Universities Australia New Chief Executive Vows to Advance Higher Education

Australia Oceania Higher Education News by Erudera News Jan 29, 2024

Luke Sheehy, Universities Australia Director

Luke Sheehy, who led the Australian Technology Network of Universities for nearly five years, will soon take over as the new leader of Universities Australia, the country’s peak body for the higher education sector.

Universities Australia board appointed Sheehy as the new chief executive of Universities Australia last month. He will replace Catriona Jackson, who led the organization for seven and a half years, Erudera.com reports.

“After seven-and-a-half years at UA, including five as chief executive, it is time to hand the baton on, and the end of the Australian Universities Accord process is a good time to depart,” Jackson said in her announcement that she will leave the post.

Sheehy, who is expected to take office in February 2024, pledged to dedicate his energy to making meaningful changes and advancing Australian universities over the next five years in office.

Reflecting on his connection to education as the first in his family to graduate from a university, he said knows the power of education to transform people’s lives, adding that he feels honored to lead such an important sector, adding that

“I bring with me to UA a deep passion for higher education and will use my role to advocate for the policies and funding our sector needs to ensure we can educate more Australians and continue undertaking game-changing research,” he stressed.

Commenting on the new appointment, Universities Australia Chair David Lloyd expressed enthusiasm about Sheehy leading the organization during an important period, highlighting his familiarity with the higher education system.

“His skills and knowledge will be of immense benefit to UA as we continue to work with government to foster an environment in which universities can continue delivering for the nation,” Lloyd said.

Previously, Luke Sheehy was a former adviser to the Minister of Environment Tanya Plibersek, former Labor tertiary education minister Chris Evans, and an education and strategy consultant for the Asian Development Bank. He also held senior management roles at Swinburne University.

Universities Australia is an organization representing Australia’s 39 comprehensive universities nationwide.

According to data published on the organization’s website, Australia has more than 1.6 million students pursuing higher education. Of these, about 1.5 million are enrolled at Universities Australia member institutions.

The country is also one of the most popular study destinations for international students, attracting 768,113 for the January-October 2023 period, data by the government indicate.

Most international students choosing Australia to study are from China, followed by those from India, Nepal, and Colombia in fourth place.

Photograph: Luke Sheehy's LinkedIn.

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