University Council elections candidates

Meet the staff members who have nominated to fill the Academic Staff Member position on the University Council from 1/1/2022 to 31/12/2023.

When and how to vote: from Tuesday 5/10/2021 9.00 am to Tuesday 19/10/2021 5.00 pm, current academic staff can vote via online ballot.

Note to readers: statements are shown verbatim as provided by the candidates, with no modifications or changes.

Position nominated: Academic Staff member on University Council for a two year term.

Biographical information:

Professor Jun Chen is currently appointed as Associate Dean of Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM), and Head of Postgraduate Studies of Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI), University of Wollongong (UOW). He has authored over 220 peer-reviewed publications in international journals with over 20,000 citations and an h-index of 72. Professor Chen has been identified as Highly Cited Researchers in Cross Field (2018 I 2020 I 2021 ). In 2021, he received Vice-Chancellor's Award for Researcher of the Year (University of Wollongong). Prof. Chen has been admitted as a Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC). Apart from his academic achievements, Chen have been involved in two successful spin-off companies where he has facilitated the translation of research that underpins UOW's UN SDGs -Affordable Clean Energy.

Election statement:

When the COVID crisis hit, it was very quickly clear that Universities with significant events exposure and high-level international students and staffs, could be extremely vulnerable. To be a newish council member, Chen will be very concerned for the future and opted to increase our contribution to UOW agility, strength and vibrancy.

Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are considered essential to the continued success of The University of Wollongong. In regard to the representation of gender balance, EDI policy should be emphasized and embedded into the career development strategy for early- and middle-career academics with diverse culture/ religious background.

UOW needs to develop a more engagement strategy with Indigenous groups, both staffs and students, as part of the cultural diversity.

UOW needs to establish a more open and sustainable platform to encourage the collaboration among multi-discipline in order to uplift UOW international research reputation in worldwide, which will continuously benefit long-term UOW international imaging and ranking.

Council Academic Staff Member candidate 2021

Position nominated: Academic Staff member on University Council for a two year term.

I commenced at UOW in 2003 and am currently Professor of Literacy Education and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of the Arts, Social Science and Humanities. Prior to UOW I worked as a classroom teacher and member of school leadership (mostly in south-western Sydney).

I have significant governance experience within and external to UOW. At UOW I have held all faculty based research roles including Honours Coordinator, Head of Postgraduate Studies, Head of Research and most recently Associate Dean (Research). I co-edit a leading early childhood literacy journal (based in the UK). In April 2021 I took the role of Research Director for UOW Entity Early Start. 

Since entering academia I have focused my research on young children, their educators and families, mostly in vulnerable communities, and how they can be empowered through literate and digital practices. I have held 7 ARC Discovery Grants which have enabled me to focus my research on areas including adult and child interactions when using technology, young children and writing, and digital play. I have strong connections to the network of schools in the local community. In 2020 I was a successful Chief Investigator in the 7-year ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child where I co-lead the national “Educated Child” program of research and lead the UOW node (including responsibility for the Children’s Technology Play Space, a living laboratory for the Centre). The Centre has several industry partners (government, commercial and non-profit), many based in NSW who have strong connection to the UOW node. 

I am the mother of three children and our family has made the Illawarra home. If elected, I will work to provide an environment that supports a positive and inclusive workplace culture enabling quality teaching and impactful research to ensure UOW remains competitive into the future.

Council Academic Staff Member candidate 2021

Position nominated: Academic Staff member on University Council for a two year term.


I am Program Director for the Bachelor of Arts in the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, and a senior lecturer in science and technology studies. I’ve held a fulltime academic position at UOW since March 2008. I’ve served on the Environmental Science Board of Studies from 2010 to the present and was the NTEU appointed representative on the LHA Faculty Workload Reference Group from 2016-2020. I helped initiate and was on the organizing and selection committee for the UN Association of Australia UOW Honours Scholarship supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2019.

Between 2002 and 2008 I worked as a researcher, policy analyst and project manager for the NSW Government in The Cabinet Office, State and Regional Development, Aboriginal Affairs and Housing.

Since mid-2020, I’ve been actively engaged in conducting research and organizing with colleagues around the country to promote university governance reform. This has included publishing articles, lobbying politicians, and briefing journalists (

I was elected to one of the academic staff positions on University Council in December 2020. In that role I’ve raised concerns about staff overwork, the reduction of elected academic representation on Academic Senate and the conversion of the graduate position on Council to a Council-appointed position. I’ve pointed out the risks of sea level rise to further expansion plans on the Innovation Campus site. As an NTEU representative on UOW’s Joint Consultative Committee, I’ve conducted a 20-year analysis of university finances and staffing levels which informed questions put to the UOW Executive concerning variations to the UOW Enterprise Agreement. I’ve also raised serious concerns about irregularities in casual staff pay. If re-elected to this position I promise to continue my efforts to strongly represent the interests of academic and professional staff and students to achieve just outcomes for all concerned.

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Position nominated: Academic Staff member on University Council for a two year term. 

I am a Professor and the Associate Dean International of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences. Having commenced at UOW as a lecturer in 2003, I have a good understanding of the life of an academic as they progress from their early career to more senior roles. 

I am an active researcher with expertise in signal processing for improving technology that uses sensors for sound and other information for applications such as speech communication devices, realistic 3D sound for virtual reality, monitoring the well-being of aged care residents and understanding student learning in classrooms. I collaborate with my PhD students and other researchers within Australia and overseas on projects funded from government and industry. 

As an experienced teacher and supervisor of undergraduate and postgraduate students I understand the importance of providing great student experiences. Like many Universities, UOW plays a life changing role in educating people from the local communities where we operate as well as the many international students who choose to study with us. 

I have taken an active role in academic governance, ranging from managing academic programs, membership and chair of various School and Faculty committees, leading external professional accreditation activities and memberships of University level committees and subcommittees, including the University Education Committee, the University Internationalisation Committee, the Community Investment Steering Group and Academic Senate. As an Associate Dean International I have gained a detailed understanding of the University’s Global operations and strategy. 

As an elected council member I would bring my experience in research, education and academic governance working with a diverse range of academic and professional services staff from across UOW to achieve common goals aligned to the University’s strategic objectives.

Council Academic Staff Member candidate 2021