National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium

Executive committee

NATSIHEC is an Indigenous Corporation registered under the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).

The membership elects a total of nine Directors of the Corporation who form its Executive and includes five office bearers of:

  • President
  • President-Elect
  • Immediate-Past President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

An additional five Directors are elected as the Vice-Presidents of portfolio priorities of:

  • Research
  • Academic (i.e. Teaching and Learning)
  • International
  • Corporate, Student and Community Engagement
  • Eldership


Decision making may be undertaken at two levels through majority agreement by the Executive Committee and majority agreement by a meeting of the full national caucus of members.

Executive committee members

Academic Director, Aboriginal Engagement

Associate Professor Sadie Heckenberg is a Wiradjuri scholar from NSW and is the Academic Director Aboriginal Engagement at the University of Tasmania. Her research focuses on Indigenous methodologies, Cultural Safety, protecting Indigenous spoken knowledge and ethical research frameworks. A former Fulbright Scholar and Columbia University Oral History Institute Summer Fellow, Sadie leads the international Indigenous Oral History Network. She is passionate about Indigenous education, teaching students from Enabling to HDR, has held a ministerial appointment on the Higher Education Standards Panel and sits on the Universities Accord Ministerial Reference Group and the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts.

Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Steven Kelly is a Nanda man from the Murchison region of Western Australia, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne. His PhD gave insights into the shared lived experiences of his Elders. This focus contributes to the ongoing efforts to share a deeper and richer understanding of Nanda perspectives, connection to Country, and what it means to be a Nanda person in contemporary Australia. He is committed to Indigenous education and his research interests include Indigenous yarning as method, and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS).

Immediate Past President
Director Murrup Barak, Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development

Inala is a Yawuru woman from Broome in The Kimberley, WA. She grew up in South West Victoria on Gunditjmara land and has lived on the land of the Kulin Nations in Melbourne for over 20 years. Inala has a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Human Rights Law and is an advocate for Indigenous rights & social justice. Inala is the Director of Murrup Barak, the Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development at University of Melbourne. She is a regular contributor on ABC News Breakfast and The Drum, and is a non-executive Director on a number of not-for-profit boards including Culture is Life, The Adam Briggs Foundation, Jesuit Social Services, and Munarra Ltd.

Associate PRME Director - Indigenous Engagement

Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer is a Saltwater woman, with family ties to the Dharug, Awabakal, Garigal and Wiradyuri nations. Sharlene is a fulltime academic in at the University of Queensland Business School where she is a Senior Lecturer in employment relations and Associate Director Indigenous Engagement. Sharlene was the first Aboriginal person to be awarded a PHD in Management from the University of Newcastle. Sharlene’s current research areas include Closing the Gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage in Education and Employment, Employment Relations and the importance of unions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander labour history, and student leadership and Governance.

Reconciliation Advisor

A proud Irukandji woman from Far North Queensland, comes to DSC directly from the Ngarara Willim Centre where she has been working as a Senior Advisor – Indigenous Access and Engagement. Prior to joining RMIT, Cathy was at Monash where she held senior roles in Indigenous admissions, strategy and communications and as a Manager of Indigenous Programs. Cathy is also currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts in Peace Studies and loves video games, cooking and swimming. Cathy is deeply committed to building relationships and supporting others in our collective journey to improve wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Vice-President Eldership
Senior Boon Wurrung Elder; Chairperson; Elder in Residence; Senior Indigenous Research Fellow

Professor N’arweet Carolyn Briggs AM is a Yaluk-ut Weelam and Boon Wurrung Elder, and the Boon Wurrung representative in the City of Port Phillip. N’arweet is the founder and chair of the Boon Wurrung Foundation. She was awarded the National Aboriginal Elder of the Year in 2011 by the National NAIDOC Committee, was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2005 and was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2019.

Vice-President Research
Executive Dean

Associate Professor Kathryn Gilbey is an Alyawarr scholar and the Executive Dean at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education. The former Director of the Batchelor Graduate School she specialises in First Nations knowledges, inclusive education and critical race theories. Kathryn has worked in the field of Education for many years in the Northern Territory. In an earlier life she was the Artistic Director of an Aboriginal Youth Theatre Company in Adelaide, and freelance Writer and Director.

Vice-President Academic (i.e. Teaching and Learning)
Associate Professor, Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching

Associate Professor Clair Andersen has Yanyuwa and Gungallida clan connections in the Gulf country of northern Australia, is skilled in Indigenous education and workforce development and has contributed extensively to improving policy and practice in these domains nationally. She was Head of Riawunna Centre for Indigenous Education at UTAS 2006 to 2013 and has more than 30 years experience in Aboriginal education including the development of teaching and learning resources, programs and policies to enhance student learning, to improve understanding of Australia’s Indigenous peoples and build better futures.

Vice-President International
Manager Indigenous Employment

Dr Anning has bloodline to the Keinjan, Gambuwal, Bidjara and Goomeroi peoples.  She has held senior leadership positions Australia since1998, including at Charles Sturt University; University of Southern Queensland; University of Western Sydney; University of Technology Sydney; and Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous education, employment, research and engagement, working with Elders and their communities in Australia.   Berice works internationally with Indigenous higher education institutions and communities in Norway, Alaska, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Taiwan through her executive membership of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) and the World Indigenous Nations University, and is an editor for the WINHEC World Indigenous Research Journal.

Vice-President Corporate, Student and Community Engagement
Manager of Indigenous Inclusion
Tom Molyneux is a Gunditjmara man living on Wadawurrung Country, and is the Manager of Indigenous Inclusion at Deakin University. He holds a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Performing Arts and a Master of Business (Arts and Cultural Management), and in addition to his involvement in higher education is an actor, theatre-maker and Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid instructor