University of Canberra Chancellor, Professor Tom Calma AO.

Professor Tom Calma AO

Chancellor of the University of Canberra

Professor Tom Calma AO is an Aboriginal elder of the Kungarakan tribal group, a member of the Iwaidja tribal group and a tireless champion for the rights, responsibilities and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Professor Calma is the first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander man to hold the position of Chancellor of any Australian university.

For the majority of his working life Professor Calma has been a career Commonwealth public servant responsible for both Indigenous and non Indigenous policy and programmes.

Professor Calma has been involved in and with the tertiary education sector since 1980 as an academic, in representing Australia’s interest in all education sectors internationally, on research grants, in reviewing administrative and academic structures and on advisory boards and committees at eight universities. Professor Calma has been a member of the University Council since 2008 and was appointed as Chancellor by Council, commencing on 1 January 2014.

Between 1995 and 2002, Professor Calma represented Australia’s education and training interests as a senior diplomat in India and Vietnam; and in 2003, he served as Senior Adviser for Indigenous Affairs to the Honourable Philip Ruddock MP in his capacity as the Minister of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Professor Calma served as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2004 to 2010 and as the Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2004 until 2009.

Professor Calma’s 2005 Social Justice Report – focusing on Indigenous health equality – was the catalyst for the Close the Gap campaign.  The report called on Australian governments to commit to achieving equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the areas of health and life-expectancy within a generation (25 years) and advocated embedding a social determinants philosophy into public policy around health, education, employment, housing and behaviours in order to address Indigenous inequality gaps.

In 2012, Professor Calma was awarded an Order of Australia; Officer of the General Division (AO) and named ACT Australian of the Year 2013 for his service and commitment to the Indigenous community as an advocate for human rights and social justice. In October 2015, Professor Calma was awarded one of four inaugural University of South Australia Alumni Awards for his service to society and in November 2015 was awarded the Public Health Association Australia’s pre-eminent Sidney Sax Public Health Medal for notable contribution to the protection and promotion of public health, advancing community awareness of public health measures and advancing the ideals and practice of equity in the provision of health care. In July 2016, Professor Calma received the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Flag Award on the 240th anniversary of the United States of America’s independence.

Professor Calma is Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia, Chair of the not-for-profit organisation Ninti One Ltd and Patron and Chair of the Poche Centres for Indigenous Health Network. Professor Calma was appointed a Professor with the University of Sydney’s Medical School to Chair the Poche Indigenous Health Network on 1 January 2015. In 2008, Professor Calma delivered the formal response to the government’s National Apology to the Stolen Generations. In March 2010, Calma was appointed National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking to lead the fight against tobacco use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In July 2016 Professor Calma was appointed as an external member of the Australian Public Service Secretaries’ Equality and Diversity Council and in October he was appointed the inaugural Chair of the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity program led by the University of Melbourne.

The University of Canberra is a young, up-and-coming university located in the nation’s capital which aims to be recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative tertiary institutions.

The University of Canberra proudly continues to reach new heights in world rankings and further its reach regionally, nationally and internationally.

The University’s research culture reflects and promotes its strategic aims through a dynamic, innovative and collaborative environment, producing research that leads to early improvements to the world around it.

The University’s areas of research focus – governance, environment, communication, education and health – are supported within its four University research centres and several faculty-based research centres. University of Canberra researchers are committed to delivering breakthroughs that help solve real-world problems and collaborate with national and international partners to produce broad reach research both locally and globally.

The University of Canberra is ranked in the top four per cent of universities in the world by both the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and QS World University Rankings. It was also listed among the top 100 of universities in the world under the age of 50 in 2015.



An ambitious campus development plan is in place.


With a commitment to lifelong learning and flexible study


With a strong emphasis on student support and work integrated


Also ranked in the world's top 100 young universities.

The University is proud of its academic, professional and personal support systems. Its strong emphasis on work integrated learning gives its more than 16,500 students valuable experience in the workplace before they graduate.

University of Canberra students are in high demand and many of the 70,000 plus graduates occupy senior positions in public and private enterprise in Australia and around the world.

The vibrant, friendly campus is home to a wide array of cafés, eateries and health and fitness facilities. It also plays host to the famous touring music festival Groovin’ the Moo, and boasts bars serving locally produced beer and wine.

The University’s Sporting Commons is home to the University of Canberra Capitals and the Brumbies Super Rugby team, among other sporting partners.

The University also features an on-campus Health Hub that includes a GP Super Clinic, a pharmacy, student-led health clinics and other health services. Future campus developments include the new University of Canberra Public Hospital, an aged care facility, a cancer care centre, a small private hospital, a residential development and an innovation park.

All these facilities will be integrated into teaching and research, providing exciting new avenues for the University to serve its community. Like-minded organisations are also being invited to help develop the campus and be part of the University’s culture of innovation, research and education.

To find out more, visit the University of Canberra website opens-in-a-new-window

University of Canberra Council

The governing body of the University, the Council, is established under the University of Canberra Act 1989 (ACT) and is responsible for the entire management of the University.

The Council sets the strategic direction of the University and drives performance through the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor and President, oversight and review of the business plan and budget, oversight of academic activities and the monitoring of risk and the systems of control and accountability.

Membership of the University of Canberra’s Council is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

Professor Tom Calma AO – Chancellor (to 31 December 2019)
Professor H. Deep Saini – Vice Chancellor
Professor Dharmendra Sharma – Chair of the Academic Board

Appointed Members – Ministerial

Ms Prue Power AM (to 29 January 2019)
Dr Chris Faulks (to 31 December 2016)
Dr Tom Karmel (to 21 May 2018)
Mr Glenn Keyes (to 30 June 2020)
Ms Joanne Metcalfe (to 21 May 2018)
Mr Barry Mewett (to 20 October 2017)
Dr Sarah Ryan – Deputy Chancellor (to 20 October 2017)
Ms Sue Salthouse (to 21 May 2018)

Elected Members

Dr Dale Kleeman – Academic Staff (to 31 December 2017)
Ms Mara Eversons – Professional Staff (to 31 December 2017)
Ms Shefali Sehgal – Postgraduate Student (to 31 December 2017)
Mr Ian Dudley – Undergraduate Student (to 30 December 2017)

Secretary to Council

Ms Kathleen O’Sullivan (A/g)

Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Academic Board

Chair – Professor Dharmendra Sharma

Audit and Risk Management Committee

Chair – Mr Barry Mewett

Environment and Works Committee

Chair – Dr Sarah Ryan, Deputy Chancellor

Campus Development Board

Independent Chair – Mr Terry Weber

Finance Committee

Independent Chair – Mr David Strugiss

Nominations and Senior Appointments Committee

Chair – Professor Tom Calma AO, Chancellor

Honorary Degrees Committee

Chair – Professor Tom Calma AO, Chancellor

Legislation Committee

Chair – Ms Prue Power AM

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