The Victorian College of the Arts and Music’s new dean has officially taken over the reigns.

Internationally-recognised composer Barry Conyngham has stepped into the job after last year’s controversial dispute between management and supporters which saw then-Dean Sharman Pretty resign.

Pretty resigned in July after protests against budget, staff and course cuts since the controversial merger with Melbourne University in 2007.

In Professor Conyngham’s welcome letter to the school, he says his team has the most “exciting and rewarding task in the University: to enable students to engage in the practical arts at the very highest level”.

“Here you have the opportunity to master the creative disciplines of music, visual arts, performing arts and film within the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and the Victorian College of the Arts, stimulated by the academic and research opportunities of a world-class university,” Sydney-born Conyngham writes.

Prof Conyngham has an extensive background in higher education administration and will work closely with VCA director Su Baker and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music director Gary McPherson. It was announced he was the new Dean in December last year.

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