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Position Description: Director, Policy, Research and Engagement

Position Number: 18021
Position Title: Director, Policy, Research and Engagement 
Group/Team: Policy, Research and Engagement
Employment Type: Ongoing, Full-time
Salary Range: $123,142 to $147,817 pa plus 15.4% superannuation
Classification: Executive Level 2 (EL2)
Location: 530 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria
Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Agency Employment Act: PS Act 1999

Applications close at 11:59pm on 8 August 2021

Applications must include the following cover sheet: TEQSA job application cover sheet [DOCX 1MB]


The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is Australia’s independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education. 

TEQSA’s role is to ensure that the quality standards are being met by all higher education providers so that the interests of students and the reputation of Australia’s higher education sector are promoted and protected. 

All providers of higher education that offer higher education qualifications in, or from Australia, must be registered by TEQSA. Providers that do not have self-accrediting authority, must also have their courses of study accredited by TEQSA. In keeping with contemporary trends in quality assurance and regulation, TEQSA’s approach:

  • is standards-based, risk-reflective and transparent
  • places a significant emphasis on promoting and facilitating a culture of effective self-assurance as an integral part of a provider’s ordinary operations
  • is based on a preferred model of respectful regulatory partnerships, with individual providers and with the sector overall.

This approach enables TEQSA to be effective in ordinary and extraordinary times across a range of areas, such as sector reform, COVID-19 response and recovery, and identifying and responding to emerging issues.

Policy, Research and Engagement

The Policy, Research and Engagement Group encompasses a range of functions. 

The first is to lead and manage TEQSA’s policy analysis and research capacity in support of TEQSA’s regulatory role, including risk and compliance assessments. The second is to develop TEQSA’s intelligence and analysis capacity in identifying sectoral trends and developments in key and emerging risks. This function will require a strong grasp of intelligence gathering, information management and data analytics within the Group, and in particular from the Director. A further function of the Group is to design and develop resources for enhancing sector compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework, such as advice on emerging and hot topics and other tools and resources for providers.

Finally, the engagement function is responsible for ensuring productive and responsible relationships between TEQSA and key external stakeholders, including higher education peak bodies, regulatory beneficiaries (students, employers, and the Australian public), other regulators, industry professional bodies, government departments and international quality assurance agencies. In this respect, the Group is expected to work closely and collaboratively with all business areas of the agency. The function also manages TEQSA’s use of external experts, the maintenance of TEQSA’s communications ‘digital footprint’, and coordination and management of events such as the annual TEQSA conference.

About the position

The Director, Policy, Research and Engagement will operate under broad direction and draw on significant higher education and/or public sector policy, research and analysis knowledge and experience to influence and set the strategic direction for the Policy and Research, Engagement and Communications teams. They will lead high performing teams to deliver core services and develop and maintain a strong awareness of emerging sector-wide issues and trends to inform and advise the Commission and prepare policy positions. 

The Director will initiate, establish, and maintain strong relationships with key internal and external stakeholders to be able to analyse data and intelligence, and advise on topical issues in the sector. They will capitalise on the knowledge and experience within the organisation as well as consult externally where appropriate. They will communicate with influence by anticipating and adapting messages to their target audience, gain stakeholder support through persuasive negotiation and be able to identify common ground to facilitate agreement and acceptance on highly complex and/or sensitive matters.

This position may involve some interstate and international travel.


  1. Lead the Group’s work to deliver high quality and timely outcomes that enhance compliance and quality across the sector, driving a positive team culture committed to continuous improvement.
  2. Build team capabilities by providing leadership to team members, including setting the strategic direction of work priorities, monitoring workflows and resources, developing, coaching, and mentoring staff, resolving conflict, and managing performance. 
  3. Identify and scope new strategic policy and research and project opportunities and proposals, working in close collaboration with TEQSA’s Higher Education Integrity Unit, and oversee project delivery to a high quality and on budget. 
  4. Plan and lead change management, innovation and transformation agendas to support policy development, intelligence gathering, external relationships, performance improvement and provide practical, and impartial advice as required.
  5. Oversee the planning, preparation and delivery of relevant, cogent, evidence-based information, reports, submissions, communications and events, tailored to suit the needs of the audience as required.
  6. Work cooperatively across TEQSA business areas, in particular with the Information Management, Risk and Financial Advisory and Assessment teams, to ensure integration of policy, research and engagement functions in identifying and responding to sector risks, particularly as they relate to students, building sector compliance, and quality assuring applicable higher education standards. 
  7. Build and sustain productive and influential relationships with a network of key stakeholders including registered providers, peak and international bodies, government, other agencies and students, to facilitate cooperation and ensure high quality support and services are delivered and acted on by decision-makers, and future needs addressed. 
  8. Act as a principal advisor on complex and/or sensitive policy, analysis and forecasting of sector-wide issues or engagement matters, analyse and interpret information, provide authoritative advice, solve problems, and apply sound judgement in choosing an appropriate course of action.
  9. Participate in TEQSA’s Executive Leadership Team, actively contributing to corporate management and related statutory responsibilities including strategic planning, reporting, corporate and budgetary tasks to deliver organisational outcomes and deliverables. 
  10. Perform other duties as directed.

Our ideal candidate (selection criteria)

  • Has proven experience leading and managing teams to meet organisational objectives, including by developing, coaching and mentoring employees to deliver excellent service in multi-stakeholder environment.
  • Is resilient, has high self and situational awareness and emotional intelligence, and can provide leadership in a climate of rapid change, uncertainty, and continuous improvement to achieve and maintain high-performance.
  • Possesses outstanding interpersonal and stakeholder management skills and an ability to build influential relationships that drive consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders to harness opportunities and gain buy in for strategic initiatives. 
  • Is an exceptional collaborator and communicator, with demonstrated experience driving consensus and cohesion and building staff and stakeholder engagement to deliver high performance.
  • Makes balanced decisions; uses professional judgement to investigate, analyse and resolve issues and influence decision makers; and delivers quality outcomes that have significant impact on Group and Commission operations.
  • Has demonstrated project management experience and skills, including the ability to manage a range of sensitive and/or complex projects simultaneously, gather intelligence, analyse data, and generate innovative solutions.

Qualifications and experience

  • Relevant tertiary qualification(s) in policy, engagement and/or public sector administration would be highly regarded.
  • Experience working in the Australian higher education sector and/or a regulatory environment would be highly valued.

How to apply

Your application should include the following items:

  • a statement of no more than 1000 words addressing the Our ideal candidate section above, explaining how your experience, skills and qualifications make you the ideal candidate for the role
  • a TEQSA job application cover sheet
  • a current resume.  

Once prepared, please submit your completed application to recruitment [at] teqsa.gov.au.

Please refer to TEQSA’s careers page for the relevant documents and more information.

For assistance with addressing the selection criteria, you may wish to refer to the APS EL2 Integrated Leadership System and Cracking the Code: How to Apply for Jobs in the Australian Public Service.


The successful applicant must:

  • be an Australian citizen
  • obtain and maintain an Australian Government Security clearance to Negative Vetting Level 1 status.

Failure to satisfy any of these conditions may result in the withdrawal of an offer of employment or termination of employment.

Other relevant information

  • This recruitment process is being used to fill an ongoing position.
  • A merit pool of suitable applicants will be created from this process and may be used to fill similar ongoing and non-ongoing vacancies. It is active for 12 months from the date of this advertisement.
  • Non-ongoing vacancies may be filled up to 18 months with the possibility of a further extension (up to a total period of 3 years) or becoming ongoing.

Diversity and inclusion

TEQSA values workplace diversity and is committed to providing a supportive, inclusive, and respectful work environment. 

We welcome people with diverse skills, experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds, and encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, people with disabilities, people that identify as LGBTIQ+, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Work, health and safety responsibilities 

Section 28 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 details work, health and safety responsibilities for all TEQSA employees while at work, in the office or remotely.