22 August 2000

Two internationally regarded academics have accepted chairs at The University of Queensland's Gatton campus as part of moves to establish the campus as an international centre of excellence.

Dr Ockert Bosch has been appointed Professor in Natural Systems Management and Dr Helen Ross has been appointed Professor in Rural Community Development. Both positions are based in the School of Natural and Rural Systems Management.

Professor Bosch is expected to take up his appointment in early September, and Professor Ross, in early October.

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and chair of the Vice-Chancellor's implementation committee on the future of Gatton campus Professor Ted Brown said the key appointments followed an international search to assist UQ Gatton to strengthen its future as a centre of excellence in teaching, research and extension, directed towards the needs of rural industries and communities.

He said the University was delighted with the appointment of both professors, who were leaders in their respective fields.

"Last year University Senate unanimously endorsed a set of recommendations on the future of the Gatton campus," Professor Brown said.

"The University has since established an implementation committee and many changes have followed.

"They include the appointment of a distinguished new Executive Dean, Professor Roger Swift, to head the Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science into the new millennium.

"The University has established a Centre for Rural and Regional Innovation jointly with the University of Melbourne, and the Centre is offering its first courses this year. The appointment of two new professors together with the appointment of four other academic staff will greatly strengthen our capability to contribute to this important initiative.

"Other changes have included: the construction of the Centenary Learning Centre; a million dollar rangelands partnership; planning for a major new Natural and Rural Systems Management Building at UQ Gatton; renovations to postharvest facilities; upgrading of library and student facilities; and the renaming of the campus as The University of Queensland Gatton."

Dr Ockert Bosch graduated Bachelor of Science from Potchefstroom University, South Africa in 1967, then was awarded a Master of Science in 1974 and a Doctor of Science degree, also by that University. His recent appointments have included: Deputy Director of Arid Zones Research Institute, Department of Primary Industries in Queensland; Head of the Departments of Plant and Soil Sciences and Life Sciences at Potchefstroom University; and research director of Landrace Research New Zealand Ltd. Dr Bosch has received numerous honours and distinctions and held numerous memberships of societies and committees. He was President of the Grassland Society of South Africa, and since 1998 has been associate editor of Grassland Journal, Australia. Dr Bosch has approximately 44 refereed publications and more than 200 reports.

Dr Helen Ross is a first class honours graduate in psychology of the University of Tasmania (1972). She obtained a Master of Science degree in 1979 and a PhD in Psychology and Anthropology, in 1983, both from the London School of Economics. Dr Ross, who has a strong international reputation in the fields of social and environmental impact assessment and evaluation, has a research focus on natural resource management involving integration between the social, policy and natural sciences. Her awards include a Fulbright Senior Award, Commonwealth Public Service Postgraduate Award for Overseas Study and the Tregaskis Bequest of the University of London. Her appointments have included a Research Fellowship in the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at Australian National University. Dr Ross has co-authored several books, book chapters and articles, and has published numerous journal articles, reviews, conference proceedings and reports.

Media: Further information, Head of the School of Natural and Rural Systems Management Associate Professor Bob Beeton, telephone 0419 714 533 or Jan King at UQ Communications telephone 0413 601 248.