SIR RON Dearing is to become one of two overseas members of Melbourne University's new governing council in 1998.
It is the first time an Australian university has invited distinguished foreign figures to help set its direction for the future.
The vice chancellor of Singapore's National University, Lim Pin, has also joined the council. He and Sir Ron will attend their first meeting in February.
Melbourne was able to invite Sir Ron and Professor Lim following radical changes to state law covering council membership of each of Victoria's eight universities.
Melbourne vice chancellor Alan Gilbert said the university had been hoping for some time to "internationalise" its council. He said it was highly appropriate that Professor Lim Pin would be able to take part as his university was also a member of Universitas 21.
Universitas 21 is an international network of universities that Professor Gilbert initiated this year. It includes institutions in Australia, Britain, North America and Asia.
Sir Ron is chancellor of the University of Nottingham - also a member of Universitas 21.
Professor Gilbert said the two men were the university's first choice and that Melbourne was "lucky that they agreed".
The state government changed the law so that the new councils will be in place at the start of the next academic year.
Students and staff condemned the changes, claiming that the new councils would be less democratic.