UNSW Canberra’s Professor Shirley Scott commenced her role as Co-Director of the UNSW Scientia Education Academy this month.

Professor Scott, Head of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNSW Canberra, will direct the Academy alongside Sydney-based medical educator Professor Gary Velan.

Established in 2016, the UNSW Scientia Education Academy recognises the University’s most inspiring educators and gives them a platform to showcase excellent teaching.

The Academy is run on the principles of collegiality and in that spirit, the team has voted to rotate the leadership team.


“The Academy is a source of informed input into debate on learning and teaching questions at the University,” Dr Scott said.

“All those who are Fellows of the Academy have already contributed in a significant way to education at UNSW. 

“The Academy brings together a group with members from each of the faculties and so is an inspirational reservoir of expertise and experience representative of the University as a whole.”

The new leadership team also includes three deputies: Associate Professors Isabella Dobrescu, Nalini Pather and Arianne Rourke.


Prof Gary Velan (new Co-Director), Prof Alex Steel (Interim PVCE and inaugural Deputy), A/Prof Isabella Dobrescu (new Deputy), Dr Michelle Langford (inaugural Deputy), A/Prof Nalini Pather (new Deputy), A/Prof Chinthaka Balasooriya (inaugural Deputy), A/Prof Arianne Rourke (new Deputy) and Prof Shirley Scott (new Co-Director).


The Academy has 40 members, including four Canberra Fellows: Professor Scott, Dr Leesa Sidhu, Dr Kate Wilson and Dr Natalie Cujes.

Professor Scott’s career has reflected the University’s emphasis on both education and research.

At UNSW Canberra, she was involved in the introduction of university contributions to a new program of military education.

In March, Professor Scott was the recipient of this year’s Dorothy Green Award. The award recognises outstanding research by women at UNSW Canberra.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to draw on my own experiences as a teacher and educational leader to contribute to the work of the Academy and the University,” Professor Scott said.  

“I enjoy bringing a UNSW Canberra voice to meetings of the Scientia Education Academy because our educational context is different and the Sydney and Canberra members of the Academy can learn from each other.”