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UNSW Sydney appoints Nick Wailes as inaugural Dean of Lifelong Learning

UNSW Sydney 3 mins read
Professor Nick Wailes has more than than 30 years of experience in teaching and curriculum development, including leading the creation of UNSW's highly ranked online MBA program MBAX.

Professor Wailes will lead the University’s strategy for post-experience education in the new role designed to addressed society’s emerging needs for upskilling and reskilling.

UNSW Sydney Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs has announced Professor Nick Wailes as the inaugural Dean of Lifelong Learning.

The position was developed in response to the increasing demand in Australia and globally for ongoing skills and capability development in the workforce. Rapidly changing technology and productivity requirements have triggered increasing demand for both post-experience award qualifications and new shorter forms of learning, including short courses and micro-credentials.

Prof. Brungs said he was delighted Prof. Wailes had accepted the position of Dean.

“Nick has more than 30 years of experience in teaching and curriculum development at all levels, from undergraduates to senior executives, across a range of business and management courses using various modes of delivery.

“He is an excellent collaborator and is perfectly positioned to provide strategic leadership across the University in the post-experience education market, while making the opportunities clear and accessible to learners.”

Lifelong learning is one of UNSW’s key areas of focus, where the University will increase its support of those already in the workplace, including ensuring UNSW students are personally assisted after graduation, through short courses and other career development activities.

“In effect, our partnership with them never ends,” Prof. Brungs said. “Lifelong learning provides rich and ongoing learning opportunities to reskill and upskill graduates to meet ever-changing job markets.”

Prof. Wailes – currently Director of Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) and Senior Deputy Dean, External Engagement at UNSW Business School – said he was honoured to accept the role of Dean and looked forward to the opportunity.

“UNSW already has a strong presence and brand in lifelong learning through AGSM, UNSW Online and our workplace learning business Mentem. As Dean of Lifelong Learning, I’ll work closely with the University’s faculties to develop market-leading programs that build on our existing areas of strength and that meet the evolving needs of working professionals and their organisations,” he said.

“I believe we can continue to build and deliver academically challenging and professionally relevant learning opportunities to ensure that UNSW is the lifelong learning partner of choice throughout our students’ university and professional lives.”

Prof. Wailes at AGSM

Prof. Wailes joined UNSW in 2013 and has led the development of innovative programs such as MBAX, AGSM’s online MBA program. Introduced in 2015, MBAX is ranked first in Australia and fourth in the world in the QS Online MBA Rankings 2024.

As Director of AGSM, Prof. Wailes oversaw the revitalisation of the entire portfolio of degree programs and short course offerings to ensure they were equipping individuals and organisations with the knowledge, skills and capabilities they need to succeed in rapidly changing environments. He played a leading role in establishing UNSW Online and the development of its portfolio of successful specialist online master’s degrees. The success of these initiatives has been underpinned by strong partnerships Prof. Wailes has formed with other leading international universities, companies and community organisations.

Prof. Wailes is originally from Aoeteroa, New Zealand, and holds degrees in History, Economics and Management Studies from the University of Auckland and a PhD in Work and Organisational Studies from the University of Sydney. His research focuses on two main areas: international and comparative employment relations and the impact of technology on organisations. He has a strong track record of attracting nationally competitive research funding, has established and led international research teams and his research has been published in leading international journals.

Prof. Wailes will commence in the role immediately. 

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