Academic Board

Dr Syed Haider

Dean, Lyons College

Syed Haider is an accomplished academic leader and industry expert with over thirty years of higher education and industry experience. He holds a Ph.D. in accounting and has earned three master’s qualifications in Software Development, Banking and Finance, and Business Administration. He also has a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Economics and a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education.

Currently serving as the Dean of Higher Education at Lyons College and concurrently holding the position of Adjunct Fellow at Victoria University, he is actively shaping the future of academia and contributing to the intellectual development of emerging professionals. His impactful leadership extends to successfully leading various transformation projects within higher education.

Syed’s journey to his current roles unfolded through key positions, including Head of Learning and Teaching, where he pioneered innovative pedagogical approaches, and Head of Academic Planning, where strategic vision seamlessly merged with educational excellence. During his tenure as the Planning Manager for the Business College, he played a pivotal role in shaping the institutional landscape.

In addition to these academic and professional achievements, he is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and a Chartered Accountant.

Professor Michelle Towstoless

Academic Board Chair

Professor Michelle Towstoless graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours Physiology) in Human Movement Studies and Doctorate of Philosophy in Foetal Development from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Michelle has worked collaboratively with institutions in Canada, Chile and Denmark examining different aspects of foetal development. Michelle has previously held a number of key leadership positions including:

• Pro Vice-Chancellor, Industry, Community & Sport Engagement

• Pro Vice-Chancellor, Colleges and Distinctive Specialisations

• Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science

• Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science

• Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences

• Chair and Deputy Chair of the VU Academic Board.

Michelle has over 25 years experience in course and subject design, delivery, assessment, evaluation, coordination and management within undergraduate and postgraduate programs. These programs span across Human Movement Studies, Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedic Science, Chinese medicine, Biotechnology, Biomedical Sciences, Food Science and Nutrition,Psychology and Osteopathy – across physiology, anatomy, pathology and nutrition. She has played a pivotal role in the development of the Biomedical Sciences Degree as well as developing major components of the Biotechnology Degree program, and more recently the new Bachelor of Science (specialisation). This has broadened her professional interest to areasof academic leadership where she annually presents sessions on Governance and Political Competence to the Women in Leadership program at VU. She has been awarded the FIT Award for Teaching Excellence and Michelle is currently the Chair of the Women’s Leadership Program Advisory Committee.

Mr Sven Bergstrom

Independet Member

Mr Bergstrom is an experienced educational quality and compliance manager with a demonstrated history working in both HE and VET in management, teaching and quality roles. Skilled and experienced in building student focussed quality outcomes in TEQSA, ASQA and Skills First environments. Highly experienced in accreditation of HE courses and re-registration under both TEQSA and ASQA. Developed effective and efficient workflows for maintaining compliance in educational environments allowing teaching staff to focus on delivering quality student outcomes. In addition, he has many years’ experience in developing and managing academic policy, governance and risk frameworks for small and medium size HE providers.

Dr Annemieke Craig

Independent Member

PhD (Monash University), Master of Business (Victoria University), Graduate Diploma of Computing (Deakin University), Bachelor of Education (Rusden State College of Victoria), previously member of Australian Council of Professors and Heads of Information Systems (ACPHIS) and Fellow of the Australian Computer Society (ACS)

Annemieke is an experienced and highly respected academic in the tertiary sector. She has over 30 years of experience in teaching and curriculum development across the Information Systems and Accounting disciplines, as well as having undertaking various administration and leadership roles. Annemieke’s peer recognised and awarded international and national research has directly resulted in her implementing high quality practical programs targeting women in the computing industry. She has authored/coauthoring more than 80 academic journal and conference papers. Her most recent role as Director of Career Education for Deakin University saw her lead the program to embed career development learning within curriculum to enhance the graduate outcomes of all students.

Tracy Zhou

Ms. Tracy Zhou is the Program Coordinator at Lyons College, having commenced in 2023. Tracy holds a Master of Professional Accounting and Master of Global Business Law from La Trobe University, and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (Teaching and Learning) from Deakin University.

Tracy has extensive experience in higher education management and has been appointed as Academic Board Member in various higher education providers, including Federation University Australia, CIC Higher Education and Texila College Australia. Tracy has a keen interest in course development and she is currently enjoying her PhD journey on researching the impact of CEO characteristics on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting. Tracy is also a member of Teaching and Learning Committee.

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