Margaret Gardner

Margaret Gardner
Margaret Elaine Gardner
BEcon Hons., PhD Syd, Hon.DUniv Grif, AO, FAIM, GAICD
Vice-Chancellor of the
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
Term 2005 – Current
Predecessor Chris Whitaker
Alma mater University of Sydney
Profession Economist
Spouse Glyn Davis

Professor Margaret Elaine Gardner, AO is an Australian academic, community leader and economist, and the current Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) in Melbourne, Australia.



Prof. Gardner earned a bachelor's degree in 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 US at the University of California, Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University.[1]

Career as an academic

Prof. 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.[1]

Prior to her appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of RMIT, she was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland.[1] Prof. Gardner was appointed Vice-Chancellor of RMIT on 4 April 2005, taking over from care-taker Vice-Chancellor Chris Whitaker.

Vice-Chancellor of RMIT

At the time of Prof. Gardner's appointment to Vice-Chancellor, RMIT was at a crucial point in its 118 year history.[2] RMIT's previous Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ruth Dunkin resigned after only four years in the position,[3] and the university was fighting to overcome a A$24 million budget shortfall in 2004 that left it teetering on the edge of disaster.[2][3]

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.[4] 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.[4]

Other current leadership roles



Professional works

Prof. Gardner has authored, co-authoured and edited a number of texts in the fields of industrial relations and human resource management,[5] 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 Prof. Gardner's research is available from the RMIT Research Repository.[6]


In 2007, Prof. 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".[7] She's also an Honorary Doctor of Griffith University.

Personal life

Her husband Prof. 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".[8]


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