Current Challenges and Plans for the Future at Sydney University
Speaker Dr Michael Spence
Dr Michael Spence AC
University of Sydney
BA LLB Sydney DPhil PG Dip Theol Oxford
Dr Michael Spence is the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney – the first to open its doors in Australia in 1850.
Under his leadership, the University is forging a distinctive strategy focused on the transformation of the undergraduate education; interdisciplinary research; improving the culture of the institution; simplifying organisational design; campus redevelopment; investment in research and teaching infrastructure and securing financial sustainability. He was instrumental in leading the University’s unprecedented $1 billion INSPIRED philanthropic campaign, and promoting greater academic partnerships with industry, government and community organisations.
An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Dr Spence graduated with first-class honours in English, Italian and law. His other languages include Chinese and Korean. He lectured in law at the University and worked for the Australian Copyright Council prior to undertaking doctoral studies at the University of Oxford. There, he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy, a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology and became a Fellow of St Catherine’s College at Oxford. During his 20 years at the College he headed Oxford’s law faculty and its Social Sciences division.
In 2017, he was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours for service to leadership of the tertiary education sector, to the advancement of equitable access to educational opportunities, to developing programs focused on multidisciplinary research, and to the Anglican Church of Australia.
After 12 years as Vice Chancellor, Dr Spence is leaving in December to become Principal & Provost of Imperial College London. We are honoured that he has made time in his extremely hectic final week on campus to speak with us.