Barry Sheehan


Barry Sheehan

Emeritus Professor Barry Sheehan
Honorary Professorial Fellow


Barry Sheehan’s teaching career began in Victorian secondary schools in 1963, following completion of a B. Comm and Dip Ed at the University of Melbourne. He left Australia in 1966 and taught in London while completing a Master’s degree at the Institute of Education, where he later returned to complete his PhD.
Barry was a foundation academic staff member of the School of Education at La Trobe University when it opened in 1970, and went on to head the Centre for Comparative and International Education until 1984. His key research interests were in education and modernisation and developing perspectives on educational management. He is widely published in journals, books and conference proceedings and supervised numerous successful research masters and PhD theses.

During this period Barry was variously a Fulbright Senior Scholar to the US; a UNESCO/UNDP Consultant in Nigeria; adviser to the Government of Papua New Guinea; and at different times visiting professor at the State University of New York, the University of London and the University of Calgary. He also served on the executive of the World Congress of Comparative and International Education Societies (Geneva).
Barry left La Trobe to become Director of the Melbourne College of Advanced Education, which amalgamated with the University of Melbourne during the Dawkins reforms of the late ‘eighties. During that five-year period his attentions were firmly focused on improving teacher education and educational management. He was also a consultant to the (former) Higher Education Council.

In 1989, Barry was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources) of the University of Melbourne and worked with two Vice-Chancellors, taking responsibility for all human resources, including recruitment, equity and development of both academic and general staff; industrial relations; promotions; and property and buildings.
Barry continued as an active researcher alongside his policy development and management responsibilities. In particular, partnered with Professor Tony Welch (University of Sydney), Barry worked on the Carnegie Foundation’s huge comparative study of the international academic profession, from which many publications emerged. Barry also developed policy discussion papers for (then) DEETYA and the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee on the ageing of the academic workforce and academic staffing implications of age discrimination legislation for Australian universities

In 1998, Barry became the inaugural President and CEO of the controversial Melbourne University Private. After his retirement in 2001, among other things he became Dean of Universitas 21 Global, the joint on-line enterprise of 16 prominent international universities with the business sector.  Here he developed a special interest in on-line pedagogy and the challenges of adapting business case studies for effective on-line use.
Barry was for several years an assessor for the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. He has carried out a number of projects at institutional and faculty level for Melbourne and several other universities and is active as a consultant specialising in strategic reassessment and development and an executive coach and mentor in higher education nationally and internationally, with occasional forays into the private sector.

Barry sits on a number of Boards and committees at state and national level which reflect his longstanding commitment to the arts and arts education.