Universities ring the changes

TWO key Western Australian educational and research institutions have made changes at their senior levels.
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WASM's new director Sabina Shugg.

Curtin University has appointed Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub director and Australia's Mining Monthly Awards judge Sabina Shugg as Western Australian School of Mines director.

At the University of Western Australia, long serving Australian Centre of Geomechanics director professor Yves Potvin is stepping down to be replaced by associate professor Johan Wesseloo.

Both changes come as the respective organisations look towards meeting future needs.

Potvin, who has led the ACG for nearly 20 years, will remain with the centre as professor of mining geomechanics.

Wesseloo joined the ACG in 2007 and has led the centre's premier research project Mine Seismicity and Rockburst Risk Management.

He said the centre needed to adapt to a changing environment, always with the aim of continuing to do what it did well: support industry through research, training and technology transfer.

"Tis function is as vital as ever and, with several new technologies recently entering the geomechanics field, it is also important to help narrow the gap between the state-of-the-art and the state-of-practice," Wesseloo said.

"Research deliverables must be translated into practical tools which are underpinned by a further training and education platform."

For Shugg the WASM role will in some ways be a homecoming.

She was a WASM graduate who went on to serve in senior roles at some of Australia's largest resource and consulting organisations.

However, Shugg comes to the organisation at a challenging time.

The historic mining school is again at a crossroads with low enrolment numbers threatening its future.

That has, in part, driven it to change its curriculum to meet the needs of emerging areas such as robotics, data analytics and additive manufacturing.

Shugg said a major focus of her role would be ensuring the school's new curriculum helped students transition from the classroom to the industry.

"In developing a new curriculum I look forward to ensuring students are properly equipped to embrace the technological advances currently transforming the sector," she said.

Shugg replaces Professor Sam Spearing.