Professor Colin Picker joins RMIT

Professor Colin Picker joins RMIT

Legal and academic expert Professor Colin Picker joins RMIT as Deputy Vice-Chancellor College of Business and Law & Vice-President.

RMIT welcomes new Deputy Vice-Chancellor, College of Business and Law and Vice-President, Professor Colin Picker. 

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Alec Cameron said Picker’s experience and understanding of business, law and academia make him an excellent fit to lead the College of Business and Law as it continues to deliver strong results. 

“Colin’s experience and values are greatly aligned to RMIT and the College, which has a clearly defined strategy with technology and social impact at its heart,” Cameron said. 

“I’m confident that our community’s clear focus on generating meaningful impact through education, research and engagement with industry across our region, will continue to grow under Colin’s leadership.” 

Picker said he was excited to join RMIT because of its technology-based heritage and his own strong interest in technology and science.  

“When I first started my studies, it was in the area of mathematics and astrophysics, but, like many students, I paused those initial studies to travel and experience the world, fully intending to return to my STEM studies,” he said. 

“Instead, my travels inspired me to turn to fields of study that directly embraced development and capacity building, through international relations and law.  

“But, because of that early and enduring interest in science and technology, much of my law practice and my later teaching and scholarship have focused on the intersections of science with technology and law with business.  

I see RMIT as a wonderful opportunity to work in a technology-focused environment. 

With learning styles, life experiences and expectations of students changing rapidly, Picker said ensuring relevant and authentic experiences for today’s students means listening to their needs and desires, as well as their challenges.  

“Perhaps the biggest challenge in higher education today is just how dynamic the environment is,” he said. 

“As the experts in learning and teaching, we must use our own knowledge and skills to ascertain the best ways forward. 

“But, this means ensuring our ideas are data-driven and stem from full and deep consultation with all stakeholders, including current and future students, academics, industry, and the public sector.”  

Entering academia in 2000, Picker has deep expertise in the university sector, most recently as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Wollongong, and previously held roles at the University of NSW and University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. 

Prior to this, he was a lawyer for the Washington, D.C. law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, practicing transnational and trade litigation, international transactions and international congressional policy work. 

Picker said the fields of business and law excite him because of his interest in understanding the development and operations of different societies and cultures. 

“In law, my main passion has always been comparative law and thus I enjoyed working in transnational law and business as it would bring me into contact with foreign and different cultures,” he said. 

“This was a natural fit with my commitment to capacity building and development, and much of my scholarship has been aimed at this.” 

A leader in research, Picker has published widely in the areas of International Economic Law (IEL), International Law, China and IEL, and Comparative Law, appearing in leading publications and journals around the world, including in the Yale Journal of International Law, and many Oxford and Cambridge University Press books. 

As Founding Executive Vice President of the Society of International Economic Law, Picker has facilitated and led the creation of numerous networks for international economic law in the region, most recently the South Asia IEL Network. 

Picker said he is deeply committed to the Asia Pacific region, particularly after his 15 years in Australian academia, developing strong connections in China, Hong Kong, India, and Vietnam.  

“I look forward to being part of RMIT’s significant contribution in the region,” he said. 

“Even though we have seen tremendous development, there is still a great deal of opportunity.” 

Picker’s first day was Monday 1 July, officially replacing Professor Julie Cogin who left RMIT at the beginning of the year. 

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.