Margaret Gardner

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For other people named Margaret Gardner, see Margaret Gardner (disambiguation).
Margaret Gardner
Vice-Chancellor of
Monash University
In office
2014 – Current
Preceded by Ed Byrne
Personal details
Spouse(s) Glyn Davis
Alma mater University of Sydney
Profession Economist

Margaret Elaine Gardner, AO is an Australian academic, community leader and economist, and the current Vice-Chancellor of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.[1]


Gardner earned a Bachelor of Economics with first class honours from the University of Sydney, and later a PhD with a thesis on Australian industrial relations. Following the completion of her PhD, she was awarded a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship and studied in the United States at the University of California, Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University.[2]

Career as an academic[edit]

Gardner has had a prominent career as an academic, and has served in executive positions with Deakin University, Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology.[2]

Prior to her appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of RMIT, she was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland.[2] Prof. Gardner was appointed Vice-Chancellor of RMIT on 4 April 2005, taking over from care-taker Vice-Chancellor Chris Whitaker.

Monash University announced on the 17 December 2013 that she will take over as Vice-Chancellor of Monash on 1 September 2014.

Vice-Chancellor of RMIT[edit]

At the time of Professor Gardner's appointment to Vice-Chancellor, RMIT was at a crucial point in its 118-year history.[3] RMIT's previous Vice-Chancellor Professor Ruth Dunkin resigned after only four years in the position,[4] and the university was fighting to overcome a A$24 million budget shortfall in 2004 that left it teetering on the edge of disaster.[3][4]

By the end of her first year as Vice-Chancellor, RMIT had posted a A$23.2 million surplus for 2005 which increased to a A$50.1 million surplus by 2007.[5] The fast turn around in finances at RMIT was achieved through the sale of property in the university's extensive real estate portfolio, a 9% increase in student fees and cutting 180 staff positions.[5]

Other current leadership roles[edit]



Professional works[edit]

Gardner has authored, co-authoured and edited a number of texts in the fields of industrial relations and human resource management,[6] which have been widely used as course texts in Australian universities. She's also a regular contributor to a wide range of international journals and speaker at various academic and government conferences.

Between 1998 and 2002, as Chair of two major Queensland Government taskforces, Prof. Gardner also authored three government reviews: Queensland Industrial Relations Legislation, Pathways Articulation Through the Post-Compulsory Years of School to Further Education Training and Labour Market Participation.

A selection of Gardner's research is available from the RMIT Research Repository.[7]


In 2007, Gardner was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours, for her "service to tertiary education, particularly in the areas of university governance and gender equity; and to industrial relations in Queensland".[8] She is also an Honorary Doctor of Griffith University.

Personal life[edit]

Her husband Professor Glyn Davis, AC, is also the current Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, and together they are regularly referred to as "Melbourne's top academic couple".[9]