University of the Sunshine Coast Chancellor John Dobson

Mr John Dobson OAM

Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast

John Dobson OAM has served as the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Chancellor since 2007 (having most recently been re-elected in 2011 to serve in the role until 31 March 2017) and as a member of Council since 1997.

He has worked with universities in various roles for over 40 years, and has previously served as the Catholic parish priest of Caloundra and Dean of the North Coast Deanery in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.

As Chancellor, he brings to USC his insight gained through interactions with people over a whole broad spectrum of human experience.

Contributions to the community include founding privately-funded residential care facilities for the aged and for people with intellectual disabilities; co-founding a retirement village, establishing a comprehensive college (in partnership with the Uniting Church); and creating dedicated support groups for prisoners and their families.

Located in one of the country’s fastest growing regions, the University of the Sunshine Coast has grown to accommodate more than 12,000 students and 120 degree programs, focused on the catchment between Brisbane and the Fraser Coast, with facilities also in Sydney and Melbourne.

Planning began for the Sunshine Coast University College in 1994. The University opened in 1996 in Sippy Downs, becoming the first greenfield university to open in Australia since 1971.  Full university status was granted to the institution years ahead of schedule, and it officially became the University of the Sunshine Coast on January 1 1999.

The University of the Sunshine Coast is a unique and successful regional institution.  Over the past 20 years, USC has achieved many milestones and transformed many lives.  At its heart, USC has always been about people and since its establishment, the University has focused on community engagement, campus development, innovative programs and a personalised approach to training.

The University of the Sunshine Coast provides an excellent educational experience to local students and has achieved a 5-star teaching rating in 2007 and continues to hold this rating in the ensuing period, the only Queensland public university to do so.

As the University has matured, it has increased its research activities and postgraduate student numbers in the movement towards being a comprehensive (teaching and research) university. The latest Australian Research Council (ARC) competitive grants round saw the University achieve results on-par or better than many older, more established institutions. While it will be some years before the University will consider itself fully-matured, the trends are all very positive.

University of the Sunshine Coast logo.



Providing teaching spaces that stimulate learning.


Campuses across a variety of areas, providing convenient study


One of Australia’s best lifestyle locations

The University has now been responsible for almost $7 billion of human capital development in its catchment. Higher Education participation rates in the Sunshine Coast council area have risen by 50 percent, well above those of the surrounding council areas, and are rising in Gympie, where campus infrastructure has been more recently established.  The University continues to expand geographically and now has a number of campuses which are located between Fraser Coast and Brisbane SouthBank.


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

University of the Sunshine Coast Council

Council is the University’s governing body and derives its powers from the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 (QLD).

The primary responsibilities of the Council of the University of the Sunshine Coast are:

  1. To appoint the Vice-Chancellor and President as the Chief Executive Officer of the University and to monitor his/her performance against agreed indicators
  2. To determine the Vision and strategic direction of the University and to approve the annual budget
  3. To oversee and review the management of the University and its performance
  4. To establish high level policy and procedural principles, consistent with legal requirements and community expectations
  5. To approve and monitor systems of control and accountability, including general overview of any controlled entities of the University
  6. To oversee and monitor the assessment and management of risk across the University, including commercial undertakings
  7. To oversee and monitor the academic activities of the University
  8. To approve significant commercial activities
  9. To ensure the ongoing appropriateness of all delegations approved by Council.

Membership of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Council is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

Mr John Dobson OAM – Chancellor (to 31 March 2017)
Professor Greg Hill – Vice Chancellor and President (to 31 December 2020)
Professor Birgit Lohmann – Chairperson of the Academic Board

Appointed Members – Governor-in-Council

Vacant – Deputy Chancellor
Ms Debra Bennet (to 8 December 2017)
Dr Suzanne Innes (to 8 December 2017)
Ms Julie-Anne Mee (to 8 December 2017)
Ms Jacquelyn Wright (to 8 December 2017)

Appointed Members – Council

Ms Natasha Read (to 8 December 2018)
Professor Gerard Sutton (to 8 December 2017)
Mr Scott Williams (to 8 December 2017)

Elected Members

Professor Robert Elliot – Academic Staff (to 8 December 2017)
Dr Mark Sayers – Academic Staff (to 8 December 2017)
Mr Jon Dickins – Professional Staff (to 8 December 2017)
Mr Michael Jefferies – Undergraduate Student (to 8 December 2017)
Mr Raymart Walker – Undergraduate Student (to 8 December 2017)

Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Audit and Risk Management Committee


Planning and Resources Committee


Honorary Awards Committee

Chair – Mr John Dobson OAM, Chancellor

The Chancellor’s Committee

Chair – Mr John Dobson OAM, Chancellor

Academic Board

Chair – Professor Birgit Lohmann

Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast Board

Chair – Professor Mike Hefferan

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