A former secretary of the federal Department of Education, Lisa Paul, has been appointed chancellor of the University of Canberra.
Also a prominent policymaker and social justice advocate and advisor, Ms Paul will join UC in January 2024.
Ms Paul said the appointment was a natural fit for her given UC’s values were so closely aligned to her personal commitments to social justice, inclusion and accessibility.
“I am so excited to be joining the University of Canberra as chancellor, and to support the leadership in pursuing the ambitions set out in the decadal strategy, Connected,” she said.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon said Ms Paul had forged an impressive career in education.
“This, coupled with her passionate belief in diversity and commitment to social justice will bring a fresh perspective and depth of understanding to UC,” he said.
“This is critical as we implement our decadal strategy, Connected, and continue to pursue our connection to Canberra.”
Ms Paul has lived and worked in Canberra since leaving school.
“I love Canberra as a place to live and work,” she said. “The University of Canberra is truly the Canberra community’s university, and we should all be proud of its many achievements.”
Ms Paul will follow Professor Tom Calma, who has been chancellor for a decade and served on the institution’s council for 15 years.
“It has been an honour and privilege to serve as chancellor of the University of Canberra, and I look back on my time with much fondness and pride,” said Professor Calma.
“I am encouraged by the ambitions set out in Connected and know that the leadership will demonstrate great courage and strength as they work towards impacting future generations through the delivery of tertiary education with excellence.”
Professor Nixon said Professor Calma had made a significant contribution to the university and been instrumental in leading the institution through many opportunities and challenges.
“He has contributed to immersing the university in the Canberra community with a very strong and considered focus on our adoption of Indigenous ways across the institution,” he said.
Ms Paul said it was a great privilege to walk in the footsteps of Professor Calma, Australia’s first Aboriginal chancellor, the Academy of Science’s first Aboriginal fellow and Senior Australian of the Year.
“Tom leaves a great legacy and I am thrilled to be joining a university where everyone is invited to walk together to change the world and to embrace Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing,” she said
Ms Paul was the longest-standing Secretary of Education in Australia, working with five Prime Ministers and nine Cabinet Ministers between 2004 and 2016.
She is currently co-chair of an independent review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Deputy Chair of a review in the education portfolio to advise targets and reforms for the next national schools funding agreements.
She has also led or been part of other reviews for State education departments, and federally in the Defence and Education portfolios.
She has been awarded a Public Service Medal and made an Officer in the Order of Australia.