We asked what it is that she wants to do in her time as President of RMIT University Vietnam.
Professor Joyce Kirk is pretty laid back for someone who is being interviewed and photographed at the same time - a feat not everyone would achieve so seamlessly. She is joking with the photographer and entertaining the library staff with her ability to see the humour in the sometimes-unusual photo shoot requests.
Why is she being photographed in the library? Because Professor Kirk has dedicated her life to information management. She is a Fellow of the Australian Library and Information Association, and has served terms as both their President and as Chair of their Board of Directors. Several of her impressive collection of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees were in that field, and her doctoral thesis was on the ways that managers use information within their organisations. The organisation and utilisation of knowledge has been a lifelong passion.
“I see information as empowering people to be able to do the things they want to do”, she says. “So I think it is important that people have access to information, and that they are sufficiently skilled and capable of using it in ways that advantage them and the groups they belong to and their families and their communities.”
Her passion has naturally influenced her academic career path too, leading her to publish widely in her discipline, channelling her towards the position of Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at University of Technology Sydney, and later, Pro Vice Chancellor of Students at RMIT University Melbourne. Although she hasn’t spent a lot of time with the students at RMIT University Vietnam yet, she is arriving with a very good impression.
“I’ve heard a lot about the students at RMIT University Vietnam. I’ve heard about the students that made it to Melbourne in the RMIT University business plan competition and how well they’ve performed – they were very impressive by anyone’s standards – and I’ve heard about so many other students winning awards. The students at RMIT University Vietnam seem to be very impressive, a very enthusiastic group.”
On the topic of RMIT University Vietnam, Professor Kirk seems to have a fondness akin to watching a first year university student blossom into a successful professional.
“RMIT University Vietnam has changed enormously since I first visited many years ago. When I was here last, there was just the main building with the bike sheds behind it and everything else was... well, I remember a lot of dirt, and weeds rather than grass. But even then, the plans were so big, people were saying ‘When you come back next time, this building will be here, this will go here,’ – and it’s all happened. The progress has been remarkable, we’ve got the new library, there are so many more eating places for students...it’s just grown and it’s wonderful to see.”
Although her time at RMIT University Vietnam will last only as long as it takes for a new, permanent president to be appointed, Professor Kirk is looking forward to making the most of her time in Vietnam.
“It’s a big change for me and I see it as an adventure, and also an educational experience, a learning experience. There’s a lot of excitement in being here in a different environment. I’m looking forward to thinking through some of the possibilities for courses that are created and developed with RMIT University Vietnam flavour, being offered to RMIT University as a whole, and so add value to the offerings for all RMIT University students. There are exciting possibilities for research too and I’m looking forward to discussing them with the RMIT University Vietnam community.”
Professor Kirk will begin her term as President of RMIT University Vietnam on Monday the 1st of October 2012.
We are sad to see her go, but offer many hopes for a bright future, as we farewell Professor Merilyn Liddell, President of RMIT University Vietnam for the last three years. Share our tribute to her successes.