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Curtin appoints new Director for national student equity centre

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Professor Sarah O’Shea has been appointed the Director of the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) based at Curtin University, commencing in the role in January 2020.

Professor O’Shea will be joining the NCSEHE from the University of Wollongong, succeeding Professor Sue Trinidad who held the role for seven years. Professor O’Shea is a highly regarded expert in educational equity, having spent more than two decades teaching and researching in the higher education field.

Based at Curtin University since 2013, the NCSEHE provides national leadership of student equity in higher education, connecting research, policy and practice to improve higher education participation and success for marginalised and disadvantaged people.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said she was delighted to announce the appointment of Professor O’Shea.

“Professor O’Shea has spent nearly 25 years working to effect change within the higher education sector through research that focuses on the success and participation of students from identified equity groups. Her research advances our understanding of how under-represented student cohorts achieve success at university, manage competing identities and negotiate aspirations for themselves and others,” Professor Terry said.

“Professor O’Shea will provide leadership and managerial support to the running of the NCSEHE and manage research, publishing and administrative functions for the Centre. Professor O’Shea has extensive experience in the higher education sector and will bring a wealth of knowledge to Curtin and the NCSEHE.

“I would like to congratulate Professor O’Shea on her appointment at Curtin and thank Professor Trinidad for her exceptional leadership and support over the past seven years.”

Professor O’Shea said she looked forward to leading the NCSEHE for the next two years.

“The NCSEHE plays an important role in strengthening Australia’s higher education sector through research, collaborations and stakeholder engagement. I look forward to collaborating with staff, stakeholders and industry partners who are all important contributors to improving the higher education sector for marginalised and disadvantaged people,” Professor O’Shea said.

Professor O’Shea has received over $3 million in competitive research funding in the last decade including support from the Australian Research Council and the Australian Government. In 2019, she was awarded a 2019 Research Fellowship by the NCSEHE to undertake research on post-graduation outcomes and employment mobility of individuals who are first in their family to complete a university degree. The project is being conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Higher Education Equity and Diversity Research (CHEEDR). Sarah is also an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow (ALTF), a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and a Churchill Fellow (CF).

The NCSEHE is funded under the Australian Government Department of Education and Training Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).

Further information about the NCSEHE is available online here.

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