Honorary awards

Emeritus Professor Kenneth John Eltis AM

The degree of Doctor of Education (honoris causa) was conferred upon Emeritus Professor Kenneth John Eltis AM, BA UNE MA PhD Macquarie DipEd UNSW, at the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning / Faculty of Education and Social Work graduation ceremony held at 11.30am on 15 April 2011. He also gave the occasional address at the ceremony.

Emeritus Professor Eltis has had a distinguished record in the area of educational leadership as well as making major contributions to learning outcomes in the school systems of NSW. He was Dean of the University’s Faculty of Education from 1996 and Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor from 2002 to 2004. In January this year he was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia for service to education through teaching, administrative and research roles and through the design and implementation of innovative curriculum and reporting methods.

Emeritus Professor Kenneth John Eltis AM

The Chancellor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO and honorary degree recipient Emeritus Professor Kenneth John Eltis AM, photo, copyright Memento Photography.


Chancellor, I present to you Kenneth John Eltis for the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Education (honoris causa).

Professor Eltis has had a particularly distinguished record in the area of educational leadership as well as making major contributions to curriculum and learning outcomes in education. Professor Eltis began his career as languages teacher in the public school system of New South Wales. After a period as Director of the Teacher Education programme at Macquarie University he became Director of Curriculum and Educational Studies in the Department of School Education. Appointed Professor of Education at the University of Sydney in 1991, he was Dean of the Faculty of Education from 1994 to 1997. His leadership as Dean led to the new two year Master of Teaching programme which soon became a national pace setter in the professional preparation and education of future teachers.

From 1997 Professor Eltis was Deputy Vice Chancellor (Planning and Resources) and from 2002 to 2004 Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney. He and Gavin Brown made a formidable team. They had contrasting styles but complementary tactics. People said that they never knew exactly what Gavin was thinking but they were always quite sure of Ken’s opinion.

During this period Professor Eltis oversaw the planning and early implementation of the re-building of the University including preparation of the strategic plan Campus 2010: Building for the Future. He was soon involved in delicate negotiations with a number of internal stake holders as well outside bodies. The team he led is responsible for much of the physical appearance and shape of the University today, perhaps most lovingly, the reopening of the University to the City through Victoria Park, restoring that original inspiring prospect of the front of the Quad.

While Deputy Vice Chancellor he continued to make major contributions to educational and schools policy. Already known for his work in curriculum design in the New South Wales Department of School Education, he produced reports on assessment and reporting practices. He was also prominent in the then New South Wales Ministerial Advisory Council on the Quality of Teaching as well as being the New South Wales Vice Chancellors’ Advisory Committee nominee on the task force to implement the Teacher Education Review in New South Wales. In 1997, he was awarded the prestigious Sir Harold Wyndham medal for his services to education, particularly in the areas of teaching and administration, reflecting his capacity for original thought in an area of great public significance.

Since his retirement from the University of Sydney at the end of 2003, Professor Eltis has continued to play a significant role in a number of community organisations, including the Australian Council of Educational Leadership and the Australian Council of Educators, both of which have elected him to a Fellowship.

In January 2010 he was recognised for his contribution to the Australian community by the award of Membership of the Order of Australia.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting to you Kenneth John Eltis for admission to the degree of Doctor of Education (honoris causa).