The University of Newcastle, Australia

Meet our Council members

Council Members 2020

Photo: as at Dec 2019

Front Row (L to R): Ms Helena Qian, Professor Mark Jones (term ended 31 Dec 2019), Dr Kylie Twyford (term ended 31 August 2020), Professor Peter Coaldrake AO (until 3 June 2020), The Deputy Chancellor, Mrs Michelle McPherson (from 26 June 2020), Ms Jann Gardner

Second Row (L to R): Ms Julie Phillips, Conjoint Professor Geoff Lilliss, Ms Dianne Allen (Deputy Chancellor until 26 June 2020, current University Secretary), Chancellor Mr P.E. (Paul) Jeans, Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, Mr Bob Kennedy AM

Third Row (L to R): Mr John Bowers, Assoc Prof Brendan Boyle, Dr Roslyn Larkin (term ended 31 August 2020), Mr Doug Dean AM

Not Shown: President of Academic Senate Professor Victoria Haskins (from 1 Jan 2020), Dr Eileen Doyle (from 27 June 2020), Ms Natalie Downing (from 1 September 2020), Professor Jennifer Martin (from 1 September 2020).

Official Members

The Chancellor, Mr Paul Jeans


Paul Jeans was appointed as the University of Newcastle's seventh Chancellor on 1 July 2013.Mr Jeans is also a non-executive director of the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre Ltd.

Mr Jeans was brought up at Teralba on Lake Macquarie and had his secondary schooling at Newcastle Boys High School. Mr Jeans completed a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at the Newcastle University College at Tighes Hill, the antecedent institution to the University of Newcastle.

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Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO

BMathSc(Hons), PhD, Hon DSc(UOW), GradDip(AICD), FAA, FTSE, FIEEE, Hon FIEAust, FAICD

Professor Alex Zelinsky AO is the University of Newcastle’s 8th Vice-Chancellor and President and commenced in the role on 19 November 2018. Prior to joining the University, Professor Zelinsky was Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist and leader of Defence Science and Technology within the Department of Defence.

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President of Academic Senate, Professor Victoria Haskins

BA(Hons), PhD(Sydney)

Victoria Haskins is a Professor of History in the School of Humanities and Social Science in the Faculty of Education and Arts, and Director of the Purai Global Indigenous History Centre.

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External members appointed by the Minister

Conjoint Professor Geoff Lilliss

BE(Hons), MBA(Merit)(Newcastle), Hon FIEAust, MAICD

Geoff Lilliss’ career spans senior executive positions in Australia’s electrical power and manufacturing industries. He is recognised for managing large utility networks, delivering billion dollar investment programmes, his leadership in policy development, renewables and industry regulation, leadership  of organisational change and developing key markets.

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Mr Robert (Bob) Kennedy AM


With an extensive career as a global business leader in the food technology industry, Mr Bob Kennedy AM began his career in industrial engineering at Port Kembla before moving to the United Kingdom to work for British Insulated Callender's Cables (BICC), the largest non-ferrous cables manufacturer in the world.

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External members appointed by Council

The Deputy Chancellor, Mrs Michelle McPherson

BBus(Accounting)(UTS), CA, GAICD

After joining nib in 2003 as the company's Chief Financial Officer, Michelle was  Group Chief Financial Officer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer as well as Company Secretary of nib holdings limited until 2020.

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Ms Jann Gardner

BA/LLB(Sydney), MBA(Newcastle), GAICD

Ms Jann Gardner is the Chair of Hunter United Employees Credit Union Ltd (HUECU), the largest credit union in the Hunter Region, and a non executive director of StateCover Mutual Ltd, an insurer of local government instrumentalities and Arch LMI Ltd, a mortgage insurer.

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Mr John Bowers

BCom(Hons1), MCom(Newcastle), AM(Harvard), CFA

John Bowers’ career is divided into four phases. First, he was an accountant with Tubemakers of Australia, Newcastle Works, who provided the cadetship that allowed John to become one of the initial 1965 group of undergraduates at the University of Newcastle. While with Tubemakers John initiated and
managed electronic data processing at the Newcastle Works.

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Mr Doug Dean AM

BCom(Newcastle), FCPA, FIML

Doug Dean is Chairman, Veolia Australia and New Zealand. Joining Veolia, then Collex in 1991, Doug Dean is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the Veolia Group Australia and New Zealand.

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Ms Julie Phillips

BPharm, DHP, MSc(Sydney), MBA(Macq)

Ms Julie Phillips has a strong background in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, having worked as the CEO and Director of start-up Australian biotechnology companies operating in the life sciences sector.

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Dr Eileen Doyle


Dr Eileen Doyle was born in Newcastle and studied at the University of Newcastle and Columbia University in New York.  Her career spans decades as a senior executive, Non-Executive Director and Chairman across a number of industries.

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Elected academic staff members

Associate Professor Brendan Boyle

BBus(DkIT, Ireland), MBS(UCD, Ireland), PhD(Sydney)

Associate Professor Brendan Boyle is currently a lecturer of international management in Newcastle Business School. Brendan completed his Masters of Business Studies Degree in University College Dublin’s Graduate School of Business and completed his PhD within the Discipline of International Business
at the University of Sydney.

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Professor Jennifer Martin

PhD(Monash), MB ChB(Otago, NZ), MA (Oxford, UK)

Professor Martin is a physician and academic healthcare leader with skillsets and experience in complex regulatory and performance environments in both health and education.

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Elected non-academic staff member

Ms Natalie Downing

BA, DipEd, MMktg(Newcastle), AMusA

Natalie’s experience at the University of Newcastle is extensive spanning almost 30 years across all University of Newcastle faculties and a number of divisions.

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Elected student member

Miss Helena Qian


With a penchant for keeping busy, Helena Qian is a Bachelor of Medicine and Diploma in Languages student with a passion for global health, meaningful youth engagement and effective altruism.

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