Peter Dawkins AO

Professor Peter Dawkins AO was Vice-Chancellor and President of Victoria University from 2011 to December 2020.
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Professor Peter Dawkins AO is former Vice-Chancellor and President of Victoria University. Peter led a university that is inclusive, not exclusive and provides outstanding education opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds.

Peter implemented the VU Block Model® in 2018 – a revolutionary, Australian first way of teaching where students study one subject at a time, in smaller classes. Students have more one-on-one time with dedicated teachers and the results have proven its success.

Peter returned to the classroom to teach a first-year economics class in the block model. The experience reinvigorated his love of teaching and reinforced his commitment to advancing the opportunities offered to students in the west of Melbourne and beyond.

Dual-sector Paper in Response to VET Funding Reform Discussions: Proposals from Australia's Dual-sector Universities (PDF, 1.89 MB)

Reforming Post-secondary Education in Australia: Perspectives from Australia's Dual-sector Univerisities (PDF, 1.87 MB)

Vision for Melbourne's west & beyond

Peter has an incredible passion for the west of Melbourne - Victoria University’s heartland.

With former Premier Steve Bracks, he established the West of Melbourne Economic Development Alliance (WoMEDA). The alliance will create an overarching economic growth strategy for Melbourne’s west to:

  • invigorate the region
  • address problems of population growth and employment
  • identify skills and clear pathways for industry and development.

Peter is the Deputy Chair of WoMEDA.

Education & background

Peter was born in the UK. He holds a Bachelor of Science and PhD from Loughborough University (where he became a Distinguished Alumnus in 2012). He also holds a Master of Science (Economics) from the University of London. He came to Australia in 1984 and became an Australian Citizen in 1988.

He was Curtin University’s first Professor of Economics from 1990 to 1995 and the Ronald Henderson Professor and Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne from 1996 to 2005.

From 2005 to 2010 he held senior positions in the Victorian Public Service, including Deputy Secretary of the Department of Treasury and Finance and Secretary of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

In 2017 he received an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Peter’s personal interests

Peter lives in the west of Melbourne with his wife Susan Sleep. He has two children, Emily and Mark.

In his own time, he is a keen sports enthusiast. Having been a club cricketer and a coach, he continues to follow cricket with keen interest.

He is a "one-eyed" Western Bulldogs supporter, and is still reminiscing about the AFL Premiership glory achieved by the Doggies in 2016.