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Renowned leader and advisor to spearhead national student equity centre

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A prominent leader and advisor across government, industry and academia has been appointed the new Director of the revitalised National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) based at Curtin University.

Joining the NCSEHE from The University of Western Australia, Professor Shamit Saggar (CBE, FAcSS) is a highly respected academic with previous appointments at the universities of Essex, Liverpool, Queen Mary London, Sussex, UCLA, Yale and Toronto. He has also held senior leadership roles in government (advisor to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair), regulation (Financial Services Authority and Solicitors Regulation Authority), commerce (Chairman UPP Group Holdings Ltd) and philanthropy (Unbound Philanthropy).

The NCSEHE is funded under the Australian Government Department of Education Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP). Last year, Education Minister The Hon. Jason Clare announced the Federal Government would provide $20.5 million over four years to extend the reach and efficacy of the Centre.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor and NCSEHE Advisory Board Chair Professor Harlene Hayne said she was excited for Professor Saggar to take the helm of the Centre as it expands its work in connecting research, policy and practice to improve higher education participation and success for marginalised and disadvantaged Australians.

“Anyone across Australia, no matter who their parents are, what their socio-economic background is or where they live, should be able to participate in higher education,” Professor Hayne said.

“Professor Saggar brings with him a wealth of experience, particularly in creating bridges between research and implementation to make a genuine difference. This expertise will serve him well as he works to deliver on the Centre’s vision to close the loop between research, policy and practice to ensure student equity becomes firmly incorporated into Australian higher education.”

Professor Saggar said he was looking forward to leading NCSEHE in its mission to make higher education accessible to all.

“I am excited about leading the Centre to shape a step change in student equity and fairness in Australia’s higher education system. We will move swiftly to design, test and monitor what works in student equity measures that universities use now, and look to new innovations, so that the sector is a major player in the future prosperity and social inclusion of the nation,” Professor Saggar said.

“My initial priority will be to work closely with the federal review of higher education led by Professor Mary O’Kane so that Australian universities are able to improve the prospects for traditionally under-represented student groups. The Centre’s input will be vital to help the Government’s Universities Accord ensure that universities properly meet the nation’s needs into the future.”

Professor Saggar will take up his appointment later this year.

For more information about NCSEHE, visit here.

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