DCT confirms two new Heads of School

05 Jun, 2019
Dr Rosser Johnson and Dr Andrew Withell
Dr Rosser Johnson and Dr Andrew Withell

The faculty of Design and Creative Technologies has confirmed two new Heads of School. From 4 June 2019, Dr Rosser Johnson will be Head of the School of Communications Studies, and Dr Andrew Withell will be Head of Art & Design.

Dean Professor Guy Littlefair says the appointments are the result of an international search and stand the schools in good stead for the future. “Both the Art & Design and Communication Studies Schools are leaders in their respective fields. I am delighted to have appointed Andrew and Rosser to these roles and am entirely confident that under their leadership the schools will go from strength to strength and assist the university to deliver on its mission of “Great Graduates”.

Dr Johnson says communications skills have never been more in demand, and he looks forward to what the school will achieve.

“Again and again communication skills are listed as one of the most important things any worker can have in a future where the shape of work is uncertain. The knowledge our school imparts equips our students for a future where the tools may change but the theory stands strong.

“We have passionate staff and students in our communications school and I look forward to seeing the ways they extend and expand our offering in the future. I have a long association with the School of Communications Studies, from my days as a student to academia and now leadership.”

He earnt his Bachelor of Communication Studies and his Master’s at AUT. Dr Johnson’s current research is into the morality of reality television and he is also working on a joint project investigating commercial messages in the popular children’s film series the Lego movies.

The new Head of School of Art & Design is Dr Andrew Withell.

Dr Withell says he is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.

“I’m excited to lead the school through the next phase; this is an opportunity I don’t take lightly.”

Some of his priorities include updating undergraduate curricula, enhancing student voice and improving their learning experiences, creating deeper community and industry connections, and upholding a kind and empowering workplace for all staff.

He says, “It’s an increasingly competitive environment for art and design education and we also must be strategically prepared for the challenges ahead.”

Prior to taking the role of Head of School, Dr Withell was Interim Head of School. His other roles include Acting Head of School, Deputy Head of School, Associate Head of School (Research), Acting Associate Head of School (Academic), and Head of Department for Product Design.

Dr Withell has taught in many areas across the Bachelor of Design, and currently supervises in the Master of Design and PhD programmes.

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