TEQSA's Student Expert Advisory Group was established to provide us with advice on approaches and strategies relating to regulation and quality assurance of higher education providers, with particular reference to the engagement of students.
The group, chaired by TEQSA's CEO, is made up of members from a selection of Australia’s major student representative bodies, including the:
- National Union of Students
- Council of International Students Australia
- Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association
- Union of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students.
The group also includes representatives nominated by peak bodies including the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, Council of Private Higher Education and TAFE Director Australia.
Natasha Abrahams, National President, CAPA
Natasha Abrahams is the National President of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations, the peak representative body for Australia’s 400,000+ postgraduate students. In this role, she is campaigning for income support for domestic postgraduate students. She is also interested in mental health and wellbeing of postgraduate students.
Natasha is a doctoral student in the Monash University School of Social Sciences, and her dissertation argues that the sexual division of domestic labour is promoted by news reporting of scientific findings pertaining to sex differences. She is also currently the President of the Monash Postgraduate Association, which represents the interests of postgraduate students at Monash University.
Morgan Baker, JMC Academy (ACPET)
Morgan is a third year student studying a Bachelor of Film and Television Production. Morgan is a scholarship recipient, President of the Student Union and the student representative on the JMC Academy Academic Board.
Sophie Gerrie, Tabor – Adelaide (COPHE)
Sophie is currently in her final year as a Master of Divinity student (3-year postgrad coursework) and, previous to that, she completed a Bachelor Social Science in Youth Work (3-year undergraduate) also at Tabor. In addition to her own experience as a student, last year Sophie was a peer mentor for ministry students (under-25 years of age). She is a member of Tabor's Student Leadership Team, a recently established team that aims to raise the profile of the student voice at Tabor.
Sadie Heckenberg, President, NATSIPA
Sadie Heckenberg is the President of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association. A Swinburne University of Technology student, Sadie is currently undertaking a PhD in Indigenous Oral History. A Wiradjuri Woman, Sadie was the 2014 Fulbright Indigenous Postgraduate Scholar, undertaking her research in the Kamakakūokalani Centre for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai’i Mānoa. Sadie’s oral history research focuses on Indigenous methodologies, Cultural Safety and protecting Indigenous spoken knowledge through intellectual property and copyright law. In 2017, Sadie was a National Library of Australia Summer Scholar and a Columbia University Oral History Institute Summer Fellow. She is a lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland’s College for Indigenous Studies, Education and Research.
Brendan Moore, Canberra Institute of Technology (TDA)
Brendan Moore is the Chair of the CIT Student Association and the Student Member on the CIT Board.
Mark Pace, National President, NUS
Mark Pace is the 2018 President of the National Union of Students (NUS) and completing a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Adelaide. Prior to his involvement in NUS, Mark was the President of the Adelaide University Student Representative Council. Mark’s interests include student welfare, and he first got involved in student representation after the 2012 Universities Australia survey into student finances which identified two thirds of students were living below the poverty line.
Bijay Sapkota, National President, CISA
Bijay Sapkota is the National President of the Council of International Students Australia (CISA), the peak representative body for international students studying in Australia. He is studying a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Honours) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) where he is a member of the UTS Council.
Bijay was a co-winner of the NSW International Student of the Year in 2016 in recognition of his engagement in youth affairs, humanitarian and multicultural, in Nepal and Australia. In 2017 at the Youth SAARC Regional Conference in Kathmandu, he was awarded the Youth Inspiration Award by the Honourable Dr Ram Baran Yadav, the former President of Nepal.
Ethan Taylor, National President, UATSIS
Ethan is the first and current National President of the Union of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Ethan is from the Warumungu nation that surrounds Tennant Creek, and within his nation he belongs to the Parte clan and the Japal Jari skin group. Ethan is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Philosophy and English. His interests include education and social justice, and in 2018 he hopes to further establish the national union for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander undergraduate students.
Inaugural meeting – Canberra, 2 March 2018
The inaugural meeting of the Student Expert Advisory Group took place in Canberra on Friday 2 March. The group discussed raising student awareness of TEQSA’s regulatory decisions, how to involve the student voice in our regulatory work and the actions currently underway to tackle the issue of sexual assault and harassment.
The group is planning to meet at least three times per year, with the next meeting set for 11 July in Melbourne.
Second meeting – Melbourne, 11 July 2018
The second meeting of the Student Expert Advisory Group was held in Melbourne on 11 July 2018. The focus of the meeting was to discuss how students could be made aware of TEQSA assessments of providers’ course accreditation or registration, and how the agency could make its role more visible to the wider student population.
The group were also provided with an update on the agency’s work regarding sector-wide issues such as sexual assault and sexual harassment, improvements to admissions transparency and combatting contract cheating.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 26 November in Melbourne.