Our Advisory Group meets to select research projects to be funded by the SESU and identify researchers from ACU’s Faculties and Research Institutes with relevant expertise.

The Advisory Group is made up of six internal and external members and guides the direction of the SESU. It sets new directions for research and makes recommendations to bring together related projects to form broad-ranging projects. 



Professor Br David Hall FMS

Dean of the La Salle Academy

David, a Marist Brother, is the foundation Dean of the La Salle Academy at ACU. La Salle has responsibility for programs that the university offers in the areas of Educational Leadership and Governance, Faith Formation and Religious Education. He took up this position after thirty years in Catholic education. He worked in both primary and secondary schools, single-sex and coeducational. He held positions as teacher, Religious Education Coordinator, Deputy Principal and Principal. He also spent time as Executive Director of the Marist Ministries Office—responsible for governance and animation of Marist schools, youth ministry and social justice services.

David is a member of a number of school and diocesan boards and councils across the country. He teaches in post graduate programs at ACU in religious education and leadership and offers national and international workshops for Catholic educators. He also offers consultancy services across the Catholic education sector including school and system reviews and support in curriculum design.

Among his international engagements was the leadership of a team that delivered a formation program for leaders in Catholic schools across twenty-two countries in Africa. He is continuing similar work across Melanesia and the Pacific and also runs leadership formation programs in the UK and Italy.


Professor Sandra Jones

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Impact

Professor Sandra Jones is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Impact) at the Australian Catholic University (ACU). Her role provides leadership, advice and support for ACU’s strategic frameworks that implement the measurement of research engagement and impact; and supports research engagement and impact across the university’s research areas. 

Sandra leads the Autism at ACU research program, including conducting autism research, mentoring autistic academics, and supervising honours and postgraduate students conducting autism research. Sandra is an appointed member of the Autistic Researchers Committee of the International Society for Autism Research, increasing the scope of international collaboration in this space. Sandra developed and leads ACU’s Autism at Uni (autism inclusion program), which positions ACU as a leader in the support of autistic university students. 

Prior to her current appointment, Sandra was the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) establishing ACU Engagement as a critical unit in advancing the quality, consistency and awareness of its activities in community engagement and research engagement, where she established the Autism at ACU research program and Autism at Uni inclusion program. Sandra was previously Director of ACU’s Centre for Health and Social Research (CHaSR), a research centre focused on social marketing and community-based research.

Sandra joined ACU in 2014 after more than a decade as the Founding Director of Australia’s largest social marketing research group at the University of Wollongong.


Professor Anthony Whitty

Director of the Centre for Education and Innovation

Anthony's previous role was Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching and Professional Experiences in the Faculty of Health Sciences. As an experienced academic, Anthony was also involved in the development of the ACU Learning 4 life Teaching Criteria and Standards Framework. Anthony is a recipient of the Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning and is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Anthony has also actively managed the Faculty of Health Science Future in Youth Project in Timor Leste, which has been successful in giving students authentic learning experience and supporting the transfer of their learnings into a real-life situation in a developing nation.


Fr David Braithwaite SJ

Priest, Society of Jesus

Fr David Braithwaite SJ is a Jesuit priest. Until last year he was CEO of The Cardoner Project, the Jesuit young adult ministry, which, among others things, included being the licensee of a bar and restaurant. He has also been Vocations Director. He has focused strongly on developing social enterprises in his work with young adults and maintains an interest in this area. Following a sabbatical, David is currently in the process of commencing research studies in theology while residing at Our Lady of the Way Parish, North Sydney. He is also the National Director and Asia Coordinator of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.


Ms Netty Horton

Former Executive Director, CatholicCare Victoria

Netty has spent most of her career working with and advocating for people who are disadvantaged across the community. Netty has an MA in Public Policy, is a Churchill Fellowship recipient, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has had vast community and not-for-profit experience. Her previous positions include: Executive Director of CatholicCare Victoria, Territorial Social Programmes Director for the Salvation Army, Southern Territory General Manager of Community Services at St Vincent de Paul’s Aged Care and Community Services, and CEO of Council to Homeless Persons. Netty has served on many Government and Community Boards and Committees including Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Homelessness, member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness and a member of the Federal Aged Care Sector Committee.


Ms Carla Zafiriadis

Employment Manager, Multicultural Australia

Carla Zafiriadis is originally from Portugal where she completed a double degree in Economics and Business with the Portuguese Catholic University. In Portugal Carla worked in banking and finance, marketing and human resources. She migrated to Australia in 2010 with her young family and started volunteering at Dress for Success supporting disadvantaged women getting back to the workforce. This volunteering opportunity was the start of her great passion: community development and the not-for-profit sector. In Australia Carla has worked several years with young people with disability supporting them on pathways to employment and higher education. She has been with Multicultural Australia for 5 years, supporting refugees and new Queensland communities into building social and economic participation in society and increase sense of belonging and wellbeing. She started in the Youth Program supporting young people on their settlement journey and is now managing the employment team where she works to showcase the talent that refugees bring to a new society. She is a genuine people person and fast learner with a strong ability to build relationships and with a true passion for supporting the most marginalised and vulnerable in society to achieve their greatest potential.


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