Vice-Chancellor's Fellows

The position of Vice-Chancellor's Fellow strengthens the University's position as a quality higher-education destination including programs in sports-related study and student leadership and personal development programs.

Dennis AltmanProfessor Dennis Altman AM is the son of Jewish refugees, and a writer and academic who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972.

This book, which has often been compared to Greer’s Female Eunuch and Singer’s Animal Liberation, was the first serious analysis to emerge from the gay liberation movement, and was published in seven countries, with a readership that continues today. [In 2010 it was published in Japan, and in 2012 University of Queensland Press issued a fortieth anniversary edition]

Since then Altman has written fourteen books exploring sexuality, politics and their inter-relationship in Australia, the United States and now globally. These include The Homosexualization of America; AIDS and the New Puritanism; Rehearsals for Change; Gore Vidal’s America and Fifty First State?, as well as  a novel The Comfort of Men and memoirs Defying Gravity. His book, Global Sex (Chicago U.P, 2001), has been translated into five languages, including Spanish, Turkish and Japanese. Altman co-edited Why Human Security Matters (Allen & Unwin) and his book The End of the Homosexual? was published by UQP in 2013. Since then there are two new books: Queer Wars [with Jon Symons] (Polity, 2016); and co-edited with Sean Scalmer, How to Vote Progressive in Australia (Monash University Press, 2016).

Altman is a Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Human Security at La Trobe. He was President of the AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific (2001-5), and has been a member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society and a Board member of Oxfam Australia. In 2005 he was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard. He was listed by The Bulletin as one of the 100 most influential Australians ever [July 4 2006], and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2008.

Robert Manne

Robert Manne is an Emeritus Professor of Politics, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Convenor of the Ideas and Society Program at La Trobe University.

He is the author or editor of twenty-seven books, including The Petrov Affair: Politics and Espionage; The Culture of Forgetting: Helen Demidenko and the Holocaust; In Denial: The Stolen Generations and the Right; Left, Right, Left: Political Essays 1977-2005; Making Trouble; Cypherpunk Revolutionary-On Julian Assange; The Mind of the Islamic State; and most recently On Borrowed Time. Manne was editor of Quadrant between 1990 and 1997 and has been chair of the boards of both The Australian Book Review and The Monthly. He has been a regular public affairs columnist for several Australian newspapers and magazines since the mid-1980s and a frequent commentator on ABC radio and television. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Tony Walker

Tony Walker continues to be a working journalist having begun his career as an ABC Specialist Trainee (effectively a cadetship) in 1971 after graduating BA in 1968 in politics and international relations from the Australian National University.

He attended the Monash law school 1965-66 before transferring to Canberra after deciding the disciplines of a law degree were not for him – and not for someone whose intention from a young age was to be a journalist. In his early career at the ABC he worked for the overseas broadcaster, Radio Australia, making programs and broadcasting from its Melbourne headquarters before re-locating to Canberra where he served as Radio Australia’s first Canberra correspondent and diplomatic correspondent for the ABC.

He transferred to The Age in 1976 and served in various posts, including defence and foreign affairs correspondent and chief of staff before being posted to China in 1979 for Fairfax newspapers. There began a long career as a foreign correspondent for both Fairfax and the Financial Times of London. This included, Beijing (1979-1983); Cairo (1984-1993); Beijing again (1993-1998); and New York (1998-1999). He returned to Australia as political editor for The Australian Financial Review (2000-2004) before being posted to Washington as the AFR’s North American editor. He returned to Australia in 2010 as the AFR’s international editor. He took advantage of redundancies offered in 2016 with an understanding he could return as a columnist for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

He is now writing fortnightly column for those papers, along with columns for The Conversation, among other writing assignments. In his lengthy career he has won a number of journalist awards, including two Walkley’s for commentary and the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism. He is a published author, including a biography of the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat (Arafat: The Biography), and most recently a tribute to the golfer, Peter Thomson for MUP (The Peter Thomson Five). He is currently working on a road trip book about the rise of populism in Australia, or a more basic question: what ails the country? His interests these days include catching up on recreational reading (he is a fan of American crime writers: he has a particular affection for the late John D. MacDonald) and sporting pursuits, both as a participant and observer. He is an avid golfer and tennis player. He has a tribal affection for the Geelong Football Club. He divides his time between an apartment in Melbourne and Barwon Heads.

Elizabeth Finkel

Dr Elizabeth Finkel holds a PhD in biochemistry and was a research scientist at the University of California, before becoming an award winning Melbourne based writer.

Her work has appeared in publications ranging from the US journal Science to ABC radio’s Science Show. She is the  author of two books. Stem Cells: Controversy on the Frontiers of Science published in 2005, won a Queensland Premier’s Literary Award.  The Genome Generation, published in 2012, was described by The Canberra Times as “science writing of the highest order.” The Weekend Australian described her as a “scientist with a journalist’s genes.”

Her work for Cosmos Magazine (which she cofounded in 2006) has snapped up four Publishers Australia Excellence Awards. In 2011 she was named the National Press Club’s Higher Education Journalist of the year.  In 2013 her story “Fields of Plenty”, won the Crawford Prize for agricultural journalism. In 2015, she won the Eureka Prize for Science journalism for “A Statin a Day”.

Since 2013, she has been editor in chief of Cosmos magazine.

Professor Graves is the first La Trobe academic to win Australia’s most coveted prize for science, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

She is also the first woman to be individually recognised by this prize. It places her in outstanding company; previous winners include Australian scientists who helped eradicate smallpox, developed the wireless internet and developed the first cancer vaccine.

Her research uses the genetic diversity of Australia’s unique mammals such as the kangaroo, emu and platypus to study how the mammal genome works and how it evolved.

Her life’s work has used marsupials and monotremes, birds and lizards, to understand the complexity of the human genome and to reveal new human genes.

She has transformed our understanding of how sex chromosomes work and how they evolved, predicting the decline and disappearance of the Y chromosome. Her research has contributed to a deeper understanding of many human genes, including those of the immune system, prion diseases and blood proteins. Her work helps to understand the tumour driving the Tasmanian devil to extinction.

Professor Graves has longstanding commitments to women in science, and science education. She won the 2006 international L’Oreal UNESCO prize for women in science, and served as both foreign secretary, and secretary for education in the Australian Academy of Science.

As VC Fellow, Professor Graves will work with La Trobe scientists to integrate genomics into traditional fields of animal biology, ecology and conservation. She will act as a role model and figurehead for La Trobe’s initiatives (including SAGE) to attract more women into STEM disciplines and into senior roles in those disciplines. She will also more broadly help promote women in science.

Mr James Fazzino comes to La Trobe fresh from a successful career in the international chemicals industry, and has just concluded a highly successful eight-year term as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Incitec Pivot Limited.

He also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Finance Director at Incitec, and had senior finance roles in ICI/Orica including CFO Chemicals Group, Assistant Treasurer and Head of Investor Relations.

Under his leadership, Incitec was transformed from a fertiliser co-operative, operating in four Australian states with an enterprise value of $400 million, to a Global Diversified Industrial Chemicals company, operating in 13 countries and with an enterprise value of $8 billion. It is now the world’s second largest supplier of commercial explosives, and Australia’s largest manufacturer and supplier of fertilisers.

Mr Fazzino is also passionate about gender diversity, and oversaw a doubling of the number of women in senior management at Incitec since 2012.

Mr Fazzino is already strongly connected to La Trobe. He is currently a member, and was formerly chair, of the La Trobe Business School Advisory Board, and in 2016 was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the La Trobe Business School.

Mr Fazzino is a La Trobe University alumnus. The first member of his family to attend university, he obtained a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) from the University.

Mr Fazzino will advise the Vice-Chancellor as well as the current and future leadership of the La Trobe Business School on the strategic directions for the School.

Head of the La Trobe Business School, Professor Paul Mather, said students would benefit greatly from Mr Fazzino’s expertise and experience in leading an ASX Top 50 company.

“As Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, he will share his experience with the next generation of leaders, and will play an instrumental role in building critical industry and research links in the School,” Professor Mather said.

“He will bring cutting-edge business practice into the classroom and the curriculum and assist in developing a network of business practitioners to help add to the Business School’s capacity to educate its students for the jobs of the future. He will also be available to mentor both staff and students, and will broker partnerships to help deliver the vision of the University’s new strategic plan to put an outstanding student experience at the heart of everything we do.”

Cathy McGowan

Ms Cathy McGowan AO is a former politician, former teacher and strong advocate for higher education participation in regional and rural Victoria.

Cathy came to national attention when she won the rural Victorian seat of Indi as an independent in 2013. The community backed her again in 2016. In 2019 Indi made Australian political history when Dr Helen Haines was elected as Indi's second, independent woman.

During her time as a politician Cathy actively worked in Parliament to develop policy around regional development, constitutional change for first nations people and a solution to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers.

In 2019 Cathy was awarded The Accountability Round Table award for political integrity. She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2004 "for service to the community through raising awareness of and stimulating debate about issues affecting women in regional, rural and remote areas."

Cathy is a La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor's Fellow, a Churchill Fellow and lives very happily on her farm in the Indigo Valley in NE Victoria.

Mary Stuart

Professor Mary Stuart is Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln.

She is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, SA and the Open University, UK where she obtained her Doctorate in Social Policy in 1998.  Her research interests are focussed on social mobility and higher education, Life Histories and Civic Engagement and Leadership in 21st Century organisations.

Mary has a strong track record in all aspects of university leadership, having worked in senior roles in three different universities.  Since joining Lincoln she has developed the University significantly, including growing Science provision and establishing a new Medical School and developing a strong research base centred on local to global activities including the Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology and the Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health and Care and the Centre for Culture and Creativity. Mary has driven local and regional engagement highlighting Lincoln’s role as a 21st century Civic University, to enhance the regional economy and to connect the global challenges with local need.  She has recently worked as a Commissioner on the Civic University Commission to develop national policy guidelines on Civic Universities. She is the founder of the 21st century Lab examining higher education’s response to changing society in our time.

Passionate about the student experience, Mary seeks to continually drive change and improvements in partnership with students, alumni and the academic community promoting the traditional concept of a community of scholars. Mary was named as the Guardian’s ‘Most Inspiring Leader in Higher Education’ at their HE awards in 2018.  She was also awarded a CBE for her services to Higher Education in the same year.  This year the University of Lincoln was named as Modern University of the Year in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and this year Mary was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce.

National commitments

Mary has always been involved in policy developments nationally.  She was a Higher Education Funding Council for England Board member until 2018 and  is currently a Commissioner on the UPP Foundation’s Student Futures Commission,  was Vice Chair of University UK’s Advisory panel on Admissions and a commissioner on the Civic Universities Commission, a Trustee of the Universities Partnership Programme (UPP) Foundation and a Fellow of the Bridge Group.  Mary is also a member of the National Civic University Network Advisory Group and a member of the Arts Council Cultural Cities Recovery Roundtable. This year after the establishment of the UPP/WonkHE Student Futures Commission, Mary has been appointed as one of the Commissioners. She will be the Chair the sub theme on international students for the future which will report at the end of 2021.

Regional and community commitments

Mary is Chair of the Lincoln Cultural and Arts Partnership (LCAP) and a Founding Director of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP).  She is a member of the Greater Lincolnshire Leaders Board, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Innovation Council, Director of Lincoln Science and Innovation Park (LSIP), Chair of the Members of Lincolnshire Educational Trust (LET) and member of the Lincoln University Technical College (UTC).  Mary also chairs the Lincoln Town Deal Board and the North Lincolnshire Town Deal Board supporting her local town's economic, social and cultural development.