Professor David de Vaus
Professor David de Vaus
6 July 2009

The University of Queensland has appointed Professor David de Vaus as Executive Dean of its Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (SBS).

He succeeds Professor Cindy Gallois who has acted in the position since January 2008.

Professor de Vaus joins UQ following a long association with La Trobe University as Head of the School of Social Sciences, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor de Vaus has also previously worked as a secondary school teacher and as director of research at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

He has published widely in areas including social science research methodology and retirement and ageing, and has consulted for many organisations including the World Health Organisation and government departments at state and federal level.

Professor de Vaus’ research activities include social survey methodology, social research design, family sociology, ageing (especially family relationships, and healthy retirement), living alone, life course transitions and the changing nature of families in contemporary society. He is especially interested in rigorous, empirically based research that has policy and practice implications – on research that makes a difference.

Professor de Vaus said he was excited about leading the SBS Faculty into the future and was looking forward to building on the excellent work Professor Gallois, and her predecessor Professor Deborah Terry, had done to establish a strong and vibrant SBS Faculty at UQ.

He said top priority will be given to responding constructively to the opportunities and goals of the Bradley reforms and to position the faculty to build on the support foreshadowed by government for quality research.

“To make the most of these opportunities and the changed context they provide we must ensure that we are providing the right programs and that we provide these in a way that a diverse and changing student body can access,” Professor de Vaus said.

“This will mean carefully evaluating what and how we teach and teaching both efficiently and in ways that ensure high quality. I anticipate a considerable effort will be directed to flexible, innovative and collaborative methods of program delivery.”

Professor de Vaus said to thrive in the new research environment the faculty would need to prioritise, focus and collaborate.

“There are excellent opportunities to collaborate across schools and across faculties to position the faculty to continue to be the leading research faculty of its type in Australia,” he said.

“I expect the faculty to continue and even expand its focus on research that makes a difference – on research that contributes to our understanding of contemporary problems and enables effective action.”

UQ’s Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield welcomed Professor de Vaus, saying his recruitment was a significant gain for the University.

“David will be strong asset and a very good fit for the UQ community,” Professor Greenfield said.

“He possesses a range of fine qualities for a UQ leader, including a commitment to excellence, a strategic mind-set, a focus on innovative teaching and high-impact research, and an enthusiasm for collaboration.”

Professor de Vaus commenced at UQ on July 1.

Media: Professor de Vaus (07 3365 7969, or Melinda Kopanakis (07 3365 8820,