The Australian: Equity centre gets youthful Chair

The Australian: Equity centre gets youthful Chair

Originally published in the Australian.

With a PhD in the final stages, a fulltime academic job, a start-up and a not-for-profit to run, Erin Watson-Lynn has a lot on the plate. Now been appointed chair of the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education based at Curtin University.

Cast against type, Ms Watson-Lynn replaces former politicians Fred Chaney and Carmen Lawrence in the role.

“I don’t look like a former politician or career director,” laughs Ms Watson-Lynn.

A full-time level B lecturer at Monash University, Ms Watson-Lynn said she had personal connections with equity in higher education. As a starting PhD candidate, she found herself pregnant and discovered she fell between all the cracks of policies designed to protect women in academic careers. She joined the Council of Postgraduate Associations and was appointed to the equal opportunity position at Monash.

“I was on that board for two years and worked hard at getting people on PhD scholarships paid parental leave. I won’t benefit from that policy change but other people will.”

Her PhD is on immigration and entrepreneurship among the Indian diaspora in Australia and she’s done research on older workers before that. Along the way she co-founded DICE Kids, a not-for-profit designed to teach children business and entrepreneurial skills. She also founded Generate Worldwide, a start-up company that delivers work-integrated learning opportunities in India.

Sue Trinidad, director of NCSEHE, said Ms Watson-Lynn’s background would be valuable in overseeing the centre’s strategic direction.

“The NCSEHE plays an important role in bringing together groups doing valuable work in this

and related fields, with a focus on closing the gap between equity policy, research and practice to

ensure better outcomes for all students,” Professor Trinidad said.

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