A Crikey reader writes: This is a real scoop! And a bad one too, for the university. Because Peter McPhee was an intrumental and number one player in the changeover for the Melbourne Model, which is only in its first year. so, his “retirement” in such unseemly haste, points to other issues. What are they?

This morning’s email to Melbourne University staff from vice-chancellor Glyn Davis:


With sadness, I write to advise that University of Melbourne Provost Peter McPhee has decided to retire from 1 October. His final day at the University will be 14 July, after which he will be take a period of accrued leave.

Following a notable term as President of the Academic Board, Peter has served with distinction as first Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and then Provost since 2003.

In 2006 Peter chaired the Curriculum Commission, working with faculties and education experts to design the New Generation undergraduate programs and other aspects of the Melbourne Model. His visionary report was endorsed by both Academic Board and the University Council, and continues to shape teaching and learning across this institution.

To oversee implementation of the new approach to tertiary education, Peter supervised creation of an Office of the Provost. His leadership was crucial to a major review of student services and significant new investment in learning spaces.

Peter has made an important and sustained contribution to the University of Melbourne through his passion to improve opportunities for students and a strong personal commitment to social justice. As a “boy from the country” he knows better than most the value of access to a university education. That he combines the demands of educational leadership with outstanding academic contribution as an historian of the French revolution is all the more remarkable.

Peter has decided the time is right to return to a life of scholarship. Peter has immediate plans to complete several writing projects, and hopes to continue on an honorary basis the teaching he relishes.

Like others who have worked closely with Peter, I will miss his wisdom, his dedication to the University and his fierce commitment to academic integrity. Melbourne has been very fortunate indeed in its first Provost.

Glyn Davis