Miss Ashleigh Maas

Miss Ashleigh Maas is in her third year of study at the Signadou Campus, studying a Bachelor of Education (Primary). Ashleigh is passionate about supporting the development of young people and currently volunteers with organisations around Canberra that support parents with children from ages zero to five. Whilst studying full time at ACU, Ashleigh also studied part time at the Canberra Makeup Academy, and has recently graduated with a Diploma of Specialist Makeup Services. This has allowed Ashleigh to build a small business based in Canberra and the surrounding areas. Although this proved to be a heavy workload, she has been consistent in her academic study, as evidenced by her invitation to join the Golden Key Society early in 2017. Ashleigh has since become an active member of the Golden Key and has regularly attended Canberra Chapter meetings and events, and looks forward to supporting students at ACU in her role as Student Senator.

Ms Danielle Leahy

BA (SportExM) (Hons.) (UTS)

Ms Leahy has an extensive background in education and training, having completed an Honours degree in exercise science and undertaking research in that field, before moving into an organisational training Coordinator role in logistics management. Ms Leahy commenced at ACU in August 2011, and during this time has held diverse roles in Student Administration, and is currently the Campus Executive Officer for the Canberra Campus. Her role at the Campus is dynamic and varied, and encompasses organisational, communications and staff support dimensions. During her time in the Office of the Campus Dean she has developed considerable skills in stakeholder management, Church liaison and event management. Away from ACU, Ms Leahy enjoys baking and has had success in regional agricultural shows. She also manages a small cattle property, as well as juggling the demands of parenthood.


Dr Bill Franzsen

BSc (UWA), GCHE (ACU), PhD (USyd

Elected academic staff senator, appointed under Clause 13.2 (h) of ACU Constitution 

Current term to AGM May 2019

Dr Franzsen is a founder member of the Australian Catholic University, having joined a predecessor college the year before the formation of ACU, and is currently Senior Lecturer in Mathematics in the School of Arts. He has been the Head of the School of Arts and Sciences (NSW/ACT) and is currently serving his second term as elected staff representative on Academic Board.


Professor Michael Ondaatje

BA (Hons) (UWA), PhD (UWA)
Elected academic staff senator, appointed under Clause 13.2 (h) of ACU Constitution 
Current term to AGM May 2019
Professor Ondaatje is National Head of Arts and Professor of History at ACU. In 2012, Professor Ondaatje was awarded the Max Crawford Medal "Australia's most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities". He is the author of two books, including a prize-winning book on race and conservatism in America, and has received several awards for teaching excellence. Professor Ondaatje is also a regular political commentator in the media. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Australian Financial Review, Newsweek Japan and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Professor Ondaatje has held research fellowships at the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney, and in 2013 was selected by the US Embassy in Australia for the International Visitor Leadership Program, the premier professional exchange program of the US government.


Dr Josephine Ryan

BA(Hons); DipEd; MEd; EdD

Elected academic staff senator, appointed under Clause 13.2 (h) of ACU Constitution 

Current term to AGM May 2020

Dr Josephine Ryan is Senior Lecturer in English/Literacy Education at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne campus. She has worked in teacher education at ACU since 1993, following employment as a secondary English teacher and doctoral work. Her engagement with developing high quality English teachers had led to publications on teaching reading in the digital age and, more recently, on defining successful approaches to teacher education for the contemporary context. During her time at ACU Dr Ryan been undertaken leadership positions such as Assistant Head of School (Teaching and Learning) and Deputy Head, Education Victoria as well as serving on committees including the University Aboriginal Education Liaison Committee, the Education and Arts Faculty Board and the National Tertiary Education Union ACU Branch Committee. Outside ACU she works with professional organisations such as the World Federation of Associations of Teacher Education, the Australian Association for Teaching of English and Australian Literacy Educators Association.


Ms Annette Schmiede

NSW State Chapter member, appointed under Clause 13.2 (f) of ACU Constitution 

Current term to AGM May 2018

Ms Schmiede has contributed significantly to the strategic advancement of Catholic health and aged care services in Australia through her leadership and advisory roles with Catholic health and aged care organisations. Ms Schmiede's professional experience includes roles in the public, private and non-government sectors involving health services research, health services planning, governance and strategy development. Ms Schmiede is the Executive Leader of the Bupa Health Foundation and a member of the Northern Sydney Local Health District Board. Ms Schmiede is an economics graduate and an Adjunct Professor of the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. Research interests include mental health, clinical governance, health system reform and innovation.


Mr Stephen Elder OAM

DipEd (Bendigo), BEd (Vic)

Victorian State Chapter member appointed under Clause 13.2 (f) of ACU Constitution 

Current term to AGM May 2020

Executive Director, Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Melbourne, since December 2006, Mr Elder was a member of the Victorian Parliament from 1988 to 1999 and Parliamentary Secretary to the then Minister for Education 1992-1999. A former teacher, among Mr Elder’s other appointments are executive member of the National Catholic Education Commission; Executive Director of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria; Director on the Board of Management of Church Resources; Director of Catholic Network Australia; Board member of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL); Board member of Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and Board member, Mercy Health Foundation.


Mr Margaret Vider DSG

Queensland State Chapter member, appointed under Clause 13.2 (f) of ACU Constitution 

Current term to AGM May 2019

Ms Vider was the Director of Nursing for 12 years at Holy Spirit Hospital in Brisbane and Director of Mission for 10 years before retiring in December 2006. She served on the McAuley College Council, the forerunner to the current ACU Brisbane campus. Since 2007 she has chaired the Centacare Council. She is also a member of the Archdiocesan Financial Council (since 2011) and the Resource Development Forum of the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Margaret is serving in her second term as ACU Senator. A fellow of the Royal College of Nursing Australia. In 2005, Ms Vider was appointed as Deputy Commissioner to the Bundaberg Health Commission of Inquiry.


Ms Moira Najdecki

BA (ANU), DipEd (CCAE), MA (English) (UNSW), GradDipRE (ACU), MEdLeadership (ACU)

Canberra and Goulburn Chapter member, appointed under Clause 13.2 (f) of ACU Constitution 

Current term to AGM May 2019

Ms Najdecki is a former Director of the Catholic Education Office, Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.


Dr Stephen Weller

BA (Syd), MCom (UWS), MBA (UTS), PhD (VU)

Company Secretary appointed under Clause Clause 18 of ACU Constitution

Appointed in April 2013

Dr Weller joined ACU from James Cook University where he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (University Services) and Head of the Cairns Campus. He has held positions as Pro Vice-Chancellor of Students & Technology at Victoria University in Melbourne and as Campus Manager of the University of Queensland, Gatton. Dr Weller has more than 20 years experience in tertiary education across five Universities from three states.


The Honourable John Fahey AC

Chancellor appointed under Clause 20.1 of ACU Constitution 

Mr Fahey was appointed the fourth Chancellor in September 2014 for a period of 5 years. Mr Fahey was New South Wales Premier from 1992-95 before entering federal politics and serving as the Minister for Finance and Administration. As Chairman of the bid team, he was instrumental in securing the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. In 2002 Mr Fahey was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for his work in the political arena and for facilitation of industry growth and industrial relations reform. Five years later, Mr Fahey became President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, a position he held until November 2013. He currently Chairs the Australian Government Reconstruction Inspectorate, which oversees state reconstruction projects following natural disasters and in the commercial role, he serves as a Company Director and is on the Advisory Council of a US Investment Bank.


Mr Julien O'Connell AM

Pro-Chancellor appointed under Clause 20.2 of ACU Constitution 

As a distinguished executive and businessman, Mr O’Connell has built a successful career in insurance, accounting and risk management. In addition to his role as Chairman of the CEO Institute (Syndicates), which provides mentoring to CEOs and Chairs of member companies, Mr O’Connell is Chairman of the Fraynework Board, member of a number of boards and finance councils and supports Enterprise Ireland in Victoria in their endeavours to promote and encourage trade between Ireland and Australia. Mr O’Connell has been Chairman of Mercy Health since 2008. He is a board member of Catholic Health Australia and for 20 years has served on the Finance Committee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.


Professor Greg Craven AO, GCSG

BA LLB(Hons) LLM (Melb)

Vice-Chancellor and President appointed under Clause 21 of ACU Constitution 

Professor Craven is an expert in public and constitutional law and has published numerous journal articles, four books and is also a regular columnist for The Australian and The Catholic Leader. Prior to his appointment, Professor Craven was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategy and Planning) at Curtin University. He also held the position of Professor of Government and Constitutional Law, having previously served as Executive Director of the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy. Professor Craven was Foundation Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, Reader in Law at the University of Melbourne and served as Crown Counsel to the Victorian Government from 1992-1995. Professional associations include Deputy Chairman, Council of Australian Governments Reform Council (COAG); Vice-President, Australian Higher Education Industrial Association (AHEIA); member of the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) and the Truth, Justice and Healing Council; member of Universities Australia (UA), a member of the UA Board of Directors and Lead Vice-Chancellor for UA in the area of Quality. Professor Craven also represents UA as a member of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Educations’ (DIISRTE); National Advisory Group on Higher Education Data and Information.


Professor Margot Hillel OAM

BA (LaTrobe), MA (Melb), PhD (Monash)

Chair of Academic Board appointed under Clause 13.2 (d) of ACU Constitution

Chair of Academic Board, Professor Hillel has had wide-ranging administrative and committee experience at University and Faculty level while at ACU. Current committee work includes being a member of the University’s Planning, Quality and Risk Committee; the Courses and Academic Quality Committee; the Academic Administrative Committee; the Learning and Teaching Committee; Research Committee and Chair of the University Promotions and Level D Committees. Professor Hillel has had varied involvement in children’s literature over many years, as a reviewer and academic. Her main research interests are in the area of the construction of childhood in children’s literature and the history of children’s literature and she is the author or editor of numerous books, book chapters and journal articles and regularly reviews both children’s literature and scholarly texts in various journals. She has previously served two terms on Senate as an elected academic staff representative.


Archbishop Christopher Prowse

Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn

Cleric nominated by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference under Clause 13.2 (e) of ACU Constitution

Archbishop Prowse has a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Monash 1978), a Bachelor of Theology (MCD 1979), and a Licentiate in Moral Theology (Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 1987), and a Doctorate in Moral Theology (Pontifical Lateran University, Alfonsianum Academy, Rome, 1995).

Archbishop Christopher Prowse was appointed Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn in 2013. He was previously the Bishop of Sale Diocese. Archbishop Prowse is a current member of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Permanent Committee, Chairman of the Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Relations, member of the Commission for Relations with Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. He is a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In February 2014 he was appointed as Consultor to the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.


Mr Tim Kirk

BTheol (ACT), DipEd (ACU)

Mr Kirk is the Chief Winemaker and CEO of Clonakilla Wines, and is a highly regarded winemaker and respected wine judge who has judged over 50 regional and capital city wine shows over the last fifteen years. Armed with a theology degree, he taught Religious Education and New Testament studies at Xavier College in Melbourne from 1992 to 1996. He moved back to the family winery at the end of 1996 with the mission of making Clonakilla one of Australia’s top wine brands. Mr Kirk was named Australian Winemaker of the Year in the 2009 Penguin Good Wine Guide, and the Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine Winemaker of the Year in 2013. A member of the Disciples of Jesus, a lay community within the Catholic Church, he has been the head of the international council of that community since March 2013. Mr Kirk serves on the executive of the International Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, a Private Association of Christ’s Faithful with full pontifical recognition. He has previously served on the council of St Mark’s National Theological Centre, Barton, ACT, and is currently a member of the Canberra chapter of the Australian Catholic University. Mr Kirk has a particular interest in the ‘new evangelization’ within the Catholic Church and Christian engagement in the public square.


The Honourable Barbara Perry

BA, LLB (Syd)

Elected by the Members of ACU Limited from a panel of persons nominated by Senate, appointed under Clause 13.2(g) of ACU Constitution 
Current term to AGM May 2019

Mrs Perry is currently the Cluster Manager Pastoral Support Services with CatholicCare Sydney. Mrs Perry was a Member of the Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament (Member for Auburn from 2001 -2015), former Minister and Shadow Minister. Prior to this, she worked as a Solicitor at the Legal Aid Commission of NSW. In both her personal and professional life, Mrs Perry has a commitment to working with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our community.


Ms Bernadette Steele

BA (Hons), LLB (Melb)

Elected by the Members of ACU Limited from a panel of persons nominated by Senate, appointed under Clause 13.2 (g) of ACU Constitution 
Current term to AGM May 2020

After 20 years as a government lawyer in Victoria, including time as Director of Consumer Affairs and Deputy Secretary, Department of Justice, Ms Steele was appointed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Ms Steele now works part-time as a Senior Member of the Tribunal, having spent some years as a Deputy President. Ms Steel is also a board member of Catholic Care Melbourne.


The Honourable Justice James Douglas

EBA (UQ), LLB (UQ), LLB (Cambridge)
Elected by the Members of ACU Limited from a panel of persons nominated by Senate, appointed under Clause 13.2 (g) of ACU Constitution
Current term to AGM May 2019
A Supreme Court judge since 2003, Mr Douglas was President of the Bar Association of Queensland 1999-2001 and Editor of the Queensland Reports 1986-1991. Extra judicial positions include memberships of the International Academy of Comparative Law and the American Law Institute. He has also been active in the arts, serving as Chairman, Queensland Theatre Company 1990-1996 and Chairman, Queensland Symphony Orchestra Advisory Board 1989-1996. From 2005-2010 he was President of Alliance Francaise de Brisbane Inc and remains on its Committee.

Have a question?


We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat
Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs