Leadership and governance

Our Leadership Team

Australasian Academy of Higher Education strives to achieve the highest levels of academic leadership and corporate governance.

AAHE’s Board of Directors and Academic Board consist of internationally recognised academics and industry professionals working together to ensure that AAHE’s corporate and academic governance maintains the highest international standards.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Australasian Academy of Higher Education is a proprietary limited company established under the Corporations Act 2001 with a Board of Directors that includes external members, along with a representative of the shareholders of the Company. The independence of the Board of Directors provides a mechanism to separate the ownership and governance of the Company from the management of AAHE and to provide independent business, financial and higher education advice at the highest level of decision-making. One of the external directors chairs the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors sets AAHE’s mission and strategic goals in addition to ensuring the Academy meets its legal, regulatory, financial and social obligations and responsibilities.

Professor Emeritus Barbara van Ernst AM (Chair)

BA (Monash); B.Ed. (Monash); PhD (La Trobe)

Barbara van Ernst is currently an Educational Consultant and works with Universities, Government agencies, locally and internationally and also with TAFE Institutes. Prior to this, Barb served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community Engagement) at Swinburne University of Technology where she was responsible for the University’s Lilydale campus, for Learning and Teaching including the Indigenous Programs Unit, and for Community Engagement. At Deakin University, Barb was Head of School in the Faculty of Education and in the Faculty of Arts during which time she was also Chair of Deakin University’s Academic Board. served three terms as a Councillor for the City of Hawthorn, including two years as Mayor. Barb has served on numerous other boards and committees, including the Victorian Qualifications Authority, the Higher Education Advisory Committee in Victoria, and is a higher education quality auditor for several overseas agencies. In 1994 Professor van Ernst was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to education.

Professor James Barber AM (Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer)

B.Soc.Sci (RMIT); B.A. (Hons 1st); Ph.D. (Adelaide); D.Univ. (Flinders)

Jim Barber trained as an experimental psychologist and he has extensive experience in university teaching, research and administration in Australia and Canada. In Australia, he served as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the University of New England (2010-2014), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at RMIT University (2006-2010), and he served three terms as Head of Department at Flinders University (1993-2003). Jim also worked in Canada where he served one term as Dean at the University of Toronto. Jim is widely published and in 2005 won North America’s Pro-Humanitate Medal for his research in the field of child welfare. He is a former winner of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at Flinders University and in 2021 was made a Member of Order of Australia for his services to educational administration and young people.

Professor Usha George (Director)

B.Sc. (Chemistry), B.Ed., M.A (U. Kerala); M.S. (Sociology) (LUC); PhD (ABU)

Usha George was previously Director of the Ryerson University Centre for Immigration and Settlement, Toronto, Canada. She also served terms as Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and prior to that, as Dean, Faculty of Community Services also at Ryerson University. Usha is widely published and is the recipient of millions of dollars in nationally competitive Canadian research grants. She is the winner of: ‘Professional Female of the Year’, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (2011); ‘Outstanding Community Service Award’, South Asian Arts and Cultural Organization of Toronto (2004); and ‘Excellence Award for Contribution to Community’, South Asian Family Support Services, Toronto (2002). Usha is a Member, Senior Women Academics Administrators of Canada (SWAAC); Member, Inter-University Consortium on International Social Development; and Life member, Indian Association for Canadian Studies, Delhi, India.

Mr. Peter Enlund (Director, Chair of Audit, Risk & Finance)

BA (Hons) (Monash); FCA; MAICD

Peter Enlund is a Director and Chair of AAHE’s Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and New Zealand and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Peter was previously Chief Operating Officer at the University of New England (2010-2013) as well as Convener of the Australian Universities Senior Finance Officers Group (2015-2019). Prior to this, Peter was Interim Chief Financial Officer at LaTrobe University (2014), Executive Director, Financial Services at RMIT University (2006-2010) and Director, Financial and Business Services Division at Deakin University (2000-2006). Peter has also held senior positions in the commercial sector, with extensive experience in Australia and the USA in a range of executive and Board positions such as Chief Financial Officer, Group General Manager – Finance and Administration and Company Secretary in a variety of businesses, including two ASX‐listed companies and divisions of a major Australian ASX‐listed manufacturer. Peter is also a Director and Company Secretary of Whitehorse Community Enterprises Ltd.

Mr. Travis Walker (External Member, Audit Risk & Finance Committee)

B.Bus. (Accounting) (La Trobe); MBA (LaTrobe); CPA.

Travis Walker has more than 20-years experience in the higher education sector in financial roles. He is currently Vice President Finance at Southern Cross University where he is responsible for all aspects of the financial management and reporting for including statutory reporting, treasury, tax and other regulatory reporting, financial performance and analysis as well as travel and procurement. Travis previously served as Deputy Director Finance at RMIT University where he was responsible for the budget, forecasting and reporting on financial performance as well as commercial analysis of university programs and assessment of future opportunities. Travis is on the board of the Australian Universities Senior Finance Officers Group and represents Southern Cross University at the Australian Deputy Vice-Chancellors Corporate group.

ACADEMIC BOARD

The Board of Directors, by the powers vested in it by clause 26(c) of the Company Constitution, delegates the academic governance of the Academy to the Academic Board. The Academic Board is comprised of external academics, industry practitioners, members of AAHE’s academic staff and student representatives. The Academic Board convenes as required course advisory committees for each course to provide advice on new course proposals, report on applications for accreditation of new courses and re-accreditation of existing courses, and to review existing courses. External membership provides an additional measure of assuring the quality and relevance of the Academy’s higher education courses.

Emeritus Professor Peter Booth (Chair)

B.Ec. (U. Syd.); Dip.Ed. (STC); M.Ec. (UNE); Ph.D. (Griffith).

Emeritus Professor Peter Booth is a Certified Practising Accountant and a Fellow of CPA Australia with an academic background in behavioural management accounting. He is the former Provost and Senior Vice-President at the University of Technology Sydney, a position he held for 15 years. As Provost, Peter’s main responsibilities at UTS included management of the academic Faculties, planning and managing UTS’ academic profile, university-wide strategic planning, overseeing quality assurance, performance monitoring and reporting, and indigenous education and support.  Peter’s main research interests in the last 20 years have been the impact of Enterprise Resource Planning systems and e-business on management accounting practices, the role of accounting in collaboration in organisational networks, escalation of commitment in manager decision-making and the development and adoption of management accounting innovations. Peter is currently Chair of the Board of ActivateUTS Ltd, the student clubs, societies and services company supporting UTS in delivering a high-quality student experience. He is also an expert assessor for Australia’s higher education regulator, TEQSA, focusing on academic governance, academic quality assurance and strategic assessments.

Associate Professor Maree Gosper

BSc, Dip.Ed. (UNSW); M.Ed. Studies (Flinders); PhD (MQ).

Maree Gosper is currently an Honorary Fellow at Macquarie University. She has over 25-years experience in the higher education sector, much of which was at Macquarie University as a teacher, researcher, academic and organisational developer. She was Associate Professor Academic Development (eLearning), Head of Academic Development, and Director of Technologies in Learning and Teaching at Macquarie University (2004-2014). Prior to this, Maree re-designed physics practicals at the University of Technology, Sydney and taught mathematics at the University of South Australia.  In more recent times, Maree has been working in the non-university sector contributing to academic governance, quality and compliance across six institutions and through her work with the Chairs of Academic Boards Forum. Her areas of expertise encompass cognition and learning, curriculum development, eLearning, strategic planning and development.

Dr. Atif Ahmad

PhD, CPP

Dr. Atif Ahmad is a Professor at the University of Melbourne. Atif serves as the Deputy Director of the Academic Centre of Cyber Security Excellence, located in the Faculty of Engineering & Information Technology. Atif’s expertise is in crisis management and organizational practice specific to cybersecurity. Over the course of his 25+ years at the University of Melbourne, Atif has researched, educated and managed a research team dedicated to studying how organizations respond to critical cyber attacks and develop defense capabilities. Dr. Ahmad’s expertise extends beyond academia. He is a highly sought-after consultant, having worked for leading consulting firms WorleyParsons and Pinkerton. As an executive producer and storyteller Atif commissioned a series of teaching films that depict real-world cybersecurity practices. These have garnered multiple awards, including the “Best Original Screenplay” at the London International Film Festival. For a more comprehensive overview of Dr. Ahmad’s work, please visit his website: https://www.atifahmad.me/.

Mr. Tim Harms

B.E. (Comm. Eng.) (RMIT)

Tim Harms is a communications engineer who specialises in cybersecurity.  He is currently Principal Consultant for Contauro AG in Switzerland working on cybersecurity in air traffic control and defence. After graduating from RMIT University in 1985, Tim worked as Development Engineer for Design Two Thousand Pty Ltd, Australia and Vicom Australia Pty Ltd, Australia. Moving to Switzerland in 1993, he continued working as a Development Engineer, this time for ABB Infocom AG. In 1993 he was appointed Test Engineer, Application Engineer, and finally Product Manager for Schmid Telecom AG in Zurich, specialising in air traffic management. From 2009, Tim worked for Crypto International AG as Product Manager, Senior Radio Systems Engineer developing Secure IT and Radio encryption systems for civilian and military customers, including IT applications for messaging and tracking.

Executive Management Committee

The Board of Directors delegates responsibility for the management of AAHE’s operations to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), currently Professor James Barber. The CEO is responsible for the efficient conduct of AAHE’s business and to assist in this regard the CEO convenes the Executive Management Committee. The Executive Management Committee is the Academy’s primary operational body, assisting the CEO in the day to day running of AAHE’s operations. The Executive Management Committee implements AAHE’s strategic, operational and risk management plans, and reports to the Board of Directors.

Chief Executive Officer

Professor James Barber AM

B.Soc.Sci (RMIT); B.A. (Hons 1st); Ph.D. (Adelaide); D.Univ. (Flinders)

Jim Barber trained as an experimental psychologist and he has extensive experience in university teaching, research and administration in Australia and Canada. In Australia, he served as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the University of New England (2010-2014), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at RMIT University (2006-2010), and he served three terms as Head of Department at Flinders University (1993-2003). Jim also worked in Canada where he served one term as Dean at the University of Toronto. Jim is widely published and in 2005 won North America’s Pro-Humanitate Medal for his research in the field of child welfare. He is a former winner of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at Flinders University and in 2021 was made a Member of Order of Australia for his services to educational administration and young people.

Photo of Mark Hatwell, Registrar

Registrar

Mr. Mark Hatwell

BA (Hons) (U.Melb); MA (Monash); FATEM

Mark Hatwell has worked in the Australian higher education sector for more than 25 years, holding a broad range of leadership roles. Prior to AAHE, Mark’s most recent positions were as Director, Registration and Courses for the national higher education regulator, TEQSA, and as Associate Director (Academic Services) in the Student and Education Business Services directorate at Monash University. During his 17 years at Monash, Mark also led teams responsible for central student administration functions including Admissions, Enrolments, and Curriculum and Publications, and he previously held a school administration manager role at Swinburne University of Technology. Mark is highly respected across the Australasian higher education sector in institutional policy and as pioneer of an international policy network, co-authoring a best practice guide, regularly facilitating events and presenting at conferences. A former Vice-President on the Board of the Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM), Mark’s contributions to ATEM have been recognised with a Best Practice Award in Policy and Governance, a Fellowship, and a Meritorious Service Award.

Dr Benoy Varghese, Dean

Dean

Dr. Benoy Varghese

MEngSc (UNSW); PhD (UNSW)

Dr Benoy Varghese is the Dean of Australasian Academy of Higher Education. Dr Varghese holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Master of Engineering Science in Telecommunications Engineering from UNSW. He has previously worked at Kent Institute Australia as Executive Dean and Associate Dean. Prior to that he has worked at Data61-CSIRO, Australia; and has worked in teaching and research positions in India, Sweden, and USA. During his tenure at Kent Institute Australia, he secured the maximal 7 years unconditional reaccreditation with TEQSA and re-registration with CRICOS. He has extensive experience and expertise in Teaching and Learning, leadership, and management. His research interests include networking, sustainable computing, and cybersecurity. He is also interested in the design and use of Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) environment for Higher Education.

Organisation Chart