Michael Spence

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

University of Sydney


Michael Spence AC joined the Founding National Male Champions of Change group in 2014.

As Vice-Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence is the University of Sydney’s principal executive officer with responsibility for promoting the interests and furthering the development of the University. He took up the position in July 2008 and is the University’s 25th Vice-Chancellor.

Dr Spence is an alumnus of the University, having graduated with First Class Honours in English, Italian and Law (BA (Hons)’85 and LLB (Hons)’87). Before leaving for the University of Oxford in 1988 to undertake doctoral studies, Dr Spence lectured in Law at the University of Sydney and also worked for the Australian Copyright Council.

At Oxford, Dr Spence obtained his DPhil and continued to develop his career there over the next 20 years. He became a Fellow of St Catherine’s College and a Lecturer of the University of Oxford in 1992. He also obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology from Oxford. After a period as head of the Law faculty at Oxford, he was appointed as head of the Social Sciences Division, one of the four divisions that make up the University of Oxford.

He is internationally recognised 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.