Michael Spence

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

University of Sydney


Dr 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.

In 2017, he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for his eminent service to leadership of the tertiary education sector, to the advancement of equitable access to educational opportunities, to developing strategic programs focused on multidisciplinary research, and to the Anglican Church of Australia.

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). His other languages include Chinese and Korean.

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.

Under his leadership, the University of Sydney has forged its distinctive strategy to maximise its great strengths including investment in transformational multi-disciplinary research and a commitment to truly challenge ordinary thinking. He has shaped a culture that is based on values of courage and creativity, openness and engagement, respect and integrity, and inclusion and diversity. Today, the University of Sydney is ranked in the world’s top 50 universities reflecting the University’s reputation for leadership in research and education. .