Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia

The Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia is a scholarly society for people committed to the advancement of higher and tertiary education. It promotes the development of higher education policy, practice and the study of teaching and learning. HERDSA encourages and disseminates research on teaching and learning and higher education development. It also works to build strong academic communities.  The current HERDSA Constitution was adopted in 2013.

HERDSA works to

  • advance educational policy and practice in the higher education and tertiary sector
  • facilitate and promote the enhancement of teaching and learning
  • encourage and disseminate research on higher education and tertiary teaching, learning, development, research, leadership and policy matters
  • recognise and reward outstanding contributions to higher and tertiary education
  • encourage collaboration and the development of professional communities in higher and tertiary education and
  • assist its members in their ongoing professional development.

An Executive Committee is elected every two years and is supported by an administrative office and a number of Officers of HERDSA who serve as editors of the various HERDSA publications.

For further information, please visit the HERDSA website


HERDSA 2018 Organising Committee

Please see below the 2018 organising committee (for further information such as biographies please click on the selected name)

HERDSA 2018 Organising Committee

Associate Professor Sharron King

Associate Professor Sharron King is the Academic Director and Deputy Head of UniSA College. Sharron’s research interests focus primarily on students’ transition, health and well-being at university and widening access to university for students who face educational disadvantage.  Recent projects include an OLT funded project on student’s expectations and experiences of university study, a NCSEHE project exploring the factors that enable success for ‘first in family’ students and an NPP grant promoting academic success and well-being for regional students.

Dr Ann Luzeckyj

Dr Ann Luzeckyj has worked in higher education for over 25 years in both Australia and England in a range of roles (as a librarian and an academic). She is currently employed at Flinders University as Senior Lecturer in Higher Education: First Year Undergraduate Teaching Adviser at Flinders University. This role allows Ann to draw on her research interests, knowledge and experience as she supports academic staff to gain insight and understanding into the use of learning analytics, become skilled teachers and develop teaching methodologies which increase opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to succeed as they navigate the complexities of being at university. Her duties include coordinating the Flinders Foundations of University Teaching (FFOUT) program and running a suite of programs that support staff who teach first year students and sessional teaching staff and the supervision of doctoral students. Ann was awarded her Doctorate in Education in 2011 and has won a number of teaching and learning related grants and a teaching citation. She has presented workshops and conference papers and published journal articles and reports related to all her areas of interest. For more information about Ann and a list of her publications please visit: http://www.flinders.edu.au/people/ann.luzeckyj.

Associate Professor Ben McCann

Ben McCann is Associate Professor and Head of French Studies at the University of Adelaide. From 2012 to 2017, he was the Director of Student Experience for the Faculty of Arts, overseeing policies of transition, retention, and attrition. He was the Co-Lead Investigator on an OLT Grant (2009-2012) which explored the expectations and experiences of students entering South Australian universities.  More recently, he has collaborated on an NCSEHE project looking at the experiences of First in Family students in South Australia.

Dr David Birbeck

Dr David Birbeck is a lecturer in Academic Development at the University of South Australia (UniSA). David has been at UniSA for 8 years; initially as a lecturer in the School of Education and subsequently as an academic developer in the Division of Health Sciences. David has led and/or implemented a number of teaching and learning initiatives including ‘Building innovation in Learning and Teaching’ (BUILT) and Peer Partnerships in the Division of Health Sciences. David is actively researching how to better understand and support the needs of new teaching staff and as part of this research working on two projects. The first is an innovative approach to mapping and modelling curriculum called Dynamic Interactive Mapping and Modelling (DIMM) which will help new lecturers better understand where their course fits within a program and assist them to make informed enhancements. The second, Course Handover will help new course coordinators better understand the purpose and needs of a specific course. Course Handover is his first national initiative through the Office of Learning and Teaching.

Dr Don Houston

I am a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education in the Centre for Innovation in Learning Teaching at Flinders University working with academic and professional colleagues to enhance teaching and learning. I have worked in tertiary education for quite some time (I am happy to share specifics in conversation) in Australia and New Zealand. My roles have spanned educational research, curriculum design, assessment theory and practice, policy development, teaching and learning, and quality in higher education. My current scholarship/research focuses on developing students’ professional judgement, stories of staff engagement with SoTL, and the Zombie Apocalypse (using contemporary cultural hooks to engage students with science). Don is on Twitter @donjhouston

Dale Wache

I am an Academic Developer in the Teaching Innovation Unit (TIU) based at City West Campus. I work with academic staff in the Business School on curriculum, teaching and learning, assessment, online teaching and learning and evaluation to enhance student learning. The Academic Development team promotes and supports teaching and learning through workshops, individual consultations and online resources. In 2013 I was jointly awarded an OLT Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. I was a member of two national project teams awarded ALTC grants for a project on the Peer Review of Online Learning and Teaching and another project  Facilitating flexible, enquiry-based experiential learning through an accessible, three-dimensional virtual learning environment (3DVLE).

Dr Ruth Fazakerley

Ruth Fazakerley is an Academic Developer at the Teaching Innovation Unit, University of South Australia. Since 2015, based in the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, Ruth has sought to foster staff engagement with the scholarship of teaching and learning via curriculum design and evaluation, teaching innovation and leadership, grants and awards, and the EASS Teaching Academics Network. Ruth came to this role with a background in cultural research, where her focus is on the interrelationships between art and public spaces.

Dr Rowena Harper

Dr Rowena Harper is Head of Language and Literacy in the Teaching Innovation Unit at UniSA, a role she has been in since 2012.  She coordinates a team that works with educators to integrate the teaching and assessment of language, literacies and communication into their curriculum, and she also coordinates the University’s Academic Integrity Officers. She researches in the areas of academic literacy, academic integrity and higher education, and she is currently co-leading (with Tracey Bretag) the OLT-funded

Dr Helen Benzie

Helen Benzie is Language and Literacy Coordinator in the Teaching Innovation Unit based at City West Campus. She works with academic staff in the Business School on integrating communication into the curriculum with a particular focus on student experience of assessment. The Language and Literacy team supports the work of Academic staff through workshops, classroom and online resources and individual consultations.

Amanda Richardson

Amanda Richardson is a current PhD candidate in the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia. Her PhD research is exploring predictors of first year student success; in particular the influence of students’ personal characteristics and their time use and the way these factors may influence both their academic and health outcomes during the first year. Amanda’s other research interests include the first year experience, first year pedagogies, and student health and wellbeing more generally.

Dr Cally Guerin

Dr Cally Guerin has worked in researcher education and development at the University of Adelaide since 2008. Her current role focuses on providing support to research students in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Professions. Recent research projects and publications reflect her interests in doctoral education, research writing, academic identities and writing groups.  Cally is a founding co-editor of the DoctoralWriting blog and an Associate Editor for HERD.

Dr Jeanne Young

Dr Jeanne Young Kirby,  Education –Focussed Academic, College of Science and Engineering . I am the topic coordinator and lecturer in first year core Biology and a Co-coordinator for the first and second year Biostatistics. I have been involved in improving teaching and learning practice in STEM higher education at Flinders University since 2008. Areas of research I am pursuing are  the application of interactive educator facilitated, student driven activities to support student learning and transition of first and second year university students and explicit development of employability skills through use of Models of Engaged Teaching and Learning (MELT) to develop student lifelong learning and preparation for professional life. I am currently a member of the MELT SA Core Group lead by John Willison. I recognise transition into and throughout university as an important component of the student experience, and am also currently involved in considering how use of learning analytics may help us to measure engagement and provide in time guidance and counselling to students during their undergraduate study.

Dr Manisha Thakkur

Manisha is a lecturer in biosciences at the Endeavour College of Natural Health in Adelaide. She is a subject coordinator for Pathology and clinical science (BIOC313 and BIOS222). Manisha has a great interest in bioscience subjects and has taught a wide range of subjects over the last 13 years including, Pathology and clinical science, Chemistry and biochemistry, Clinical examination, Critical inquiry and Nutritional biochemistry.

Helen Stephenson

Helen Stephenson is a PhD candidate in the School of Education and Project Manager: Teaching and Learning in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at Flinders University of South Australia. She was project leader for the South Australian / Northern Territory Promoting Excellence Network (SANTPEN) from 2012 – 2014 and remains a project team member. In 2014, Helen became the Treasurer for the South Australian / Northern Territory branch of the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN). Helen is a member of the Flinders University College of Distinguished Educators.

Her PhD study is on the nature of relationships within work-integrated: a phenomenological exploration of final year undergraduate initial teacher education students’ experiences.

She has produced two work integrated learning on-line resources including Pre-Place which won the South Australian iAward (Education) in 2013 and was subsequently purchased by four Australian higher education institutions. Helen has contributed to a book chapter, four conference papers and one refereed journal paper.