Advisory Board

National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education Advisory Board members

The NCSEHE Advisory Board comprises an experienced and knowledgeable group of academics, government representatives 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.

Dr Erin Watson-Lynn


Erin Watson-Lynn has served as Chair of the NCSEHE Advisory Board since 2017. Erin has over 12 years' experience in the higher education sector in both academic and professional roles including at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Swinburne University of Technology. During her time in higher education, Erin has served on various committees including the Monash Equal Opportunity for Women Committee. Erin is currently a Special Advisor to the G20 Women Summit (W20) Australia delegation after serving as a delegate for several years. Currently in the final months of her PhD at Monash University, Erin's research focus is currently on gender, migration and the economy.

Professor Gary Thomas

Dean of Indigenous Education and Engagement, USC

Professor Gary Thomas is Dean of Indigenous Education and Engagement at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Professor Thomas was the National Secretary of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium and member of the Academic and Research Journal Working Groups for the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium. He is a Registered Expert for the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Authority and in 2016, Professor Thomas became the first Indigenous Australian to be awarded Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK).

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 six years.