Student Elections to the Academic Board

An election is being conducted to elect students to the Academic Board. Listed below are the candidates and their supporting statements.


Undergraduate students to the Academic Board for 2020


Jemma BENZIE – Undergraduate student

All too often I hear of growing dissatisfaction with the STEM faculty, with an emphasis on poor lecture styles, the lack of valuable learning activities and haphazard teaching of experimental skills. This increasing trend of discontent seems to exist the further students complete their bachelor. As later year subjects are most valuable for careers in STEM, this failure to provide quality teaching and learning is counter-productive for student success. As a Science/Education student myself, I believe the main perpetrator of student discontent is the absence of learning inclusivity. It is not good enough that some courses cater for specific learning preferences. Thus, my passion as a potential member of the Academic Board is to give a voice to all those dissatisfied with courses at UQ. Further, if I am nominated as your student representative, I pledge to uphold the values of inclusivity, to ensure no student is left behind.


Siobhan BRODIE – Undergraduate student

What does UQ mean to you?

As an enthusiastic, organised and involved student of UQ, I would be honoured to represent undergraduate students on the Academic Board.

Going into my 4th year at UQ now, I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in and understand university life. I have been on the executive board of the UQ Beer and Rum Society - UQ’s largest social club, an associate member of The Women’s College, worked along-side student union members, worked with UQ-Life’s Welcome team, participated in UQ Abroad exchange program and been an active day student.

I believe I have the experience and skills to understand life at UQ and would love the opportunity to represent undergraduate students.


Bailey CARTHOUSER – Undergraduate student

My name is Bailey Carthouser and I am running for the Student Representative for the UQ Academic Board for 2020.

I am studying a dual degree of Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Physics and Philosophy. As a result of the cross-discipline study I understand the different needs and concerns of a wide range of areas of study. The role of student representative is self explanatory; it is to represent you the student, the heart of UQ. Student learning is a fundamental aspect of the student experience at UQ, and the students are the foundation of the University.

This is why I want to represent you, the students of UQ, at the Academic Board.  


Mark CRANNY- Undergraduate student

After a career as an analyst, I retain a deep interest in analysing policy directions to balance high-quality outcomes with positive experiences for students and staff.  I return to study as a mature-age undergraduate with extra insights into the scholarship process from having graduated from other universities and from living with a disability.  I bring positive energy, clear thinking, and a willingness to learn and to contribute.  I look forward to this next opportunity to demonstrate my commitment to advocate for the student experience with a passion for supporting the quality and reputation of The University of Queensland.


Cooper JEFFERY - Undergraduate student

It’s time to give students a fair go. For too long we’ve been treated as second class citizens, complaints have been ignored, dismissive responses returned, no action been taken. I’m going to hit the issues that matter to us. Incomplete or missing lecture recordings. Lecturers treating those who cannot attend lectures as unimportant, irrelevant. Teaching staff being unreliable, inconsistent, and treating students as a second priority to their other work. Assessment being poorly written and poorly marked, with no recourse. Vote for me and I’ll make sure that students start getting treated the way any other business would treat a paying customer, I’ll make sure our priorities come first.


Matthew JOHNSON – Undergraduate student

My name is Matthew Johnson, this year I have served as a student representative on faculty and school academic committees, and I am running for Academic Board. If elected I will introduce a number of policies to benefit students. Here are my three main ones:

1) I will work closely with the UQ Union to ensure your time at UQ is more enjoyable!

2) I will hold monthly town hall style meetings to find out what issues are important to you!

3) I will make sure staff follow UQ policies to make learning easier for you!

Trusted, experienced, active.

Vote [1] Matthew Johnson!

For more information on policies, visit my Facebook page at


Lachlan KELLY – Undergraduate student

Hi everyone, I am an undergraduate student studying International Relations. I am a proactive and hardworking student who is always looking for ways to contribute and get involved. I love studying at U.Q. and am passionate about student representation in the university’s governance.  As a student who likes to push the academic boundaries of my education I would be honoured to work with students and the university executive to improve the tertiary experience and be the voice of student concerns regarding academic matters. Whether it is frustrating issues I read on our Facebook groups, discussions amongst classmates and friends or problems I have faced myself about the university’s academic policies; this position on the Academic Board is an opportunity to work towards the change we want to see in our education. My goal is to make things better for U.Q. students present and future. Thanks!


Ryan ROBINSON – Undergraduate student

BAFE is an advanced finance and economics degree. The course is in its early stages of development and needs people to ensure that the program meets the needs of the students and exceeds employers’ expectations.

The academic advisory board needs student representatives who are willing to speak for the cohort and challenge the existing state of the course. I want to work with the academic board to identify less relevant courses and investigate more applicable courses.  I also want to go further to interact with potential employers to improve the employability of our BAFE cohorts.

I demonstrated leadership since I was appointed school captain in primary school and in everything from mathematics competitions to group assignments. Being a private tutor demonstrates my ability to liaise and interact with students from 15 to 18 years old and their parents. If appointed a representative, you will firsthand see my dedicated work ethic.


Alexander SMOCK – Undergraduate student

My name is Alex Smock, I am a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Social Science student.

I believe University should be a place where all students can learn and explore new ideas, but it can only be that place when students have equality of opportunity. We don’t all start on the same level, so we shouldn’t ignore difference in personal circumstance.

I am worried that UQ may try going down the path of other universities, introducing things like trimesters, keystroke tracking software like Cadmus, or introducing instant fail policies. These are all things designed to drive up profit while unfairly impacting students. I am also concerned the impact the new changes to class sign-on will have.

I believe the university can explore options outside of these and remain financially viable. I will fight the university on these issues, and call it out when it aims to put profit ahead of students.


Ian TRINH – Undergraduate student

  • 3rd year international relations, public policy and philosophy student
  • Standing for re-election in 2020
  • Have spent the last year representing students, and know how much work it takes to represent students
  • Was an active voice on the Board, contributing in some way, shape or form to discussions
  • Wins include:
    • Convincing UQ Union to take a stand against mid-semester due dates for assessment
    • Ensuring that the HASS Faculty abolish the practice of administering mid-semester due dates for assessment, and for teaching staff to encourage students to seek feedback on final exams
  • Policies for next year:
    • Continuing the practice of open consultation
    • Working on this year’s promises further to get them to become common practice
    • Encouraging academic policies to be student-centric


Postgraduate students to the Academic Board for 2020 (one of whom is a research student)


Fatimah ALMATHAMI – Postgraduate research student

I’m Fatimah ALMATHAMI, an International PhD candidate in the school of ITEE.  This is my 6th year at UQ as I completed my Bachelor and Master here so I am familiar with UQ PPL and Academic Board roles. So, I would truly love the opportunity to nominate myself as one of the candidates. I want to play an active role in improving the UQ students experience by providing high standard, transparent and fair teaching and learning opportunities. I would also love to be involved in improving the University’s teaching, research and educational programs. I am an active and responsible person, currently working as an academic sessional staff in a different institution (Griffith University) which broaden my knowledge and understanding of Australian Universities standard and policy. I have also gained a valuable experience by working in different unpaid positions within a number of communities and associations since 2008.


Adrian CULLEN – Postgraduate coursework student

Through my 15 years as an educator, I have identified there is an increased need for populations to have greater accessibility to higher education.  UQ is perfectly positioned to lead this change through the implementation of affordable short programs, online blended learning and micro skilling which will ensure students become transformational across business organisations and grant access to global populations. 

The education landscape is transitioning from the traditional to business organisations becoming the education provider.  Through collaboration with business organisations and governments, UQ can leverage its infrastructure to facilitate this changing landscape.  UQ can embrace these changes through the revision of current business models to secure sustainability into the future.

With a long time association with UQ as a student and previous employee, I have a lot of pride in the institution.  I want to represent these changes to ensure the sustainability of UQ continues for many generations to come.


Alexis DENNEHY – Postgraduate coursework student

"Reason the Change"

As member of the board, I will advocate for strengths-based solutions, achieved with gender and cultural diversity.  Presently completing my Masters of Public Health, I bring to the table my experience in systems thinking and a professional commitment to equity. Running an established consulting business, I believe in mental health as a foundation of  successful balance, and having raised a family to high school age, I have continued pursuits in educating the whole person.  As a GAMSAT candidate I stand for ambition and agility - at any age - and the autonomous thinking required to back yourself. My aim is to see that our university years sharpen our critical faculties so we might reason the change.  As co-creators of UQ's vision to advance ideas that benefit the world, I come to the table on behalf of you, the students of UQ, the change-makers of 2020.


Rowan EVANS – Postgraduate coursework student

In 2020, I’ll be putting students back on the Academic Board agenda.

For the past two years, I’ve been the Chief Editor of the student newspaper, Semper Floreat. In that role, I’ve seen the University spend your fees on driving kids’ choo-choo trains around campus, and heard them insist this is somehow helping the student experience.

I think that when you get out of the lab, when you knock off from a mind-numbing tutorial, or even when you want to just give yourself a well-earned reward for working on your thesis, that it might be nice to get involved in a genuine student-run and student-centred project.

Academic Board has a say in how your fees are spent. I want your fees spent on extracurricular activities that are genuinely meaningful. If elected, I will use my position to advocate for you to have a stellar way to spend your free time.


Selina FYFE – Postgraduate research student

  • Currently studying a PhD through QAAFI on a native Australian fruit
  • Previously studied a Master of Food Science and Technology at UQ
  • Have worked with many undergraduate, postgraduate coursework and research students
  • Organised a cross institutional, multi-disciplinary workshop for research students, academic staff and attended by people from UQ, other universities and government departments
  • Represented students at academic staff appraisals
  • Have a strong interest in policies and procedures and how they practically relate to research and academic life
  • Work with students and staff across multiple schools and institutes
  • Enjoy helping others, particularly helping other students navigate through their studies and identify  resources available to them
  • Not politically affiliated
  • Would work hard at representing all students on the Academic Board


Nicholas HUNTER – Postgraduate research student

I would like to nominate to be a HDR student member of the Academic Board. I am currently a student representative in the School of Music and in the HASS faculty and I have enjoyed contributing in the School of Music Research and HDR Committee meetings and the HASS faculty meetings. My fellow School of Music student representative Eloise Doherty and I have secured Graduate School student event funding for our end of year School of Music HDR Symposium: Creativity and Collaboration. I am also part of a working party formed by the Dean of the Graduate School, Alastair McEwan, to develop best practice principles and a clear structure for HDR milestones. I’m familiar with the PPL 1.30.03 Academic Board, and would love the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on the university’s teaching, research and educational programs. I would also like the opportunity to further represent my constituency.


Muhammad NASEEM – Postgraduate research student

I am Muhammad Noman Naseem, a higher degree research student at UQ. I am standing for the position of postgrad student member (research) in academic board. If elected, I would like to address the following issues through UQ academic board:

  1. Organising workshop and networking events especially for Postgrads to advance their professional skills and connect with the mentors in respective fields.
  2. Organising hacky hours or brainstorming sessions for postgrad to learn new ideas and develop research skills.
  3. Pitch university ideas regarding initiatives that could help in achieving study-life balance.
  4. Provide inputs to university regarding more inclusive and diverse university culture.
  5. Develop an institutional approach for solving the common issues related with students across different schools.


Vinu VERGHIS – Postgraduate research student


My name is Vinu and I am nominating my name as a student representative for the academic board. I am a UQ PhD student and work as a tutor and am deaf. As for my educational qualifications, I am a medical doctor with a master’s degree in Public Health.

I strongly believe that there needs to be more focus on the inclusivity of students with disability at UQ. Student participation and engagement is a critical part of effective teaching and learning and it is time we did something about our diverse student population with differing needs and ensured that everyone gets a chance to get the best possible student experience at UQ.  

If elected I am excited to work with the Academic Board to ensure that UQ continues to have the best student life in Australia and that no student is left behind due to disabilities.

Thank you