After more than seven years as vice-chancellor of Curtin University, one of Australia's biggest tertiary institutions, Jeanette Hacket will step down in August.
Even though she feels as energetic as ever, Professor Hacket said it was time to let someone new take the helm. "It's very important that people be prepared to move on and make room for new opportunities and new ideas," she said. "If you haven't made the changes and implemented the initiatives . . . in five to seven years, then it's probably not going to be achievable."
But she has no regrets about her time heading an organisation with more than 50,000 students, 7000 staff and annual revenue of $800 million.
She is pleased the university established a law school, is making progress towards a new medical school and contributed significantly to WA's Square Kilometre Array proposal.
After qualifying as a lawyer, she moved into lecturing after she had children and worked as a legal academic for 10 years.
Professor Hacket said she believed it was important for Australia's productivity that people from all socioeconomic backgrounds had a chance to access a university education, but the country still had some way to go.
"It's about building expectations and the capability of students from when they're young children to make them capable of sharing in higher education," she said.
Curtin Chancellor Colin Beckett said Professor Hacket was a dynamic leader with a long-standing commitment to education in WA.