With discredited former BHP chairman turned Monash University Chancellor Jerry Ellis sacking his plagiarising vice-chancellor David Robinson this week, Hugo Kelly has turned the spotlight on universities leaders across the country.

University chancellor Jerry Ellis presided over BHP’s $6 billion Magma Copper and HBI disasters yet he felt happy ending Robinson’s career over a few paragraphs of plagiarism.

So who are the people who run our universities? An analysis of the higher education hierarchy shows they are very good at awarding each other honorary doctorates, and they are clearly important people even the plagiarists, wife-beaters and dodgy businessmen among them.

In essence, the chancellor is the equivalent of a company Chairman. The vice-chancellor is the CEO, who reports to the chancellor and the University’s council, or senate.

The ranks of our University chancellors are replete with representatives of the power elite judges, lawyers, ex-politicians and businessmen. The appointments do not always seem transparent: How, for example, does a cosmetics saleswoman like Imelda Roche get to be head of a major university?

So here is Crikey’s guide to Australia’s Uni bosses. It’s a preliminary listing, and we’re keen for any info to flesh it out particularly from our 400 freebie .edu.au subscribers!

For the purpose of our list, we’ve taken their grand titles and honors from the official Uni websites. If anyone can tell us what all those noble sounding letters after their names are, we’d be grateful.

Send your contributions & information to [email protected]

Adelaide University

Chancellor: Robert J Champion De Crespigny B Com (Melb), FCA, AusIMM, AC

Background: Gung-ho gold miner.

Email: [email protected]

Vice Chancellor: CD (Clifford Douglas) Blake AO

Background: academic, specialising in plant pathology.

The politics: De Crespigny dumped former Vice Chancellor Mary O’Kane last August after a revolt by senior Uni managers over her management style “and not matters of competence, commitment or propriety”. Plant Pathologist Blake seems to be getting along better with the mining magnate chancellor.

Australian Catholic University

Chancellor: His Holiness John-Paul II

Background: Modest former Polish soccer player-cum-priest.

Vice Chancellor: Professor Peter W Sheehan AO BA, PhD (Syd), FAPS, FAPSA (Hon), FASSA.

Background: A psychologist and a hypnotist, he had no trouble getting the senate to appoint him VC until 2008.

Email: [email protected]

Religion: Hmm. Tough call. May be Roman Catholic.

The politics: “Look deeply into my eyes: I want to be vice chancellor for life”

The Australian National University

Chancellor: The Hon. Emeritus Professor Peter Erne Baume AO MB BS MD Syd HonLittD (USQ) FRACP, FAFPHM FRACGP (Hon)

Background: Doctor-turned-Liberal politician who never really inspired in Parliament. Check out his monster CV here

Email: [email protected]

Vice chancellor: Professor Ian Chubb AO, Msc, DPhil, Hon. DSc.

Background: Neuroscientist who became career university bureaucrat.

Email: [email protected]

The Politics: Modest Peter Baume has an 85 page CV. We think that’s not good enough surely you can stretch it to 100 pages, Pete!

University of Ballarat

Chancellor: Prof Emer David E Caro, AO OBE MSc Melb., PhD Birm. [Hon LLD Melb., Hon LLD Tas., Hon DSc Melb.]

Background: He’s a former vice-chancellor of Melbourne Uni who moved to Ballarat for some fresh country air, and peace and quiet.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Kerry O. Cox DipMedTech; BSc (with First Class Honours in Microbiology),W.A.; PhD W.A.; Fellow of ASM; Fellow of the Institute of Australian Biology; Associate of AIMS.

Background: A research scientist very much at home in a lab coat behind a microscope.

Email: Email: [email protected]

The politics: There’s so much cross-pollination and leg rolling in academia. One of David Caro’s first acts at Ballarat was to give an honorary degree to his mate, and replacement at Melbourne Uni, Edward Woodward, for services to something-or-other.

Bond University

Chancellor, Mrs Imelda Roche AO

Background: Cosmetics queen, worth $100 million plus. Co-founder with husband Bill of direct selling vanity emporium Nutri-Metics – subsequently sold to Sara Lee Corporation. Who better than a high-flying businesswoman to head a Uni founded by Alan Bond! Academic philosophy? Imelda says praise is a key part of direct selling. “You don’t get the best out of people by scolding them; you get the best by praising and rewarding them.”

Vice Chancellor, Professor Kenneth James Moores BBus(QUT), BEcon(Qld), MSocSc, PhD(Birm), FCPA, FCA

Background: An accountant interested in organisational, he has presided over growing enrollments since his appointment in 1997.

Email: [email protected]

The Politics: When his crooked deeds are dead and buried with him, Alan Bond’s name will live on as a patron of higher education. Ain’t that nice!

University of Canberra

Chancellor: Wendy McCarthy

Background: Labor femocrat and breaker-of-glass ceilings.

Email: [email protected]

Vice-chancellor: Prof Don Aitkin

Background: an Australian political scientist, not an English biochemist as we first reported. There are some suggestions he has recently been replaced.

The Politics: Ah, they’re a politically correct, gender equal, multiculturally-aware bunch in Canberra.

Central Queensland University

Vice-Chancellor & President: Professor Glenice Hancock BA, DipEd Syd, PhD Chicago

Charles Sturt University

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Ian Goulter

Background: An engineer-turned-academic who likes to keep his options open his claims to have three nationalities: New Zealander/Canadian/Australian.

Curtin University of Technology

Chancellor: Mr C H (Harry) Perkins AO FAICD

Vice-Chancellor and President: Professor Lance Twomey BA (Hons I) (Qld), MA (Penn.), PhD (Cantab).

Background: A 30 year staff member, specialising in teaching, physiotherapy and anatomy

Deakin University

Chancellor: Mr Richard Searby QC

Background: Former News Corp Chairman. As Rupert Murdoch’s right hand man, oversaw News’ Rapid growth into global media monster.

Vice-Chancellor & President: Professor Geoffrey Victor Herbert Wilson AM, DSc (Melb), PhD (Monash), MSc (Melb), BSc (Melb), FAIP, FTSE, FAIM, MACE.

Background: Scientist.

Edith Cowan University

Chancellor: The Honourable Justice Robert Nicholson, BA LLB WAust, MA Georgetown, LLM Melb

Background: Chancellor of ECU since January 1997. He is a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Millicent Poole BA, BEd (Qld), MA Hons) (NE), PhD (La Trobe), FACE, MASSA.

Background: Academic specialising in several educational areas including lifespan development, language and cognition, policy research and general education. Flinders University

Chancellor: Sir Eric Neal AC, CVO

Background: A nice retirement present, former Boral MD and failed Westpac chairman Eric Neal was appointed Chancellor of Flinders University in March 2002, five months after completing a five-year term as Governor of the State of South Australia.

Vice-Chancellor and President: Professor Anne Edwards BA, PhD (Lon).

Background: Sociologist.

Griffith University

Chancellor: Leneen Forde, AC.

Background: Former Queensland Governor, born in Canada, ten years ago she was pronounced Dame of Grace in the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, and in 1994 the Napranum Community bestowed on her the tribal name “Tharpitch Atakani”.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Glyn Davis

Background: Recently appointed, formerly Qld’s top public servant, Peter Beattie’s Director-General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet

James Cook University

Chancellor: Lt.-General J. (John) Grey AC (Ret’d)

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor B.P. (Bernard) Moulden

Email: [email protected]

La Trobe University

Chancellor: Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis AC Mbe

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor M.J. (Michael) Osborne

Email: [email protected]

Macquarie University

Chancellor: Maurice Lionel Newman, AC, FSIA, AM

Background: Stock Exchange chairman, friend of John Howard, ABC director.

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Emeritus Professor Di (Dianne) Yerbury AO, LLB (Lon), PhD (Melb), DipTechSc (Manc.), HonDIntRels (Rits.), HonDLitt (Wstn Syd.), Hon. FRS (NSW), Em Prof UNSW.

The University of Melbourne

Chancellor: Mrs Fay Marles

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Alan Gilbert

Background: Big on the knowledge economy, big on private Universities. Bulldozing ahead with Melbourne Uni private, despite criticism from academics he is attempting to construct a personal fiefdom destined for white elephant status.

Email: [email protected]

Monash University

Chancellor: Mr J.K. (Jeremy) Ellis

Background: Jerry’s a mining executive who presided over BHP’s minerals division when the Magma Copper and hot briquetted iron investment decisions cost the company about $6 billion in abnormal losses. Rewarded with chairmanship of BHP but then ousted by US investors.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor David Robinson

Background: Well-known author whose publications include “D. Robinson’s Theory of Evolution by means of Natural Selection”, as well as some of Shakespeare’s lesser-known sonnets.

Email: [email protected] (catch him while you can)

The politics: David was caught out plagiarising a few paragraphs from other academics. So a few weeks after pronouncing their full confidence in him, Jerry Ellis BHP’s $6 billion man and the Monash council sacked him.

Murdoch University

Chancellor: The Hon. Fred Chaney AO

Background: The last great Liberal moderate.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor John Yovich

Email: [email protected]

The University of New England

Chancellor: Dr Patricia J. O’Shane AM

Background: Australia’s first Aboriginal magistrate a controversial, robust figure.

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Ingrid Moses

Email: [email protected]

The University of New South Wales

Chancellor: Dr John S. Yu AC

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Wyatt. R. Hume

Email: [email protected]

The University of Newcastle

Chancellor: Mr Rick M. Charlton AM (is this the former CEO of Shell Australia?)

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Roger S. Holmes

Email: [email protected]

Northern Territory University

Chancellor: Mrs Nancy Giese OBE

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Ron Mckay

Email: [email protected]

The University of Queensland

Chancellor: The Hon Sir Llewellyn Edwards AC

Background: discredited former Liberal and Greyhound bus chairman.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor John Hay

Email: [email protected]

Queensland University of Technology

Chancellor: Dr Cherrell Hirst

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Dennis Gibson

Email: [email protected]

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Chancellor: Mr Don Mercer

Background: Sacked as CEO of ANZ but a good man who is doing just fine as chairman of Orica by slashing and burning.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Ruth Dunkin

Email: [email protected]

Southern Cross University

Chancellor: Dr Lionel Phelps

Vice-Chancellor: Professor John Rickard

Email: [email protected]

University of South Australia

Chancellor: Mr David Klingberg

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Denise Bradley AO

Email: [email protected]

University of Southern Queensland

Chancellor: Mr Don Stevens

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Peter Swannell

Email: [email protected]

University of the Sunshine Coast

Chancellor: Mr Ian Kennedy

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Paul Thomas

Email: [email protected]

Background: We’d like to study at a University with the wonderful address: Stringybark Road and Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs, Qld.

Swinburne University of Technology

Chancellor: Mr Trevor Brown (Deputy Chancellor)

Background: Billionaire cardboard king Richard Pratt brought his autocratic style to bear as foundation chancellor at Swinburne in 1993. Two years ago the Uni awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Iain Wallace

Email: [email protected]

The University of Sydney

Chancellor: The Hon Justice Kim Santow OAM

Background: Supreme Court Judge Santow is a part-time Chancellor who successfully banned Rodney Adler from being a director for 20 years last month. He replaced old warhorse Leonie Kramer, who was dragged kicking and screaming from the job last year.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Gavin Brown MA (St Andrews), PhD (Newcastle UK), Hon. LLD (St Andrews), FAA.

Email: [email protected]

The politics: Always a political uni, Sydney Uni reached fever pitch last July, when the grand dame, Leonie Kramer, quit as Chancellor rather than be sacked by the university’s senate after 10 years at the helm. She dominated the university administration with an authoritarian management style, keeping the senate in the dark about key matters, such as a new contract for vice chancellor Brown. She suffered a series of blows to her credibility noticeably when she went to the barricades in support of plagiarist Helen Demidenko/Darville, chairing the Miles Franklin Award Panel which chose “Demidenko’s” book The Hand That Signed the Paper.

University of Tasmania

Chancellor: Dr Michael Vertigan

Email: [email protected]

Background: the best secretary of a Treasury department going in the early 1990s and responsible for some fine work for Jeff Kennett and Alan Stockdale. Crikey worked with him and is a big fan.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Don McNicol

Email: [email protected]

University of Technology Sydney

Chancellor: Sir Gerard Brennan AC, KBE

Background: Former High Court judge.

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Tony Blake

Email: [email protected]

Victoria University

Chancellor: The Honourable Mr Justice Frank Vincent

Background: Former Supreme Court judge.

Vice-Chancellor and President: Professor Jarlath Ronayne, AM

Email: [email protected]

The University of Western Australia

Chancellor: Kenneth Comninos Michael, AM, BE W.Aust., PhD Lond., DIC Imperial Coll. (Lond.), FTSE, Hon, FIEAust, FCIT, FAIM (1998)

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Deryck M Schreuder BA (Hons.) Rhodes, DPhil Oxon; FAHA, FRHS; Em Prof MACQ. and UWS

Email: [email protected]

University of Western Sydney

Chancellor: Mr John Phillips AM

Email: [email protected]

Background: conservative Catholic and former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank who chairs AGL and sits on the Woolies and other boards.

Vice-Chancellor: Professor Janice Reid

Email: [email protected]

University of Wollongong

Chancellor: Mr Michael H. Codd AC

Background: A 30-year public servant, former head of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet under Bob Hawke, Codd became Qantas chairman 10 years ago and remains a director of the airline.

Email: [email protected]

Vice-Chancellor and Principal: Professor Gerard Sutton BE (Hons),, MEngSc (NSW), PhD (Catholic Univ. USA), FIEAust.

Email: Email: [email protected]

Feedback to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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