Mr John Abbott

Chancellor of CQUniversity

Mr John Abbott was installed as Chancellor of CQUniversity on 7 March 2016, having served on the Council of CQUniversity since 2014.

Mr Abbott has had an extensive and long term engagement with the University and its related entities over the past 30 years, first as a tutor at the then Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education and most recently as a member of the University Council.

Throughout the years Mr Abbott has shown his keen dedication to the University and during his tenure on Council has contributed to the University’s current success.  Mr Abbott is deeply committed to CQUniversity’s continued growth and playing a lead role in making sure CQUniversity emerges as one of Australia’s truly great universities in the years ahead.

Having lived in regional Australia for most of the past 37 years, and currently based in Rockhampton, Mr Abbott is also passionate about the role universities play in the advancement of regional communities.  As part of this, Mr Abbott has a strong interest in community and industry engagement, and creating valuable long-term partnerships which will contribute to CQUniversity’s success as a university.

Professionally, Mr Abbott is an engineer and has held a number of senior management and corporate governance positions across industry sectors including power, oil and gas, minerals processing, mining, chemicals and engineering services.  Through his work he has established a number of very strategic national and international contacts in places such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, USA, Europe and the Middle East.


University Profile

CQUniversity Australia has been on a phenomenal trajectory in recent years, and its remarkable growth in student numbers, new courses, new campuses, infrastructure and reputation has seen it emerge as one of Australia’s truly great universities.

Originally founded in Rockhampton in 1967, as the Queensland Institute of Technology (QIT) Capricornia, it was granted full University status in 1992 and was named Central Queensland University. It now has more than 30 000 students and has firmly established itself as one of the largest universities based in regional Australia, with campuses in Adelaide, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Melbourne, Noosa, Perth, Rockhampton, Sydney and Townsville. Along with these campuses, the University also operates study centres in Biloela, Broome, Busselton, Karratha and Yeppoon, and delivers programs in Cooma and Geraldton, thanks to partnerships with the respective university centres in those communities.

In 2014, the University merged with CQ TAFE bringing together more than 175 years of combined experience in the delivery of education and training and establishing Queensland’s first comprehensive, dual sector university. As a result, CQUniversity now delivers more than 300 education and training offerings, from short courses and certificates, through to undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees. Study areas include Apprenticeships, Trades and Training, Business, Accounting and Law, Creative, Performing and Visual Arts, Education and Humanities, Engineering and Built Environment, Health, Information Technology and Digital Media, Psychology, Social Work and Community Services, Science and Environment, and Work and Study Preparation. As a pioneer in the delivery of distance education, CQUniversity also continues to be a leader in this area with almost half of the current student cohort made up of students studying off-campus, many of whom are based in rural and remote areas.

After more than half a century working with stakeholders in regional Australia, CQUniversity is now a renowned research institution in several key disciplines, and the benchmark leader for how universities should engage and collaborate with communities and industry. Its applied research focus is oriented towards real-world outcomes, with the purpose of providing solutions to challenges and identifying new opportunities for advancement in our regions and beyond.

In 2015, this research focus saw CQUniversity achieve Excellence in Research Australia (ERA)   results of ‘at’, ‘above’ or ‘well above’ world standard in 14 different categories of research including mathematical sciences, applied mathematics, psychological and cognitive services, nursing, medical and health services, agriculture, environmental science, medical and health science, and mechanical engineering.

CQUniversity is proud to be recognised as Australia’s most inclusive university with the highest ratio of students from disadvantaged, mature age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and first-in-family backgrounds. This inclusive approach and commitment to access and participation means the University defines itself by who it embraces, rather than who it excludes.

Graduates from CQUniversity also have some of the best employment outcomes, with recent data released by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA)  indicating that 80.6 per cent of domestic undergraduate students find full-time employment within three months of graduation. This figure is more than 10 percent higher than the national average of 69.5 per cent. Data released by the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)  website also shows that CQUniversity out performs the majority of Australian universities when it comes to study support, graduate employment and graduate salary outcomes.

CQUniversity also places a strong emphasis on social innovation and global outreach and fosters a number of key partnerships with communities, industry and government, both in Australia and overseas. This commitment to engagement and social advancement has led to CQUniversity being recognised as Australia’s first and only Changemaker Campus by Ashoka U , an exclusive global social innovation group made up of only 30 other education institutions across the world, who work towards the delivery of initiatives that help to overcome social disadvantage, by working with stakeholders to develop solutions that they as end users, can benefit from.

CQUniversity’s unique vision for diversity, outreach, engagement, research, learning and teaching, and inclusiveness, combined with its growth aspirations and continued expansion of student success, research excellence, social innovation and community engagement, have led to it being recognised within the top 600 universities in the world by the prestigious Times Higher Education World Rankings , and among the world’s top 100 ‘young universities’ by both the Times Higher education and QS World University Rankings .

To find out more, visit the CQUniversity website www.cqu.edu.au 



CQUniversity Council

The Council’s primary responsibilities are to:

  • appoint the Vice-Chancellor and President as the Chief Executive Officer of the University and to monitor their performance;

  • approve the mission and strategic direction of the University as well as the annual budget and business plans;

  • oversee and review the management of the University and to encourage its efficient and effective performance;

  • establish policy and procedural principles, consistent with legal requirements and community expectations;

  • approve and monitor systems of control and accountability, including general overview of any controlled entities. A controlled entity is one that satisfies the test of control in s50AA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth);

  • oversee and monitor the assessment and management of risk across the University, including commercial undertakings;

  • oversee and monitor the academic activities of the University to support high quality academic outcomes; and

  • approve significant commercial activities of the University.

For more information, please refer to the Council’s charter .

Membership of CQUniversity’s Council is as follows:

Ex-Officio Members

Mr John Abbott – Chancellor (to 6 March 2021)
Professor Scott Bowman – Vice-Chancellor and President (to 31 December 2018)
Associate Professor Celeste Lawson – President of Academic Board (to 10 April 2021)

Appointed Members – Governor-in-Council

Emeritus Professor Robert Castle (to 26 May 2018)
Mr Peter Corones AM (to 26 May 2018)
Dr Robyn Minchinton (to 26 May 2018)
Mr Graham Carpenter (to 26 May 2018)

Appointed Members – Council

Mr Mark Peters (to 12 May 2020)
Mr Joel Buchholz (to 9 November 2018)
Ms Patrice Brown (to 27 June 2018)

Elected Members

Dr Gerard Ilott – Academic Staff (to 31 January 2022)
Mr Bruce Young – Professional Staff (to 4 January 2021)
Mr Shirish Pandey – Student (to 6 July 2018)


Other Governing Bodies

Other Governing bodies within the University include:

Academic Senate

Chair – Professor Jo-Anne Reid

Chancellor’s Foresighting Committee

Chair – Dr Michele Allan, Chancellor

Nomination and Remuneration Committee

Chair – Dr Michele Allan, Chancellor

Finance, Audit and Risk Committee

Chair – Mr Neville Page

Investment Committee

Chair – Mr Graeme Bailey