University of Divinity appoints new Vice-Chancellor

University of Divinity Chancellor Dr Graeme Blackman AO today announced that, following an international search and recruitment process, Professor James McLaren BA Hons MA (Melbourne) DPhil (Oxford) has been appointed the University’s second Vice-Chancellor.

Professor McLaren comes to the University of Divinity following major leadership roles at Australian Catholic University, where he recently completed his term as the senior officer responsible for Research and Enterprise. Prior to this Deputy Vice-Chancellor position, he had been the University’s Pro-ViceChancellor (Research), and Foundation Director of the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry.

Dr Blackman said: “I warmly welcome Professor McLaren’s appointment as the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Divinity. He brings to the role a deep commitment to the University’s mission, his personal standing as an internationally acclaimed scholar of ancient Jewish, Roman and Early Christian Studies, and a record of strong leadership and strategic development in the contemporary higher education sector.”

“Further, Professor McLaren joins the University of Divinity as Vice-Chancellor familiar with the University and its Colleges. Over some 25 years, he has supported the work of the University and previously of the Melbourne College of Divinity in an honorary capacity as chair or member of the Research Strategy Committee, Promotions Committee, Academic Audit Committees and the former Board of Undergraduate Studies. As these contributions indicate, Professor McLaren has a strong record of building productive relationships both with his colleagues and external partners.”

Vice-Chancellor elect Professor James McLaren said that it was a great privilege to be called by the University of Divinity to serve as its next Vice-Chancellor.

“I look forward to working with the University Council, the senior leaders of the Colleges and the Schools and the staff to further the development of the University of Divinity. Of particular significance for me is the University’s ecumenical nature and its commitment to excellence in teaching, research and engagement with its stakeholders and the wider community. I share the University’s deep and genuine commitment to social justice and creating opportunity.”

“The questioning of the place of Christianity, and religion in general, in contemporary society compounds the urgency of continuing to develop the role and outreach of the University of Divinity. I am strongly committed to working with the Colleges and Churches to achieve that goal.”

Professor McLaren has been appointed for a five-year term as Vice-Chancellor and will commence his service with the University in April 2024.

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The University of Divinity delivers education and research in theology, philosophy and spirituality and for over one hundred years has prepared its graduates for ministry, leadership and community service.

The University is regularly ranked by students as the top University in Australia for student satisfaction and learner engagement, reflecting the high quality of its curriculum and the dedication of staff to working with small classes.

Based in Melbourne, the University operates across Australia and works in partnership with over thirty churches, religious orders and associated organisations in a unique ecumenical enterprise.

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MEDIA CONTACT Meg Nelson | University of Divinity Operations Manager | mnelson@divinity.edu.au | 03 9853 3177

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