New South Wales Higher Education Summit 2023

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The UNSW Scientia Education Academy was delighted to hold the inaugural New South Wales Higher Education Summit on Friday 30 June.

The afternoon event brought together thought leaders and practitioners from across our state and beyond, to explore some of the key issues impacting and shaping the HE sector now and into the future. 


Watch the Summit 2023 wrap-up video

  • 3.00pm: Welcome from UNSW Scientia Education Academy
    • Academy Directors, Professor Nalini Pather and Professor Patsie Polly
  • 3.10pm: Keynote Presentation by Professor Andrew Norton (ANU) 
    • Higher Education sector in 2023: overview 
  • 3.40pm: Keynote Presentation by Professor Alex Steel (UNSW) 
    • Impact of Generative AI on assessments: A case study and insights from UNSW 2023 Term 1 
  • 4.10pm: Networking, Drinks and Canapes
  • 5.00pm: Panel Discussion - Education 2030: the future is now 
    • Professor Sally Kift
    • Professor Theo Farrell (UOW)
    • Professor Mark Hoffman (UON)
    • Professor Sarah Maddison (UNSW prev. SUT)
    • Facilitated by Professor Merlin Crossley (UNSW)
  • 5.45pm: Formal Closing Remarks 
  • 6.00pm: Networking, Drinks and Canapes

About the speakers

Sally Kift is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL) and President of the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows (ALTF). From 2012-2017, she was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at James Cook University (JCU). Prior to commencing at JCU in 2012, Sally was a Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where she also served as Law Faculty Assistant Dean, Teaching & Learning (2001-2006) and QUT’s foundational Director, First Year Experience (2006-2007). Sally now works as a higher education consultant and researches, publishes and presents on topics such as curriculum design, first year experience and transition, capstone experiences, Transition Pedagogy, legal education, higher education trends and student experience and support. Learn more about Sally.

Andrew Norton is Professor in the Practice of Higher Education Policy at the Centre for Social Research and Methods at the Australian National University. Prior to joining the ANU he was the Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute from 2011 to 2019. While at Grattan, he was a government appointed co-reviewer of the demand driven university funding system over 2013-14. He also served on a expert panel advising the government on higher education reform, particularly on financial issues, over 2016-17. Before joining the Grattan Institute, he worked for three University of Melbourne vice-chancellors as a policy adviser. He also worked part-time for The Centre for Independent Studies, as a research fellow and editor of its journal Policy. Learn more about Andrew.

Alex Steel is Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education & Student Experiences at the University of New South Wales. He is a Professor of Law with research interests in both education and criminal law. Alex's education publications range across the pedagogy and regulation of legal education, curriculum design, assessment practices, student wellbeing and staff development. His criminal law research focuses on property and dishonesty offences. Alex has received numerous teaching awards including a Commonwealth Government Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning and the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Learn more about Alex.

Theo Farrell is Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Academic and Student Life), responsible for innovation and excellence in education and student experience at The University of Wollongong. Professor Farrell joined UOW in 2017 as an executive dean and was promoted to Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2019. He is Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK), Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales, Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, Visiting Professor in War Studies at King’s College London, and former President of the British International Studies Association. Learn more about Theo.

Sarah Maddison has recently joined UNSW as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education & Student Experience. Prior to joining UNSW, Sarah was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education, Experience & Employability) and Professor of astrophysics at Swinburne University of Technology, supporting the Future Ready Learners strategic initiatives and the learning ecosystem at Swinburne. Learn more about Sarah.

Mark Hoffman is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and a Vice-President of the University of Newcastle. Professor Hoffman is an experienced senior leader in the higher education sector who values a collaborative and global focus. He believes that universities are a catalyst for social and economic advancement, of both individuals and society; universities’ primary purpose is to educate and graduate students equipped to lead that advancement, regardless of background, through a seamless interface with industry and society. As Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice-President of the University of Newcastle, Mark Hoffman is leading a transformation of the academic programs of the University focussed on ensuring the University’s highly-regarded graduates are Life-Ready. Learn more about Mark.

Nalini Pather is Professor and the Associate Dean Education, Innovation at Medicine & Health at UNSW. She focuses on curriculum design, enhancing the student experience, and SoTL. She is the co-founder of the Health Universities Initiative, which frames a whole-of-university approach to student success and wellbeing. Nalini’s research focusses on medical imaging, hybrid/digital education, and inclusive education. She has more than 25 years’ experience in educational innovation and design in medicine and health programs in several countries. She has several awards (Faculty, Vice-Chancellor, Australian Award for University Teaching) for her contributions to higher education. Nalini is the Chair of the International Program for Anatomical Education (FIPAE) of the IFAA, and an Associate Editor of Anatomical Sciences Education (Impact Factor, 5.9). Nalini is a Fellow of ANZAHPE and the UNSW Scientia Education Academy. Learn more about Nalini.

Patsie Polly is a Scientia Education Fellow who is an Education Focussed Champion and Professor in the Department of Pathology within the School of Medical Sciences (SoMS), Faculty of Medicine, UNSW. Patsie is recognised nationally as a medical scientist, leading teacher and innovative education researcher. She has infused her extensive medical research experience into the classroom by applying the latest laboratory research practice. Patsie strategically integrates adaptive lessons, ePortfolio pedagogy and collaborative communities of practice to allow her students to learn these career-relevant skills. Her unique method blends virtual and real laboratory experiences to break new ground in engaging her students as researchers. Patsie has led reflective ePortfolio implementation to develop deep learning of teamwork and communication competencies in students, contextualising acquiring these skills for their future as medical researchers and health professionals. Learn more about Patsie.

Merlin Crossley is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Quality) at UNSW and Professor of Molecular Biology. He has also worked or studied at the Universities of Melbourne, Oxford, Harvard and Sydney. He has been recognized by numerous awards, including a Rhodes Scholarship and the Australian Academy of Science's Gottschalk Medal. He has made significant contributions to academic administration, serving as Dean at UNSW since 2010, and previously having been Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at the University of Sydney from 2006 to 2008. He is an enthusiastic science communicator, Chair of the Editorial Board of The Conversation, of UNSW Press, Deputy Director of the Australian Science Media Centre, a member of the Editorial Board of BioEssays, and an Honorary Associate of the Australian Museum. Learn more about Merlin.


This event is hosted by the UNSW Scientia Education Academy, a forum for UNSW’s outstanding educators to cultivate thought leadership, stimulate and challenge us to inspire educational excellence at UNSW and beyond.