The Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH) elects its board members at the AGM held at the DASSH Conference in September/October each year. The Board consists of a President & Chair, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and up to four other members elected from the membership across Australia and New Zealand.

Meet the team

Professor Mandy Thomas
President & Chair / Executive Dean

Professor Mandy Thomas is the Executive Dean of the Creative Industries Faculty at QUT. In her present role since February 2014, Mandy is responsible for leading the Faculty as it consolidates its position as one of Australia’s premier locations for study across such fields as Architecture, Film, Media, Journalism, Interactive Visual Design, Creative Writing, Acting, Fashion, Visual Arts, Music and Dance.

From 2006-12 Mandy was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training) at the Australian National University, and from 2004–06 she was Executive Director, Humanities and Creative Arts, at the Australian Research Council. An anthropologist by training, Mandy has undertaken research both in Vietnam and Australia, and published widely on living under a communist regime, and on the migration experience. She did her PhD at the ANU and then went on to an ARC research fellowship at the University of Western Sydney where she worked closely with different migrant groups to try to understand the issues related to young people growing up in two cultures. She has published numerous books and many journal articles, as well as curating an arts exhibition.

EmailCreative Industries FacultyQueensland University of Technology
Professor Robert Greenberg
Vice President / Dean

Professor Robert Greenberg is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1991, and held teaching positions at Yale, Georgetown University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has served in academic leadership roles since 2000.  

A specialist in Slavic languages, he conducts research on the link between language, nationalism, and ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia. His publications include numerous books and articles on the Slavic peoples and their languages, with a special emphasis on language policies, language and society, and language and politics. His book, Language and Identity in the Balkans received an award in 2005 for the best book in Slavic Linguistics from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages. In 2010 he was the recipient of the William Clyde DeVane medal for excellence in teaching and scholarship at Yale University.

As Dean, Professor Greenberg has been a staunch advocate of the value of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines. He has worked to increase his Faculty’s endowments, grow its research capacity, and introduce new programmes that will respond to the changing higher education landscape.

EmailFaculty of ArtsThe University of Auckland
Professor Catharine Coleborne
Secretary / Head of School/Dean of Arts

Professor Catharine Coleborne is Head of School/Dean of Arts at the University of Newcastle. 

During 2016, she led a large team and project to reinvent the BA at UON resulting in the 'New Work Ready' BA, which launched in 2018. She is currently leading the academic development of the BA Online at UON. Involved in University projects from workforce planning, business intelligence, leadership capacity building and organisational change, Catharine has a strong interest in changing trends and cultural shifts in institutions, and in the higher education sector, and their impact on the practice and place of the humanities and social science disciplines.

Catharine is an active historian of health and medicine, specifically psychiatry and institutions. Interested in both medical and digital humanities, Catharine’s recent publications include Insanity, Identity and Empire (Manchester UP, 2015), a co-edited Special Issue of Transfers on ‘Mobilities in a Dangerous World’ (2017) and forthcoming contributions to edited book collections about geographies of mobility; disability and institutional records; and madness and its containment. She is a CI on a recently funded ARC project, ‘Silent Treatment’, with the University of Tasmania.

EmailSchool of Humanities and Social ScienceThe University of Newcastle
Professor Theo Farrell
Treasurer / Executive Dean

Professor Theo Farrell is Executive Dean of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Previously, he was Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at City, University of London (2016–17), and before that Head of the Department of War Studies at King’s College London (2013–16).

Theo is former Chair and President of the British International Studies Association. He has served on the boards of numerous trusts, academic journals, and associations, including the Governing Council of the International Studies Association. Theo is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK), the Royal Society of Arts, and the Royal Society of New South Wales. Theo’s research spans several disciplines and focuses on transformative change in armed conflict. His latest book, Unwinnable: Britain’s war in Afghanistan, 2001-2014, (Penguin Random House 2017) was chosen as a Book of the Year by The Sunday Times and the Evening Standard.

In his leadership roles and own research, Theo has championed the real-world impact of academic research. In London, he developed a number of partnerships to connect research at King’s with policy users and the broader public. A leading expert on the war in Afghanistan, Theo served on high-level strategic reviews for three commanders of international forces, and for many years advised government at the highest level. He was also involved in direct talks with senior Taliban figures to explore a negotiated end to the conflict.

EmailFaculty of Law, Humanities and the ArtsUniversity of Wollongong
Professor Jennie Shaw
Member / Executive Dean

Professor Jennie Shaw is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts at The University of Adelaide where she oversees the Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, the Elder Conservatorium of Music, several university research centres, and the University of Adelaide’s node of the ARC Centre of Excellence in the History of Emotions. Previous roles include that of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of New England, inaugural Director of Arts New England - UNE Centre for Research and Innovation in the Arts, and Associate Dean and Head of School at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney.

Jennie has a BA Honours (First Class and Medal) and LLB (First Class) from the University of Sydney and an MA and PhD from Stony Brook University. Her research and teaching interests cross the arts and humanities broadly, with a particular focus on the Second Viennese School and on creative practice as research. Recent publications include Music’s Immanent Future: The Deleuzian Turn in Music Studies  (Routledge 2016), edited by Sally Macarthur, Judy Lochhead and Jennie Shaw.  

An active oboe and cor anglais performer, Jennie also currently sits on the advisory boards of the Helpmann Academy (SA) and the Australian Music Examinations Board (SA & NT), is a Trustee of AMF (Australia), and Deputy Chair of the federal AMEB board.

EmailFaculty of ArtsThe University of Adelaide
Professor Allison Kirkman
Member / Acting Dean

Professor Allison Kirkman is the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Waikato.

Prior to taking up this position in 2016 she was the Vice Provost (Academic and Equity) and member of the Senior Leadership Team at Victoria University of Wellington. In the 28 years she spent at Victoria University she served as the Head of the School of Social and Cultural Studies, the Associate Dean (Students) and the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. She was also the Convener of the University Human Ethics Committee and at a national level she has served as the Deputy Chair of the National Ethics Advisory Committee on Health and Disability Support Services.

She is an alumnus of Victoria University and completed her BA(Hons) and PhD in Sociology. Prior to her university career she qualified as a nurse and midwife and taught nursing students. This earlier career influenced her sociological research and teaching in gender, sexuality, health, ageing, dying and death. With Kevin Dew and Ann Scott she is an author of Social, Cultural and Political Dimensions of Health, Springer, 2016.

EmailFaculty of Arts and Social SciencesThe University of Waikato
Professor Matthew Clarke
Member / Head of School of Humanities & Social Sciences

Professor Matthew Clarke is currently the Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University. Matthew has held this role since 2011. During his time as Head of School, Matthew has overseen considerable growth in both student load and staff numbers across three physical campuses and the Cloud. While leading this School, Matthew has continued his own research and teaching within the area of International Development. His research has been supported by 7 nationally competitive category 1 grants valued over AUD2.5 million. This research has focused on issues of aid effectiveness, child sponsorship, and children with disability in the Pacific. Indeed, much of Matthew’s research has focused on the Pacific region.

Before working in the tertiary sector, Matthew worked for a number of years with a large international non-governmental organisation. In late 2017, Matthew spent three months in the United States after being awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership. Linked directly to his work in Deakin’s Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, this period allowed him to visit similar entities at Harvard and Tufts Universities as well as spend time with Save the Children, United States.

EmailFaculty of Arts and EducationDeakin University
Previous Board Presidents
From 2007
  • Professor Anthony McGrew — President: September 2017–February 2018
  • Professor Susan Dodds — President: September 2015–September 2017
  • Professor John Germov— President: September 2013–September 2015
  • Professor Krishna Sen— President: September 2011–September 2013
  • Professor Jennifer Radbourne — President: October 2010–September 2011
  • Professor Gerry Turcotte — President: May 2010–October 2010
  • Professor Anthony Cahalan — President: 2009–May 2010
  • Professor Faith Trent AM FACE— President: 2007–2009

Board Member Sign In

The DASSH Board meets quarterly and members are invited to send comments to

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