Honour for education innovator Professor Denise Bradley

10 March 2017

For her distinguished service to higher education Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC has  received an honorary doctorate (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney. 

Alec Brennan, Deputy Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley and Professor Diane Mayer Dean and Head of Sydney School of Eduation and Social Work 

“I congratulate Professor Bradley on this honour which recognises her outstanding career in education and educational administration. She has had an influence at all levels of education and played a critical role in the development of offshore higher education,” said Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

Professor Diane Mayer, Head of School and Dean of the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, congratulated Professor Bradley on her honour and said, ““Professor Bradley has made a huge contribution to higher education policy and practice across Australia and internationally and has been particularly influential in advancing equity for women and girls. The University is delighted to award this honorary doctorate to recognise her sustained leadership over many years in the education sector.”

As Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia from 1997 to 2007, Professor Bradley played a defining role in the establishment of that university.

In 2008, she chaired the influential National Review of Higher Education, known as the Bradley Report. The themes of that report reflected her long-standing interest in equity issues, particularly those relating to girls’ and women’s rights and disadvantaged communities, and in vocational education.  

The report led to reform across the Australian tertiary sector, and influenced practice in secondary education. Her strong advocacy for the inclusion of a higher proportion of low socioeconomic status students in tertiary education has led to a significant increase in their participation rate since 2008.

Professor Bradley is an alumna of the University of Sydney, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (’62). She commenced her career as a secondary school teacher. Following roles with the South Australian Department of Education and Adelaide College of Arts and Education she became inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Education of the South Australian College of Advanced Education and went on to become its Principal.

When appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Australia, Professor Bradley was only the third woman to hold a position at that level in a tertiary institution in Australia. The many positions she has held with responsibilities for advancing equity for women and girls include as a member of the Schools Commission National Working Party on the Education of Girls, convenor of the national Women’s Employment Education and Training Advisory Group and Chair of the Equity Working Party of the Higher Education Council.  

Professor Bradley has held a great many positions at state, national and international levels, including Foundation Director of the Australian Universities’ Quality Agency, Director of Open Universities Australia, Chair of the South Australian Training and Skills Commission, Director of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission Board, member of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO and Director and President of the Australian College of Educators.

She is currently a member of the Advisory Council for the NSW Centre for Educational Statistics and Evaluation, member of the NSW Skills Board and Director of SEEK Ltd.


Verity Leatherdale

Manager, Faculty Media and PR

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