Executive Director and Professor, Australian Digital Futures Institute, University of Southern Queensland (October 2012 – February 2015)

I was Executive Director and Professor, Australian Digital Futures Institute at the University of Southern Queensland from October 2012 to February 2015. I lead and managed projects worth over 12 million dollars. I also managed 9 staff in the core ADFI team and over 150 project staff. As components of my substantive position, I also held the following roles:

As Director of the Digital Futures – CRN I was instrumental in shaping a large-scale capacity building project for the benefit of USQ. My leadership, management and day-to-day work enhanced the functioning of project teams and increased the quality of outcomes and outputs. I also initiated an evaluation to determine the sustainability of the project activities.

Key responsibilities:

  • As Director I supervised staff (project manager, post-doctoratal fellows), oversaw budget, administration, communication and reporting of a $5.1 million Collaborative Research Network Program involving over 90 staff across three universities
  • Undertook research and project management mentoring for five projects focused on digital futures
  • Supported research leaders in the Research Leadership Development Program
  • Initiated Review of USQ’s Digital Futures – CRN by ANU
  • Participated in Department of Education review of Digital Futures – CRN
  • Worked toward achieving the outcomes for the CRN that focus on: an increase in the number of research active staff; increase in mentorship activity through the Research Leadership Development Program (RLDP); increase in joint publications from the CRN; increase in joint applications for competitive grants in the field of digital futures and technology policy; increase in the number of PhD students working in the field of digital futures and evidence that this collaborative research has been influential in policy circles.
My vision, leadership and management for this project was instrumental in developing major outcomes that inspired year 9 and 10 students to engage with Maths and Science and be motivated to undertake Maths and Science in years 11 and 12. In particular I utilised distributive leadership to develop a strong partnership between six Regional University Network partners, AMSI, PICSE, CSIRO and over 20 high schools across three states. I developed robust principles of engagement that provided a framework for how the partners worked with each other. My approach focused on blended learning and guiding partners to develop learning sessions in their area of strategic strength.

Highlights of the project include:

  • Engagement of six RUN partners in the successful implementation of the project
  • Engagement of AMSI and PICSE – peak national bodies in Maths and Science in Australia
  • Collaboration with CSIRO
  • Involvement of fifty-two (52) schools across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia in the Project
  • More than 500 high school students participated in learning sessions provided by the RUN universities.
  • More than 400 high school teachers participated in professional development within the project
  • Initiation of four research projects by four RUN partners
  • Development of a Digital Classroom (Moodle LMS) that is a ‘neutral space’ for the RUN partners and badged as a RUN digital classroom
  • Designed and implementation of interactive content in areas as diverse as: Visualising the Human Body; Time-Trekking through Climate Change; Humpback Whales, Radioactive Isotopes and Water Quality in the Richmond Catchment; SMART Farming & Bessie the Cow; Spaceship Earth; Cheese-making and; Climate Change.
  • Developed Open Educational Resources

Key responsibilities:

  • Project leadership, direction, management and overall quality of the project
  • Maintained project focus on its goal and outcomes
  • Removed any roadblocks to project success
  • Oversaw the learning design of the USQ digital classroom activities
  • Ensured quality outcomes were achieved, particularly in regards to rich learning interactions
  • Approved project plans and verified progress against plan
  • Chaired project briefing meetings and Institutional co-ordinator meetings
  • Facilitated Partner Workshops: June 2013 – Brisbane, February 2014 – Sydney and August 2014 – Gold Coast.

My role in this project was to oversee the budget, overall direction and the personnel for the project. I worked closely with the Project leader and project manager to achieve these goals.

The ‘Making the Connection’ project:

  • Developed a model for provision of higher education programs for low socio-economic status background students without reliable Internet access.
  • Created pathways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous incarcerated students to participate in higher education.
  • Established a ‘pipeline’ to increase preparation of Indigenous incarcerated students for pre-tertiary programs.
  • Attempted to reduce recidivism of incarcerated students by increasing their employability through the development of digital literacies.
  • Created programs to transition incarcerated students from higher education into the workplace upon release from custody.
  • Developed Stand Alone Moodle as a Learning Management System to enable the provision of digital learning without Internet access.
My role in this project was to oversee the quality of the research outcomes, oversee the budget and the overall direction of the project. I worked closely with the chief investigator to achieve the goals of the project.

Key responsibilities:

  • Contributed to a program of research focussed on improving the quality of aged care by developing the skills of the aged care workforce. Priorities included knowledge transfer, capacity building, innovation and reform
  • Supervised staff, budget, administration, communication and reporting
  • Provided research and project management mentoring
I provided the vision, leadership and management for the Digital Rural Futures Conference. The DRFC explored the themes of Regional Futures, Agricultural Futures and Digital Futures. It provided a national platform for promotion and discussion of the challenges and opportunities of resilient and vibrant communities, sustainable use of resources and embracing digital technologies to optimise Australia’s future.


Main Achievements:

  • Co-Convenor of conference
  • Chair, Advisory Committee (10 Representatives from Regional University Network partners)
  • Chair, Conference Organising Group (8 representatives from USQ)
  • Master of Ceremony for the two day conference
  • Co-editor of conference proceedings
  • Abstract reviewer and program development
  • Engaged 180 delegates from Higher Education, the Agriculture Industry, government and the private sector
  • Major support from the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA)
  • Extensive media coverage for the conference and USQ
  • Organised a Special Edition of the Journal of Economic and Social Policy (JESP) for conference outputs
The NATA was a 2-year ALTC-funded legacy project led by myself and Gordon Suddaby (former President of ACODE). We provided the vision, leadership and management of the Network of Australasian Tertiary Associations (NATA).

The overarching vision for the Network of Australasian Tertiary Associations (NATA) was to facilitate a sustainable collaborative network between established tertiary education associations with the intent of fostering best practice in networks to engage members more strongly with Australian tertiary education learning and teaching. The project engaged: Australasian Council on Open, Distance and E-Learning (ACODE); Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE); Council of Australian Directors of Academic Development (CADAD), Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) and Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA) as partner organisations and Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARnet), Netspot and Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) as enabling partners.

Main achievements:

Professor of Higher Education and Director, The Flexible Learning Institute, Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW, Australia (October 2007 – October 2012). 

My leadership position focused on innovative university-wide initiatives in blended and flexible learning and teaching across twenty-four schools, four faculties and seven campuses of CSU within regional New South Wales. The FLI values comprised inclusive, innovative, transformative, interdisciplinary, collaborative and sustainable principles that underpinned decision making within the Institute. As an academic I undertook the traditional roles of research, teaching, community and advancement of the discipline as well as numerous other roles in this leadership position. 

My leadership position involved overseeing a professional development and educational technology centre at the Institute of Education. As an academic I undertook the traditional roles of research, teaching, community and advancement of the discipline as well as numerous other roles in this leadership position. These diverse roles included instructional designer, educational technologist, academic staff developer, professional developer, manager, administrator, facilitator, teacher, researcher, evaluator, presenter, writer, editor, consultant, project manager, change agent and innovator.

The centre focused on the following themes: peer learning, inquiry-based learning (problem-based and project-based learning), educational technology, learner autonomy, learning-oriented assessment, research and blended learning through the section areas of: teaching and learning enhancement, educational media, e-learning, IT competencies and development, research and administration.