The Senate is the governing body at Murdoch University, and is subject to the Murdoch University Act 1973.

Senate members

  • Chancellor | Ex-officio
    Gary Smith Chancellor of Murdoch University and Chair of the University Senate

    Mr Gary Smith


    Mr Gary Smith was appointed the seventh Chancellor of Murdoch University and Chair of the University Senate on 8 August 2019.

    A highly regarded businessman and community leader, Mr Smith is the former Chairman of Partners at KPMG Western Australia with decades of management consulting experience in large scale program management, strategy and leadership initiatives.

    As Chancellor, he brings access to extensive national and global networks and a strategic focus to help Murdoch University deliver its bold research, infrastructure and learning agenda.

    Mr Smith’s community work includes advocacy for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Western Australians in his role as Co-Chair of Reconciliation WA.

    He is also a current Director of the WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute (WAALI), a Founding Director of the Committee for Perth and a participant in the Hawaiian Ride for Youth.

    Mr Smith holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

  • Interim Vice Chancellor | Ex-officio

    Interim Vice Chancellor Jane den Hollander.

    Professor Jane den Hollander


    Professor Jane den Hollander was appointed Interim Vice Chancellor in October 2021 while the University undertakes a global search and recruitment process for a new Vice Chancellor.

  • One member elected from and by the academic staff
    Gerd Schröder-Turk

    Associate Professor Gerd Schröder-Turk

    Term expires 11 March 2024

    Associate Professor Gerd Schröder-Turk is an internationally recognised scientist with 15 years of professional experience as a teaching&research academic in the Australian and German tertiary sector.

    He received his PhD from the Australian National University in 2005 and completed a habilitation at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in 2014. His area of research, coined ‘Materials Geometry’, is the materials science and physics of nanostructured materials addressed through geometric methods. His interdisciplinary work has contributed to fundamental knowledge in soft condensed matter physics, optics and photonics, stochastic geometry and biological physics and to applications in nano-engineering, biomaterial design and image processing algorithms.

    He is a recipient of the Emmy-Noether-Prize of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg and of the Camurus Lipid Research Foundation Fellowship Award. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

    He has held academic appointments at the Australian National University (2005-06), Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (2006-2015) and Murdoch University (2015-present), and has been a visiting fellow of the Australian National University (2014), Swinburne University (2012), Lund University and Copenhagen University (both 2019).

    He has been the chair of a number of international scientific conferences, including the 2018 Congress of the Australian Institute of Physics and of the 2016 Australian Academy of Science Boden Research Conference.

    Schröder-Turk is currently an Associate Professor at Murdoch University in Perth and an Honorary Associate Professor at the Australian National University. He is an elected member of the Senate and of the Academic Council of Murdoch University and a member of the National Executive committee of the Australian Institute of Physics.

    Schröder-Turk has published work on university governance and has been a public commentator on matters relevant to Australia's tertiary education and research sector. He was named by the Times Higher Education journalists as one of the "People of the year who mattered in higher education in 2019”.

  • One member elected from and by non-academic salaried staff

    Ms Julie Whitlock

    Ms Julie Whitlock

    Term expires 8 April 2024

    Julie is an experienced senior leader with a background in strategy, marketing, product development, customer experience, digital and managing large-scale transformation programs. Currently, Julie is Associate Director of Digital Innovations at Murdoch University leading the Digital First Project to transform the Murdoch website and other digital initiatives to help meet the University strategic pillar of Physical and Digital Environment. Of note is the Murdoch University website winning the 2017 Sitefinity Website of the Year award in the Education Category.

    Prior to joining Murdoch University, Julie held a range of positions at HBF Health with the most recent being Head of Digital Strategy & Operations. Outside of work, Julie is a consumer advocate and member of the Health Consumers’ Council of WA and volunteers on a range of research and consumer projects with organisations such as PMH as and Telethon Kids Institute. Most recently, Julie was appointed as the WA consumer representative on the national Child Digital Health Record Committee.

    Julie has completed numerous executive education courses in the areas of leadership and management in addition to holding an Executive Diploma from ECU.

  • Two members who are students

    One member elected by and from the undergraduate students

    Ms Reyhana Malekloo

    Term expires 13 September 2022

    One member elected by and from the postgraduate students

    Mr David Ugrinov

    Term expires 13 September 2022

  • Two members elected from and by the graduates of the University

    Mr Jethro Schoeman

    Term expires 31 December 2024

    Mr Roland Belford

    Term expires 31 December 2023

    Roland Belford graduated from Murdoch University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Australian Indigenous Studies. Whilst a student Roland captained the hockey team, was President of the Student Guild and founded a club dedicated to Pokémon.

    Roland believes that public universities should serve the public of Western Australia and be run for the social good above all else. He passionately believes that public institutions like Murdoch should be transparent, accountable and open to critique and scrutiny.

    When not spending time with his partner Anika and dog Lyra, Roland works as a student advocate for the Murdoch Guild of Students.

  • Three members appointed by the Governor

    Mr Peter Kerr

    Mr Peter Kerr

    Term expires 21 December 2024

    Peter is an experienced resources industry executive who has worked in the Australian and North American mining sectors for the last 20 years, including hands on finance, corporate and operating roles for precious and base metals, energy and bulk materials businesses. He has held CEO and CFO positions focused upon business strategy, commercial and financial management and reporting, organisational and business development, capital management and investment market activities, and legal and company secretarial matters.

    Peter held the position of CFO of ASX-listed iron ore producer Mount Gibson Iron Limited from 2012, and was appointed CEO in October 2018.

    Peter holds a Commerce degree from the University of Western Australia, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Finance from the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Peter also sits on the Executive Council of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) and the Corporate, Regulation and Tax committee of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC). Outside his business commitments, Peter is Chairman of medical research institution The Diabetes Research Foundation of Western Australia Inc.

    Peter is also Chairman of the Resources Committee of the Murdoch University Senate.

  • No more than five members co-opted by the Senate

    Mr Ross Holt

    Deputy Chancellor Ross Holt

    Term expires 9 June 2023

    Ross has an Honours Degree in Economics from the University of Western Australia and has been a career public servant. He spent 18 years in the Western Australian State Treasury department with his last 4 years as Assistant Under Treasurer. In this role he was responsible for economic and taxation policy, financial relations with the Commonwealth government and the internal IT and corporate functions.

    In 1993 he was appointed CEO of the WA Land Authority (LandCorp) and over his extensive 20 year tenure oversaw its growth into a major land and infrastructure development agency involved in all areas of the Western Australian property industry. With annual revenues in the order of Au$400-500 million and a staff of 220, LandCorp had a portfolio of more than 150 projects involving the residential, commercial, regional and industrial sectors.

    After retiring from the WA public sector in 2014 Ross has been engaged in various property and development related entities. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the Murdoch University Senate including, Resources and Chancellor's and Nominations Committees.

    Mr Gavin Buckingham

    Mr Gavin Buckingham

    Term expires 17 August 2023

    Gavin is a partner at Ernst & Young has more than 30 years experience providing audit and advisory services to large listed and private organisations in the UK, USA, Africa and Australia.

    Gavin is the Oceania Assurance Mining and Metals Leader responsible for overseeing the development and execution of Ernst & Young’s go to market M&M assurance strategy across Oceania.

    Mr Ross Hughes

    Mr Ross Hughes

    Term expires 1 September 2023

    Ross graduated from Curtin University (then “WAIT”) in 1980 and joined BankWest’s inaugural graduate recruitment programme, which launched a 25 year career in financial services ranging from branches, to human resources, international lending in Edinburgh, and ultimately Chief Financial Officer of the HBOS Australia Group of companies.

    He joined the West Australian Water Corporation in 2006 in the role of CFO which has enabled him to lead a wide range of areas including finance, pricing, procurement, property, strategy, legal services, insurance and risk.

    Ross was awarded the WS Lonnie Award for Chief Financial Officer of the Year in 2009 by the WA Institute of Public Administration Australia and the Australia-wide Public Sector Finance Manager of Year in the 2011 Fairfax Dealbook Awards.

    Ross is a member of the Water Services Association of Australia Utility Excellence Committee and member of the Perth Seawater Desalination Plant Operations and Maintenance Alliance Lead Team.

    Ross is on Fellow of CPA Australia and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

    Stephanie Unwin

    Term expires 4 October 2023


    Emeritus Professor Robyn Owens

    Term expires  05 December 2024

    Robyn is a senior academic in the Australian university sector and the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) of the University of Western Australia. She has over 30-years’ experience working as a teacher, researcher, and university leader, focusing on strategy and national policy.

    Robyn was trained in mathematics at UWA, Oxford and the University of Paris. Her research was primarily in computer vision, where she contributed to both theoretical and applied aspects of feature recognition in images and image understanding. Her work has been acknowledged with several national and international awards, including the 2010 UK Rank Prize.

    Robyn is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering, and the Australian Computer Society. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Vincent Fairfax Ethical Leadership Program. She is currently a Board member of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute and the Australian Maths Trust and Chairs the ACCESS-NRI Board.

  • President of Academic Council (ex-officio)

    Parisa Bahri

    Professor Parisa A. Bahri

    Term expires 31 December 2023

    Parisa Bahri is a Professor of Engineering at Murdoch University, the President of Academic Council and the Head of Engineering and Energy.

    Following the completion of her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Sydney University in 1995, Parisa started her academic career as a lecturer in the same department, moving to Murdoch University in 1997 to help setting up engineering programs. Parisa has had a busy career in terms of teaching, research and administrative roles. She has been involved in establishing many of the teaching programs in Engineering at Murdoch University, has supervised numerous postgraduate students and has attracted and administered many industrial and collaborative research grants.

    Since 1997, Parisa has held various administrative roles including chairship and membership of several key University committees, such as University Promotion Committees, Academic Council, and Self Assessment Team for Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) program, to name a few. 

    Parisa is a Fellow of Engineers Australia (by invitation) and the WA representative on the National Committee on Automation, Control and Instrumentation.

  • Secretary to Senate

    Ms Trudi McGlade

    University Secretary


Good governance promotes better performance

Our Senate Charter sets out the guiding governance principles and practices that should be upheld at all times, as well as bringing together the policies and procedures that the Senate adopts and which form part of best practice governance.

All of Murdoch’s stakeholders are entitled to demand performance, fairness, transparency, accountability and appropriate disclosure from the Senate. This dictates that a comprehensive professional focus on effective governance must take high priority.

Governance offers a framework for approving the Strategic Plan of the institution, the oversight of its resources, the approval of its policies and procedures, the appointment, review and support of its Vice Chancellor, and an informed understanding of its programs and activities.

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving Murdoch's governance standards, the Senate has adopted this Statement of Governance Principles.

University Chancellors Council

Murdoch University is a participant in the University Chancellors Council (UCC). The UCC comprises Chancellors of all public, not-for-profit universities within Australia. The UCC is used as a means for university Chancellors to discuss key issues and current events surrounding the tertiary education sector in Australia.


Meeting datesDocument deadlines

Thursday 10 March 2022

Thursday 24 February 2022

Tuesday 10 May 2022

Tuesday 26 April 2022

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Tuesday 5 July 2022

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Tuesday 22 November 2022