Dr Michael Spence to end term as University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor

19 February 2020
After 12 years in the role, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Michael Spence AC, will conclude his term as Vice-Chancellor in December 2020 to take up his appointment as President and Provost of UCL in London in January 2021.
Dr Michael Spence leanign against a sandstone wall

Dr Michael Spence AC will conclude his term as Vice-Chancellor in December 2020. 

UCL, like the University of Sydney, ranks as one of the top research universities in the world and has had a long association with Sydney.

On behalf of the Senate and the University, the Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM said Dr Spence’s appointment to the best performing university in the most recent UK research assessment exercise was fitting recognition of all that he has contributed during his time at the University of Sydney.

Dr Michael Spence leaving Sydney in December 2020

“Under Michael’s leadership the University of Sydney has grown in size and stature and has undertaken a significant modernisation program. This has created an outstanding legacy of which he and his team can be rightly proud. The University is in a strong position to address the immediate and longer term challenges the coming decade will inevitably present."

Michael has been instrumental in enhancing the University’s global reputation for excellence in teaching and research, and in fostering an environment where our highly talented staff and students are enabled to achieve their full potential.
Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM

“He leaves the University with an excellent executive leadership team including five Deans leading larger and stronger faculties across the institution.

“We are tremendously grateful for his efforts and have no doubt he and his wonderful family will continue to thrive in London.”

Dr Michael Spence's achievements as Vice-Chancellor

Under Dr Spence's leadership, the University of Sydney has risen to 1st in Australia and 4th in the world for graduate employability. Other achievements include:

Dr Spence said that while he was excited about the new role, he would always be tremendously proud of the institution at which he studied as an undergraduate and had the pleasure to lead for more than a decade.

“I have seen such growth in our University community over the past ten years, and I believe that we have been able to stay true to what is good in our tradition whilst embracing new ideas, ways of working and seeing the world,” he said.

“I am particularly proud of our work in developing the Industry and Community Project Units (ICPUs) which provide students with the opportunity to work on authentic problems and issues set out by industry, community and government organisations. 

"The University’s partners have agreed that these have allowed them to genuinely consider projects in a different way which improve the way they operate."

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, I am proud that we have embedded diversity and inclusion in the University’s culture.
Dr Michael Spence

"We created the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services), our Indigenous strategy (Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu) and a comprehensive culture strategy. These initiatives are not the work of any single individual or even one team, they are wholly owned by the institution as the way we now conduct our teaching and research.”

Dr Spence said his priorities for the remainder of his term will be to ensure the University continues with the implementation of the 2016-2020 strategic plan and has the building blocks in place for the 2021-2025 plan.

The Chancellor confirmed that the processes for a national and international search for a new Vice-Chancellor and Principal had commenced.

Shehana Darda-Teixeira

Director, Media and Public Relations
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