The former global head of the Rhodes Scholarships, Dr Donald Markwell, is to be the next Head of St Paul’s College within the University of Sydney.
In announcing Dr Markwell’s appointment, the Chair of the College Council, Mr Mark Elliott, said the College was delighted to attract such an experienced, dynamic and internationally recognised educational leader to lead the College at an important time in its history.
“Dr Markwell is profoundly committed to the kind of broadening and life-changing collegiate education that St Paul’s College offers its students”, Mr Elliott said.
“He has over 25 years’ experience of working with students and for the benefit of students in colleges in Oxford and Australia”, he said.
“This includes serving as a Fellow of three Oxford colleges for well over a decade, and over nine years as Warden of Trinity College in the University of Melbourne.”
Dr Markwell will commence at St Paul’s College in February 2018. He will succeed the Rev’d Dr Ivan Head, who retires at the end of this year after serving as Warden since 1994.
Mr Elliott added, “St Paul’s acknowledges the outstanding contribution made by Ivan Head to the College and the lives of more than 1,500 residents during his 23 years as Warden, many of whom are now making significant contributions to our nation and globally.”
Dr Markwell’s official appointment will initially be as Vice-Warden and Head of College until the St Paul’s College Act (1854) is amended to remove the requirement that the Warden be an ordained Anglican clergyman. It is intended that he will then formally be appointed as Warden. The College will appoint a Chaplain from 2018 onwards.
Dr Markwell, who follows in the footsteps of ten distinguished Wardens of St Paul’s College since the 1850s, has been an active Anglican layman for many years, including serving as a Lay Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, and St George’s Cathedral, Perth.
About Dr Markwell
Rhodes Scholar for Queensland for 1981, Dr Markwell was the first Rhodes Scholar to be Warden of Rhodes House, Oxford (2009-12).
He had previously served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) of the University of Western Australia (2007-09), Warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne (1997-2007), and Fellow and Tutor in Politics at Merton College, Oxford (1986-97).
In each of these positions, he has worked tirelessly to improve the student learning experience and to expand opportunities for students, including through curriculum reform and the creation of many scholarships.
Since 2013, Dr Markwell has served as Senior Adviser on Higher Education to the Federal Minister for Education (2013-15), and Senior Adviser to the Attorney-General and Leader of the Government in the Senate (since 2015).
He worked closely with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on the development of the New Colombo Plan, which supports Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region.
Dr Markwell studied at the University of Queensland, the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and Princeton University in the United States.
As well as teaching and mentoring undergraduate and postgraduate students for many years in Oxford, he has held the title of Professor and worked closely with students in four Australian universities.
A political scientist, his publications include several books on international relations, constitutions and other political issues, higher education, and leadership.
About St Paul’s College and collegiate education
Founded in 1854, and the oldest university college in Australia, St Paul’s College is an Anglican residential college within the University of Sydney.
St Paul’s is currently undergoing a period of significant change. From 2018 it will have some 300 undergraduate men in residence, and from 2019 it will also offer 140 postgraduate places to women and men studying at the University of Sydney.
St Paul’s is located adjacent to The Women’s College at the University of Sydney.
Dr Markwell said that he believes passionately in the benefits to students from living and learning together in a residential academic community such as St Paul’s and other colleges of the University of Sydney.
“Almost all of the world’s greatest universities are collegiate, or at least residential, universities”, he said.
“There is growing focus in universities in many countries on the immense value to students of immersion in the academic, extra-curricular, and social life of a residential college in which each individual is valued and supported.”
Dr Markwell said that he was committed to ensuring the best possible collegiate education for students at St Paul’s College, including mentoring its students, and increasing opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds.
“As well as academic and extra-curricular success, this includes upholding the values for which the College stands, including genuine respect for women and men alike”, he said.
In his leadership of the Rhodes Scholarships, Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, and elsewhere, Dr Markwell has been an active champion of equality of respect and opportunity for women and men.
“I look forward with enthusiasm to working with students, alumni and friends of the College, and with colleagues in other colleges and throughout the University of Sydney, and in the Anglican Church”, he said.
“I am committed to St Paul’s College being a centre of excellence, not a bastion of privilege.”
Dr Markwell’s appointment welcomed
In welcoming Dr Markwell’s appointment, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, The Most Rev’d Dr Glenn Davies, said “I am delighted with the news of the appointment of Dr Markwell to St Paul’s College. He comes with a distinguished background in leading university colleges and a passion for developing a community of scholars within the ethos of an Anglican college.”
Outgoing Warden Dr Ivan Head said, “I could not be happier with the appointment of Don Markwell as my successor. I have no doubt that Don’s fierce intellect, strong networks, vision for collegiate education and personal commitment to the Anglican faith will enable St Paul’s to engage further with the best that the University offers.”
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Dr Michael Spence, said “I am delighted for St Paul’s College that it has been able to recruit a candidate of the calibre of Dr Markwell. He will be an excellent mentor and support to the students and has a clear vision for the value of a liberal education.”
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, in welcoming the appointment of Dr Markwell, said “Don Markwell played a crucial role in developing the policy framework of the New Colombo Plan. His contribution helped ensure the success of a visionary project that will pay dividends for Australia’s national interest for decades to come.”
The Principal of The Women’s College at the University of Sydney, Dr Amanda Bell, said: “I have known Dr Don Markwell for several years. He is a highly-regarded educational leader, scholar and public policy thinker who is a strong advocate for gender equality. I very much look forward to working with him to improve the academic, leadership and co-curricular experiences of our students, as well as ensuring active cooperation between all colleges and the University to achieve continuous cultural improvement.”
24 November 2017