Meet our Council members

Council Members 2021

Photo: as at Dec 2020

Front Row (L to R): Julie Phillips, Associate Professor Brendan Boyle, Deputy Chancellor Michelle McPherson, Chancellor Paul Jeans, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, President of Academic Senate Professor Victoria Haskins, Lucas Dowling.

Back Row (L to R): Jann Gardner, John Bowers, Natalie Downing, Bob Kennedy AM, Dr Eileen Doyle (to 16 June 2021), Doug Dean AM, Conjoint Professor Geoff Lilliss (to 31 August 2021), Professor Jennifer Martin (to 6 June 2021).

Not Shown: Dr Stephanie Fahey

Official Members

The Chancellor, Mr Paul Jeans


Mr Paul Jeans was appointed as the University of Newcastle's seventh Chancellor on 1 July 2013.  Paul is also the Chair of the Australian Genomic Cancer Medicine Centre Ltd (OMICO).  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW and Chairs its Hunter Branch.  He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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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), FAHA

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

Mr Kevin Young

BE(Hons1), MBA(Newcastle), FIEAust, FAICD

Kevin Young is a Non Executive Director and previous Managing Director with extensive experience in leadership within the water industry in Australia and overseas.

Kevin has more than 18 years’ experience as a Director. He is currently on the Board of TasWater, CityCare NZ and Apex Environmental NZ.

For 15 years he was Managing Director of Hunter Water and then Sydney Water.

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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

Michelle is currently the Chief Financial Officer of IAG.  Prior to this appointment, Michelle was the Group Chief Financial Officer, Deputy Chief Executive Officer as well as Company Secretary of nib holdings limited.

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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; Arch LMI Ltd, a mortgage insurer and IMB Bank, a large mutual bank.

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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 the former Managing Director and Chairman of Veolia Australia and New Zealand. Joining Veolia, then Collex in 1991, Doug Dean was 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 is a pharmacist with 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 Stephanie Fahey

PhD(ANU), BA(Hons)(USyd), FAICD

Over her 40 years in leadership positions of universities, the private sector and the Australia Public Sector Dr Stephanie Fahey has driven strategic change. From 2017-2020, she was the first female Chief Executive Officer of Austrade, the Australian Government agency responsible for promoting trade, investment and international education, and tourism policy, programs and research.

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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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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

Mr Lucas Dowling

Lucas Dowling was raised a Novocastrian, attending Newcastle Grammar School for primary and half of secondary school, until attending The King's School in North Parramatta from Year 10 until his graduation in 2018.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.