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Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence

Promoting and developing our University

Our Vice-Chancellor is the University's principal executive officer, and helps to determine our strategic direction.

The Vice-Chancellor leads the University and determines its overall direction in consultation with the Senate, the Senior Executive Group (SEG) and Academic Board.

The Vice-Chancellor also plays a major role in nurturing and sustaining the University’s relationships with its many key external stakeholder groups, including alumni, donors, local, state and federal governments, and leaders in business, industry and the professions.

The Vice-Chancellor’s portfolio includes:

  • Government Relations
  • Higher Education Policy
  • Global Engagement
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Office of General Counsel
  • Secretary to Senate
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Office

Our 25th Vice-Chancellor

Dr Michael Spence BA LLB Sydney DPhil PGDipTheol Oxford

Dr Spence enrolled as an undergraduate student at the University of Sydney in 1982. After graduating with first-class honours in English and Italian in 1985, and a Bachelor of Law with honours in 1987, he lectured in law at the University and worked for the Australian Copyright Council.

He moved to the University of Oxford in 1988 where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology. He then went on to become a Fellow of St Catherine’s College at the University of Oxford.

During his 20 years at St Catherine’s Dr Spence also headed the law faculty and the Social Sciences division, one of the four that make up the University of Oxford.

In July 2008, he returned to take up the role of Vice Chancellor at the University of Sydney.

Dr Spence is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of intellectual property theory and has also published works on the law of obligations, with a critical focus on suggested ethical and economic justifications of existing regimes.

Who's who in the VC's office


Tel: +61 2 9351 6980
Fax: +61 2 9351 4596

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Dr Michael Spence
Tel: +61 2 9351 5051

Chief of Staff

Jane Oakeshott
Tel: +61 2 9351 6980
Fax: +61 2 9351 4596

Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor

Pippin Pritchard
Tel: +61 2 9351 6980
Fax: +61 2 9351 4596


Rebecca Murray
Tel: +61 2 9114 1230
Fax: +61 2 9351 2915

Director, Policy Analysis and Communication

Tim Payne
Tel: +61 2 9351 4750
Fax: +61 2 9351 4596

Director of Office of Global Engagement

Sandra Meiras
Tel: +61 2 9036 6110
Fax: +61 2 9351 4462

General Counsel

Richard Fisher
Tel: +61 2 9036 5277
Fax: +61 2 9036 5284

Dr Michael Spence

Welcoming students at the start of semester
“The University of Sydney has always been a place committed to excellence and to community service; committed to harvesting the intellectual resources of this remarkable community for the benefit of Australia, our region and beyond.”