University management

Massey University's senior leadership team is responsible for the management of the university and is led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jan Thomas.

Senior Leadership Team


Jan Thomas

Professor Jan Thomas

Professor Jan Thomas commenced as Vice Chancellor of Massey University in January 2017.  From 2012 Jan served as Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.  Prior to that, she held various senior executive positions at Murdoch University and the University of Notre Dame Australia from 2003.

Professor Thomas has a PhD in Veterinary Science from Murdoch University and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute for Company Directors. She has received numerous awards for her leadership in education.

Professor Thomas currently holds the position of Chair for the Managing Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities based in London and is a member of the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Council.

Pro Vice-Chancellors

Stephen Kelly

massey business school: Professor Stephen Kelly

Professor Kelly commenced his academic career in 1998, following a decade spent working in the building materials and construction sector. He has a Bachelor of Administration from Griffith University (1987), a Master of Business (1997) and a Doctor of Philosophy (2004) from Southern Cross University. His PhD thesis focused on the identification and analysis of relationship benefits in business-to-business channels.

Before joining Massey, he held management and leadership positions at educational institutions in Singapore and Australia, including academic director and managing director of the M2 Academy in Singapore from 2013 to 2015 and head of school, and subsequently dean, of the Southern Cross Business School in Sydney from 2006-13. 
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College of Creative Arts: Professor Claire Robinson

Professor Robinson has degrees in politics and design. She researches and writes and commentates on the visual communication of political messages, political marketing, political advertising, leadership image and election campaigning in New Zealand.
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College of HEALTH: Professor Jane Mills

Professor Jane Mills qualified and worked as a nurse in Tasmania and held a variety of clinical, management and academic roles in Queensland, Victoria and Britain. She has a General Nursing Certificate from the Royal Hobart Hospital, a Bachelor of Nursing and Master of Nursing from the University of Tasmania, a Graduate Certificate of Education (Tertiary Teaching) from James Cook University, a Master of Education (Distinction) from Charles Sturt University and a Doctor of Philosophy from Monash University. Her PhD thesis was on rural nurses' experiences of mentoring.

Professor Mills has worked at Monash as a senior research fellow, at James Cook University as a senior lecturer and deputy head of the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, associate professor and associate dean research in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences, professor promotional chair and deputy dean of the Graduate Research School and director of the Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research.
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Cynthia White

College of humanities and social Sciences: Professor Cynthia White

Professor White is an internationally recognised scholar in applied linguistics. She completed her honours degree in linguistics and her postgraduate qualifications in TESOL (formerly Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) at Victoria University in Wellington and was appointed a junior lecturer in 1978. She then completed projects funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand and China before joining Massey University as a lecturer in 1983. Her PhD, completed at Massey University in 1993, was a comparative study of the strategies used by distance and classroom language learners. Professor White has been an invited plenary speaker at international conferences in the UK, Germany, Hawai’i, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Uzbekhistan, Vietnam, Australia and Taiwan.

In 2004 she received the International TESOL Virginia French Allen Award for Scholarship and Service to the TESOL profession. Since 2012, she has been an Honorary Research Fellow at Australia’s University of New England. She is also a member of the Marsden Fund and chair of the Humanities panel. Professor White has served as a member of the Massey University Council, and research director of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She is president of the Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand and a member of the international committee of AILA (International Applied Linguistics Association). 

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College of Sciences: Professor Raymond Geor

Professor Geor is a trained veterinarian with more than 30 years teaching and research experience, and has recently returned to New Zealand from the United States.

Professor Geor graduated from Massey University as a veterinarian in 1983 before completing a large animal internship at Murdoch University in Perth. He then practised as a veterinarian in New Zealand and Canada, followed by a residency and masters degree in 1988 at the University of Saskatchewan and a doctoral degree at Ohio State University in 1999.
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Deputy Vice-Chancellors

Finance and Technology: Cathy Magiannis

Prior to joining Massey in June 2015, Cathy Magiannis was with the Ministry of Education, as Education Payroll Services deputy secretary and helped resolve the issues in delivery of payroll services and led the transition of the Novopay service to Education Payroll Ltd. She then took on the role of Education Payroll chief executive, where she oversaw an intensive work programme to build on the improvements that had already been made to the schools’ payroll system and service. Her experience spans the public and private sectors. She is a highly experienced leader and operational manager with proven programme delivery expertise. Before joining the ministry, she was chief executive of Gareth Morgan Investments Group and, prior to that, held senior management roles at the Inland Revenue Department, including KiwiSaver programme director, where she led the implementation of the Government’s KiwiSaver initiative across several government agencies.
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Distinguished Professor Graham Smith

MĀORI AND PASIFIKA: Distinguished Professor Hingangaroa Smith

Distinguished Professor Hingangaroa (Graham) Smith, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Kāti Māmoe, has been a key figure in the development of Kaupapa Māori theorising, which has had significant impact within the academy in New Zealand and international indigenous settings. He was appointed Professor of Education – Māori Education at the University of Auckland in 1999 and, in the same year, was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori. Professor Smith also worked in Canada at the University of British Columbia for six years, heading the Education Policy Studies Department in the Faculty of Education. He was chief executive of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane for eight years before retiring in 2015. Most recently, he has been acting director of Te Pourewa Arotahi – the Institute of Post Treaty-settlement Futures at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

Professor Smith is known as a builder of transforming initiatives. Three national examples include: the establishment of Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga (the Māori Centre of Research Excellence), the MAI (Māori and indigenous graduate programme to establish 500 Māori doctoral graduates in five years), and he was the inaugural chair of the Council for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and led the Treaty of Waitangi claim for their settlement.
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People and Culture: Alan Davis

A former senior human resource manager at a variety of large public and private sector organisations, Mr Davis brings legal and business qualifications to his role leading the strategies, policies and advisory services on employment relations, remuneration, capability development, health and safety, and payroll administration.
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Provost: Professor Giselle Byrnes

Professor Byrnes is an internationally recognised historian, with senior management experience in universities in Australia and in New Zealand, who joined Massey in January 2016. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and English and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Waikato and a PhD in History is from the University of Auckland. She has worked for the Waitangi Tribunal, taught at Victoria University of Wellington and held academic and management roles at the University of Waikato and Charles Darwin University.
Professor Byrnes has been Fulbright scholar teaching New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University, Washington DC, and has served as President of the New Zealand Historical Association. She has a commitment to advancing the agenda around equity and access to higher education and is a strong advocate of the critical role played by modern universities in creating social, cultural and intellectual capital for public benefit and economic wellbeing.
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Operations: Stuart Morriss

With an agricultural science degree and a Master of Public Policy, Mr Morriss is responsible for campus operations and services (including property, facilities management and students services) on all campuses.  He also provides leadership of the International portfolio including Massey University Worldwide, student administration and enrolment management,  Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) and Te Puna Whakatipu.  As Registrar he is responsible for stewardship of the constitutional affairs of the University, and for governance support and the secretariat for the University Council.
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