currently heads the Information Science Department at the School of Business. He will take over the helm of the School from Professor Alan MacGregor in January.

In making the announcement, Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg said he was delighted that Professor Benwell had been selected to lead the School from a strong field of national and international applicants.

“Professor Benwell is a highly accomplished researcher, teacher and administrator, with extensive links throughout academic and business communities in New Zealand and overseas.

“I believe he is an excellent choice to lead the School of Business and will enhance the School’s international reputation for the quality of its programmes and graduates,” says Professor Skegg.

Professor Benwell says he is excited about the new position. “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in the School of Business and increasing our connections to, and with, industry.

“When I leave, I’d like the School to be recognised as an enterprising school of business – one that is respected for its research, its relevance and its leadership in the business world.”

Professor Benwell says excellence in research and teaching – particularly research – come first. “The School has the people and the knowledge to be able to add to the New Zealand economy. It’s one of the foundations of a leading business school.”

After working as a surveyor, consultant and University of Melbourne academic, Professor Benwell joined Otago’s Information Science Department as a senior lecturer in 1990. He has led the Department since 2001 and served as the School’s Dean of Research. Between 1996 and 1999, he was the University’s Academic Director of Research.

He has a Bachelor of Surveying from the University of Melbourne, an MPhil from City University, London and a PhD from Melbourne.

Professor Benwell’s research and teaching are mainly focused on spatial information processing and analysis, and land and health-related information systems. He has been involved with research in Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Canada, Fiji, England, America, Malaysia and Tonga, including work for the World Health Organisation and Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

He has published more than 250 research papers and articles and is on the editorial board of a number of international journals.

Throughout his career he has undertaken extensive consultancy work for the private and public sectors both in New Zealand and overseas.

His current business involvements include sitting on the boards of several commercial IT-related companies in Otago/Southland, as well as the board of the University’s commercialisation arm, Otago Innovation Limited.

In 2001, he received the GJ Thornton-Smith Memorial Medal as a distinguished graduate of Melbourne University’s School of Engineering Department of Geomatics.

Professor Benwell takes up the role of Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University’s Commerce Division on January 1, 2007.


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