Aarhus University Seal

Experienced head of department now the new vice-dean for talent development and internationalisation

Employees are the most important resource at the Faculty of Technical Sciences at Aarhus University. They make it possible for the faculty to deliver excellent research to benefit the green transition and society in general. This is at the core of Michelle H. Williams’ approach, who after 13 years as the head of the Department of Food Science has been appointed as the new vice-dean for talent development and internationalisation.

Photo: Jens Hartmann Schmidt/AU Foto

After 13 years as the head of the Department of Food Science - a department that has seen external revenue double and significant growth over the past four years - Michelle H. Williams knows how to develop an international research environment. She knows all about the challenges and opportunities faced by departments when it comes to talent and career development:

"Delivering excellent research and making a solid impact requires strong focus on our most valuable resource: the employees. We need to continuously focus on developing our employees and providing them with attractive opportunities - no matter what stage of their career they’re at," says Michelle H. Williams.

In addition to talent and career development, the new vice-dean will be responsible for diversity and internationalisation at the faculty. Michelle H. Williams is no stranger to this area either:

"I look forward to working with the departments on how we can fully embrace internationalisation and position Technical Sciences in a global context. It’s the only way to continue improving the quality of our research and to attract and retain some of the best minds from around the world," says the new vice-dean, who is a British and New Zealand citizen.

The Dean of Technical Sciences, Eskild Holm Nielsen, is looking forward to working with the new vice-dean:

"Michelle is the perfect fit for the new position as the vice-dean for talent development and internationalisation. She has documented experience in the area, and she has generated outstanding results within talent development, diversity and internationalisation as the head of the Department of Food Science. That's why I believe Michelle can lead our organisation in the right direction within these areas," he says.

Michelle H. Williams graduated with a degree in horticulture from Lincoln University in New Zealand and has a PhD from the University of Sydney in Australia. Since then, her career in research and management has taken her to the US, back to New Zealand and on to Denmark, where she has lived since 2008.

Since 2011, she has been the head of the Department of Food Science, a department that researches and advises authorities in the areas of horticulture, plant production, sustainability, food, and food nutrition and quality.

"Leaving the Department of Food Science wasn’t an easy decision, but I look forward to strengthening internationalisation and talent development across the entire faculty. The timing is also perfect, because I’m leaving an excellent department that’s in a really good place in terms of research, funding and making an impact in Denmark and abroad," says Michelle H. Williams and continues:

"I'm extremely proud of how the Department of Food Science has been able to transform itself over the past few years, and I'm proud of all the talented employees who helped make that happen."

Michelle H. Williams will start as the vice-dean on 1 June. She will continue in her role as the head of the Department of Food Science until the end of July, after which Hanne Lakkenborg Kristensen will take over as acting head of department until a new head of department has been appointed