The former global head of the Rhodes Scholarships, Dr Donald Markwell, BEcon(Hons) (Qld), MA, MPhil, DPhil (Oxon), is the eleventh Head of St Paul’s College. Dr Markwell is an experienced, dynamic and internationally recognised educational leader, chosen to lead the College at an important time in its history. He has over 25 years’ experience of working with students and for the benefit of students in colleges in Oxford and Australia.
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.
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 (2015-2017). He worked closely with Foreign Minister The Hon Julie Bishop MP 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.
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.
Dr Markwell succeeded the Rev’d Dr Ivan Head, who retired at the end of 2017 after serving as Warden since 1994.
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.
Dr Markwell’s official appointment is initially 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 has appointed a Chaplain, the Rev’d Antony Weiss.
Dr Markwell will lead the College through a period of significant change. From 2018 it will have some 300 undergraduate men in residence, and from 2019 it will also offer an additional 140 postgraduate places to women and men studying at the University of Sydney.
Dr Markwell 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 is 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. 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.
Dr Markwell said at the time his appointment was announced: “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”.
“I am committed to St Paul’s College being a centre of excellence, not a bastion of privilege.”