THE vice-chancellor of the University of New England has dropped a bombshell, announcing this morning he would walk away from the job.
Describing it as a "difficult personal decision", Jim Barber said it was time for him to focus on other interests and return home to Melbourne with his family.
"This was not an easy decision as the last four years here in Armidale have been very rewarding," Professor Barber said.
"However, UNE is in a very good position right now and I have every confidence that it will build on recent successes in the next phase of its development.
" I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such a talented, committed team."UNE chancellor John Watkins paid tribute to Professor Barber's achievements since joining UNE in 2010.
"UNE currently has record student demand, staff numbers are growing, University funds are in surplus, research funding has increased and the biggest capital works program in the history of the Armidale campus is now under way," Mr Watkins said.
"Much of this success can be credited to Jim's strategic leadership, his energy and his dynamism. Jim has proven very adept at reading the trends in higher education and putting UNE in the vanguard of growth areas such as online education and other innovations that will enable us to compete globally.
"He said the university would start a "global search" for Professor Barber's replacement in the coming months.Professor Barber has given the university six months' notice.