NCSEHE Staff

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 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 is a Research Fellow in the NCSEHE. Paul manages the student equity data program, including the annual briefing note and the student equity data website. His current area of research focus is on education participation and geographic measures of socioeconomic status in higher education policy. His recent research work has included policy research into the use of equity performance ranking measures in higher education policy.

Dr Catherine Drane

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Catherine Drane is a Research Fellow in the NCSEHE. Previously, Catherine has worked on large-scale National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) projects across Australia. Catherine’s research interests include adolescent development and public health interventions. Catherine brings with her skills in project administration, research methods, and advanced statistical analysis.

Dr Mel Henry

Equity Advisor (Curtin University)

Mel is an experienced higher education equity practitioner and researcher with in-depth knowledge of the low SES and online student experience. She holds a PhD in educational psychology, specialising in online student expectations, experiences and outcomes; and has led Curtin University’s Student Equity Strategy since 2012. Mel currently oversees Curtin’s allocation of Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) funding and associated initiatives. She has also led the development and implementation of institution-wide diversity and inclusion strategies and projects, including the widely acclaimed Curtin AHEAD equity outreach program as well as diversity and inclusion staff development programs.

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 Nina-Marie 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 website, events and special projects. She has a degree in Professional Writing and Publishing from Curtin University.

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.

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.

Mr Ian Cunninghame

Doctoral Student

Ian has been with the NCSEHE since 2015, assisting with reviewing Centre research reports and contributing to the Centre’s policy submissions. He is currently undertaking a doctoral project with the NCSEHE on social justice and social mobility in higher education policy. Ian has a Masters degree majoring in professional writing and publishing and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Internet Communications.