Reference Group Biographies

Reference Group Biographies

To assist us in achieving the outcomes of our Curriculum Refresh project we established a Reference Group of national and international experts to provide advice on the following specific areas. This page contains biographies for these experts and special guests.

Critical Friend - Dr Dale Spender AM FRSA

BA DipEd MA LittB PhD DUniv
Image of Dale Spender

‘Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words; now I zip along the surface like a guy on a jet ski’ Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: how the internet is changing the way we think read and remember, 2010

Dale Spender has been a feminist, and a communicator and educator, for as long as she can remember. Her focus has been on the way knowledge is constructed (and the omission of women), and how it is conveyed in the classroom. In an earlier life she wrote/ edited more than 30 books – many of which became university texts.

In today’s world she is a researcher and explorer of digital media and the impact they have on teaching and learning. The most likely explanation she has for being unable to read the books she once wrote, is that reading and writing (and knowledge construction) have changed dramatically.

Her current obsession is with exploring the power of games – as players do not like ones that are too easy! Dr Spender’s website.

Curriculum Expert - Professor Paul Ramsden

Paul Ramsden image
Professor Paul Ramsden’s career has combined an academic record in the field of teaching, learning and policy studies in higher education with experience in university management and leadership. He was Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at the University of Sydney, where he oversaw major strategic initiatives for improving teaching and learning in Australia’s oldest research-intensive university.

A graduate of Lancaster University, he is one of the leading international authorities on teaching, learning and leadership in higher education. His academic work has influenced policies for enhancing university effectiveness throughout the world. He was the recipient of the inaugural Australian Higher Education Quality Award in 2006.He is the chair of the international advisory board of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education.
He has advised the United Kingdom Government on the future of teaching and the student experience, contributing at the request of the Secretary of State an influential essay on curriculum and teaching quality to help inform the future framework for higher education in England.

Paul Ramsden is a visiting professor at the Institute of Education and was a panel member for RAE2008.His best-selling books, Learning to Teach in Higher Education and Learning to Lead in Higher Education, are among the classic texts on higher education teaching and management.

Ramsden, P. 2008, The future of Higher Education: Teaching and the Student Experience. Also: Six principles of effective teaching in higher education

Curriculum Expert - Professor Richard James

Prof Richard James image
Professor Richard James is Pro Vice Chancellor (Participation and Equity) and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

His research interests include access and participation, the quality of the student experience, and students’ post-compulsory education choices. He has authored numerous research reports of national significance in Australian higher education as well as over 50 articles and chapters.

His recent work has included influential national studies of equity and university student finances, policy development work for the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council and key advisory roles to government and universities on enhancing teaching and learning in higher education. Within the University of Melbourne he plays a key role in teaching and learning policy, the student experience and equity.

Indigenous Perspectives Expert - Professor Henrietta Marrie

Henrietta is a Gimuy Walabura Yidinji person and she went to school at the Yarrabah community south-east of Cairns. She has a Masters in Environmental and Local Government Law; Grad. Dip of Arts (Indigenous Studies); Dip. T.

Henrietta has worked for many years as an academic, with over 30 publications to her credit on issues relating to the protection of Indigenous cultural heritage, intellectual property and the bushfood industry.

She took up a position in 1997 with the United Nations Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), an international environmental treaty under the UN Environment Program. Henrietta is the first Indigenous person in Australia to be appointed to a full time professional position with a UN agency.

Henrietta spent six years in Montreal, Canada working with the SCBD researching and drafting documents on issues relating to traditional knowledge, access to genetic resources and benefit sharing, protection of traditional knowledge as intellectual property, and the conservation and management of biological diversity.

In September 2003 she accepted a position as Program Manager for North Australia with The Christensen Fund, a California-based private philanthropic body which makes grants to Indigenous and local communities in a number of regions around the world. Through Henrietta, The Christensen Fund has made grants to some of Australia's leading Indigenous events, such as The Dreaming Festival, The Garma Festival, and the Cooktown Corroboree as part of the Queensland Music Festival 2005, and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre's production of Blow 'im.

She has also written grants in support of local Indigenous artists and exhibitions of their work at KickArts. Henrietta is also working to establish a Traditional Knowledge Research Centre, as part of the United Nations University, to be based in northern Australia.

Henrietta continues to keep a close connection with her traditional Gimuy-Walabura clan country, the area south of the Barron River on which the City of Cairns now stands.

Indigenous Perspectives Expert - Professor Martin Nakata

Professor Martin Nakata
Professor Martin Nakata is the Director of Nura Gili at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). He also holds the title of Chair of Australian Indigenous Education.

Prof Nakata is the first Torres Strait Islander to receive a PhD in Australia. His mother is an Indigenous person from the Torres Strait Islands, and his father was born in Kushimoto-cho, Japan.

His current research work focuses on higher education curriculum areas, the academic preparation of Indigenous students, and Indigenous knowledge and library services.

He has presented 18 plenary and keynote addresses at national as well as international conferences in ten countries, and published various pieces on Indigenous Australians and education in various academic journals and books in Australia and abroad.

His book, Disciplining the Savages:Savaging the Disciplines, was published in 2007 by Aboriginal Studies Press. His latest research paper (September 2012) Decolonial goals and pedagogies for Indigenous studies is available online.

- Member, Nura Gili Steering Committee
- Member, UNSW Academic Board
- Member, UNSW FASS Board
- Member, IPRDU Steering Committee
- Member, Reference Group, JCU Curriculum Refresh Project
- Member, Advisory Panel, The Centre for Cultural Competence Australia
- Member, NSW Director-General's Aboriginal Education & Training Reference Group
- Chair, Reference Group, UTS ATSIDA project

Professional Associations:
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
- Australian Association of Researchers in Education (AARE)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resources Network Inc.(ATSILIRN)
- Alumni SA Governor's Leadership Foundation (Inc.). (GLF)

Ministerial Appointments:- 1995-2005 Council of Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Chair: Prof Mick Dodson)
- 1997-2000 Australian National Maritime Museum (Chair: Ms Kay Cottee)
- 2003-2004 Review Panel required by Section 141 of the ATSIC Act to review the ATSIC electoral boundaries and systems (Chair: Mr John Moriarty)
- 2005-2007 Collection Council of Australia (Chair: Ms Sue Natrass)
- 2007-2009 Indigenous Higher Education Council (Chair: Mr Roger Thomas)

Editorial Boards:- Journal of Australian Aboriginal Studies
- Australian Journal of Indigenous Education
- Coolabah (Journal of the Australian Studies Centre at the Universitat de Barcelona)

Organisational Culture Expert - Professor David Watson

Professor David Watson
Professor David Watson is an historian and Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford. He was Professor of Higher Education Management at the Institute of Education, University of London, from 2005-2010, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton between 1990 and 2005.

He has contributed widely to developments in UK higher education, including as a member of the Council for National Academic Awards (1977-1993), the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council (1988-92), and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (1992-96). He was a member of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's National Commission on Education (1992-1993), and the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education chaired by Sir Ron Dearing (1996-1997).

He was the elected chair of the Universities Association for Continuing Education between 1994 and 1998, and chaired the Longer Term Strategy Group of Universities UK between 1999 and 2005. He is President of the Society for Research into Higher Education, a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation, a Companion of the Institute of Management, and a National Teaching Fellow (2008). He chaired the national Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning, and co-authored its report Learning Through Life (2009). He was knighted in 1998 for services to higher education. In 2009 he received the Times Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award.

Regionality Expert - Professor Sally Brown

Professor Sally Brown
Professor Sally Brown is now based in Newcastle in the UK, after taking pre-retirement sabbatical leave from Leeds Metropolitan University to work on her National Teaching Fellowship Project on ‘Assessing Students at Masters Level’.

Sally currently undertakes consultancy and advisory work for universities in the UK and internationally. She is also a recognised workshop facilitator and keynote speaker at conferences and events.

Sally completed her term as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Leeds Metropolitan University in July 2010. Formerly, she was Director of Membership Services at the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, and prior to that worked for 20 years at the University of Northumbria.

She has been strongly associated with SEDA for many years, formerly chairing its publications committee, and acting as co-chair with Carole Baume. She is enrolled on the SEDA Roll of Honour, and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a National Teaching Fellow, and is undertaking an NTFS £200k project on ‘Assessing Students at Masters Level’.

Sally is widely published: her best known books include Assessing Learners in HE (with Peter Knight) 1994, Strategies for Diversifying Assessment (with Graham Gibbs and Chris Rust) 1994 and Assessment Matters in HE (edited with Angela Glasner) 1999. She is also the co-author with Phil Race and others of many of the popular 500 Tips book series published by Kogan Page/Routledge Books.

More recently she has written inter alia Lecturing: a practical guide (with Phil Race) 2002 and Assessing Skills and Practice (Routledge 2006) and has edited (with Mike Adams) Towards Inclusive Learning in Higher Education (Routledge 2006), (with Elspeth Jones) Internationalising Higher Education (Routledge May 2007) and (with Steve Denton) Managing Universities and Colleges: Beyond Bureaucracy, Routledge 2009.

Sally can be contacted at and her Website includes a reading list, workshop information, blog and principle publications.

Tropical Expertise - Mr Taholo Kami

Mr Taholo Kami
Mr Taholo Kami is currently the Regional Director for the Oceania program of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) based in Suva, Fiji. Conserving biodiversity is central to the mission of IUCN. IUCN also works to help communities and governments better manage their ecosystems in an effort to achieve sustainable development and improve human well-being.

Taholo also chairs the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation, engaging all the major regional partners in environmental issues in the Pacific Islands region.

A Tongan National, Taholo grew up in Papua New Guinea, graduating with an Accounting degree from the University of Technology of PNG and completing a MBA in marketing / eCommerce as a Fullbright scholar at Vanderbilt University.

Taholo has worked with the United Nations in New York on networking small islands nations by setting up the Small Islands Developing States Network (SIDSNET).

He has been involved in various initiatives such as working on development projects at a local level and national development strategies on information and communication technologies and the environment. He worked closely with the Centre for Ocean Solutions to develop the Pacific Ocean Initiative.

Visiting Fellow - Martha Johnson

Martha Johnson
Martha Johnson is the Director of the Learning Abroad Center at the University of Minnesota. She has worked in international education since 1991, including positions at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and at Leeds Metropolitan University in Leeds, England.

Martha managed institutional relations for several US-based educational organizations and consortia previous to going to the University of Minnesota in 2001. At the University of Minnesota she has managed study abroad programs in Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as overseeing Curriculum Integration and working closely with the science, engineering, and business programs.

She holds a BA with a double major in Literature and Theatre Arts and an MA in Literature with an emphasis in multicultural and travel literature, and post-colonial theory. Martha has presented and co-chaired numerous sessions and workshops at national and international conferences, served on a variety of education abroad program boards, and authored multiple articles and chapters in international education publications. She previously served on the NAFSA International Education Leadership team, as well as serving and chairing multiple committees in NAFSA and the Forum on Education Abroad.

The Learning Abroad Center at the University of Minnesota is one of the largest education abroad offices in the US and currently sends over 2500 students abroad annually, the 3rd highest number in the US. The office and University is internationally recognised for its Curriculum Integration initiative and successes in sending students from underrepresented disciplines abroad.

Martha Johnson visited JCU on 4 and 5 May 2010. During her visit Martha met with Curriculum Refresh teams and Faculty groups to discuss internationalisation of the curriculum. Martha also delivered a university-wide presentation titled: Changing the Paradigm:A Case Study in Impacting Student Mobility at the University of Minnesota.

Visiting Fellow - Dr Fred Lockwood

Between 1975 and 2000 Dr Lockwood worked within the Open University (OU) Institute of Educational Technology. His research interests are broad; they range from psychometric to illuminative studies as reflected in personal and institutional research. They span all phases of course development - from conception and planning and from production and presentation to evaluation.

Dr Lockwood has been appointed Visiting Professor, Lecturer, Expert and Educator to over 20 international institutions of higher education. He has undertaken over 30 national and international consultancies. He provides professional advice in the field of open and distance learning to grant awarding bodies and conference organisers. He sits on the Editorial Boards of ten journals.

Dr Lockwood visited JCU for a six week period in October/November 2009. During his visit, he presented a series of general professional development workshops to JCU academic staff. In addition, he was engaged to spend time with the Curriculum Refresh Project Teams to review progress to date and to offer support and guidance on the work that needs to be completed to achieve the desired project outcomes. Dr Lockwood also delivered a lecture during his visit to JCU titled, 'Enhancing Learning and Teaching: Reducing Quality Failures’.

Work Integrated Learning Expert - Professor Stephen Billett

Stephen Billett is Professor of Adult and Vocational Education in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Stephen has worked as a vocational educator, educational administrator, teacher educator, professional development practitioner and policy developer within the Australian vocational education system and as a teacher and researcher at Griffith University.

Since 1992, he has researched learning through and for work, and has published widely in the fields of vocational learning, workplace learning and conceptual accounts of learning for vocational purposes.

His sole authored books include Learning through work: Strategies for effective practice (Allen and Unwin 2001); Work, change and workers (Springer 2006) and edited books Work, Subjectivity and Learning (Springer, 2006) Emerging Perspectives of Work and Learning (Sense 2008), Learning through practice (Springer 2010) and Promoting professional learning (Springer 2011). Stephen’s latest publication is entitled: Vocational Education: Purposes, traditions and prospects.

He is the founding and Editor in Chief of Vocations and learning: Studies in vocational and professional education (Springer) and lead editor of the book series Professional and practice-based learning (Springer). From 2011 to 2015 he is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow researching adults’ learning through occupational practice.