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The Hon. Fred Chaney AO to chair National Centre for Student Equity Board

Media release

On Thursday 11 July, the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) held its first board meeting at Curtin University.

Board members from NCSEHE
Board Members from left Dr Erica Lewin (EPHEA Deputy); Professor Carmen Lawrence; Paul Nicholls; Professor Colleen Hayward; Professor Sue Trinidad; Craig Ritchie; Fred Chaney and Professor Bruce Chapman

Formerly hosted by the University of South Australia, the National Centre officially moved to Curtin in June this year.

The Centre’s Board is chaired by the Hon. Fred Chaney AO.  With a background in law and government, Mr Chaney, is currently a Director on the Board of Reconciliation Australia Ltd, Deputy President of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and previously served as Chancellor at Murdoch University.

Other NCSEHE Board members include:
•    Professor Bruce Chapman, Professor of Economics and Director of Policy Impact, Australian National University

•    Winthrop Professor Carmen Lawrence, School of Psychology, The University of Western Australia
•    Professor Colleen Hayward, Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin, Centre for Indigenous Education and Research and Pro Vice-Chancellor Equity and Indigenous, Edith Cowan University
•    Paul Nicholls, Director Strategic Projects, Office of Research and Development, Curtin University
•    Craig Ritchie, Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
•    Dr Nadine Zacharias, Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia
•    A representative from Universities Australia, to be named at a later date.

“The National Centre has a very important role in bringing together groups doing valuable work in this and related fields, as we should not be endlessly inventing programs but rather improving the total social context and environment of equity students,” Mr Chaney said.

Professor Sue Trinidad, Director of NCSEHE, explained that the Centre will promote and disseminate best practice in student equity in Australia and advise government and stakeholders on evidence-based policy initiatives.

Supported by a federally funded grant and Curtin’s own resources, the Centre employs its own staff and has already enrolled two PhD students who commenced their studies in June.  The National Centre will run a national competitive grants program open to researchers and practitioners across Australia to conduct research and evaluation projects on equity initiatives in universities.

The Centre will also run an active program of events and policy forums on equity issues affecting students.

Note to editors:

About the Hon. Fred Chaney AO, Chairman of the Board, National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education

After legal practice, Mr Chaney served in the Senate from 1973 to 1990 and was leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1983 to 1990. He was a Member of the House of Representatives from 1990 to 1993. In 1994 he was appointed as a part-time Member of the National Native Title Tribunal, a full-time Member in April 1995 and was Deputy President from 2000 – 2007. He served as Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia Ltd from 2000 to 2005 and continues as a Director on the Board.

In 2007 he chaired the Consultation Committee on a Human Rights Act for Western Australia.  He held various ministerial appointments in the Fraser government, including Aboriginal Affairs.  He left Parliament in 1993 and undertook research into Aboriginal Affairs policy and administration as a Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia. He was appointed as Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in January 1997 “for service to the Parliament of Australia and to the Aboriginal community through his contribution to the establishment of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia and mediating with the National Native Title Tribunal”. He was Chancellor of Murdoch University for eight years until early 2003. In 2011 he was a member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians. He is involved in Aboriginal education through the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation which he helped to establish in 1995 and has since served as deputy President.