UNSW Diversity Champions

In early 2016, the University appointed five Diversity Champions. The Diversity Champions’ role is to drive significant cultural change around equity, diversity and inclusion at UNSW. The five areas represented by the Champions are:

  • Cultural Diversity
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Flexible Work and Leave
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer / Questioning



Professor Vanessa Lemm, Cultural Diversity Champion

Vanessa Lemm is Professor and Head of the School of Humanities and Languages in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Vanessa was attracted to the Cultural Diversity Champion role because of her passion for languages and culture.

“I feel very strongly about the need for respect and acceptance of cultural diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity. It is a great honour for me to be given the responsibility to foster cultural diversity at UNSW as a Diversity Champion.”

Learn more about Vanessa


Professor Andrew Lynch, Disability Champion

Andrew Lynch is a Professor and Head of School in the Faculty of Law. He has been an academic liaison officer and a student ombudsman and in both roles was involved in negotiating reasonable adjustments for students, as well as handling complaints from students with disabilities. Andrew has published legal research on the operation of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, and his current research focus is on the value of diversity more generally in the judiciary and legal profession.

“My longstanding interest and commitment to diversity issues derives from two very simple beliefs: that fairness requires equality of access and opportunity across any relevant community -- in our case, students and staff - and that an organisation is enriched by and benefits from a membership that is diverse rather than homogenous.”

Learn more about Andrew


Professor Laura Poole-Warren, Gender Champion

Laura Poole-Warren is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, holding dual roles as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Training) and Dean of Graduate Research at UNSW. Laura leads UNSW’s participation in the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) pilot of the Athena SWAN Program, aimed at addressing the under-representation of women in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine disciplines.

“I will bring to the role of Gender Champion a passion for gender equity, as well as a depth of knowledge and experience in the challenges facing women in higher education and research.”

Learn more about Laura


Warwick Dawson, Flexible Work and Leave Champion

Warwick Dawson is Director of the Research Strategy and Partnerships Office. Warwick understands first-hand the importance of flexible work and leave options, having taken two periods of parental leave and having used carers leave to look after elderly parents and dependent children. As a supervisor, Warwick has had the privilege of supporting many staff that have taken maternity leave and returned to work in a part-time / flexible work arrangement.

“I look forward to working with the UNSW academic and professional staff communities to ensure that the University’s current flexible work and leave options are meeting the needs of staff and management, and consulting broadly on ways to encourage discussion  about contemporary ways of working, the ideal worker and what drives performance and engagement.”

Learn more about Warwick


Professor Mark Willcox, LGBTIQ Champion

Mark Willcox is a Professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, and Associate Dean of Research Training in UNSW Science. An academic at UNSW since 1993, Mark has found universities to be accepting places but has seen issues arise for some members of the LGBTIQ community when they make the transition from university to the workplace. 

“My sexuality does not define me but it is an integral part of who I am.  I understand the pressures that can be experienced by the LGBTIQ community within the workplace, as students and at home. I will bring issues related to the LGBTIQ community at UNSW into view and facilitate discussions on issues related to this group.”

Learn more about Mark

More information

For more information on initiatives related to staff visit the UNSW Workplace Diversity site
For information on student equity initiatives visit the UNSW Student Equity support
Find out more about the Diversity Champions