Sharon Bell

Person's affiliation

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Planning) Western Sydney University

Honorary Professor, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University

Sharon Bell is an academic leader with twenty-five years of leadership experience in the Australian higher education sector. She is currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Planning) at Western Sydney University and an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University. Professor Bell is also an Emeritus Professor at the University of Wollongong.

Professor Bell holds a PhD from the University of Sydney in the discipline of Anthropology and began her career as an ethnographic filmmaker at Film Australia. In addition to holding senior executive roles in Australian universities over the past decade she has conducted research on gender equity in the Australian academy and she authored the influential report Women in Science in Australia: Maximising Productivity,
Diversity and Innovation (FASTS, 2009). With Professor Lyn Yates from the University of Melbourne she has completed a major project as CI on an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant on Women in the Scientific Research Workforce: Identifying and Sustaining the Diversity Advantage. 

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Charles Darwin University (2011-2016) Professor Bell had what might be described as an unparalleled coupling of strategic and leadership challenges in the tertiary education sector. In this role, with responsibility for the International, Research and Academic portfolios she led a highly focussed and strategic engagement agenda that concentrated on developing long-term and multi-faceted
relationships with a small number of valued partners, together with capacity building investment in a wider range of institutions.

Throughout her career Professor Bell has also been privileged to work closely with Australian Indigenous Communities. Her award winning documentary 88.9 Radio Redfern was first screened on Australian television in 1989, is regularly rescreened on NITV and was screened in 2016 at the ARC cinema in Canberra as part of the Black Screen program.

Professor Bell established the University of Wollongong’s artistic exchange program with the Yolngu community of Yirrkala, a link that was strengthened during her time at Charles Darwin University with community leaders at Galiwin’ku. 
Professor Bell is a regular contributor to the Higher Education supplement of The Australian and also to The Conversation. Her commentary focuses on equity in the higher education sector.

Recently added resources


An essay on higher education by Professor Sharon Bell
14 Sep 2017

With higher education in the spotlight and legislation before the federal parliament, the Whitlam Institute has released this paper, which offers a bold and personal account of how universities have ‘fallen from grace.’

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