Professor Sandra Harding AO


Professor Sandra Harding took up her appointment as Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University  Australia in January 2007. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Townsville, Cairns and Singapore.

Educated at the Australian National University, the University of Queensland and North Carolina State University (USA), Professor Harding is an economic sociologist with a keen scholarly interest in markets and how they work, and organisation survey methodology. She also has a keen professional interest in education policy and management.

Professor Harding has extensive academic and academic leadership experience. In addition, she has undertaken a wide variety of senior university-aligned roles as well as memberships/directorships of a variety of local, national and international boards and councils.

Current roles include: Member, the Australia-China Council Board; Co-Chair, the New Colombo Plan; Member, International Education and Training Advisory Council Queensland; Director, Regional Australia Institute; Council Member, the Australian Institute for Marine Science; Director, North Queensland Cowboys NRL club; Member, Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) Advisory Board; Member, Australian Research Council (ARC) Advisory Board; Director of Townsville Enterprises and of Advance Cairns (regional economic development bodies).

Previous external roles include: Commissioner, Queensland Independent Commission of Audit (March 2012 to February 2013); Australia's representative, University Grants Commission for the University of the South Pacific; Chair, Australian Statistics Advisory Council; Member, HIH Assessment Review Panel; Board member, Skills Queensland; Board member, Australian Learning and Teaching Council; Chairman, Brisbane Marketing; Director, Australian Institute for Commercialisation; Director, Global Foundation for Management Education (Montreal); Chair, Innovative Research Universities (an alliance of seven Australian universities: Charles Darwin, Griffith, La Trobe, Flinders, Murdoch, Newcastle and James Cook universities); Inaugural President, Australian Business Deans Council; Vice-President, Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance.

In 2003, Professor Harding was recognised as North Carolina State University's College of Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Alumna for that year. In 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate for services to education from Japan's Josai International University, and in 2012, she was recognised as an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (ACE) and was named the ACE 2012 Queensland Medallist "…in recognition of her leadership of education in the tropics that has seen a new academic emphasis on life and the people of the tropics".

Professor Harding is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.