Meet our speakers

Opening speech

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Life) Professor Susanna Scarparo

PhD Auckland PFHEA

Duties: As Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Life), Professor Scarparo leads the University’s focus on providing strategic academic leadership for student life at the University, including the implementation of many aspects of the student experience strategy.

Biography: Professor Scarparo is an accomplished academic who has a strong track record of enhancing student welfare and learning. Her contribution to educational leadership was recognised recently when she was awarded the honour of Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

She has been Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts at Monash University and was most recently Associate Dean (Student Experience) at ANU.

She has published books and journal articles on life writing, Italian cinema, women’s writing, Italian Australian studies and feminist theory.

Alumni story sharing:
Reflections on an International Student Experience

Basim Alansari

CE/General Manager of PsychCentral

As a refugee on a temporary protection visa 25 years ago who had to then do a fully paid international student degree and built himself from under zero to being one of the leading healthcare executives in Australia, we reckon Basim’s story would be a good motivation for the current international student cohorts.

Keynote speech:
International Students in Australia—some historical lessons

Julia Horne

Professor of History and University Historian, The University of Sydney

Australia’s history of international students is significantly longer than many realise. A brief examination since 1900 shows how the fraught concept of ‘public interest’ has been used by governments to manage the influx of international students. It also shows how we might devise ways in which Australia today can broaden its relationships with international students for the ‘public good’.

Julia Horne is Professor of History at the University of Sydney. She works on the history and politics of Australian higher education, which includes, most recently, Australian Universities: a conversation about public good (Sydney University Press, 2022, co-edited with Matthew A.M. Thomas). She is currently working on higher education as a crucial pillar in post-war reconstruction amongst the allied countries after World War 2, with her focus on Australia. She has published six monographs, including Sydney: the making of a public university (Miegunyah Press, 2012, co-authored with Geoffrey Sherington), and Preserving the past: the University of Sydney and the Unified National System of Higher Education 1987–96 (Melbourne University Publishing, 2017, co-authored with Stephen Garton). From 1996 to 2002 she ran the UNSW Oral History Program during which she created a substantial collection of interviews and in-depth surveys about student life, with an emphasis on the international student experience in the 1950s–1970s.

International House, connecting Australian and International students at Sydney University for 53 years until 2020

Gregory A. Houseman FRS

Chair of the Council of Sydney University International House, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the University of Leeds in UK.

In my presentation, I will briefly explain the history and mission of International House at Sydney University, and will explain why the experience of living in a student community like International House was such an important formative experience in my own career and why I think that this style of student accommodation presents a kind of optimum student experience for those who are privileged to participate in it. The university experience should provide to both local and foreign students the opportunity to build connections with, and learn from, a truly diverse group of outstanding students from around the world. While the formal learning structure in a university tends to put students in silos based on discipline and age, the shared meals and social events in a large and diverse community of students like International House allows students to make the most of their university experience.

Gregory A. Houseman FRS obtained a BSc (Hons.) from Sydney in 1978.  As an undergraduate, he was a resident at SU International House. He obtained a PhD at Cambridge in 1982, held research positions at Harvard and then ANU, and then taught at Monash University until appointed as Professor at Leeds in 2001. He was elected to the UK Royal Society in 2021.  His research has focussed on the processes that cause earthquakes in continental interiors.

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