Dr Michael Spence AC has led Australia’s first university, the University of Sydney, as Vice-Chancellor and Principal since 2008 and is the University’s 25th vice-chancellor. The University is ranked in the top 50 universities in the world, including 1st in Australia and 4th in the world for graduate employability.
Under his leadership, the University has forged a distinctly outward focus, engaging comprehensively with industry, government and community to create a globally-connected academic community that is influential in the important social and cultural debates of our time. Over the past decade he has fostered deeper engagement and strengthened partnerships with Australia’s regional neighbours including China, India, Korea and Southeast Asia.
Michael has transformed the University’s undergraduate experience and embedded diversity, inclusion and cultural competence as bedrocks of a values-driven culture. Record investment in campus infrastructure, including ten major multidisciplinary centres, equip researchers to find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Michael’s vision for a second multidisciplinary campus in the heart of Western Sydney builds on this culture of excellence and innovation.
In 2019 he was awarded the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Asia-Pacific Leadership Award for visionary leadership and profound impact in presiding over the University’s $1 billion INSPIRED campaign, outstanding contribution to philanthropy and promoting and supporting education and institutional advancement.
An alumnus of the University, Dr Spence has a BA with first-class honours in English, Italian and law. His other languages include French, Chinese and Korean. He is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of intellectual property theory and holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford, where he headed Oxford’s law faculty and its social sciences division.
Michael is a Companion of the Order of Australia 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. In 2021 he will be taking up the position of President and Provost at UCL.
Dr Michael Spence AC
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
University of Sydney
BA LLB Sydney DPhil PG DipTheol Oxford