Advisory Board

National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education Advisory Board members

The NCSEHE Advisory Board comprises an experienced and knowledgeable group of politicians, academics, spokespeople, and equity advocates.

The Advisory Board has an important role in the effective governance of the Centre and is a source of expert advice. It has no delegated authority from Curtin University to formally control the Centre, but wields significant influence through its involvement in the Centre’s planning and budgeting.

Ms Erin Watson-Lynn


Erin Watson-Lynn has served as the Chair of the NCSEHE Advisory Board since 2017. Erin is also Head of Programs at the foreign policy think tank, the Perth USAsia Centre, based at The University of Western Australia. Prior to joining Perth USAsia Centre, Erin was Director of Asialink Diplomacy at the University of Melbourne, and previously was appointed at Monash University, United Nations ESCAP and Swinburne University of Technology. While her early research focused primarily on gender and South Asia, Erin has developed broader expertise In Australia’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific and track II multilateralism including ASEAN and the G20.

Professor Carmen Lawrence

School of Psychology, University of Western Australia

Dr Lawrence entered politics in 1986, serving at both State and Federal levels for 21 years, including as Premier and Treasurer of WA. She retired from politics in 2007 and is now Professor Emerita in the School of Psychological Science at the University of Western Australia.

Professor Marcia Devlin

Universities Australia Nominee

Professor Marcia Devlin is Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and a Professor in Learning Enhancement at Victoria University (VU). Her research—in the areas of teaching and learning, leadership and equity—is widely read and highly cited. A graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Professor Devlin serves on a number of Boards including the NCSEHE Advisory Board; Education and Training Advisory Board of Open Colleges; the VU Online Board; and the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and its Executive and Audit Committees. Professor Devlin is a Specialist for the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications, a Fellow of the Institute for Managers and Leaders Australia and New Zealand and a Lifelong Fellow of the UK-based Society for Research in Higher Education.

Emeritus Professor Lesley Parker

Chair of Advisory Committee

Emeritus Professor Lesley Parker has dedicated many years to leadership, research, teaching and policy development in higher education. As well as serving as a member or chair of the councils of numerous schools, colleges and industry bodies, Lesley has authored many publications, especially in the area of gender equity in science and mathematics education, and was awarded the Order of Australia in 1998.

Mr Rajan Martin

Australian Government Department of Education

Rajan Martin is Branch Manager of the Governance, Quality and Access Branch within the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. As part of this role he is responsible for quality, equity, infrastructure and regional, rural and remote initiatives in higher education. He has worked in the public sector in senior policy and program implementation roles for over 20 years including in areas of aged care, Indigenous health, and hearing and disability care. He has undergraduate degrees in arts and science as well as a Master of Medical Sciences and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Associate Professor Buly Cardak

Department of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University

Buly Cardak is an Associate Professor of Economics at the La Trobe Business School and a member of the NCSEHE Advisory Board. His expertise is in the economics of education, publishing papers and grant funded research reports on the impact of disadvantage on university participation. Important research contributions include the impact of ability to pay on university participation and completion in Australia and the importance of first recorded home address in understanding mobility and university participation of Australian regional students.

Mr Paul Nicholls

Director of Strategic Partnerships Curtin University

Paul Nicholls is the Director of Research Partnerships at Curtin University and is responsible for supporting and enabling the ‘Demand Driven’ research strategy across the university. This involves capability development, strategic planning, collaborative initiatives with industry and government and improving the ‘permeability’ of the university by external stakeholders. Paul sits on a number of diverse boards and committees, and holds the responsibility for Curtin’s research Institutes and Centres that generate the majority of Curtin’s research outputs. Paul has been responsible for enabling the university strategy around computational and data sciences particularly focused on the Square Kilometre Array, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, the Curtin Institute for Computation and Innovation Central Perth, a partnership between Cisco Technology’s, Woodside Energy, Data61 and Curtin.

Ms Lara Rafferty

Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia

Ms Lara Rafferty has over 20 years’ experience in student and staff equity, diversity and inclusion in several tertiary education institutions. She is Assistant Director, Student Diversity and Inclusion at RMIT University where she leads the development and implementation of RMIT strategy and programs. Ms Rafferty has served on a number of Boards for organisations in the not-for-profit sector engaged in service provision and advocacy related to gender equity, people with disabilities, cultural diversity and family violence. Ms Rafferty has been Secretary of the Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia for the last five years.