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PROFILE: Professor Barbara Evans

[ UniNews Vol. 15, No. 17  18 September - 2 October 2006 ]

By Paul Richiardi

Professor Barbara Evans is the University of Melbourne’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Training). Her particular responsibilities include policy, management and quality assurance for research higher degrees, postgraduate generic skills training and research supervision.

She recently played a key role on the University’s Curriculum Commission in helping to develop a 10-year strategy for implementing the Melbourne Model – particularly in defining the shape of the new Melbourne PhD.

The Commission’s recommendations go to University Council this month and Planning and Budget Committee in October.

Professor Evans is also Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, which provides for more than 3000 PhD students and 10 000 postgraduates across the University, as well as for a broad range of academic support and professional skills programs for postgraduate students.

She is Convenor of the Australian Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies 2005–06 and early this year was nominated by her peers as Convenor of the Universitas 21 Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies.

An invited speaker at many international conferences in the USA, Canada and Asia, Professor Evans has focused on postgraduate and research higher degree education and has been called on to review the research training programs at several Australian and international universities.

Originally a zoologist, she worked to develop a broad understanding of the biology of a wide range of animal species. Her approach was interdisciplinary and used experimental techniques ranging from histology, biochemistry and organ physiology through to the physiology of freely-moving animals and animal behaviour.

Her research led to several appointments in the UK and Canada, working with international collaborators in comparative zoology and the publication of more than 100 book chapters, research papers and conference proceedings.

Professor Evans is the author and editor of three award-winning biology textbooks for senior secondary and tertiary students, each now in their fourth edition. She was also involved in Victorian secondary curriculum development as a member of the Biology Subject Committee and Chair of the Biology Examiners Panel.

A member of the Australian Gymnastic Team in the 1960s, she held numerous Australian gymnastic titles and was the leading Australian representative at both the Olympic Games (Tokyo–1964) and World Gymnastic Championships (Germany–1966).

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