Denise Bradley, former vice chancellor and president of the University of South Australia (UniSA) and current president of the Australian College of Educators, is renowned for her unflagging efforts to raise the standard of higher education in Australia and abroad.
Bradley began work as a secondary school teacher in the early 1960s and soon became disillusioned with the barriers faced by female teachers. In the mid-1970s, she set out to improve women’s education and employment opportunities and, by the end of the decade, she had been appointed a government advisor on women’s education. In 1997, she became head of UniSA, the third woman ever selected as a president of an Australian university. She retired in May 2007.Bradley has served on national and international bodies, advising governments on educational policy. “We must endeavour to make education truly open to all,” she says. In March 2008, the newly-elected federal government appointed her to chair a panel to develop a blueprint for higher education in Australia until 2020. In addition to her educational activities, she is a key promoter of the arts.Professor Bradley’s ability to bring about change has won wide recognition. “I wanted to change things and I was born at the right time for that to be possible for a woman,” she said. “I have been very fortunate both to cause some of the ripples and then ride the wave of economic and social change which has changed women’s lives in a generation.”For services to her state, Bradley was named South Australian of the Year in 2005. In 2003, she was awarded the Centenary Medal, honouring people who have made a major contribution to Australian society, and, in January 2008, she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, the nation’s greatest civic honour, for services to higher education.
Published in 2008