Our leadership and organisation

TEQSA Commission

Our Commissioners are appointed by the Commonwealth Minister for Education based on their expertise in higher education quality assurance and regulatory practice. Commissioners are responsible for making regulatory decisions, setting strategic directions, monitoring risk in the sector and deciding on matters relating to the development of our quality assurance and regulatory functions. The Commissioners are TEQSA's accountable authority.

TEQSA's Commissioners also inform the higher education sector about our work and the responsibilities of higher education providers under the Australian Government’s regulatory system. Our Commissioners are: 

Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake AO (Chief Commissioner)

Photo of Peter Coaldrake

Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake AO commenced as TEQSA Chief Commissioner on 1 March 2021.

Prior to this, Professor Coaldrake completed an almost fifteen-year term as Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in December 2017. He is a former Chair of both the peak body for Australia’s Universities, Universities Australia (UA) and the governing board of the OECD’s then higher education group (IMHE).

Professor Coaldrake is currently the Chair of the Board of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust, and a Board Member of the Queensland Community Foundation.

In October 2018 he was appointed by Federal Education Minister, the Honourable Dan Tehan, to conduct a review into the Higher Education Provider Category Standards. In 2018 he also undertook two separate Reviews for the Queensland government: one dealing with the present and future Queensland public sector workforce, and the other of the future of vocational education, training and skilling in central-western Queensland, focusing on the performance of the Agricultural Colleges.

A dual Fulbright scholar, Professor Coaldrake has authored or edited a number of books and monographs including, most recently, Raising the Stakes: Gambling with the Future of Universities (co-authored with Dr Lawrence Stedman, UQP, 2013; 2nd ed. 2016).

He is the recipient of a ‘Queensland Great’ Award (2017) and the Asia Pacific Leadership Award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (2016).

Emeritus Professor Joan Cooper (Commissioner)

Photo of Professor Joan Cooper.

Professor Joan Cooper was previously a Higher Education Consultant, a position she took on after retiring as Pro-Vice Chancellor (Students) of the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Her other senior academic executive positions include Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at Flinders University, and Dean of Informatics at the University of Wollongong where she served as Chair of the University Senate (Academic Board). She has also held senior positions at two other Australian universities. 

Professor Cooper’s most recent work involved delivering a variety of higher education consultancy services to higher education private providers in Australia. Her roles and services included chairing governance committees; reviews of operational areas and reviews and preparation for TEQSA registration, re-registration, and accreditation. She has chaired a number of Governing Councils and Academic Boards for private providers, including TAFE NSW. She was also a member of TAFE NSW Commission Board.

Professor Cooper has wide-ranging experience both nationally and internationally in tertiary education accreditation and quality audits. In the last 10 years she has served on a number of accreditation/quality panels including chairing many panels in Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Professor Cooper also has experience of managing quality audits. 

Professor Cooper completed her Bachelor of Mathematics (Honours) and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Newcastle. She was the foundation Professor of Information Technology at Wollongong University, and the first female professor of IT in Australia. In 2003 she was appointed an Emeritus Professor of Wollongong, a title conferred in recognition of her contribution to the University, and in 2004 she was awarded the University of Newcastle’s Convocation Medal for Professional Excellence. In April 2012 UNSW appointed her as an Emeritus Professor.

Adrienne Nieuwenhuis (Commissioner)

Photo of Commissioner Adrienne Nieuwenhuis

Before her appointment as a TEQSA Commissioner, Adrienne Nieuwenhuis was the Director of the Office of Vice Chancellor at the University of South Australia.

Prior to this, Adrienne was the Director Quality, Tertiary Education, Science and Research in the South Australian Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology where she provided strategic leadership, policy advice and investment direction to support tertiary education, science and research in South Australia. In this role she was also responsible for the regulation of both higher education and VET in South Australia and worked closely with the Commonwealth Government in the establishment of the national regulatory systems for both higher education and VET.

Adrienne was an inaugural member of both the Higher Education Standards Panel (2011-2014) and the National Skills Standards Council (2011-2013). Adrienne was reappointed to the Higher Education Standards Panel for a further 3-year term in 2018.

Adrienne has been a member of the South Australian Skills Commission since 2013 and has held several roles within the Commission, including Deputy Chair of the Commission (2013-2014; 2019-2020) and Chair of the Commission’s Traineeship and Apprenticeship sub-committee (2013 – present). Adrienne is also a member of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee.

Adrienne has over 30 years of experience in tertiary education and has been a member of various state and federal committees and working parties associated with tertiary education. She holds an Honours degree in science and a Master degree in education policy and administration.

Stephen Somogyi (Commissioner)

Photo of Stephen Somogyi

Steve was appointed a TEQSA Commissioner in November 2021, bringing with him extensive global experience in the financial services, health care, higher education and prudential regulation sectors and as a chair of boards and audit and risk committees. 

He has previously served as Strategic Adviser to Monash University, Victoria University, the University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide, Siemens, Queensland Investment Corporation and the Australian Council of Education Research, chairing complex projects including the new Queen Street Precinct to improve student experience in the City of Melbourne. He also jointly created the Net Zero Program for Monash to achieve energy savings and zero net carbon emissions by 2030 and developed a strategic approach to the Higher Education and Health Care sectors for the Siemens Smart Cities Business Unit. He is a member of the Expert Review Group for ACER with respect to Financial Adviser exams.

Steve formerly served 10 years as Chief Operating Officer at RMIT University and has held a range of senior roles in government and industry at Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Trowbridge Consulting, Mayne Nickless, Bonlac Foods, Capital Structure, IOOF Board, CPI Group, National Mutual, Benchmark Hospital Group and CGU Insurance. His work on boards includes service as Member of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, Chair of Guild Group, Director of UniSuper including Chair of Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee, Chair of Higher Ed Services, Chair of Course Loop and Director of Study Loans. 

Earning a Master of Science in High Energy Physics from University of Melbourne and a Master of Science in Management, Sloan Fellow, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Steve is a now Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia, of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of the Financial Services Institute of Australia.

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Mary Russell (Acting CEO)


Dr Mary Russell is presently TEQSA’s Acting CEO. Dr Russell has been TEQSA’s Executive Director Regulatory Operations since March 2022.

Executive Leadership Team

The Commission is supported by an Executive Leadership Team (ELT) comprising the Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director of Regulatory Operations and senior managers. ELT is responsible for the management of our regulatory business, corporate processes and people.

Organisation structure

TEQSA organisation chart

Audit and Risk Committee

We have established an Audit and Risk Committee in compliance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and PGPA Rule.

Higher Education Standards Panel

The Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP) is an expert statutory advisory body, established under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act), with responsibility related to the standards for delivery of higher education in Australia. 
HESP is independent of TEQSA. 

•    Learn more about HESP [External website]

Last updated:
13 Oct 2022