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Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence AC

Promoting and developing our University

Our Vice-Chancellor is the University's principal executive officer and is instrumental in determining our strategic direction.

The Vice-Chancellor leads the University and determines its overall direction in consultation with the Senate, senior executive 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:

Dr Michael Spence

Our 25th Vice-Chancellor

Dr Michael Spence AC BA LLB Sydney DPhil PGDipTheol Oxford

Dr Spence was appointed the 25th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney in 2008.

Under his leadership, the University has forged its distinctive strategy.

The University of Sydney 2016–20 Strategic Plan builds on the work of the past five years and aims to maximise the University’s great strengths: depth and breadth of disciplines; a commitment to challenge ordinary thinking; and a genuine desire to do good in the world.

At the plan’s core are three strategic themes:

  • excellence
  • engagement
  • simplification.

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. Dr Spence lectured in law at the University and worked for the Australian Copyright Council prior to departing from Australia and establishing himself at the University of Oxford in order to undertake doctoral studies.

At Oxford, Dr Spence obtained a Doctor of Philosophy and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology. He became a Fellow of St Catherine’s College at Oxford, and during his 20 years at the college, he headed Oxford’s law faculty and social sciences division, one of the four divisions that make up the University of Oxford.

Dr Spence is recognised internationally 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.

Contact the Vice-Chancellor's office

Dr Michael Spence AC

"Our focus has always been on equipping our people with the skills and qualities for leadership so they can meaningfully serve all our communities at every level."
Leadership for good