ACU (Australian Catholic University)

Education and Arts


The Centre for Creative and Authentic Leadership are delighted to announce the following confirmed keynote speakers.

General Peter Cosgrove AC, MC

General Cosgrove served in the Australian Army from 1965 and was Chief of the Australian Defence Force from July 2002 until his retirement in July 2005.

He first leapt into the public consciousness when he headed the 9000-strong multinational INTERFET force sent to restore order in East Timor. For his guidance, skill and sensitivity, he was appointed a Companion of the Military Division of the Order of Australia.

General Cosgrove was also awarded the Military Cross for his service in Vietnam, and in 2001, was named Australian of the Year. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by ACU in 2009.

Dr Ruth Powell

As Director of NCLS Research, Ruth has overseen major projects including the National Church Life Survey, which form the basis of one of the largest, most comprehensive databases on church life in the world. The 2011 NCLS included more than a quarter of a million church attendees from 3000 local churches in 23 Christian denominations, from Catholic, Anglican, Uniting, other Protestant and Pentecostal faith traditions.

Her primary interests lie in assisting churches to reflect on their interaction with the wider Australian community. As well as church health, and tracking changes in church life over time, she has worked on differences between age cohorts, and potential generational influences over time.

Ruth has worked with NCLS Research since 1991 when the first National Church Life Survey was conducted, and became Director in 2007. She is also Associate Professor, Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at ACU.

Mr Michael McGrath

Michael has served Catholic education in Scotland for 38 years. He taught English and Religious Education in various Catholic schools before becoming Deputy Head Teacher of Holyrood Secondary School in Glasgow, the largest Catholic school in Europe. Thereafter, he served as Head Teacher (Principal) of Our Lady's High School in Cumbernauld for seven years.

In 2003 he was appointed by the Bishops of Scotland as the first Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service which has established a fine reputation for supporting the work of Scotland’s 380 Catholic schools. He is Convenor of the Board of Catholic Education at the University of Glasgow where, for many years, he has taught a postgraduate course on Catholic School Leadership. He is a member of the General Teaching Council of Scotland.

Dr Dan White

Dan’s research interests include investigations into brain-based learning theory and its practical implications for classroom pedagogy, especially in the field of religious education. He is the co-author of seven educational resource books focusing particularly on higher order learning and thinking strategies.

Dr White has previously held the role of Director of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Hobart and has served in senior leadership roles in the Dioceses of Parramatta and Bathurst. Dan is a member of the Australian College of Education and the Australian Council of Educational Leaders. He is currently also the Executive Officer of the Sydney Archdiocesan Catholic Schools (SACS) Board and represents Sydney on the NSW Catholic Education Commission. In 2010 he was appointed to the NSW Board of Studies. Dr White is a member of the Board of Governors for the University of Notre Dame, and a member of the NSW Chapter and Senate of the Australian Catholic University.

Father Frank Brennan Father Frank Brennan, Director of Strategic Research Projects, ACU

Father Frank Brennan

Frank Brennan is a Jesuit priest, professor of law at Australian Catholic University and Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University College of Law and National Centre for Indigenous Studies.  He was the founding director of Uniya, the Australian Jesuit Social Justice Centre.  He is a board member of St Vincent’s Health Australia.
He has several published books on Aboriginal issues, civil liberties, Australia’s asylum policies and has also written about the place of religion in Australian politics and law in his book Acting on Conscience.

Frank was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his services to Aboriginal Australians, particularly as an advocate in the areas of law, social justice and reconciliation. A former chair of the Australian National Human Rights Consultation Committee, he has been named a Living National Treasure by The National Trust.

Dan White

Michael McGrath

Page last updated: 27 Jun 2017

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