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Professor Sandra Harding


  • Bio/Profile
  • Professor Sandra Harding AO served as Vice Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia from January 2007 to February 2022. In this role, she was responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Cairns, Singapore and Townsville. The title of Emeritus Professor was conferred by James Cook University upon her retirement. She has undertaken many sectoral leadership positions, including as Chair of the national peak body, Universities Australia (2013-2015) and as the inaugural Chair of the Queensland Vice Chancellors Committee (May 2020-December 2021) and also has extensive experience over many years as Chair/Director on a variety of local, national and international, government and corporate Boards and Councils.

    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 area and the global Tropics, northern Australia and economic development.  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.


    Current roles include: Project Convener, State of the Tropics project; Member, Working Group providing advice to the Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, on higher education policy matters; Member, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation Board; Director, Education Australia Ltd; Council Member, the Australian Institute of Marine Science; Director, North Queensland Cowboys NRL club; Director of Townsville Enterprise and of Advance Cairns (regional economic development bodies); and; a member of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia’s (CEDA) Leadership Council.