Uni 'boss' finds top job relaxing, not taxing

LIFE'S tough at the top.

University of Wollongong Faculty of Infomatics executive director Solveig Dewhurst found out the hard way yesterday when she slipped into Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton's shoes for a day.

The honorary vice-chancellor took the taxing schedule of a university executive in her poised stride, perusing the daily papers reclining on the leather lounge and enjoying a cup of tea before racing off to host a morning tea with staff.

Ms Dewhurst landed the top job at the university's Pink Ribbon breakfast auction last year, bidding $1750 for the mystery prize.

"It was definitely Patto (UOW Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor John Patterson) dressed in pink lycra that inspired me," she said.

Ms Dewhurst's colleague, Dr Katina Michael, chipped in $250 at the crucial moment in the auction to ensure Ms Dewhurst's win.

When asked if she could handle the immense task of running a university, Ms Dewhurst simply replied "absolutely".

"I'm a mother with five kids - I'll be fine," she said.

Prof Patterson, who is acting vice-chancellor while Prof Sutton is overseas, said he had a busy day planned for the interim VC.

"We were considering setting her an agenda of considering pay rises, rearranging the university, approving major university building programs and the like," he said.

"But we opted for a visit with the German consular general, morning tea with staff and discussing issues of paid maternity leave," he said.

Citation: Katelin McInerney, May 24, 2008, "Uni 'boss' finds top job relaxing, not taxing", Illawarra Mercury, p. 5.