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The Council

The University's principal governing body is the Council, comprising 15 members. The Council is led by the Chancellor and Deputy Chancellor, elected by the Council members. It is responsible for the governance of the University, acts in its best interest, drives performance through strategy and stewardship, provides overall strategic guidance and oversees senior management in carrying out that strategic direction.

  • The Council operates in accordance with the Charles Darwin University Act 2003 which sets out the powers and functions of the University and how these must be performed. 

    The Council meets regularly, and meeting agendas include matters that require Council's attention and decision. Papers are prepared for Council's consideration in advance of these meetings. In some cases, management will be invited to attend meetings to present on relevant items.

    Council papers should be concise standalone documents that provide the information that the Council requires to fully understand the issues being raised and where required, to make an appropriately informed decision that meets the needs of the University.

    The Council is served by the University Secretary, and demonstrates a commitment to good governance practices. For further information about any aspect of the Council, including scheduling or submission of papers, contact:

    Mr Ross Springolo
    University Secretary
    T: 08 8946 7790

  • Procedures for the appointment and election of members are prescribed under the Charles Darwin University Election of Members of Council By-laws 2009 (PDF 46KB).

    Council membership consists of:

    • Chancellor
    • Vice-Chancellor
    • Chairperson of the Academic Board
    • eight members appointed by the Administrator
    • four elected members, comprised of:
      • one person elected by and from the full-time higher education academic staff of the University
      • one person elected by and from the full-time VET (TAFE) academic staff of the University
      • one person elected by and from the undergraduate students of the University
      • one person elected by and from the postgraduate students of the University

    The Council is also required to ensure that among its members, there is a diverse range of skills and experience with a broad range of community interests, including expertise in education and vocational training, research and technology, and financial and commercial expertise.

    Council members must act solely in the interests of the University and not as a delegate or representative of a particular constituency when exercising a power or performing a function of office.

  • Member
    Chair Academic Board
    1 January 2018 - 31 December 2021
    Council Secretary: Ross Springolo | Staff profile 
  • Professor Judith Whitworth AC
    Term: 28 September 2018 - 28 September 2021

    Professor Whitworth is recognised internationally as an expert in the areas of kidney function and blood pressure research. Over a career spanning almost 50 years Professor Whitworth held positions in various hospitals, medical research institutes and universities across Australia, in France and the United Kingdom.

    Professor Whitworth has been active in other areas of service including serving as the President of the Australian Society of Medical Research, Chairman of the National Health and Medical Research Council, President of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Advisory Committee on Health Research.

    Professor Whitworth played an important role on the first Council of the new Charles Darwin University in 2003, bringing critical experience in research administration to discussions.

    Mr Ken Davies
    Term: June 2019 - June 2022

    Mr Davies is currently Chief Executive of the Department of Education.

    Ken has a strong background in education, having previously served in senior roles within the department. Mr Davies has served as Chief Executive for the Department of Lands, Planning and Environment, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services and as Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of the Chief Minister.

    Mr Davies is a former Chair of the NT Board of Studies and former NT Principals’ Association President. He has also held appointments to the board of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, the Menzies School of Health Research, the Darwin Waterfront Development Corporation Board and the Land Development Corporation Board.

    Mr Davies holds degrees in education and public sector management.

    Mr Alan Morris AO
    Term: 28 September 2018 - 28 September 2021

    Mr Alan Gregory Morris was, until his retirement in 2010, the Chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

    He continues to work as a consultant with the World Bank, AusAID and USAid. Mr Morris has also been an Executive Director for the Bank of Reconstruction and Development, Secretary of the Tasmanian Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Territory Department of the Chief Minister, and First Assistant Secretary for the Department of Finance in Papua New Guinea.

    Mr Morris brings to membership of Council significant experience in macro level financial management and senior executive management in government.  However, more importantly, it is his skills as an Economist that is considered to be an advantage to Council decision making.

    Mr Richard Ryan AO, Deputy Chancellor
    Term: June 2019 - June 2022

    Council member Richard Ryan AO is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Companion of the Institution of Engineers and a Companion of the Institute of Management (UK). Mr Ryan is a professional company director who is a member of a number of boards which are either public or government. He has been a director of the Minerals Council of Australia, a former Chair of the Northern Territory Tourist Commission and a member of the Business Council of Australia.

    Mr Ryan was awarded the Sir John Loewenthal Award by the National Heart Foundation of Australia for his role as National President and contribution to the Foundation. He was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1989 for Services to the Community and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1998 for Services to Indigenous People. He was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2003.

    Ms Jodie Ryan
    Term: 18 August 2017 - 18 August 2020

    Ms Ryan is the Chief Executive of the Department of the Chief Minister and formerly the Under Treasurer, NT Department of Treasury and Finance. Ms Ryan has over 24 years’ experience in public sector finance and is also the Chair of the Treasury Corporation Advisory Board. Additionally, Ms Ryan has responsibilities in a range of high-level inter-agency committees including the Executive remuneration Review Panel and the Infrastructure sub-committee. Ms Ryan has a Bachelor of Business (Accounting from the Northern Territory University and is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA).

  • Mrs Leena Kesava Panicker, Full-time higher education academic staff
    Term: 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2019

    View Leena's research profile.

    Mr Raymond Simpson, Full-time VET academic staff
    Term: 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2019

  • Mr Mayank Sharma, Postgraduate student

    Mr Benjamin Poveda-Alfonso, Undergraduate student
    Mr Poveda-Alfonso is a Student Services Manager with Navitas and is in the last year of a Bachelor of Accounting Degree.  He is the President of the Charles Darwin University Students’ Association, the National Secretary for the Council of International Students Australia, a CDU Student Ambassador, a Northern Territory Government Returning StudyNT Student Ambassador, CPA Australia Student Ambassador and winner of the 2018 StudyNT International Student of the Year Award.  

    Mr Poveda-Alfonso is passionate about student engagement, connecting cultures and helping people transform their lives.

Academic Board

The Academic Board is the primary forum for debate on academic issues in the University and has a major role in academic quality assurance processes. It is the principal advisory committee to the Council on academic matters and has the mission to protect, promote and enhance the excellence of the University's core academic activities - teaching, learning and research.

The Academic Board operates in accordance with the Charles Darwin University Act 2003 and the Academic Board Terms of Reference (PDF 73KB)  which sets out the powers and functions of the Academic Board and how these must be performed. 

  • Committee name
    Committee contact
    Executive Committee of Academic Board
    Terms of Reference
    Alec Fraser
    Governance Secretariat Officer
    T: 08 8946 6601
    Higher Education Learning and Teaching Committee (HELTC)
    Terms of Reference
    Candice Pennicott 
    T: 08 8946 6568
    VET Learning and Teaching Committee (VETLTC)
    Terms of Reference
    Christine Whalan
    T: 08 8946 7157
    Board of Graduate Studies
    Terms of Reference
    Elizabeth Bird
    T: 08 8946 6402
    Academic Appeals Committee
    Terms of Reference
    Vibeke Foss
    T: 08 8946 7785
  • Procedures for the appointment and election of members are prescribed under the Charles Darwin University Academic Board By-laws (PDF 18KB).

    Elected Staff Membership

    • Chair
    • Deputy Chair - Higher Education
    • Deputy Chair - Vocational Education and Training
    • One (1) member elected by and from the Heads of Schools of the Faculty of Vocational Education and Training
    • Two (2) members elected by and from the College Deans
    • Three (3) members elected by and from the academic staff of the Faculty of Vocational Education and Training
    • Twelve (12) members elected from the Colleges, two (2) from each of six (6) Colleges, elected by the academic staff of the respective College

    Elected Student Membership

    • Two (2) VET students elected by and from the VET student cohort
    • Two (2) undergraduate higher education students elected by and from the undergraduate student cohort
    • Two (2) postgraduate higher education students elected by and from the postgraduate higher education student cohort, one of whom must be a Higher Degree by Research student

    Non-elected Membership

    • Vice-Chancellor
    • Provost
    • Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Research Training
    • Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Operations
    • Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Global Strategy and Advancement
    • Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Engagement and Success
    • Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education Strategy
    • Pro Vice-Chancellor, Vocational Education and Training
    • Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership
    • Pro Vice-Chancellor, Higher Education
    • Director, Menzies School of Health Research

    Permanent Observers

    • Chair of Academic Board, Batchelor Institute

    For further information on any aspect of the Academic Board, including scheduling or submission of papers, contact:

    Mr Alec Fraser
    Academic Board Secretariat
    T: 08 8946 6601

  • CDU recognises that scholarship is a collective and collaborative enterprise that involves all aspects of the University community in the production of knowledge through exploration and inquiry.

    CDU views scholarship as promoting connections between our University, our communities, our peoples and our land.

    CDU scholars critically engage with contemporary issues exploring questions in a spirit of curiosity to seek and analyse evidence.  They utilise a range of epistemologies and ontologies to arrive at findings and positions to contribute to the resolution of important questions.

    CDU scholars value and aspire to social justice and equitable practices to address social and economic inequalities and seek to implement inclusive practices in a diverse community. CDU scholars promote and exemplify high ethical standards in all aspects of scholarship.

    CDU values equally and encourages achievement in the following broad domains of scholarship:

    • Research, innovation and entrepreneurism
    • Teaching, learning and knowledge management
    • Indigenous leadership and knowledges
    • Leadership, governance and operational excellence
    • Student, community and industrial engagement
    • Internationalisation and global engagement

    CDU recognises diverse ways of knowing and making meaning and seeks to apply them in a range of activities. In particular CDU Indigenous Knowledges are assigned an important status by CDU Scholars.

    Multidisciplinary approaches to inquiry that make breakthroughs to new boundaries of knowledge are vigorously encouraged and will be recognised and rewarded by the CDU community.

    CDU values and applies a framework of scholarship which recognises the deep connections between the professions, work, technology and knowledge. CDU promotes the production of knowledge generated through the practice and application of knowledge in the community and workplaces.  CDU views its scholars as scholar practitioners.

    CDU is committed to supporting and nurturing CDU scholars through a career-long systematic and comprehensive approach to career development and planning to attain a notion of excellence.

    This statement was approved by the Academic Board on November 23, 2016.

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