Additional information

Provided by John Hearn

John Hearn – Bio  (USAP/AAUP Conference 19 Feb 2021)     – 200 words.

John Hearn is Founding Co-Chair of the Australia Africa Universities Network; Adjunct Professor, Institute for Global Development, University of New South Wales – Sydney; and Professor Emeritus of Physiology at the University of Sydney. Born in India and raised in East Africa, he received his BSc (1st hons), MSc and DSc (hc) from University College Dublin, and PhD from the Australian National University (ANU). He served 7 years each in leading research, teaching and administrative positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, London UCL, Wisconsin, ANU, and Sydney. He was DVC (Research) at ANU 2000-4, and DVC (Academic and International) at Sydney 2004-13. He teaches first year and advanced students in science and biomedicine, has published 220 research papers and six edited books in reproduction and fertility, stem cell biology and biotechnology. His current research is in stem cell policy and higher education reform. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. A committed international citizen, he works globally in research capacity development. He is an adviser to the Australian Government, WHO, British Council, and OECD. He was (to 2013) a Board member of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation; and founding Chairman of the Sydney Confucius Institute.


John Hearn – Abstract (USAP/AAUP Conference 19 Feb 2021)     – 200 words


John Hearn, Discipline of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Sydney; Institute for Global Development, University of New South Wales; Chair, Australia Africa Universities Network.

Academic freedom is at the heart of the university and at the core of society and democracy. Freedom carries collegiality, respect and responsibility. The recent Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) 2020 requires all universities to lodge policies and 9 of 39 have done so. The policies of the Universities of Sydney and La Trobe have been approved as “models”. In tandem, the Foreign Relations Act (2020) requires universities to register their international research and education partnerships, with a focus on “institutional autonomy” as a key factor. This and other provisions will require cultural understanding and interpretation, as higher education systems (USA, EU, UK, China, Australia) all show increasing levels of intervention by governments. The new requirements rightly note national interest and security, but risk additional bureaucracy and compliance, discouraging global engagement. Australia produces 3% of world research and must engage to stay competitive. In adding to the policy banks of universities, attention should be given when policies are blatantly ignored or used as cynical instruments for coercive control, bullying and harassment. With the rise of the corporate university, administrators and managers often outnumber researchers and teachers. An inversion has developed where academic leadership, values and freedom are diminished.