The NCSEHE is home to a diverse group of researchers, professional staff and students

Professor Sarah O'Shea

Director and Program Leader

Professor Sarah O’Shea has spent over 25 years working to effect change within the higher education sector through research focusing on the access and participation of students from identified equity groups. Her institutional- and nationally-funded research studies advance understanding of how underrepresented student cohorts enact success within university, navigate transition into this environment, manage competing identities and negotiate aspirations for self and others. This work is highly regarded for applying diverse conceptual and theoretical lenses incorporating theories of social class, identity work, gender studies and poverty. Sarah has published extensively in the field and has been awarded over A$3 million in grant funding since 2009; she is also an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow, a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and a Churchill Fellow. Sarah took up the role of Director, NCSEHE in 2020 after spending a decade working as a teaching/research academic at the University of Wollongong.

Professor John Phillimore

Research Program Leader

Professor John Phillimore has been the Executive Director of the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy (JCIPP) at Curtin University since 2007. John has been NCSEHE Program Leader for Program 2 — Equity Policy and Research Program since the NCSEHE’s establishment at Curtin, where he oversees the Centre’s Research Grants Program. He is also the leader of the Curtin Future of Work Institute’s ‘Public Policy in a Digital Age’ research program. For the past 30 years, he has worked either as an academic or as a senior adviser in the Western Australian Government. He has conducted research and written on a wide array of public policy issues, including intergovernmental relations, higher education, public sector management, the Australian welfare state, regional policy, and Australian politics.

Dr Nicole Crawford

Senior Research Fellow

Prior to her role as NCSEHE Senior Research Fellow, Nicole Crawford was a NCSEHE 2019/20 Equity Fellow and Lecturer in Pre-degree Programs at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). Her research focuses on equity and inclusion in higher education, including enabling education; mature-aged students; regional and remote students; and student and staff mental wellbeing. She initiated UTAS’s Social Inclusion Community of Practice, and the National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia (NAEEA) Special Interest Group on Mental Health.

Dr Paul Koshy

Research Fellow

Paul Koshy works in the NCSEHE’s research program area looking at education and participation and outcomes. He manages the Student Equity Data Program, including data linkage project work, the annual briefing note, and the student equity data website. His recent research work has included policy research into the impact of equity status on higher education participation and outcomes, the formulation and impact of equity policy, and the potential for using equity rankings in higher education.

Dr Catherine Drane

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Prior to her position as Research Fellow at the NCSEHE, Catherine worked on large-scale NHMRC projects across Australia, including public health interventions, as well as cancer prevention research, focusing on the enactment of protective behavioural strategies to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms. Her research interests include equity in education, in particular student mental health and well-being, as well as public health interventions. Catherine brings with her skills in research methods, and advanced statistical analysis, and her teaching in the areas of research, measurement, design and analysis was rewarded with the Murdoch University Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Catherine contributes to the Centre’s ongoing research activities, collaborating on policy reviews and submissions, invited responses, and discussion papers, and continues to publish broadly in the area of student equity in education.

Dr Olivia Groves

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Olivia Groves is a researcher and experienced educator, having taught diverse learners across Australia and Asia in primary, language education, and tertiary settings. Olivia’s research interests lie in understanding the conditions under which learning takes place in order to maximise the potential for learning and success of all students. Her current research activity examines how student equity can be achieved in the higher education sector and beyond — including research into best practice career education, particularly for those with disability; supporting student success in higher education in the time of COVID-19; and understanding and ameliorating inequities in graduate outcomes.

Ms Rebecca McKenzie

Administrative Officer

Rebecca has many years of administrative experience and more than 10 years' operational and project management experience in Western Australia’s Agriculture/Biosecurity public sector working on a nationally significant pest incursion project. Rebecca assists the Centre in various administrative and research-related activities including the Centre's valuable project work in areas such as Equity Scholarships, Fellowships and the Equity Performance Framework in Australian Higher Education project.

Ms Suzanne Richards

Graphic Designer

Suzanne is a Graphic Designer and assists with the production of digital and print publications, marketing and communication material. Suzanne is studying part-time towards a double major in Creative Advertising and Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography at Curtin University. Suzanne has worked previously as a freelancer in Digital Marketing and Graphic Design.