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Professor Sandra Harding AO

BSc (Hons) ANU, MPubAdmin UQ, PhD NCSU, Hon Doc JIU, FACE, FQA, GAICD

Prof Sandra Harding

Professor Sandra Harding, Officer of the Order of Australia, took up her appointment as Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia in January 2007. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Cairns, Singapore and Townsville.

Educated at the Australian National University, The University of Queensland and North Carolina State University (USA), Professor Harding has extensive academic and academic leadership experience. An economic sociologist by training, her areas of enduring academic interest include work, organisation and markets and how they work. She also has a keen interest in public policy in two key areas: education policy and related areas; and; the global Tropics, northern Australia and economic development.  In addition, she has undertaken a wide variety of senior university-aligned roles as well as memberships/directorships of a variety of local, national and international Boards and Councils.

Current roles include:

  • Chair, Australian Bureau of Statistics Independent Assurance Panel on 2021 Census of Population and Housing data
  • Project Convener, State of the Tropics project
  • Director, Education Australia Limited
  • Director, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation Board
  • Council Member, Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Director, North Queensland Cowboys NRL club
  • Director of Townsville Enterprise and of Advance Cairns (regional economic development bodies)
  • Member of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia’s (CEDA) Leadership Council.

Previous external roles include:

  • Director, Australian American Education Leadership Foundation
  • Commissioner, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • Member, Working Group providing advice to the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, on higher education policy matters
  • Co-Vice Chair, the New Colombo Plan Reference Group
  • Director, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Board
  • Chair, Australian Bureau of Statistics Independent Assurance Panel on 2016 Census of Population and Housing data
  • Director, Regional Australia Institute
  • Member, National Research Infrastructure Roadmap Expert Working Group
  • Member, the Australia-China Council Board
  • Member, Trade, Tourism and Investment Policy Advisory Council
  • Member of the Australian Government’s Research Policy and Funding Working Group (assisting Dr Ian Watt AO)
  • Member of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) Advisory Board
  • Member, Northern Australia Advisory Group (advising the Prime Minister)
  • Chair, Universities Australia; Member, International Education and Training Advisory Council Queensland
  • Member, Australian Research Council (ARC) Advisory Board
  • Commissioner, Queensland Independent Commission of Audit (March 2012-February 2013)
  • Australia’s representative on the University Grants Commission for the University of the South Pacific
  • Chair of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council
  • Member of the HIH Assessment Review Panel
  • Board member, Skills Queensland
  • Board member of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council
  • Chairman of Brisbane Marketing Pty Ltd
  • Director of the Australian Institute for Commercialisation
  • Director of the Global Foundation for Management Education Ltd (Montreal)
  • Chair, Innovative Research Universities (an alliance of seven Australian universities: Charles Darwin, Griffith, La Trobe, Flinders, Murdoch, Newcastle and James Cook universities)
  • Inaugural President of the Australian Business Deans Council
  • Vice-President of the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance.

In 2003, Professor Harding was recognised as North Carolina State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Alumna for that year. In 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate for services to education from Japan’s Josai International University and in 2012, she was recognized as an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (ACE) and was named the ACE 2012 Queensland Medallist “… in recognition of her leadership of education in the tropics that has seen a new academic emphasis on life and the people of the tropics.”

In January 2019, Professor Harding was appointed an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2019 honours list for her distinguished service to education at the national and international level, and to the community of Queensland.