Professor Ian Shirley has had a distinguished career both as a public policy academic and as a ‘practitioner’. It is this combination of scholarship and practice that has made him an articulate critic of policies that undermine ‘the public interest’ and the common good.
Professor Shirley’s scholarship stems in part from what he describes as his practical experience working in “the human laboratory of economic and social development”. It was a foundation that emanated out of his work as a consultant to a Paris-based Institute established by third world countries as a research and education centre for development agents drawn from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The enormous challenges faced by indigenous populations in the third world was a motivating factor behind his leadership of the Asian and Pacific Development Programme, which is the most expansive research programme being conducted in the region today engaging some 15 research teams across the major metropolitan cities of Asia the Pacific and Latin America. An international book with contributions from all 15 countries examining the development of Asian and Pacific Cities is due to be published this year.
Professor Shirley was New Zealand’s first professor of social policy and over the past quarter of a century he has held foundation and personal chairs in public and social policy as well as visiting professorships and fellowships at a number of international academies including the Universities of Edinburgh, Canterbury and Paris, the Academy of Science in Budapest and the London School of Economics.
In 2006, Professor Shirley became the first New Zealander invited to address the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP), the Chinese Governments elite centre for the training of Chinese leaders. His address to the director generals of China paved the way for ongoing collaboration with CELAP leading to his appointment as a professor of the academy and co-editor of a series of forthcoming publications on The Development of China.
At AUT Professor Shirley established the Institute of Public Policy and led the engagement of the institute with the formation of Auckland’s Super-City. He wrote the draft of what became the Metropolitan Auckland Project was a member of the Auckland Regional Economic Development Forum and is currently working on a joint publication analysing the building of New Zealand’s global city.
Since he stepped down from his role as the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Shirley has joined the Office of the Vice-Chancellor as Pro Vice-Chancellor and as Convenor of the University’s Professorial Forum.