Sydney Appoints A New Vice-Chancellor

16 October 2007

Dr Michael Spence with the Chancellor, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO
Dr Michael Spence with the Chancellor, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO

A leading Australian and international academic, Dr Michael Spence of the University of Oxford, has been appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney.

Dr Spence will succeed Professor Gavin Brown AO, who retires in July 2008 after 12 years as Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Dr Spence's appointment was announced today by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

"The University is delighted to welcome Dr Spence, a distinguished alumnus, into the high office of Vice-Chancellor. Dr Spence brings a wealth of administrative, academic and research experience from one of the greatest centres of higher education in the world," said Professor Bashir.

Dr Spence, a Fellow of St Catherine's College, has been Head of the Social Sciences Division at the University of Oxford. The Social Sciences Division comprises thirteen academic departments and their dependent units: Anthropology, Archaeology, Economics, Education, International Development, Law, the Oxford University Centre for the Environment (Geography, the Environmental Change Institute and the Transport Studies Unit), the Oxford Internet Institute, Politics and International Relations, the Saïd Business School, the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Social Policy and Social Work, and Sociology.

As Head of the Social Sciences Division, Dr Spence is one of four Divisional Heads reporting to the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, Dr John Hood. He has also been a member of the Council of the University and been engaged in many University-wide projects.

"Sydney is a world class institution with an exciting future. At the heart of the University's mission is a commitment to excellence in research and research-led teaching. It is a privilege to take on this new role," said Dr Spence.
Dr Spence graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in English, Italian and Law (B.A. (Hons) LL.B (Hons)). He has a D.Phil from the University of Oxford where he also studied theology (P.G. Dip. Theol.). He is internationally regarded as a leader in the field of intellectual property theory. His work includes articles and books on both intellectual property law and the law of obligations, with a critical focus on suggested ethical and economic justifications of the existing regimes. Dr Spence is a consultant to the London Law firm, Olswang and serves as a WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Panelist. He has lectured on intellectual property related topics around the world, and held a number of visiting appointments in Boston, Munich and Siena. He has twice been a Parsons Fellow at the Law School of the University of Sydney.

Among his many achievements at Oxford, Dr Spence has overseen significant growth of research activity and funding in the Social Sciences, and the strengthening of links between the departments in the social sciences, and between them and the University more broadly. In the most recent Times Higher Education Rankings, Oxford was placed first in the world for Social Sciences. One of Dr Spence's priorities at Oxford has been actively to encourage fundraising and substantial sponsorship from benefactors and corporate groups. Indeed, he has been a driving force behind the establishment and financial support of a number of Oxford's new research centres and institutes, such as the Oxford Centre for Educational Assessment and the University's proposed School of Enterprise and the Environment. His current responsibilities also include oversight of some of the University of Oxford's most innovative research units, including the James Martin School for the 21st Century and The Oxford-Man Institute for Quantitative Finance.

Before leaving for Oxford in 1989, Dr Spence lectured in Law at the University of Sydney. He also worked for the Australian Copyright Council.

"I am very pleased that the University will be in good hands", said Professor Gavin Brown."Dr Spence has a distinguished record at Oxford, where he has successfully united the Social Sciences Division in a period of expansion and seen considerable success in raising research activity.I am confident he will have even greater success on a wider scale in Sydney.I am sure I am speaking for the whole University in welcoming him back to Australia and to the University of Sydney."

Dr Spence will take up his position as Vice-Chancellor and Principal in July 2008.

Contact: Andrew Potter

Phone: 02 9351 4514, 0414 998 521

Email: 066834031c071f0a270a542a5b23562730105065332005595023