Dr Christie White, President
Christie White is the Director of Student Success and Wellbeing at the University of
Southern Queensland (USQ). USQ is a regionally-headquartered university with campuses
in Toowoomba, Springfield, and Ipswich in Queensland, Australia. USQ provides higher
education to students globally, with 75% of its students studying online. A psychologist by
trade, Christie’s role is focused on achieving strategic outcomes for the University, enabling
students from diverse backgrounds to not only access and participate in higher education
but succeed as well. In addition, she oversees a range of support services including Careers
and Employability, Health and Wellness, and Social Justice, Equity and Inclusion. She has a
Doctor of Education designing a theoretical framework to assist student services in higher
education to support students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Christie has previously held the roles of Vice-President (Australia) and Treasurer for
ANZSSA, assuming the role of President in 2017. As a member of ANZSSA, she is deeply
committed to sharing good practice and working across the sector to create collaborative
learning opportunities for staff.
Mark Young, Vice-President (Australia)
Mark Young is the Senior Manager, Sales and Customer Experience at La Trobe University,
Victoria, Australia. He is responsible for domestic student recruitment and enhancing the
customer experience in order to drive retention, advocacy, and deliver on La Trobe’s brand
promise. He has more than 12 years’ experience working in the Australian Higher Education
sector across marketing and recruitment, student services and engagement, international
student support, student health, wellbeing and sport, careers and employability.
Mark is committed to enhancing the student experience, employability and academic student
success. Understanding the value of education to empower and create opportunity, he is
passionate about improving the quality and value of Australian higher education. Through
ANZSSA’s professional network this provides a valuable opportunity to contribute more
broadly to student support programs and initiatives that enables students to actively
participate in campus life.
Mark holds qualifications in Master of Business Administration (UQ), Master of Teaching,
Graduate Certificate of Career Development, and Bachelor of Arts. He is an active member
of multiple professional associations in higher education and has previously held the role of
Co-Convenor of QLD ANZSSA (2012-2014).
Karen Davis, Vice-President (New Zealand)
Karen Davis is Associate Director, Student Academic Services (Retention, Achievement and Equity) at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) where she leads an outstanding team of staff who deliver a range of academic and equity focused student services. These include Careers and Employment, Disability Services, Student Learning and Te Pūtahi Atawhai (for Māori and Pasifika students). Karen’s background is in teaching and, prior to working in student services, she managed the University Preparation Programme at VUW and was a Programme Leader in Foundation Studies at Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland.
Karen has been involved with ANZSSA since 2013 when she was convenor for the conference held in Wellington, New Zealand. Since then, the ANZSSA community in Aotearoa (New Zealand) has developed strong networks and there have been several successful professional development events held across the country. Karen values the team approach and collegiality of the ANZSSA Executive and her colleagues in Aotearoa. She sees ANZSSA having a key role in providing opportunities for talented practitioners to share their professional learnings and reflections with others. Karen thinks it is vital that students are partners in the ANZSSA community and that the organisation works to represent its staff and student members.
Andrea Strachan, Secretary
Andrea Strachan is currently the Director, Student Services at The University of Queensland.
Having spent around 14 years developing and delivering services to enhance the student
experience in one form or another, Andrea’s professional working career has included
leadership roles within UK Students’ Union’s; including as Chief Executive of the Students’
Union at University of the Arts London, LSE and the University of Manchester. Andrea has
experience outside the HE environment, managing customer services operations in both
sales and hospitality.
Andrea’s role at UQ includes overseeing the range of support services including advice,
learning skills, counselling and diversity & inclusion. More recently, the scope of the
directorate has broadened from the traditional focus on first year engagement to assisting in
the key strategic challenges at UQ; building a sense of belonging, community and
opportunities to enhance the experience and maximise the retention and success of
students. New initiatives such as the establishment of peer to peer support / mentoring,
Sexual Misconduct Support Unit and Mental Health Strategy keep colleagues busy and
much focussed on enhancing the student experience through empowering students,
enabling them to achieve in their academic endeavour.
Andrea is always keen to take opportunities to learn and develop new skills and served on
charitable and commercial boards for 19 years in the UK. Although relatively new to
ANZSSA, she is looking forward to working with colleagues in ANZSSA to assist the
development, influence and impact of efforts to enhance the student experience at a local
and national level.
Dorinda Harvey-Bravo, Treasurer
Dorinda Harvey-Bravo joined the ANZSSA Executive in early 2015. As Treasurer, she manages the membership and financial sides of the Association, and is supported by a bookkeeper. She has found the role provides a great professional development opportunity, and has allowed her to develop financial management skills as well as network with fabulous colleagues around Australia and New Zealand.
Dorinda has worked at Griffith University in Brisbane since 2007, primarily as a Welfare and Student Liaison Officer. She has a social work background and is passionate about supporting students with the non-academic side of their student experience. This includes managing their finances, understanding the university environment and systems, working through challenging situations such as academic failure, and accessing the broad range of supports available to them. It also means helping students engage with development opportunities and refine those all-important graduate attributes that will allow them to go on to fulfilling careers or further study.
Dorinda feels it is important that ANZSSA exists as a way for student support staff to connect with each other, discuss challenges in their work, and stay informed on sector issues. ANZSSA, as a peak body, also gives a collective voice on policy issues.
Jordi Austin, Immediate Past President
Jordi Austin is currently the Director, Student Support Services at the University of Sydney, Australia. She has worked in tertiary education student support roles since 1998, commencing at UNSW in the Counselling Service.
Jordi has been a member of ANZSSA since 1999, when her Manager, Annie Andrews, was the President of ANZSSA and responsible for coordinating the then Bi-Annual conference in Sydney. Being a part of a dynamic team, heavily involved in the development of high calibre resources, professional development and conference activities sparked Jordi’s interest in remaining engaged with ANZSSA. She stepped into the role of NSW Counsellors group co-ordinator in 2001, Vice President in 2009, under the leadership of Dr Jim Elliott, and then President in 2013. The professional networks, collegial and supportive conferences, innovative PD activities and outstanding friendships through ANZSSA are a key highlight of participating. Additional benefits of being involved include being in a position to assist, shape and develop talent within ANZSSA, and seeing daily the benefits of this in improving the student experience across the sector.
Sean Murray, Regional Convenor Coordinator
Sean is currently Head, Counselling and Disability Services at Curtin University. He has held this position for the past 10 years. Prior to working at Curtin he lectured in the Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, at UWA for 2 years. Before he migrated to Australia he held the position of Deputy Head of Department and co-coordinator of post-graduate courses in Psychology at the Medical University of Southern Africa; he was also a lecturer and Associate Director of the Centre for Psychology, at the University of Pretoria. As a psychologist he has worked for several psychiatric hospitals in government and military environments; student counselling services; substance abuse programs; and private practice. In 1988 he completed his MA and 1995 his PhD. He is the WA Convener for ANZSSA and served on the executive of the Association for Counselling Psychologists for 4 years. He served as the international representative board member for the International Association for Counselling Services for 6 years, which is the Accreditation Association for University & College Counselling