Western Sydney University appoints new Dean of Science

Western Sydney University is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Graciela Metternicht as Dean of the School of Science.

Born and raised in Argentina, Professor Metternicht joins the University from UNSW Sydney where she is currently a Professor of Environmental Geography in the Environmental Management Programme of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Her research interests include the field of environmental geography, with a focus on geospatial technologies and their application in environmental management and policy, such as sustainable land management, land degradation, indicators, ecosystem services, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Her work has attracted over $6 million in ARC funding and has been published in over 150 publications (opens in a new window).

Professor Metternicht’s impressive career also includes roles in academia, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as ongoing advisory roles with the Global Environment Facility, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the Australian Academy of Science.

She is an Honorary Fellow of the International Cartographic Association, Fellow of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute of Australia and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Metternicht said it is an exciting time to be joining the University, in particular since it was named world’s best for sustainable development in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings.

“Western Sydney University is uniquely positioned to create enduring impact at regional, national and international levels through its world-leading education, research and engagement with industry and community. In particular, it is helping drive solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges in partnership with its local western Sydney communities to deliver real and lasting change,” said Professor Metternicht.

“The School of Science has a leading role to play in delivering important strategic initiatives for the University, including its STEM Decadal Plan and its ongoing commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. I’m delighted to be joining with the School’s highly-committed staff and students and the broader University community to help further this important work.”

Professor Clare Pollock, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, congratulated Professor Metternicht on her appointment.

“An internationally-recognised sustainability and environmental expert, Professor Metternicht brings extensive experience, strategic leadership and interdisciplinary knowledge to the role, which will only serve to strengthen the School’s reputation for innovative teaching and learning, research and partnerships,” said Professor Pollock.

“On behalf of Western Sydney University, I warmly welcome Professor Metternicht and look forward to her officially commencing in the role on 1 October.”

Professor Pollock also thanked Associate Professor Gary Dennis for his valued contributions as the School’s Interim Dean.

“I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Associate Professor Dennis during this period. I know the School of Science benefited greatly from his expertise, including his significant experience engaging with industry.”


21 July 2022

Media Unit