John Niland

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For the American football player (born 1944), see John Niland (American football).

John Rodney Niland AC (born 10 September 1940) is an Australian academic and board director. Niland obtained a Bachelor and Master of Commerce from UNSW and his PhD is from the University of Illinois. He has held academic positions at Cornell University, The Australian National University, and UNSW. He served as a mediator of labour disputes in the US while at Cornell, and in Australia has undertaken extensive academic and policy work in conflict resolution, theory and practice, particularly enterprise bargaining. John Niland is a Professor Emeritus of UNSW and was its fourth Vice Chancellor and President (1992-2002). Before that he was the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Economics. While UNSW Vice-Chancellor, he was a founding director of both Universitas 21 and Australia’s Group of Eight Universities. He also served a term as President of the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee, and was a member of the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council.

The University of New South Wales’s most recognised and architecturally renowned building, the Scientia, was officially renamed The John Niland Scientia Building for his long and distinguished history at the University [1]. He is said to have led the University through a golden age which included significant internationalisation and campus revitalisation [2]. In 2007 he received the President’s Prize of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects for the UNSW campus redevelopment.

He currently chairs the International Academic Review Panel of Singapore Management University, having been closely involved with SMU since its founding in 2000. He continues to be consulted for strategic advice by university leaders in Australia and Asia.

John Niland has held a range of other academic, community and corporate positions, including:

  • Independent Director, Macquarie Bank Limited and Macquarie Group Limited
  • President, National Trust of Australia (NSW)
  • Chairman, Limited
  • Chairman, Campus Living Funds Management Limited (CLV)
  • Chairman, Centennial Park & Moore Park Trust
  • Member, University Grants Committee of Hong Kong
  • Member, Australian Universities Council
  • Chairman, Research Australia
  • Deputy Chairman, Board of Trustees of Singapore Management University
  • Chief Executive, State Pollution Control Commission
  • Chairman, Environment Protection Authority (NSW)
  • Member, Board of St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney; Deputy Chairman, the Garvin Institute of Medical Research
  • Member, Board of Sydney Symphony Foundation
  • Member, Sydney Olympic bid’s Building Commission
  • President, Federation of Australian University Staff Associations (FAUSA)

Niland became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to industrial relations research and reform in 1992 and in 2001 became a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Australia's highest civilian honour, for services to education [3].

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Academic offices
Preceded by
John Nevile
Dean of the UNSW Faculty of Commerce and Economics
1989 - 1992
Succeeded by
Roger Layton
Preceded by
Michael Birt
Vice Chancellor of UNSW
Succeeded by
Rory Hume