Keynote speakers and Panel discussion sessions

Keynote speakers

Professor Michelle Trudgett
Indigenous Leadership - Western Sydney University, Australia

Redesigning landscapes architects overlooked: Indigenous Australians (re)creating spaces in the higher education sector
The Australian higher education system has developed over the past 170 years, with many of our institutions now held in high esteem on the international stage. Despite this growth and broad success, the original sector architects failed to include Indigenous People into their designs, with Indigenous Australians having participated in the Australian higher education for only half a century. Fortunately, the pioneers of Indigenous education have shown tenacity and resilience while carving a rightful place for Indigenous People in our universities.

This keynote address argues that Indigenous Knowledges and culture, through embedded Indigenous leadership, must be a central component of university business to ensure the best possible outcomes for Australian universities and the nation more broadly. In doing so, it will examine the pipeline of opportunities for Indigenous higher degree students and their transition to becoming early career academics. It will then explore the significant contributions Indigenous leaders make to the higher education sector, noting that these positions require not only the same traits and characteristics as other leaders in the academy, but also additional requirements that draw on cultural integrity, knowledge and connections.

Professor Michelle Trudgett is an Indigenous scholar from the Wiradjuri Nation in New South Wales. Michelle currently holds the position Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Western Sydney University. She has also held senior positions at the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University. Michelle is currently the Chair of the New South Wales Vice-Chancellors Indigenous Committee and Deputy Chair of Universities Australia Pro/Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Committee. Michelle has received a number of awards including the highly prestigious National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year Award, the Neville Bonner Award for Teaching Excellence and the University of New England Distinguished Alumni Award.

Professor Sarah O’Shea
NCSEHE, Australia

Fragility or tenacity? Equity and participation in the pandemic university
Without doubt, 2020 will be remembered as a watershed year, initiating a period of change that has both challenged daily conventions as well as our collective expectations as citizens. Higher education systems have faced rapid change which has revealed the fragility of this sector, particularly in relation to educational equity and participation. The COVID-19 health pandemic and its ensuing repercussions have undoubtedly brought into sharp focus the enduring inequities embedded within university systems and the delicate relationships some student populations have with these higher education landscapes.

The term ‘fragility’ is often conceived in terms of weakness or a limitation; for individuals this state might assume a diminished level of agency or power. However, exposing the tenuous nature of people, places and spaces can similarly offer opportunities for existing or accepted perspectives to be challenged and revisioned. This presentation will firstly explore how students from equity backgrounds are often defined explicitly in ways that assume ‘fragility’, such as disrupted relationships with the university setting, the delicate balancing acts between external responsibilities and university participation or the fragile nature of belonging and inclusion within the academy. This situated understanding of educational fragility will be broadened to consider how the health pandemic has exposed broader vulnerabilities across the sector including the brittle nature of university funding, the ongoing interrogation of traditional forms of delivery as well as the stark differences in access to material resources.

Being named ‘fragile’ might convey a delicacy or instability yet equally, navigating fragile states or circumstances can yield positive revisions to difficult environments, in some cases underpinning a tenacity that leads to enduring change. Interrogating notions of fragility across the higher education equity field can provide a space to rethink ‘taken for granted’ aspects of university participation, which may have been disrupted by the recent health pandemic. Considering the pandemic university in terms of fragility offers an opportunity for thoughtful reflection not only about how equity and participation are constructed but also how we might challenge existing practices to enact a more robust and sustainable system.

Professor Sarah O’Shea is the Director, National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) and a national and international recognised educator and researcher. Sarah has spent nearly thirty years working to effect change within the higher education sector through research that focuses on the access and participation of students from identified equity groups. Institutional and nationally funded projects advance understanding of how under-represented student cohorts enact success within university, navigate transition into and through this environment, manage competing identities and negotiate aspirations for self and others. Sarah has also held numerous university leadership positions, which have directly informed changes across the Australian higher education sector, particularly in the field of educational equity. She has published extensively and has been awarded nearly AUD4 million in grant funding since 2009, Sarah has also been recognised as an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellow, a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Churchill Fellow.

Professor Phillip Dawson
CRADLE, Australia

What works in addressing the wicked problem of cheating?
Cheating has always been a problem, and it has recently gotten worse: more prevalent, harder to address, and more sophisticated. Age-old cheating approaches like plagiarism and outsourcing have been supercharged by the Internet and joined by new threats like exam hacking and artificial intelligence. Cheating is a problem that defies simple solutions, a wicked problem, a complex social mess. There are competing, contradictory ‘solutions’ to cheating, limited resources to implement them, and a range of ideological, cultural and political forces at play.

But we can’t give up.

Yes, cheating is a hard problem, but it’s one that matters too. Graduating ethical students who can do what we say they can do is not optional, it’s the cornerstone of higher education’s social contract.

This presentation takes a nuanced look at what works in addressing the problem of cheating. It synthesises evidence from research and practice to build a layered model that spans both positive academic integrity approaches like education and more adversarial assessment security approaches like detection and deterrence. And it explores the challenges of asking ‘what works’ in the context of the wicked problem of cheating.

Professor Phillip (Phill) Dawson is the Associate Director of the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) at Deakin University. Phill has degrees in education, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and he leads CRADLE’s work on cheating, academic integrity and assessment security. This work spans hacking and cheating in online exams, training academics to detect contract cheating, student use of study drugs, the effectiveness of legislation at stopping cheating, and the evaluation of new assessment security technologies. His two latest books are Defending Assessment Security in a Digital World: Preventing E-Cheating and Supporting Academic Integrity in Higher Education (Routledge, 2021) and the co-edited volume Re-imagining University Assessment in a Digital World (Springer, 2020). Phill’s work on cheating is part of his broader research into assessment, which includes work on assessment design and feedback. In his spare time he rides bikes slowly and performs improv comedy earnestly.

Panel discussion sessions

Panel 1: What have we learned from the COVID-19 experience for future changes in teaching and learning in higher education? Researchers’ views

Following the end of COVID-19 restrictions will there be a reversion to previous practice in teaching, learning and assessment, or will there be substantial transformations in the higher education scene. While there has been considerable debate about what might take place, much of this has occurred at the level of opinion and suppositions. There has been little focus on evidence about what might be possible and its educational influence. While actual change may be more influenced by the continuation of cultural practices and a resistance to innovation, we need to consider what grounds we have for moving in particular directions.

The panel brings together a group of academics with considerable experience in research on teaching and learning in higher education and in digital learning. They have been both contributors and have been following research on the COVID experience in universities and its implications. The panel will offer their views on directions for a ‘new normal’ and what appears to be supported by evidence from research. Short presentations will be followed by questions from conference participants and extended discussion.

Join Professor David Boud, Professor Diana Laurillard, Senior Professor Sue Bennett and Associate Professor Timothy Hew for this session.

Professor David Boud
Deakin University


David Boud is Alfred Deakin Professor and Foundation Director of the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning at Deakin University, Melbourne. He is also Emeritus Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Research Professor in Work and Learning at Middlesex University, London. He has previously held positions of Head of School of Adult and Language Education, Associate Dean and Dean of the University Graduate School at UTS. He is a former President of HERDSA and he is the longstanding editor of Studies in Continuing Education.

He has published extensively on teaching, learning and assessment in higher and professional education. His current work focuses on the areas of assessment for learning in higher education, digital learning, academic formation and workplace learning. He is one of the world’s most highly cited scholars in the field of higher education (h-index of 93). He has been a pioneer in developing learning-centred approaches to courses and in assessment across the disciplines, in collaboration with various others: in building assessment skills for long-term learning (Rethinking Assessment for Higher Education: Learning for the Longer Term, Routledge, 2007; Developing Evaluative Judgement in Higher Education, Routledge 2018), designing new approaches to feedback (Feedback in Higher and Professional Education, Routledge, 2013; The Impact of Feedback in Higher Education: Improving assessment outcomes for learners, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and the implications of the digital for assessment (Re-imagining University Assessment in a Digital World, Springer, 2020).

Professor Diana Laurillard
Chair of Learning with Digital Technologies
UCL Knowledge Lab
University College London

Senior Professor Sue Bennett
Executive Dean
Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
University of Wollongong

Associate Professor Timothy Hew
Associate Dean (Research Higher Degrees)
Faculty of Education
The University of Hong Kong

Panel 2: The future world of graduate employability: student voice 

When the first universities were established in Australasia, education of citizens to develop capability for the nation or state was a high priority. Similarly, yet with an altered emphasis, governments and universities now promote ‘employability’ of their graduates – reflecting a shift in the balance of responsibilities and benefits between individuals, states, and employers.

University staff members design curricula, initiatives, and resources to support students to develop employability. Our activities are based on assumptions about students: their existing capabilities, their resources, their aspirations, their employment opportunities, and their lives. How should we continue? In this panel, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students will share their expectations for the roles and responsibilities of universities in the future world of graduate employability.

Join Professor Sally Male, Georgina Aiuto, Omkar Auti, Shannon Ng Krattli and Maya Starr for this session.

Professor Sally Male
The University of Melbourne


As Director of the Teaching and Learning Laboratory in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at The University of Melbourne, Professor Sally Male leads a program of research in engineering and computing education, and higher education, and a program of development and support for engineering educators. Her mission in her research and teaching is to ensure that students have the best possible opportunities to develop capabilities and attributes to lead successful lives contributing to society.


Specifically, Professor Male’s research interests are curriculum development, employability, work integrated learning, and gender inclusion. Professor Male has undertaken major research projects on employability, including her PhD, three competitively funded projects she has led, and a national project for the Australian Council of Engineering Deans.


Before joining The University of Melbourne, Professor Male held the Chair in Engineering Education at The University of Western Australia, where she is now an Adjunct Professor. She oversaw engagement with practice in the engineer programs and was Deputy Chair of the University’s Work Integrated Learning Strategy Taskforce. Professor Male has taught electrical engineering at Curtin University and The University of Western Australia.


Professor Male is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, Editor-in-Chief of the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, and a Governance Board Member of Engineering Institute of Technology. Professor Male is the STEM columnist for the HERDSA magazine.

Georgina Aiuto
Swinburne University of Technology


Georgina Aiuto is currently a fourth-year undergraduate in science, majoring in physics, at Swinburne University of Technology. Their dream is to bring the sciences to the public through Science Communication (SciCom), and make sure every student has an opportunity for a proper STEM education. Georgina has spent 12 months learning how to communicate technologies during their placement at digital marketing firm August. They are also the head of Let’s Torque for 2022, a SciCom volunteer program led by undergraduate students. The student led committee aims to inspire likeminded students to share their passion by learning how to voice their studies to non-experts.

Omkar Auti
The University of Melbourne


Omkar Auti is a recipient of the Foreign Scholarship 2019 awarded to meritorious students from the Government of Maharashtra, India. He is a final year student, studying Master of Mechanical Engineering with Business at The University of Melbourne. His interests revolve around sustainability, renewable energy, automotive engineering, and product design. Currently, he is working at the University Student Services and one of the libraries on campus. Apart from his employment, Omkar has been volunteering for various University initiatives as the Faculty of Engineering and IT (Information Technology) student ambassador. Before starting the postgraduate course, Omkar worked in an automotive company in India as a new project development engineer. In his leisure time, he likes to swim, read, and watch movies.

Maya Starr
Victoria University


Maya Starr commenced a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at Victoria University in mid-2020 and holds an Associate Diploma of Engineering (Jewellery). Maya is of Indian and Swiss/German heritage and has three children, all over 16 years of age. Maya has worked on design and drafting for Thornton Architects. From 2012 to 2021, Maya was an elected parent member and vice-president of Collingwood College School Council. She has volunteered extensively within the school, serving on all subcommittees including convening the Camps and Excursions subcommittee and attending the selection panel for the 2020 Principal.  Since 2016 Maya has been a Playgroup leader for Collingwood Steiner Playgroup.

Shannon Ng Krattli
Deakin University


Shannon Krattli is currently completing her fourth and final year of the Bachelor of Nutrition Science (Honours) at Deakin University. In 2020, she interned for cancer council Victoria and co-wrote a paper that is to be published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. This sparked her interest in research, and she landed a ‘Students-as-Partners’ role at Deakin University to co-research and co-write about inclusive assessments at university. Currently, her research interests are biochemical metabolism and chronic diseases, which is the topic of her honours thesis. Shannon is also employed by Deakin as a writing mentor where she guides students in writing their assessments.