Centre Staff

The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education is home to a diverse group of researchers, students and professional staff

Prof. Sue Trinidad

Director and Program Leader

Prior to becoming the NCSEHE Director, Professor Trinidad was Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin during 2007-2012. Her role included overseeing the academic programs and leading the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPPP) for a large faculty with many Low SES, Indigenous and regional students. Professor Trinidad is an established scholar and researcher in the area of higher education and currently leads the NCSEHE team and various research projects.

Prof. John Phillimore

Program Leader and Executive Director JCIPP

John is the Executive Director of the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy (JCIPP) at Curtin University, and works on a range of public policy issues including federalism, higher education policy, public sector management, innovation and technology policy, and the Australian welfare state.

Dr Paul Koshy

Research Fellow

Paul Koshy is a Research Fellow at the NCSEHE. His work focuses on higher education participation and outcomes in Australia. He also has responsibility for the Student Equity Data Program, which produces the Equity Student Participation Briefing Note and Student Equity Data Website. Paul’s recent research output has included work on geographical measures of socioeconomic status and their use in Australian higher education policy, an examination of parental educational aspirations for their children, and an analysis of the effect of institutional status on graduate outcomes.

Dr Lyn Vernon

Research Fellow

Prior to her current appointment, Lyn worked as Project Manager for a Murdoch program which aims to widen access and improve participation in higher education. Her Doctor of Philosophy is in Psychology leading to research interests in the developmental implications of using technology at night. Lyn has a Bachelor of Science from UWA and Diploma in Education from Edith Cowan University. She has taught for the Department of Education for over 20 years, and while teaching completed her Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Charles Sturt University. In 2009 Lyn completed her Honours in Psychology at Murdoch University, and has also tutored at Murdoch in program evaluation.

Prof. Sally Kift

Visiting Professorial Fellow

Sally Kift PFHEA has been Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at James Cook University (2012-2017) and is President of the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows (ALTF). Prior to commencing at JCU in 2012, Sally was a Professor of Law at QUT, where she has served as Law Faculty Assistant Dean, Teaching & Learning (2001-2006) and QUT’s foundational Director, First Year Experience (2006-2007). Sally received a National Teaching Award (AAUT) in 2003 and in 2006 was awarded one of three inaugural Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Senior Fellowships. In 2007, Sally led a Project Team to the award of a further ALTC National Teaching Award for the Law Faculty’s Assessment and Feedback practices. In 2009, she was appointed an ALTC Discipline Scholar in Law. In 2017, she became a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Prof. Sarah O'Shea

2019 Research Fellow

Associate Professor Sarah O’Shea leads the Adult, Vocational and Higher Education discipline in the School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong. Sarah has over 20 years’ experience teaching in universities as well as the VET and Adult Education sector and has published widely on issues related to educational access and equity. Since 2011, Sarah has focused her research on educational equity in higher education, most recently exploring the persistence and retention of students who are the first in their families to attend university. Sarah has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and research.

Mr Paul Farnhill

Policy Analyst

Paul is an Economist and Policy Analyst with wide experience in policy issues in government and industry. Paul worked for the Financial Times newspaper in London before joining the Western Australian Government in a range of roles in economic development and policy analysis. He has also been a political speech writer and advisor to Ministers and Premiers.

Mr Ian Cunninghame

Research Assistant

Ian has a Masters degree majoring in professional writing and publishing and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Internet Communications. He is currently assisting the NCSEHE with the cataloguing of its past and present research to a referencing database, and assisting in gathering research relating to social mobility through higher education.

Ms Nina Thomas

Media and Communications Officer

Prior to her current position, Nina worked as Web Editor for 'Westerly' Magazine, based at the University of Western Australia, and as Brand and Marketing Manager for Challenger Veterinary Hospital, Western Australia. Alongside her role in media and communications, Nina is responsible for managing the production of the NCSEHE's print and online publications, as well as Centre events and projects. She has a degree in Professional Writing and Publishing from Curtin University.

Mr Don Boyd

Doctoral Student

Don has extensive experience in school education with a focus on regional and remote delivery, in particular policy development associated with equity issues, distance education and the use of ICT to overcome geographic disadvantage. Don’s research interests include the use of technology as a means of building teacher and school leadership capacity in non-metropolitan locations, attracting and retaining quality teachers to country schools, and access and participation by regional and remote residents in higher education.

Ms Rebecca McKenzie

Administrative Assistant

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 is currently assisting 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.

Prof. James Smith

Adjunct Professorial Fellow

Professor James Smith is an Adjunct Professorial Research Fellow with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education. In 2017, he was a 2017 NCSEHE Equity Fellow and investigated ways of strengthening evaluation in Indigenous higher education contexts in Australia. Until recently he was the Co-Lead of the Indigenous Leadership Research and Evaluation Network within the Office of Pro Vice Chancellor – Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University. He has led multiple Indigenous higher education research projects over the past 3 ½ years and has contributed to building a stronger evidence base about Indigenous higher education pathways and transitions into higher education.

A/Prof. Cathy Stone

Adjunct Fellow

Dr Cathy Stone is a Conjoint Associate Professor in Social Work with the University of Newcastle, Australia. She was a 2016 Equity Fellow and 2017 Visiting Fellow with the NCSEHE, and has a longstanding interest in, and commitment to, student equity, widening participation and improving the student experience for increasingly diverse university student cohorts. She has worked for many years in developing and managing student support and success programs in both on-campus and online university environments, as well as researching ways these can be improved. Cathy's key research interests and publications focus particularly on improving the experiences of mature age, First-in-Family and online students.

Mr Matt Brett

Adjunct Fellow

Prior to his appointment as a Visiting Fellow, Matt undertook a 2017 Equity Fellowship with the NCSEHE. Preceding this, he was Senior Manager of Higher Education Policy at La Trobe University where he provided policy advice to the University executive and supported La Trobe’s engagement with public policy processes. Matt has extensive experience in higher education across a variety of roles including policy adviser, services manager, practitioner and researcher. Matt is also a PhD Candidate at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

Ms Louise Pollard

Adjunct Fellow

Louise Pollard is the Director (Admissions and Student Services) at The University of Notre Dame Australia (Fremantle Campus), having recently completed a Fellowship through the NCSEHE. Prior to this she was the Manager of Aspire UWA, a nationally recognised widening participation program at The University of Western Australia and has over 18 years' experience in developing, implementing and reviewing a range of education and community development projects in a range of contexts in Australia and internationally.

Ms Sian Hodgson

Graphic Designer

Sian is currently completing her Masters in Marketing after studying a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Advertising and Graphic Design. Prior to her position with the Centre she was responsible for creating material for two of Perth Legacy’s donation appeal campaigns. She assists in the production of numerous print publications produced by the Centre annually.